With our eroticized culture in which everything from the human body to consumer goods is sexualized, how are Christian parents to raise a family with a healthy view of the body and the proper role of sexuality? In what ways can we be honest and forthright with our kids, at whatever stage they are, in ways that combat the culture’s misinformation and are not shame-based? I had some thoughts and would appreciate your feedback as well.
One of the things we can do is revisit our definition of purity, specifically when it comes to sex. We have to find a way to address the positive goal of waiting until marriage without turning a girl’s virginity into a commodity that she is holding for the worthiest bidder. Rather than the preoccupation with “don’t do it,” perhaps we need to emphasize “here’s how to make it the best—by waiting until marriage.” Certainly, there can be warnings about consequences for early copulation, but we can put the emphasis on “there is only one ‘first time,’ so why not make it the very best?” instead. In this way, we remove the shame factor and replace it with the “make it the best” factor.
We can also stop objectifying people, especially women, by designating part of their bodies as pure and part as obscene. We are whole persons, and our bodies reflect the image of God. That means every part of them.
There is value in considering the prospect of being naked in the home so that the body is seen as normal and not sexual. When our children see others in various life stages, it takes away the fear of the unknown and removes shame. Do we really want the first penis a girl sees to be in the context of a sexual encounter? Because raging hormones will drive their curiosity to find out anyway. We are kidding ourselves to say otherwise. Do we really want a boy’s earliest sight of a naked female to be in the porn he stumbles across or that a friend shows him? The average first porn exposure age is 12, so let’s be real here. Wouldn’t it be better for them to think nothing of the sight of genitalia and not associate them with sexuality but just see them as regular body parts like elbows or ears? By removing the mystique of the forbidden, we might actually be porn-proofing our kids!
Christ bore our shame on the cross, so there is no need to have shame-based training or to call a body created in the image of God “obscene.” Why not reclaim what the enemy has twisted and instead raise families with a healthy theology of the body and a respect for each other that precludes the objectification of others? Why not live the way we were created to live, now that our relationship with God is restored and we can be unashamed once more? (Gen. 2:25)
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. What do you think?
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