Let’s Talk About Sex Pt. 1:
Learning How to Have the Sex Talk with Your Protégé
Let’s Talk About Sex. For many people, that statement alone produces a cringe-worthy uneasiness. For others, the title may lead to the recollection of a song from the early 90s by Salt ‘N’ Pepa. Wherever you land on the spectrum between terrified of the very word sex, or a Licensed Sex Therapist, this blog is for you. I lean more on the comfortable side of talking about sex; this is because prior to coming on staff with Champions of Hope, I spent a year working in HIV/STD intervention & prevention as a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS). A DIS is a fancy title for the health professionals who serve communities by interviewing, educating, testing, and notifying community members of any exposure to diseases that can be transmitted sexually (including HIV/AIDS). I learned a lot during my time serving in HIV/STD intervention and prevention. One of the most invaluable life skills was learning to become more comfortable having conversations about sex with complete strangers (without it being too awkward). This required a considerable amount of training, time, hands on experience and literally, the grace of God. But ultimately the most important aspect of my job was treating each patient like human beings who are created in the Imago Dei.
This brief overview of experience is provided simply to inform readers that although I may feel comfortable having sexual purity conversations this took time and intentionality. The hope is that this blog will serve as a resource to better equip readers to have sexual purity conversations from a biblical framework. The ultimate hope is that through prayer, perseverance, and proximity (to the protégé and their family), sexual purity conversations will become less intimidating and more of a naturally occurring byproduct of Christian mentorship and discipleship.
Partner with the Parent/ Guardian:
Before having sexual purity conversation with your protégé, it is wise to speak with their parent. Ask them if they are comfortable with you talking to their child about sexuality? Ask them how their conversations (or attempted conversations) have gone so far? Share your desire to serve your protégé and them as their parent/ guardian well, and share the Champions of Hope encouragement to have conversations regarding sexual purity with your protégé. Some (but certainly not all) parents may be reluctant about you having sexual purity conversations with their child. If a parent conveys that they don’t want you to talk about sex with their child, please honor their request, and inform your Relationship Coordinator. If they are open to you talking with their child about sexual purity, ask if you can partner with the parents during these conversations.
It’s important to note that not all parents share a Christian view of sexuality. If this is the case for in your relationship, pray for heart transformation and that God will lead your protégé and their family to embrace His truth. Choose to be non-judgmental, and pray for salvation over their entire household. Also, please be reminded an unbiblical perspective of sexuality doesn’t mean that God cannot use you to influence both your protégé and their parent. Move forward with sharing the benefits of sexual purity from a biblical standpoint with your protégé as long as their parents consent. As we will learn in the next section, checking our own hearts, and learning how to serve the protégé and their family (in a non judgmental manner), is one of the most important ways to encourage them to pursue a lifestyle of sexual purity based out of love and obedience to God.
Check Your Heart:
After communicating with the parent and ensuring that they support ongoing conversation with your protégé regarding sexual purity, the next step is extremely important. Before having the sexual purity conversation with anyone (especially your protégé), we must assess our own hearts. Ask yourself, how do I feel about sex personally? What experiences, conversations, beliefs, values, etc. have shaped the way I view sexuality? How did my parents discuss and model sexual purity? Did they speak openly about it? Were they more liberal or conservative within this arena? Did they condemn conversation surrounding sex? Taking a moment to evaluate yourself and your own heart is the first step to having impactful conversations about purity with your protégé.
Ask yourself: Are my beliefs biblical? Is my apprehension rooted in fear or genuine concern for my protégé’s wellbeing? Read these scriptures for a heart check concerning those questions:
- 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
- Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Our own hearts shape the comfort level surrounding sexual purity (or lack thereof) in many mentor-protégé relationships. But the good news is that through prayer, community (support from your RC), and perseverance, these conversations can become normalized and mutually beneficial. Moreover, if you experience any apprehension that is not in alignment with what God’s Word says is true concerning sexuality, please be open to communicating with your RC or a trusted friend who can help you to sort through it.
Take Baby Steps:
The way you start is essential to encouraging comfort and responsiveness. The more comfortable a person feels, the more personal information they would typically divulge concerning their lifestyle and risk factors. The same tactic can be applied in conversations between mentors and protégés regarding sexual purity. Mentors are encouraged to begin with simple conversation starters like:
- Is there anyone that you have a crush on at school? Does anyone have a crush on you?
- Do any of your friends have a boyfriend/ girlfriend? How are their relationships going?
- What do you think about marriage?
- Do you want to be married someday? Why or why not?