Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Bible teach about sex?
The simple answer is “a great deal.” The bible talks about this issue from Genesis to Revelation and it does so because our sexuality is at the core of who we are. God has a wonderful design and plan for our sexuality. We highlight this by looking at four P’s; pleasure, procreation, protection and proclamation (Gen. 2:24; Proverbs 5; Song of Songs). At the same time, the bible teaches that sexual expression has clear boundaries for our good and blessing (Ex. 20; Mt. 5:27-30;Gal. 5:14-21; I Cor. 6). Sex is like God’s other gifts—when it is used within the design and plan that He has set up, it is a blessing; when it is taken outside of the boundaries that he has set, it becomes destructive and harmful.
What are guidelines for setting healthy boundaries for teens? For single adults? For married couples?
The bible’s primary concern here is about our sexual activity flowing from a life of purity in thought, word and deed. The fundamental guideline is that all sexual activity outside of the marriage relationship between one man and one woman falls short of God’s design. Purity is about our relationship with Jesus not our accomplishments. Purity is not something we have that we can “preserve.” It does not come by individual effort but by dependence on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit worked out in community with other believers. Real community is marked by genuine confession and contrition with honesty, authenticity and accountability.
Examples of good policies include:
- The time to set healthy boundaries, especially for teens and single adults, is ahead of any interaction with members of the opposite sex. Setting boundaries through open, honest discussion between teens and parents produces the greatest commitment to purity.
- Within marriage, a key boundary is mutual satisfaction and blessing of all sexual activity.
What if I’ve had pre-marital sex? Can I become “pure” again?
The focus of our discussions about sexual activity and sexuality must always be about purity in thought, word and deed, not the more simplistic approach focusing on virginity only. If we focus on virginity, then the message we deliver to those who have engaged in premarital sex is that they are no long virgins and are second class citizens. Rather we must focus on purity which is a proactive lifestyle that we live out day by day. With that in mind, then the message is no matter what premarital sexual activity we have engaged in, we can become pure by living in purity day by day. Passages like Romans 3:23 make it very clear that no human being except for Jesus has ever lived a life of total purity. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I John 3:3, one of the theme verses of pureHOPE talks about the goal of being pure like Jesus is pure. That is our target. The scripture that highlights the message of the gospel in this area is found in I Corinthians 6:9-11 where Paul lists sins of which every human being is guilty. But then the message is “and such were some of you,” but you have been justified, sanctified, etc. This is the message to anyone who has engaged in any sexual sin, including premarital sex. We are made pure by the grace, mercy and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why should we talk about sex in the Church at all?
Because God talks about it throughout the scriptures. Genesis 1:27 teaches us that we are made sexual beings in the image of God, and then He declares His creation to be not only good but “very good.” In Chapter 2, He talks about the two becoming one flesh. The bible teaches that sex is God’s gift but it is to be used with certain and important boundaries. God invented sex and uses it for His glory. At the same time it is the place where the evil one is attacking individual believers, marriages and especially our young people. We must talk about this issue in Church.
At what age should I teach kids about sex? How many details do I give at each age?
Earlier than you think. God has made each of us sexual beings. It is as much a part of us as our personality, our intelligence, and our physical body. As such, it should be addressed over a span of years, not just in a one-time discussion. Children should be taught about the “private parts” of their bodies at a very young age. By age 8 or 9 more details about sex and God’s design and purposes for our sexuality should be discussed, followed by a discussion about pornography. Remember, if we aren’t teaching our kids about sex, they are going to learn it elsewhere.
How do you begin the conversation about pornography with your children?
After you have explained God’s design and purposes for sex, explain how the evil one has a plan in place to distort it. Talk about the likelihood of stumbling on pornography accidentally. If and when it happens tell them they can come to you, openly and honestly, and that you can talk about it together. Remember, don’t panic.
What are some of the ways that I can help equip my children to address the
pressure they face from the sexualized culture?
Be open and honest with your teens. Let them know that they are not alone and all of us are faced with pressure in the sexualized culture. Prepare them early for what they will hear and see that is contrary to God’s plan. Acknowledge the issues your kids are facing and encourage open dialogue. Making good choices will be difficult at times so you need to encourage them to develop their own
What do you say to your daughter if they have seen their father looking at images that disrespect women?
Secrets in families can be very dangerous. Openness and honesty will foster trust and will help address hurt that may result from the sin of a parent. Talk the issue over with your spouse and encourage him to ask the child for forgiveness and to talk with them personally. If the spouse refuses, talk openly with your child and seek the advice of a pastor or professional counselor if needed.
