I get asked this question in its various forms, especially in Christian circles, all the time.
Is maturbation, same-sex marriage, sex before marriage, pornography, etc. okay? All these difficult sex conversations can be difficult to answer as a family. Please let me preface this conversation by saying that I am not going to give you an answer at the end of this post. My hope however is to give you a little bit of a road map on how to come to a more comfortable and confident stance by giving you some questions to ask yourself (and your partner). See, when it comes to uncomfortable conversations, often times our first response is to look for a quick yes or no answer – is it okay or not? But in reality, this does little for us in the long term because it doesn’t answer the “why?” part of these conversations, which in my experience, is essential to finding lasting wholeness and creating positive habits. If you take the time to answer “why?” for yourself and your family, regardless of someone else’s opinion, you can stand firmly on yours.
So, how do we get there? First, know that it will hopefully be through a series of conversations, rather than happen overnight. On a couple of these issues, my husband I have spent months talking through their many layers. In some instances, we sought out the counsel of trusted others whose wisdom and guidance helped us find confidence in our positions. The process can be slow, which requires patience and diligence, but the payoff is absolutely worth it. You will find yourself confidently owning your convictions, knowing you put in the work to get there, which makes having conversations with your kids around these topics way less anxiety producing!
Here are some helpful questions to consider as you discuss these (and other) nuanced issues related to sex:
What is your belief in the purpose of sex?
What is your personal experience with _________? Is there any healing that needs to happen around that area?
If you are coming from a faith background, what evidence do you see regarding God’s posture towards it?
Does this action (or acceptance of an action) help you love yourself and others more freely, and does it allow you to love God more deeply and with more of yourself? (Question from Tara Owens of http://www.anamcara.com/)
If it is an action, is this part of our life known? Do we have a support system outside of our family to seek guidance if issues do arise?
I want to acknowledge that these issues are nuanced and complicated in nature, making firm answers hard to find. My hope for you is that this would not bread anxiety but that you would have peace knowing you have done hard work on your journey of seeking truth.
Blessings to you!