A New Poll: What Do You Teach Your Kids About Sex?

As a website dedicated to “Growing and Supporting a Culture of Hot Biblical Monogamy”, MarriageHeat covers a variety of topics. From masturbation to missionary position, kissing to kink, we leave almost nothing off the table. And one topic that has been broached in comments lately is the dichotomy between what we were taught (or not taught) and what we now believe about sex.

SecondMarge suggested a poll to see how Christians (at least those in our community) have chosen to handle the topic of sex with our own children. For singles, she wonders if you plan to do anything differently than your parents and role models did.

There is an intermediate question of how your choices before marriage or parenthood and their results may have impacted your decisions on how to handle the topic of sex with your own kids, but we think that is best addressed in a second poll. Feel free to elaborate in the comments with your experience, insights, and advice.

Christians: how does your upbringing in sexual matters compare to how you raise (or plan to raise) your children?

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32 replies
  1. Waiting Hardly says:

    I was taught that intercourse was a gift only to be enjoyed between married people, but that masturbation was a valid way to control one’s urges. (Now get married and give us grand babies!)

  2. SinglePringle says:

    So I've always been taught by my parents that sex is supposed to be enjoyed only in marriage. They always made sure to teach us that it's a good positive thing which I'm grateful for. We'll discuss it on the odd occasion like if it comes up in a movie or sermon but that's pretty much it. The only issue I've had is, even though they say they have a lot of sex, I've never seen them give each other anything more than a peck. However I think this is also a cultural thing since it seems to be that physical affection even between a married couple in-front of their kids is sort of taboo where I'm ethnically from. This seems to also be why masturbation is something that has been pretty much frowned upon while growing up (hence why that was my first question on this site).

    I'd want to teach my kids that masturbation is okay and to use it to help them remain virgins until their married but understand what they like. Especially if they end up being older virgins like myself but again, only if they feel like they need to. I still feel like it would be really weird to discuss it with my children if they were any younger than 18 since that's when I started but I don't know what the future holds.

    I'd also want to express more physical affection outside of the bedroom with my future spouse: kisses (more than pecks), hugs, cheeky glances etc. Nothing that would make my kids uncomfortable but I think again, if you expose that level off affection between husband and wife from a young age, it will feel less awkward and more natural that "Mummy and Daddy act like this because they're married and love each other."

    Lastly, I'd definitely want to be very open with my kids to come to me if they have any questions about sex. Our generation has been raised with a lot of our sex education coming from the internet rather than parents having frank discussions with their kids. Furthermore, kids younger and younger are being exposed to porn so I'd pretty much have "the talk" with my kids as soon as they're able to understand as I'd rather have them learn about it from home than at school. A lot of my knowledge about sex came from reading Mature-rated fan fiction and then searching up the things I didn't understand due to my curiosity. But I never had the courage to discuss this with my parents because I've always felt that since I'm a virgin, they probably think that I won't be thinking about the "ins and outs of sex". But I do, a lot. There have even been times when something will come up on TV that they don't understand but I happen to so I'd explain it to them in the least explicit way possible.

    Overall, I'd like to bridge the generational and possibly cultural gap when discussing sex with my children in a frank but open and sensible manner—with the guidance of God, of course.

    • MiSWRAPP says:

      @SinglePringle

      Yes, you are so right about the amount of sex education that younger generations are getting from the Internet as oppose to parents. Like you (and me too), I think many teenagers/young adults are afraid that their parents may view them as promiscuous if they ask about sex, so they run to a source that won't judge and will answer all their questions: the internet. I also gained a lot of knowledge from mature-rated fan fiction and I personally understand how culture can further complicate sex conversations with parents.

      Do you think it would be easier to talk to our parents and have open discussions about sex if we were males, because male sexuality is usually more expected/acceptable?

      I love what you said at the end about bridging generational and cultural gaps…that is wonderful!

    • SinglePringle says:

      @MiSWRAPP – You've hit the nail on the head with the promiscuity part. Children are seen as innocent to their parents, so it's like the more you know about sex, the less "innocent" you become. Which is very warped, but that's basically what it boils down to.

