When my son was only four he asked me, “Where do babies come from?” I told him that they come from their mommy’s tummy. Hoping that answer would satisfy, I tried to change the subject. Then came this, “How do babies get in their mom’s tummy?” Fortunately, my wife and I were just talking about a brilliant analogy made in a book she was reading called The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Sometimes, my son helps me bring in the groceries after a trip to the market. So I asked him if it would be good for me to give him a bag that was too heavy to carry and he said, “No.” I explained to him that when he grew up and got older, he would be able to carry the heavier bags. In other words, I told him, the answer to his question was too much weight for his young age. But I would give him the answer when he was older and could handle it.
Is your son old enough to carry the weight? Like me, you may have been putting it off for as long as you could. The last thing you want is for your son’s first discussions about sex to come from anyone else. You probably know that it’s time to talk about it, but it’s tough to know what to say. Here’s how to talk to your son about sex.
Set the Stage
Think of this as starting an ongoing conversation. Know this, you do not need to cover everything here in one conversation. It will actually be better to discuss these points in multiple settings. For the first discussion, I think it would be best to take him away for an overnight or a weekend. Make it a special time with bonding activities. Let him know the purpose of the time and what you are going to talk about. Though going away isn’t necessary, if you are hanging out or throwing a ball around and it naturally seems right then just go for it.
Ask Them Questions
Start by asking him open-ended questions. You need to find out first what he knows and where he has been getting his information. Hopefully, you are getting to him at a place of limited exposure. Here are some questions to get you started. “What do you think of girls? Are you interested in a particular girl? Do you ever want to get married? What do you know about sex?”
Explain the Purpose of Sex
Emotional and spiritual intimacy between a man and a woman is one of the richest gifts in the human experience. Sex was created by God as a visible expression of the invisible (emotional and spiritual) bonds created in intimacy between a man and woman. It is knowing someone and being known at the deepest level. When the physical, emotional, and spiritual come together in the security of a lifetime commitment, it is the highest pleasure a relationship can offer. The pure intensity of that loving bond is actually powerful enough to create life. It is an amazing gift but only reaches its fullness in that context.
Examine Monogamy vs. “Casual” Sex
Having sex is like putting your hand on someone’s soul.There is a Kid Rock song called “Only God Knows Why”. In it, he says, “Outstretched hands and one night stands, still I can’t find love.” In my observation of the world and relationships, I have come to the conclusion that sex is at its best in a committed, married relationship. Without it, at best, there is something missing. At worst, it leaves people feeling empty, alone, and wounded. Further, it is physically dangerous. Having sex is like putting your hand on someone’s soul. Pulling away and leaving the relationship is like ripping your hand off of a spider web. Protect her (and yourself) by waiting until you are committed for a lifetime.
Explain How To Treat Women
When boys mature, girls become desirable and their natural thirst for girls grows strong. It’s important to guide their understanding of the honorable way to treat them. Girls are a precious and valuable gift, like fine china. Boys need to know that girls are not an object from which they selfishly take pleasure and then discarded when finished. The desire of girls is to be won and for their affection to be earned. They want to be made to feel cherished, protected, and secure.
Discuss Self Exploration and Porn
Boys going through puberty have raging hormones. As a result, self-exploration and masturbation understandably occur. Your son needs to know that he isn’t weird or perverted. Reassure him by sharing your own personal experience. Then discuss with him that controlling raging hormones is an opportunity to build self-discipline and control. If a man doesn’t exercise control and feeds his appetite for sex, the appetite has a tendency to grow. As it grows it can lead to porn, and porn is a road that he needs to stay clear of. Porn is highly addictive and destroys relationships. Remind him again of the purpose of sex–for emotional and spiritual intimacy between a man and a woman, not just a man alone. Also, see How to Talk to Your Son About Pornography and 4 Danger of Pornography.
Huddle up with your wife or ex-wife and ask, “What things do you think would be good for me to cover with our son about sex?”