What will I teach my kids about sex? In a world of scandal, rape, trafficking and images everywhere… in a world of shame and hatred, abuse, controversy and confusion.. Yes, I have several years before my baby asks me such questions but there are so many messages out there I am thinking about it now.
A few years ago I wrote a silly song when I realized that the shame I felt about sex threatened my very identity, while celebration of sex celebrated my identity:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am fearfully and wonderfully made
From Michael Conchie’s sperm and April Conchie’s egg
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
When I sang this song to my parents one morning my mom pulled up her sheet and said “Melody!” in a horrified tone as if I didn’t know or shouldn’t know how I was made. Her response is only normal. Kudos to my mom though we have had many good conversations before and after that song. I think she was just caught off guard in that moment.
Forest and I both grew up in a generation and cultural context of “Don’t talk about it. Don’t do it.” Very little positive was said. But we saw it in movies all around us. And I heard the stories of youth sneaking off into the bush when they should have been at bible study.
One of my favourite but sad quotes from author Mark Buchanan, at a conference I attended, is “the church has taught us that sex is dirty, shameful and bad and you should save it for the one you love.”
Ummm, there is something very wrong with that. Mark agrees. He says, “We should be teaching that sex is holy, beautiful and powerful and, thus, should be saved for the one you love.”
I remember asking myself how can I love children and yet hate sex? Are children just the redemptive silver lining to a horrible deed?
My experience of shame and fear about sex was compounded by rape, the experience of way too many women and men, boys and girls.
What will I tell my children about sex… what I say may not even be as important as how I live. I will love my husband and celebrate sex with him and tell my children, at the right time, the wonders that God has created for men and women to delight in. The story of becoming “one flesh”. This is how God made you.. out of 350,000,000 sperm one made it to the egg and that became you!
I refuse to watch movies with sex scenes. Even if they are within the context of a story line or the actors are “married”. To me, disrobing in front of a camera and being naked in another’s arms for an audience is no different from straight up pornography. The images stick in my head like glue and torment me. They result, partly I believe, in the up and down, on and off relationships in Hollywood.
Some of my views may be seen as conservative and old fashioned. At our prenatal class, our teacher was talking about crossing thresholds and used the example of a groom carrying a bride over the threshold and she said “people didn’t live together before marriage back then. What a different world it was!” She moved on to the next topic so quickly I didn’t have time to share that I was a part of that different world in the history books and it wasn’t completely outdated as a concept. I couldn’t get Forest to pick me up though. He was afraid of breaking his back.
I love and cherish many people who don’t share my views and I want my children to know that too. I get so angry when I see people who represent my faith slandering and shaming and hating those who don’t agree with them. We can learn so much from one another.
Sex is vulnerable. A sharing of who you really are with another person, nothing to hide. I hope that my children will be able to be naked and unashamed, safe and secure in true love with their spouses.
Sex is not a necessity. I don’t know how long my children will live as adults before they get married and find their partner. I hope that their lives will be full and fruitful in many endeavours without sex. That they will not feel the pressure to put their life on hold while they wait for the “one” or compromise to the demands of another.
I will give my children hugs and kisses, love in words and deeds so they have a safe foundation to jump from knowing that they matter, that they are special.
I will make mistakes, say the wrong thing, at times act out of fear instead of love.
But I hope my children will know deep down how precious they are and how precious is the act by which they were created.