      I have no idea how discussions like sex and masturbation were broached by my dad and my brother but I presume very differently to my sister and I. Men are encouraged to be sexual, and it's seen as a right of passage to becoming a man. The right of passage for a woman tends to be tied to giving birth to a child. It's assumed that most men masturbate whereas women do not. I definitely think there is more forgiveness and acceptance in embracing male sexuality rather than female sexuality. Even my parents often say to me: If the guy has slept around, forgive him. But if my brother brought home a woman who'd slept around, they'd be quick to say she's easy or something.

      These massive double standards that are honestly doing more harm than good isn't helping matters. If there was a universal acceptance that women are just as sexual as men, we'd have less people turning to the internet for information and more open and honest conversations, which I think is honestly what the Church needs.

      Thanks so much, I'm glad that you liked what was said at the end especially 🙂

    • MiSWRAPP says:

      @Single Pringle

      Warped it is! Amazing how distorted thinking becomes normative, especially in how children are raised.

      Yes, I was definitely thinking about the double standard for male and female sexuality, but the right of passage for women being childbirth did not cross my mind. Wow, I can’t believe that I have a period every month and did not think about that.

      I agree and have always believed that the Church does a horrible job at teaching a balanced and healthy view of sexuality. And that is a dangerous combination when mixed with the raging hormones and genuine curiosity of adolescents. Plus, in terms of female sexuality, it is double blow as females are guilted by the Church and guilted by society for having a sex drive.

      You are welcome! I think if more parents raised their children with intentionality, parents and children would have less regrets. Although, I acknowledge that parenting is a complex process, where you grow and learn with your child(ren).

  3. MiSWRAPP says:

    My parents took an almost neutral/hands off approach, where there was conversation about how sex should be saved for marriage but for the most part, they left my siblings and I to figure things out on our own. For a while, my spirituality and my sexuality were in discord with each other and I believe much of that can be attributed to how my parents did not explicitly discuss how God gifted us sexual desires and that we should embrace them. Although, my mom never initiates conversations about sex and is still fairly conservative, she has grown to be more open about broaching “touchy” subjects. I’m 20 and we had our first conversation about masturbation last year, so even though it was a little late, I’m glad she is more open now than before! 🙂 MH and a Human Sexuality course that I’ve been taking have also helped me resolve the discord and find a harmony that works for me!

    As far as how I will raise my children, I hope my future husband and I can give our children the room to explore but also make that process easier by explicitly communicating how their sexuality is a gift from God and giving them a safe space to talk to us.

    All in all, I wouldn’t change how my parents talked about sex because the journey of embracing my sexuality has been fun (after getting past the guilt)! In a way, it has brought me closer to God and more in touch with what I believe and what is right for my life. Parents are imperfect people who do the best they can, based on their knowledge and experiences. Thirty, forty years from now, I bet my children will wish that their father and I handled the topic of sex differently too!

    • SinglePringle says:

      @MiSWRAPP, I'm almost 26, and I don't think I'll ever be at a place where I can talk openly with my parents about masturbation. Even when it comes up in movies, my parents frown at it and call it sinful. MAYBE once I've been married and therefore sexually active for a while, if the topic ever comes up, I might broach it, but that's it.

      So you're not late at all, and in fact, you're very blessed. Not all of us have the same opportunity to disclose that to someone close to us.

      But it definitely seems like you've got a great balance. And yes, there will always be things that our kids will wish we did differently since there are things we wish our parents did differently and so on.

    • MiSWRAPP says:

      @Single Pringle

      I understand that my grandmother was (and is still is) very by-the-Bible, so my mom has tried to be more open with my siblings and I, since she didn’t have that opportunity growing up.

      Yes, my mom is my best friend, which is probably why I have trouble finding friends my age! Going back to what you said about universal acceptance, Christians and their sexuality would be better off if sex wasn't shrouded in guilt/shame/misconstrued views.

      That’s a good point, marriage may be a great segue into the conversation about sex with your parents and if not, hopefully your future husband will be a supportive and open-minded partner. Every day you are closer to getting married than you were the day before (that’s what I tell myself)! Praying everything works out for you <3.

