From the shows that we watch, to the music that we listen to, to the pictures that show up on our social media news feeds, sexuality is all around us. Because we live in a technology-driven culture, sexualized content has become more easily accessible to anyone at any time. The gravity of this problem cannot be ignored, however, neither can the remedy for navigating it.
Over the summer, CCA teacher and administrator Laura Quinn was invited to lead a Parenting Talk Zoom meeting titled Holy Sexuality
, which was hosted by Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s Family Ministry
. In this discussion, Quinn guided and equipped parents to have meaningful, biblically-based conversations about sexuality, gender, and identity with their children with hopes of destigmatizing these topics within the Christian community.
Before discussing the framework for these conversations, it is important to become familiar with the three different sexual narratives that can potentially shape your child(ren)’s view of sexuality as well as yours:
The World’s NarrativeViews sexuality as self-oriented, for self-fulfillment and self-expression, because it may seem “fun” or makes me “happy”.
The Purity NarrativeWhile biblically-based, it is often incomplete and produces shame and confusion that presents a false reality of what sex was intended to be like.
The Narrative of Holy SexualityRooted in deep and rich theology and serves as a mirror of God’s relationship with us, rooted in a passionate and sacrificial love, held in the covenant of everlasting commitment. This narrative is what we ought to be teaching our children!
Sexuality is a beautiful metaphor for the joyful intimacy and longing that God desires for us to have in our relationship with Him. God designed us to be sexual beings; sexuality plays out in our minds, bodies, and spirit, which is evident from the very beginning in the book of Genesis.
Sexuality is a beautiful metaphor for the joyful intimacy and longing that God desires for us to have in our relationship with Him.
When we embrace holy sexuality by having ongoing, age-appropriate conversations with our children about it, we have the incredible opportunity to break the chains of self-fulfillment associated with the world's view of sexuality as well as the shame and misconceptions that stem from the purity message. As parents, developing a heart of understanding while relying on God’s strength and guidance to share truth with our child(ren) surrounding sexuality is essential.
“When we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us wisdom, we are able to speak in grace, love, and hope and give our children an experience we probably didn’t have growing up,” Quinn said.
As parents, developing a heart of understanding while relying on God’s strength and guidance to share truth with our child(ren) surrounding sexuality is essential.
She also emphasized that we can acknowledge our broken pasts, but we must also remember that because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that delivered us from the penalty of sin, we are now transformed and qualified to guide our child(ren) with wisdom.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” —Deuteronomy 6:6-7
You might be asking yourself, “How do these conversations start, and how can I intertwine God’s message of sexuality into my household?” Quinn shares three ongoing conversations that can practically guide your family for many years to come.
Informative ConversationsInformative conversations help lead to clarity and appreciation. They are a great first step for your child(ren) understanding the importance of respecting their own bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and respecting others’ as well. It can start by your child asking a simple question and you being bold enough to continue to engage in the conversation.
As parents, we need to have the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to expand beyond just the name and function of body parts by explaining why God designed us with these parts. We also need to teach how neurotransmitters like oxytocin and dopamine play a part in sexuality by bonding us to our partners, as well as the role they might play in sexual addiction.
Children who are informed about the Potter's perfect and special masterpiece are more likely to develop a better understanding of their identity and honor the Lord with the bodies He thoughtfully knitted together in their mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14).
Connecting ConversationsThe connecting conversation’s role is to create a strong parent-child bond through teaching and developing their emotional intelligence in a transparent environment. Emotionally mature children and adults can process and regulate feelings and make healthier decisions around their sexuality. They can share, be vulnerable, and be intimate in committed relationships.
In the early years, this can often be done well by storytelling. By choosing to share aspects of your story (or others’ stories), your experiences and your feelings, you are showing them that you are willing to have an ongoing, transparent dialogue. Modeling the very vulnerability you are encouraging your child(ren) to have with you can have a transformational effect in your relationship.
Modeling the very vulnerability you are encouraging your child(ren) to have with you can have a transformational effect in your relationship.Such dialogue also helps to break the awkward tension through the laughter and questions that stories have a way of bringing up. It gives your child(ren) the organic opportunity to comfortably ask questions and connect with you on a deeper level of understanding.
Cleansing ConversationsCleansing conversations highlight God’s characteristics and heart while offering grace, love, instruction, and truth. It is important to not approach these conversations in shame, anger, or impulse, but rather focus on hope and what God’s Word has to say. We are all sexually broken as we are born into a broken world. As parents, we are called to model God’s continual forgiveness, restoration, and healing when our children struggle or miss the mark.
The Lord is so gracious to lovingly restore and redeem, and our children need to know that as we disciple them.If we want our children to speak to us about the hard things, we have to be ready to listen and demonstrate emotional maturity to tactfully respond like Jesus did to the Samaritan woman at the well. Society judged her and casted her aside because of her scandalous sexual history, but Jesus crossed social and racial boundaries to meet her where she was at and offer her hope in the form of living water that would satiate the deepest longings of her heart.
The Lord is so gracious to lovingly restore and redeem, and our children need to know that as we disciple them.
Holy sexuality is not just about the “birds and the bees” but rather an ongoing conversation centered around divine design and purpose. By having these loving conversations with our children at every stage of their upbringing, they get to experience the gentle love Christ has for them.
You may not know all of the “right things” to say, but take time to pray and invite the Holy Spirit in to speak through you. Remember, His grace is sufficient for you, and His power manifests in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Below are some additional resources on biblical sexuality that Quinn recommends looking into for a deeper dive into the topic: