“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
We titled this product Sex Talk 2.0 because Gen Z and Gen Alpha are facing new challenges and trends related to sexuality and gender. But this content isn’t designed to stand on its own, and without Sex Talk 1.0 the approach is incomplete. So we’re backing up today to re-lay the original foundation.
Even if your kids are still very young, the way we talk to them about their own and others’ bodies lays an important foundation for the future. A friend of ours has two boys named Jacob and Timothy, who are 8 and 5. Usually, Jacob and Timothy both really enjoy wrestling. But one day, after a few rounds, Timothy started feeling very tired. As Jacob kept trying to bring him into headlocks and pin him to the carpet, Timothy started saying, “No Jacob, please stop.” But Jacob wouldn’t stop.
The dad saw all this and stepped in: “Hey Jacob, Timothy very politely asked you to stop. If you’re doing something and someone asks you to stop, you always stop. Whenever someone says that, there’s no waiting, and there’s no question about it. You stop.” So Jacob stopped.
Later on, as our friend retold this story to his wife, it dawned on him: they had just taught their son his first lesson about consent.
The word “consent” has become something of a cultural buzzword. Sometimes consent is invoked as the single gold standard for all healthy sexuality. We’ll talk more about this in Track 4; for now, suffice it to say we don’t believe consent is all that’s needed for healthy sexuality, but it is an essential piece that shouldn’t be overlooked. As boys and girls begin to ask questions and explore their bodies, the lesson they need to be explicitly taught is that no-one has the right to touch them in places or ways they don’t want to be touched, and that others have the same rights that must be honored as well.
Help them understand that this isn’t because those body parts are dirty or bad, but because they are deeply personal. In these conversations, we would encourage you to actually use the words penis and vagina, and to acknowledge those parts as part of God’s good design for our bodies. This will help lay the foundation for a healthy experience of sexuality later on.
Another huge part of this conversation involves helping boys and girls anticipate the changes their bodies will go through. If you have girls, as they approach puberty, help them anticipate:
- that as their bodies begin to produce sex hormones like estrogen, their ovaries will begin automatically developing eggs as preparation for eventually having sexual intercourse
- that these eggs can be “fertilized” by a man’s sperm during sex, and that these two things together allow women to become pregnant
- that if a woman does not become pregnant, and these eggs go unused, each month they break down and flow out of women’s bodies through the menstrual cycle
- that they may begin to have intense mood swings around this time, and that this is completely normal
- and that around this time, their breasts will begin to grow, and their hips will begin to widen as their bodies prepare to nurture and rear children, even though it may be many years before any children make their debut.
For boys, as their bodies grow, they will produce more chemicals like testosterone. Help them understand and anticipate:
- that these sex hormones are produced in the testes, which is also where sperm are produced, which is what enables them to impregnate someone through sexual intercourse
- that as their body produces these hormones, their voices will grow deeper, their bodies will become hairier, and at some point they’re likely to have wet dreams. (In some ways the wet dream is the parallel to the woman’s menstrual cycle, as the male body’s way of getting rid of whatever reproductive materials aren’t being used. These wet “dreams” may or may not involve actually dreaming about sexual scenarios.)
- and that as their bodies start to prepare for sexual intercourse, they’ll naturally find themselves thinking much more about sex and love. Help them understand how the male and female bodies fit together and complement one another, and how sexual intercourse not only produces children, but forms a powerful bond between any two people who are sexually intimate through neurochemicals like oxytocin.
Quickly reflect on where your sons or daughters are in their development. What upcoming changes in their bodies or lives should they anticipate? Take note of any points you’d like to make, or questions you’d like to ask your kids. (For more on Sex Talk 1.0, check out our Parent’s Guide to The Sex Talk, which includes a megalist of age-appropriate conversation starters at the end.)
“Father, thank you that as your word says, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Thank you that you designed our bodies to change so profoundly, independent of our own understanding. I pray you would help our family to experience awe, appreciation, and gratitude for the way you’ve designed our bodies, and that our gratitude would flow back into praise to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”