Should husbands and wives talk to their children together about sex or should men speak with boys and women speak with girls?
Yes on both accounts. There are times when it is most appropriate for boys to talk with their dads and girls to talk with their moms. However, it is equally important for boys to get their mom’s perspective on sex and marriage and for girls to hear their father’s thoughts on what it means to honor a woman in marriage. Remember, this is not a one-time event.
How do you talk to your kids openly without scaring them into NOT talking to you when they make a mistake?
The quickest way to stop your kids from talking with you is to over-react and be judgmental. When they do talk…listen. Thank them for coming to you. Be as honest as possible with your kids about your own struggles and remind them that you were once young and faced similar situations. Pray with them and be vulnerable so that you nurture an environment that will embrace their openness
with you. Encourage them to continue to come to you in the future and let them know that you feel privileged to have these conversations with them.
Is pornography wrong?
The word pornography comes from the Greek term pornographos, which means “depictions of prostitution.” It is closely related to the Greek word porneia, which is translated “sexual immorality” and is used numerous times in the New Testament. What this helps us understand is that pornography is morally wrong: the production of porn is one of many forms of prostitution that degrades and objectifies women, men, and children; and the consumption of porn is the selfish use of other human beings, who bear the image of God, as sexual objects to satisfy one’s lust. Hence, the production and use of pornography is antithetical to self-giving love and contrary to God’s commandments (see, e.g., Leviticus 19:29, Deuteronomy 5:18, Job 31:1, Matthew 5:28, Ephesians 5:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Is pornography harmful?
Pornography is very damaging on multiple levels, and unleashes personal and social costs that can be devastating. Women and children’s lives are ruined–emotionally and physically–in the production of porn, which constitutes a form of sex trafficking and is deeply connected to other forms of commercial sex. Porn consumption frequently leads to addiction and other deviant behaviors. Moreover, research continues to link porn use–often a secretive and/or isolated activity–to many undesirable outcomes, including depression, anger, sexual violence, divorce, sexual dysfunction, low self-esteem, spiritual malaise, and negative attitudes toward women. All of these take a toll on both the individual and society.
Is pornography problematic even for married couples viewing it together?
Viewing pornography with your spouse involves introducing other people into what God has created to be an exclusive and intimate sexual relationship that binds the husband and wife lovingly to one another and glorifies God (Genesis 2:24). Porn, which constitutes a form of both prostitution and sexual immorality, transgresses that intent, violates the purity and exclusivity of the marital union (Hebrews 13:4), and leads not to a healthier sexual relationship, but rather to
distrust, dissatisfaction, and divorce, as research continues to demonstrate.
What do I do if my spouse is addicted to pornography?
First, understand that your spouse’s addiction is not your fault and that it is okay to feel wounded and betrayed. Second, do not tolerate your spouse’s sexual sin–your spouse’s life, your marriage, your kids, and your family’s testimony of Christ are at stake. Third, confront your spouse with grace and truth, recognizing that he or she is likely deeply wounded and in need of healing while at the same time communicating that his or her unfaithfulness will not be tolerated. Fourth, insist that your spouse honor you and his or her wedding vows to you, and that he or she confess their transgressions and commit to finding help. Fifth, pray with and for your spouse, asking God to heal hurts and bring health and hope where none previously existed.
Is it alright to watch sex scenes in non-pornographic, R-rated movies?
What are appropriate technology boundaries/restrictions for my kids?
Every family and every family member has different technology needs and susceptibilities; consequently, differing guidelines and boundaries are required to protect against potential harms or abuses. For this reason, we recommend every family create a strategic framework for their engagement with technology, based upon these five principles:
- Manage Screen Time (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
- Schedule Rest (Exodus 33:14)
- Do Your Research (Proverbs 3:13)
- Protect What You Can, Age-Appropriately (Proverbs 4:23)
- Equip For Life (Deuteronomy 6:7)
How do I teach my kids about pursuing purity when I have made mistakes in the past?
First of all, we must be prepared for when this question will be asked because it will come. The principle is always truth but progressive revelation. We always share the truth but we do not share the same details with a 6 or 8 year old that might ask this question as we will with a teenager or young adult. The principle is that we must share about the baggage we brought into the marital relationship
because of premarital sexual activity. Our goal in calling our kids to purity is to spare them this baggage as they move into adulthood and hopefully marriage. We must also share that we have confessed and repented of our sexual sin and we know God’s forgiveness. We are now pursuing a lifestyle of purity day by day and God is blessing. That is our desire for our children and grandchildren. Key passages would include Romans 3:23; Psalm 103:12 and Isaiah 53:6.
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