    • Bighuged says:

      Just wanted to chime in to your convo here. I’m a male and I feel like I probably came from a similar background to you both and had similar discussions about sex. I’ve never talked with my parents about masturbation, just besides originally explaining to me what it was haha. So even some males are in a similar boat to you ladies. And I know it’s pretty obvious that men think about sex a lot, but it’s nice to know that we’re not alone and that there’s plenty of women out there, like you wonderful ladies, that think about sex often too 😉

    • SinglePringle says:

      @MiSWRAPP – I'm glad that you and your mum have such a sweet relationship. I am also pretty close with my family, but it's just issues of sex where we differ. My family is pretty convinced that sex toys are bad. I feel like they can be used to enhance a couple's sex life and/or single people like myself who are waiting, whereas they feel it should have no part in the marriage bed or any person's life whatsoever.

      Furthermore, recently I found out that the book my mum used to teach us about sex had a page on masturbation. Yet it was skipped or ripped out or something! I think that has added to my concerns about broaching this topic with my parents. The main problem is that a lot of parents, especially with masturbation, think that if we don't tell them, they won't do it…yet a lot of people do, so that teaching is going wrong somewhere. And agreed, Christians and their sexuality would be better off if sex wasn't shrouded in guilt/shame/misconstrued views. This is so true!

      I do honestly pray that my future husband is very open-minded. I pray the same for you as well. I'll definitely keep your last point in mind, it's very reassuring 😉

    • SinglePringle says:

      @Bighuged – At least your parents explained it to you. But again, it's probably because you're a guy so they assumed that you'll probably try that out at some point. But it's also reassuring to know that there are guys who have had similar sex education to us…and yeah we all think about sex a lot, even if we're not doing it currently lol

    • MiSWRAPP says:

      @Bighuged

      Thank you for adding some male context to our conversation. It’s a great feeling when you find that other people, especially the opposite gender can relate to your experiences!

      @SinglePringle

      Apart from not having the space to talk freely about sex, it seems like you have a strong support system and a family that loves you. Although I haven’t had the courage (yet) to buy a sex toy, I definitely agree that they have a place for both singles and couples. It seems like sex will always be a polarizing topic!

      Yes, there is a disconnect between what parents think their children are doing/not doing and what their children are actually doing. Have you thought about writing a book on sexuality or maybe a memoir about your own sexuality journey? You’ve had a lot of interesting things to say, and I think that, all together, they would make a wonderful read…I’d be the first to preorder!

      Thank you and yes, prayer and positivity is the way to go!

    • SinglePringle says:

      @ MiSWRAPP – you're right, sex is always an interesting yet polarising topic. It's funny you mention writing a book/memoir. I've thought about it in the past and have jotted things down more than once on what I'd include in it. However I always delete it and it's never gone past the planning stage.

      Maybe it's time to write something up properly…who knows?

  4. hornyGG says:

    Though my parents really didn't talk about sex. It was made clear to me that sex was meant to be saved for marriage between a man and a woman. My mother was very religious, yet often made sex out to be a " wifely duty " more than a gift. Masturbation was never spoken of. I learned about that pretty much on my own.
    Ben and I have tried to be open and honest about sex with all three of our children. Unfortunately, it wasn't until two of our children were discovered masturbating that masturbation was discussed.
    Sex is a beautiful gift granted to us by God. Whether it be sex with your spouse or through masturbation.
    Sex between a man and a woman should be saved for marriage, and we have tried to instill that in our children. When we learned that our daughter Alicia had premarital sex with her now-husband ( She told us ), we were disappointed but did not condemn her because of it. Sometimes all you can do is love your children, raise them the best you can and hope they live a Christian life and make the right decisions.
    God bless ya'll and stay horny!
    ❤ GG

    • SecondMarge says:

      Help me understand the reason you were disappointed? Was it like she got a B in English disappointed or arrested for DUI disappointed?

      We teach them as best we know how then the decisions are their own. Since they ended up married, in the end it didn’t matter that they had sex before, does it?

