A Counselor Speaks on Sex Education—Moral Purity v. Physical Abstinence

By: Bev S

Paul David Tripp states that we, as the Christian community, tend to “view sin as behavioral and physical, rather than a matter of the heart.”  So, we should view our “sex talks” with our children as an opportunity to shepherd our precious children’s hearts.  Tripp further states, “To be physically abstinent is not the same as being morally pure!  Moral purity is a matter of the heart.  If the heart is not pure, the body will not be kept pure for long.”[1]

Recently I was able to view a video presentation by Dr. Mark Laaser entitled:  Teaching Our Kids about Sex[2]. I’d like to share some of his thoughts today. Dr. Mark Laaser began his presentation by asking the viewers, “What was your own story like?  How did you learn about sex?”  So I ask you, did you learn from someone in your family, from a teacher in 5-6th grade, from your friends, or from the entertainment industry?   Before chatting with your own children, think about your initial exposure and whether or not it was a healthy one.  Do everything you can to make your children’s first ideas about their own sexuality a positive, healthy experience.

Dr. Laaser states that husbands and wives should talk first about sex education before their children begin asking questions.  You know your own children…only you two know how much or how little your children can handle, and, each of your children is different!  Help each other set boundaries as you take on this enormously important subject. Dr. Laaser also suggests that husbands and wives might want to review what the Bible says about healthy sexuality—what is God’s plan for sex?  Talk together about why God set such firm limits on sexual behavior and why.  Develop a plan to present God’s plan in a clear and confident way to your children—Dr. Laaser says that for every “no” you share with your children, be sure to include a “yes.”  For example, when telling your children that God intended sex for marriage between husband and wife only in the sacred covenant of marriage, this kind of love is something the non-Believer does not understand.  True love in marriage is self-less-ness—the purity of a loving heart versus lust.  The “yes” in this statement would be that a loving husband and wife have a servant heart toward each other, rather than the selfish desire of a person trying to have sex with someone outside of marriage. Ephesians 4 has a good list of things to “put off and put on.”

Another helpful suggestion Dr. Laaser makes is to review the messages about sex that you heard when you were growing up.  Were they true?  When I was a child, Lucy and Desi slept in twin beds and Lucy always wore a dress when doing her housework.  If you became a fan of Friends in the 90’s, it seemed like everyone was having sex all the time with whoever s/he was with that night.  Neither message is true.  What was true about sex in your parents’ home?  These are important questions to think about as you and your spouse contemplate a talk about healthy sex in a marriage where God is first in the triad relationship.

Last, Dr. Laaser gives guidelines for what to teach at a child’s particular age.  However, please keep in mind that all children are different.  Your children may need less information than this at this age.  This is just a general guideline that I would like to quote from him.

Ages 0-3:  Lessons about their personal bodies.  As they recognize and comment on

male/female distinctions also include a lesson on safe and unsafe touches.  Usually

toilet training also happens at this time.

Ages 4-9:  Here children become ready for the basic mechanics of human sexuality.

Ages 10-13:  Usually menstruation begins during these ages; discussions of puberty and

body changes at this time.  Now is when it is time to begin discussing God’s plan for abstinence in all kinds of sexuality (are you brave enough to include in this discussion that masturbation is

not God’s plan for purity?).

Teens:  These children are coming to grips with the fact that their identity is apart from ours.

They need to understand all aspects of sexuality and its implications toward keeping their hearts


Dear parents, I cannot urge you enough to not become naïve during your children’s time at home.  Recognize and guard against Satan’s anti-purity campaign on a daily basis.  Be strong and censor your children’s TV shows, movies, electronic games, friends, cell phone pictures, etc.   Communicate, communicate, communicate!  Having those open, honest lines of communication at age 2—when that child is blabbering his or her head off—reaps great rewards when the child is 16 and comes to you with a request for help as s/he battles with physical desire and great opportunities.

Keep vigilant watch over your (child’s) heart;

That’s where life starts.

Proverbs 4:23 The Message

(Parenthetical change is mine)

[1] Tripp, Paul David: Teens and Sex; How Should We Teach them? P&R Publishing: 2000

[2] Laaser, Dr. Mark: Teaching Kids About Sex disc 6 lesson 11 AACC: 2008

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