A friend I greatly respect once told me that age 8 is a good time to start talking about sex with your kids. I have no idea where she heard this or why. My oldest was probably 5 at the time so it seemed a LONG way off. I was okay with that. So, I kept the goal in mind but didn’t think much about it … until only days before my daughter’s 8th birthday. Could it really be time? No. It seems too early. It can’t be. It’s not.
I decided to start doing some research anyway so I’d be prepared when I decide that it IS time. I happened to pick up a book at the library that had me nodding and saying “amen!” I began to realize it is, in reality, NOT too early. In fact, I could have, should have started the process already! I skimmed the book quickly. The main premise I got from the book was to relay a positive message about sex. Instead of focusing on dos and dont’s, disease and pregnancy, we should help our children understand that it’s a healthy part of the marriage relationship. That it is a gift from God and not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about or to be treated lightly. Then I started praying for the words and opportunity to have that first talk–to establish an ongoing discussion–with my daughter. Avery is a quiet type and not usually inquisitive, so we don’t normally talk about intimate things. I knew I’d have to be the one to start the conversation. Suddenly, I was armed and ready!
I have my best opportunity a month after her birthday. Our family was planning a split vacation. My husband and son were going to a father/son camp and Avery and I were going to my sister’s for a few days and then to a lake house. We had a few mornings free while my sister was at work and my niece was at a middle school prep class. I declared one morning a mommy and me day. I let Avery pick whatever she wanted to do (still can’t believe she wanted to go bowling instead of get manicures!). We bonded over silly bowling shoes and horrific scores. Then we went to a local pet store to see the kittens, turtles, hamsters, bunnies and mice. She loves watching the mice spin their wheels and fall all over each other as they play. Finally, we went for short walk on a path and stopped at an open baseball field. She sat on the top row of the miniature metal bleachers and I sat backwards on the next level, so we could sit and face each other eye to eye. I told her I had something important I wanted to talk to her about …
What I said, basically:
You know what marriage is? A man and a woman who love each other get married. (We have a short discussion here because she is concerned about who she is going to marry and how she will know when she meets the person she will marry. So tender. Of course I let her know that mom and dad will help her! She probably won’t appreciate that much in a few more years.)
Just like we bring gifts to birthday parties and weddings, God gives a gift to couples who get married. It’s called sex. Have you heard that word before? Do you know what that means? Well, you know how boys and girls are different, right? (I do go into detail here about what is physically different, using correct terms to show that I’m not embarrassed about it, and truly I wasn’t! even though I tend to be a prude lol). I continued this trend by telling her in no uncertain terms what sex physically is and even that “it feels good all over.” (Yep. :} I said that.) Men and women fit together perfectly because that’s how God designed it! And that is how babies are made (We get sidetracked here because she asks some questions about that, it’s also a precursor to a discussion we still need to have about puberty).
Sometimes people have sex when they aren’t married and that doesn’t honor God. (Also got sidetracked here because I tried to talk about how the world has “corrupted” sex but I used an analogy of weeds and she took me too literally. Oops!) We want to honor God with our bodies, don’t we? I’m so glad we can talk about this and you can come to me whenever you have any questions. I love you so much.
On the way home, I realized I hadn’t prayed with her so we did that too. And I was certain to include that special someone who God was preparing for her to marry.
I could tell that most of what I said went over her head. But that’s okay. That’s great, actually! I think that’s why it was so easy, she wasn’t embarrassed and so I didn’t have to be either. And I know we laid the groundwork for the future. She heard it from me first. And it fulfilled at least the first step in my goal of preparing my child for a meaningful, fulfilling marriage and healthy relationships by shaping her character, her understanding of who God is and who she is.
“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Titus 1:15