    • hornyGG says:

      Second Marge,
      I get where you are coming from. When I said we were disappointed, it was because she had always said that she wanted to wait til marriage to have sex. She had a couple boyfriends who she said wanted to have sex with her but she turned them down due to her desire to wait.
      When she told me that she and Trey were screwing it was a shock and yes a bit of a disappointment. I didn't lecture her or condemn her in any fashion. As a matter of fact she felt bad. Not that she had done it, but because she felt that she had let myself, her father and the Lord down.
      Ben didn't take the news real well and didn't say much for a few days, but he told her he loved her no matter what.
      Her and Trey did go to Church and offered repentance of their own free will.
      We love them and my granddaughter very much.

  5. SecondMarge says:

    I thank MH for creating this poll and topic based on my inquiry.

    Right or wrong, sin or not, I think the day of expecting our children to go into marriage untouched is over. It is only a matter of time until virginity as a virtue will be an all but forgotten concept.

    Faith is not based on fact nor logic but on belief, mostly belief ingrained in us as children. As we stop teaching children to act as we were taught, their actions will be more logical and less about faith. I’m not judging whether this is good nor bad, simply stating the writing is on the wall. Logically, one can argue for delaying intercourse until marriage based on pregnancy or disease. We saw what the pill did to the former, dropping [the percentage of] virgin marriages into the single digits.

    I was raised in the "sex is bad, endure it so you can get pregnant" old-school world. Oral sex was something no good girl would ever do, and anal so perverted it was never to be considered or discussed.

    My path to enlightenment was long and difficult. I see nothing in the Bible that convinces me to teach my son not to be naked with his GF, kiss, pet, or stimulate each other. They require a level of emotional maturity that differs by the individual. Did I tell him to remain a virgin until marriage? No. It’s my belief now that if he finds someone he loves and feels committed to, intercourse is neither wrong nor a sin. In the world today those are very conservative beliefs. I fear we are on a path that will result in sex being simply a recreational activity and totally separated from love and marriage or a way to procreate.

    MH is very helpful in showing that sex can be very erotic in marriage, something the media usually shows the other side of, where sex is only exciting outside of marriage.

  6. PatientPassion says:

    I've actually thought about writing something on a topic similar to this, about the importance of parents teaching their kids about sex. Hopefully I'll actually get to that at some point, but since that could still be a while, here's my summary:

    YES, I will do things SO much differently than my parents! I probably wouldn't need all the fingers on one hand to count the number of serious conversations I've had with my parents about sex in the 20+ years I've been alive. And I was homeschooled, so it wasn't for a lack of time with my parents.

    Much like MiSWRAPP said, I'm grateful that God has used my parents' stark lack of guidance to send me on a journey of substantial sexual discovery and learning. It did start pretty rough though, as complete ignorance coupled with new and confusing early-teen drives left me utterly vulnerable and took me into 8 years of intermittent porn use. But by the grace of God it never truly took a deep hold in my life, it's been gradually less and less frequent, and I'm coming up on a full year completely clean. (Finding the God-centered content of MarriageHeat was central to that, showing me something so much better and more fulfilling than what is shown in porn, so thank you to all of you in this community who have been a part of that!) Despite the dark parts of the story, I know I've become so much better prepared and equipped to handle sex and marriage as a whole through this journey.

    Along with my future wife, we'll definitely be much more open with our kids about sex, and we'll readily answer questions in age-appropriate detail. We'll be proactive in both warning them about sexual dangers and telling them of the amazing sexual gifts God has given to be expressed between husband and wife. My goal is to take all the taboo out of sex in my future family, to where it can be talked about more openly, but still maintain a sort of reverence for the powerful and awesome gift it is. I haven't thought as much about masturbation, but I plan to teach that, while there are of course ways to misuse it, it's a normal and healthy thing.

  7. AdamW says:

    An important difference may be what each spouse is taught.

    My wife and I had similar family and church backgrounds and so we thought we were on the same page about sex when we married. After all, we certainly agreed on the dos and don't, right? It took many years to realize we had been taught quite different ATTITUDES.

    I received a lot of positive messages about married sex growing up. I remember youth group sessions where the guys and girls were separated and we received appropriate teaching on saving sex for marriage. My father, a very stoic man not given to expressing feelings, heroically stumbled through some talks with me, and gave me James Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence. In contrast, my wife's church and family talked very little about sex, other than DON'T DO IT UNTIL MARRIAGE.

