“Sexuality” is an electric buzzword in our culture, igniting opinions like wildfire. With clashing commentary from secular society, Christians in recent years have increasingly recognized the necessity of addressing the conversation in transparent and biblical ways. What was once taboo has become an issue preached from pulpits, discussed in media, and internalized in hearts.

Even more, the importance of this topic has been pressed on Christian parents. They’ve been urged to teach their children about sex, gender, attraction, and intimacy in a Christ-exalting space.

My parents are proof this can be done.

As an 18-year-old young woman, I believe my parents worked well at taking opportunities, inviting conversation, minimizing awkwardness, and prioritizing communication over my childhood and teen years to help me understand sexuality from a Christian worldview.

There were certain truths they impressed on me—some implicit and some explicit—that were crucial for catching a Christ-centered vision of sexuality. Five stand out most brightly when I reflect on the past 18 years.

1. Boys and girls are different.

This was a truth my parents taught from the time I was little: I’m a girl, and my brother is a boy. We’re different by design, and there’s unique and compelling beauty in that difference.

When you try to distort or ignore this truth, a sense of God-ordained loveliness is stripped away. There are certain things girls tend to think and feel and do that are different from what boys tend to think and feel.

This doesn’t mean my parents robbed me of a personality. I used to play hockey and football with the guys. I also loved Tinker Bell and dress-up. But there were two core understandings that underlined my reality—my gender is a gift, and my gender informs my calling. 

2. This is an ongoing discussion.

As I got older and became a preteen, my parents initiated more communication with me. It was age-appropriate, but my understanding of “the birds and the bees” developed over time, dozens of little conversations that popped up both randomly and planned.

I cannot recall sitting down and having “the talk” and that being the end of our discussion. Instead, I picture the countless conversations with my mom about so many things and her consistent honesty in the face of my questions.

3. Desire is normal.

And then I became a teenager, and things changed again. Enter hormones. Enter new feelings. Enter boys.

I remember Mom and I were reading a book together when I was 12 or 13, and there was a discussion question for moms to ask their daughters: “Do you have a ‘crush’ on any boys? If so, tell your mom.”

I remember burning with embarrassment, but Mom was so gracious in my awkwardness. I wasn’t made to feel ashamed. She told me those feelings were okay. God created us to be attracted to the opposite gender, and that shouldn’t be squelched. But it should be controlled. Lust is sinful, and purity is virtuous, so the goal was to figure out how to embrace my God-given desires in a biblically framed way.

4. Sex is precious.

These days, as I get older and consider marriage and my future, it’s the God-designed preciousness of sex that I think about more often. Sex, I’ve learned from my parents, is something to be esteemed without being glorified. While portrayed as a cheap commodity in culture today, God created it as a valuable gift. And it’s a gift for a husband and wife in covenant relationship. Just the other day I read Tim Keller speak to this very thing:

Sex is God’s appointed way for two people to reciprocally say to one another, “I belong completely, permanently, and exclusively to you.” You must not use sex to say anything less.

Sex isn’t inherently ugly or perverse. Christians of all people must believe that. In its God-ordained context, sex is beautiful.

5. God is the author of sexuality.

God invented it. He saw that it was good. He created gender and marriage. He created boundaries for the sexual act. And those were good, too. He alone is the foundation of healthy sexuality.

While my parents didn’t try to “Jesus-juke” me in our conversations about sexuality, gospel implications organically weaved their way through. Talking to them about gender, attraction, sex, dating, marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism, birth control, bodies, and emotions pointed to the God who created me, the God who redeemed me, and the God who loves me. Honestly, that’s what has contributed most to helping me form a biblical and healthy view of sexuality.

Deep Gospel Imprints 

These five lessons imprinted themselves on me in big ways. Now that I’m at the age where these beliefs are my own, I look back with abundant gratitude to my parents for the gift of their communication and for the vulnerability of their transparency.

Since sexuality is from God, Christian parents cannot ignore talking about it. In the face of the world’s constant lies, your kids need the truth. They need open discussion. They need biblical answers to tough questions. They need grace. Ultimately, they need the gospel.

And parents, it’s your responsibility to give it to them.