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Teaching Teens Sexuality: Introduction (1 of 7)

By guest blogger, Shannon Bond.

Josh began attending church not long after he was born. For sixteen years, he has been a member of the same church. He has a close-knit group of friends, many of them members of that particular church. As a group, they went through AWANA together, started middle school and high school together, went on numerous youth trips and to many camps together, and sat through the “sex talk” many times since they started youth group together as seventh graders. Josh and his friends know the risks and potential consequences of sexual activity before marriage: sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, emotional pain, guilt, and a bad reputation, to name just a few. During a weekend event emphasizing abstinence, Josh pledged to wait until marriage to become sexually active. He understands the risks of sexual activity and the rewards of abstinence until marriage. Yet, he feels as though he is a dam that is about to break. The pressures — from his own sexual urges and drives, from a sex-saturated society, and from the attractive girls making advances at him — make the “wait until marriage” defense seem weak and powerless against the never-ending onslaught. Some of his peers offer masturbation as a solution, which he tries, only to have guilt flood over him. Others chide him for his vow of purity, saying, “Everyone is doing it. You are missing all of the fun.” At a party just before his seventeenth birthday, Josh has oral sex with a girl. “After all,” he says, “it is not really sex.” Now his pledge of abstinence seems worthless. After years of saying “no,” Josh’s compartmentalized and dualistic understanding of his sexuality has not helped him find the parts of his sexuality that he can say “yes” to. Consequently, he is finding it increasingly difficult to say “no.”

Although Josh is a fictitious character, his story, sadly, is true for many teenagers raised in the church. Despite the best efforts of youth workers and parents, Christian teens are sexually active. What are the church and the family to do? Giving up is not an option. Although teens attend church for any number of reasons, many of them attend because they seek direction for their lives. What direction does the church give teens concerning their sexuality? Current approaches to teaching sexuality may need to be re-examined and re-focused in order to be more holistic.

The purpose of this blog series is to discuss how teens may develop as sexual beings without becoming sexually active. If this purpose is achieved, whether on Tim’s blog or in other circles of influence, the goal of such a discussion is to provide a framework from which youth workers and parents may teach and mentor teens so that they arrive at the marriage altar having understood and embraced their God-given sexuality while having practiced abstinence.

We’ll begin by defining sexuality. Next, we’ll give attention to the various components of sexuality, exposing lies distorting the perceptions and understandings of these components and replacing those lies with biblical truth and spiritually empowered application appropriate to teenagers. Finally, it will address whether an approach of this nature is realistic and applicable in both the church and family settings.

Read the other posts in this “Teaching Teen Sexuality” series.

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Shannon Bond is in his first year as the youth minister at First Baptist Church in Bangs, TX. He is married to the former Stephanie DeBoom of Copperas Cove, TX and has three children: Raegan (6-year-old daughter), Sydnie (4-year-old daughter), and Joey (2-year-old son). He is a student at Logsdon Seminary in Abilene, TX. Before becoming a youth minister, Shannon spent 13 years as a teacher and coach.


Posted on June 17, 2008

  • Thanks for taking the time to read this and react to it. Even though this paper was for an earlier summer class, because I am a father and a youth minister, this paper will be an ongoing project for me. I appreciate any comments you offer.

  • In case you are wondering where Bangs, TX is, it is about an hour southeast of Abilene. Have a great day!

  • Shannon,

    I liked your blog on “teaching Teens Sexuality.” I thought your fictitious story about Josh… it was right on and insightful. Keep going for it, i will be reading your 7 part series on this subject.

    Denny Pattyn
    President
    Silver Ring Thing

  • Shannon –

    Looking forward to the rest of the series! I often see parents delegate to the church what is actually their primary responsibility. How these teens respond to choosing to sin in this area of sexuality will define how they respond in the future as well. (Just as they are very watchful on how we, and their parents, respond.)

    Appreciate your work in taking this on!

    pastor mark

  • Chris

    I’m glad that this subject is being addressed. Thanks, Shannon. I, too, have been doing some thinking, researching, and praying about how the church, families, and educators can change the way we go about teaching our young people about sex. I’m convinced that it is perhaps the most ignored crucial subject for specifically adolescent males. Here are some thoughts I jotted down the other day:

    We have chosen to communicate to the young people around us (specifically adolescent males) that it is ok to approach sex and sexuality in the most comfortable way possible. There is apparently no wrong way to learn about and determine what it means to be sexual. We have allowed our young people to use each other as a standard rather than providing them with education and information that never changes or confuses i.e. a standard.

    We easily see the result sitting before us.

    The state of male sexuality in america is shameful. From divorce to pedophelia, there are constant examples of male sexual understanding gone bad. Our schools not only admit to and educate about masturbation and experimentation, but they encourage these acts hoping our young people can find out for themselves what sex is all about. What happened to parental involvement? What happened to open and willing education for our young people founded on more than just fleeting understanding and justification for morally wrong actions? We have to get this right. We must find the answer to the silently screaming questions our boys and young men cannot answer for themselves! If we stand idly by and allow boys to educate each other about what is “normal,” right, and true then we can expect to see a generation of fathers unsure of purpose, devoid of faithfulness, and afflicted with ignorance.

  • Thanks for the encouragement, folks. I really appreciate it. If you would like a copy of the paper, I would love to send it to you. Days 2 and 3 skip a few things that I think are vital to the paper: a definition of sexuality that takes into account more than just sexual intercourse, and a discussion of dualism and sexuality.

  • Chris,

    I’ve read your comments about four or five times. I think that we share a common concern in this area. Would you send me your email? I would like to send you a copy of the paper. Thanks.

  • Martha

    Hi there,
    I do like this article. It's fantastic, but what about girls? Even though most of it today is focused on boys and your example is a boys, please look at girls as well. Even girls have trouble with this I think. So include them as well. Thanks.

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