    It wasn't until many years into our own marriage that we realized just how differently we had been raised. I was shocked that her mother had never talked to her about sex; she was shocked that my father had talked to me. I had taken for granted that she had gone through similar experiences at church and youth group; nope, nada. Our assumptions were so ingrained that it's not surprising they were missed in premarital counselling. These different upbringings explained a lot of the conflict and problems over sex that we had experienced in our marriage. And they've been hard to change.

  8. hotleggyamy says:

    I guess I can count myself extremely fortunate for being raised in a very open loving family where sexuality and nudity were just part of life and growing up. My parents are Christian nudists and never hid anything from us. All our questions were answered in an age/maturity-appropriate way, so we learned that intercourse is not just for procreation but that it is meant for marriage. Most everything else they were pretty accepting of. The result is that my sister and brothers have all grown up pretty well adjusted, have lovely sexy spouses and are trying our best to raise godly children just as we were raised.

    • adam4eve says:

      Amy, that's so cool! As one of those "in waiting" and an avid believer in Christian nudism, I've felt a bit abnormal at times for my beliefs and open minded approach. It seems to be one of those things where you're either raised in it or come to it after marriage and parenting, often in retirement. I'd love to have a spouse that shared my lifestyle and could be open about it like you are. Thank you for joining and sharing your experiences.

    • Horny_boy says:

      @hotleggyamy I think your parents did a pretty good job! I wished I had a family like yours but I have to be happy with the family where God placed me…
      But as a nudist family, how did you feel seeing your brother's penis? I remember one time my sister just took a shower, she was getting dressed and I came in. I could see her vulva while she was putting on her underwear. We were so embarrassed, and we never brought it up again, but I think for you was so much different. I really want to know what it was/is like. I know you're okay with masturbation and stuff, and I know you believe it is a God-given gift. Did you ever see your brother/sister masturbating? If you did, was it awkward?

      You're such an inspiration, girl. I'm looking forward to reading some of your masturbation stories🙌

    • Horny_boy says:

      I don't use underwear most of the time , I just read that that was a nudist practice, but I'm looking forward to raise my children the way you do.

    • hotleggyamy says:

      We do, Chloe! We love the freedom and, yes, we enjoy looking at each others’ beautiful bodies. 😉 I think we say God did a good job making him/her! It’s really a lovely lifestyle. No body shame, just joy and delight in creation!
      How about you? I’m pretty new here, so I’m just getting a sense of who’s who.

  9. hornyGG says:

    The nude life is simply awesome! The feeling of freedom is a wonderful feeling. You are correct hotleggyamy. Chloe, if you can, I highly recommend giving it a try. Living the life the way God originally intended is such a joy to my and Ben's life.
    God bless! Stay horny and stay naked! 😉😀

    ❤❤❤❤ GG

  10. Chloe says:

    Oh, and thanks for the encouragement GG! I love reading about your new nudist life! Disappointed that your upcoming stories are being posted in Ignite and not the "free for all" MH. I'll be missing your latest greats, I'm sorry to say. 😢

    • hornyGG says:

      Chloe,
      Don't worry I will have several stories that will be eligible for the " free for all " section. I am so glad that you enjoy my stories. I certainly love sharing my and Ben's experiences, as well as some fantasy stuff from my naughty mind. I will be sharing some stories from my " notebook" that I wrote some time ago. Many from before I joined MH. So watch for that, darlin'!

      ❤❤❤❤ GG

  11. Waggs1 says:

    I was taught little by my parents. One uncle gave me a rudimentary anatomy lesson. That was about it. Sex ed in schools was still off in the future, but the HS biology teacher threw in a little on his coverage of animal reproductive systems.

    My wife was told that sex was evil and those desires were from the devil. That was confirmed firmly in her mind at age 8 when a teenaged relative started molesting her. So she shut herself down completely and considered that proper. We had a huge disagreement on our own kids, where she said she would teach the girls and I would teach the boy. I did, she did NOT.

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