A friend of mine was having coffee with me and mentioned something that took me aback. Someone we know is allowing her son’s girlfriend to live in the house with them and have sex under their roof. Neither of these “kids” are 21 and the family claims to be Christian. Honestly, I don’t understand!
But a piece in the Huffington Post brought the thinking to light. The “experts” say that your kids are going to have sex so you might as well let them do it in your home!” And they go on to say that the “safest” place to have sex is in your home.
First of all, not all teens are having sex! And sex is safer because it is in your home? Hello, the same risks apply no matter where you are having sex. And why would any thinking parent want to encourage sexual activity in teens to begin with? Allowing them to have sex in your home is encouraging it no matter how you try to spin it. You are saying, you are mature enough to handle this relationship. This defies common sense. It’s like saying, my teen wants to try heroin so I will get it and help him use it in my home where he can be safe!
Part of the conversation in this piece is the idea that there is “no right age to begin allowing your child to have partners stay the night” (Psychologist Suzanne Pearson). Well, Suzanne, some of us believe that the right age is irrelevant. Having sex is supposed to happen in the context of being married. My kids can spend the night with their partners when they marry them! This idea of sex outside of marriage if you are happy with the person, STI free or in a great relationship demeans the sanctity of marriage and relegates sex to a casual act, negating the emotional distress related to break up. Come to my office and listen to all the young adults who wished they hadn’t given themselves sexual to people they no longer date.
Just because a teen can prevent pregnancy and is STI free doesn’t mean that the emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of having sex go away. On the contrary, this is the part we don’t talk about. Yet, it is devastating to self-esteem, attachment and intimacy issues. Familiarize yourself with the neuroscience of attachment and the impact of the release of the bonding hormone Oxytocin!
Call me old fashion, but I still believe in teaching my children that sex is not a casual thing to be given away outside of marriage. It is not only psychologically devastating, but morally wrong. And you can teach this to your teens without clubbing them over the head with issues of right and wrong.
Refusing to have you kids have causal sex in your home is based on having a moral compass of right and wrong. Did God set it up this way to prevent our enjoyment? On the contrary, He created us and knows the complexity of our whole person. Waiting to have sex in marriage is protective not punitive!
Will some teens give in to temptation? Of course, but I would rather help them through their mistake, love them and encourage them to become celibate again–to wait and give themselves completely to the person who will make a lifelong commitment to them in marriage. Sex is to be treasured and is beautiful when expressed in the marriage bed.
16-year-olds do not have the brain development to make good decisions in this area of life. They are hormonally driven and think with their genitals not their brains. Their “instincts” are to have sex, but this is the time in life they are supposed to be learning to bridle their passions and develop self-control. So parents, do your job and help them develop self-control and bridle their passions and lust.
Sex at 16 is rarely love. It is about lust and attraction. No right thinking parent should encourage such behavior in their teen and certainly not make the family home a place to act out casual sex.