Suzanne Lees-Smith believes that God had it right all along and gives some convincing reasons why
Now when my boys see Christian couples, who dutifully waited to have sex until they were married and their relationships are a complete disaster and war zone, it is quite a tricky question to answer. Well let’s be honest with the reality of TV such as ‘Naked Attraction or ‘Love Island’, images and videos with sex everywhere you look, marriages failing all over the place, it was never going to be easy to answer this one. It is utter foolishness in the world’s eyes to wait to have sex and only have sex with one person. You must be mad!
When faced with this question I also feel passionately that being able to wait is itself a gift from God. It isn’t something anyone can easily do but comes from having a living relationship with Jesus, his Holy Spirit present and active within you. For my boys who are in that, ‘I’m questioning if this God stuff is true and real’ stage, I don’t want to make this a rule they must follow rather than it being a decision and response to a personal relationship with God himself. I also do not want them to feel that they can’t come to me if they choose not to wait or be weighed down with shame and guilt if things go wrong, with no way out. Ultimately it is their decision but I can tell them reasons why I believe it can still be a positive and life giving thing to do.
So here’s some thoughts I have shared with my boys:
God wants the waiting because it allows time for a deeper and stronger relationship to grow in other areas of a couple’s life. Sex tends to put lust and pleasure at the forefront but can cloud wise judgment about one another’s character very quickly.
It absolutely brings two people closer but after all, if you are going to be together with this person for years, than what is a year or so in waiting to have sex? There will be decades to have fun there.
Sex is for many a pleasure and a selfish pursuit and God is a God of unselfish love and care for others. The way you see sex will govern how you want to experience it and before grappling with why wait? Let’s chat about your whole perceptions of what is sex? What is it about?
It is radical to bring God into sex life for most teenagers and yet that is the distinction, as Christians we believe God is involved when we have sex and it creates connections that are precious and not always easy to break. Break up with someone you have had sex with and someone you didn’t and I’m pretty sure which one will be harder to recover from in most situations.
Talk together about what are the benefits of sex? What are the dangers or downsides of having sex in any relationship?
We can mention the reality of Sexually Transmitted Disease and unplanned pregnancy. I have always told my boys if they are prepared to have sex with someone they should be in the place where they are prepared to have a child with that person. No contraception is 100% safe and ironically in life there are many couples desperate to have children who just can’t get pregnant whilst others fall pregnant when they definitely don’t want to.
They may see such thoughts as old fashioned, outdated, irrelevant and it might be that you yourself are questioning the issue or have a different point of view. What we do know is that God is a God of love and protection. Sex is meant to be a blessing and an awesome experience. Humans were not made like worms, our method of conception is God given and its pleasure is not of the enemy! But it also has the power to destroy and so to enable our children to have a reverence that may transform and deepen their thinking is so valuable.
Suzanne Lees-Smith is Children and Families Minister, Church of the Good Shepherd, Pyrford Woking