How old should my child be when I give him the sex talk?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions at our conferences. Unfortunately, for many parents, it is the most dreaded, paralyzing, and tongue tying conversation they will ever have with their child. It doesn’t have to be that way. God created us as sexual beings and it is our responsibility, as well as our privilege to prepare our children to enjoy this gift from God within the parameters of His plan. We do this by taking the positive, biblical approach so well suggested by Dr. Howard Hendricks when he said, “We should not be ashamed to discuss what God was not ashamed to create.”

The most important issue when it comes to telling your children about sex is that you should tell them before the world system gets a chance to. Satan wants first crack at them on this subject. That way, he can put all of the lies, deceptions, and half-truths that lead to all of the insecurity that plagues so many people throughout their life. If the parents are to tell the children before the world does, then most likely you’ll be explaining sex a whole lot earlier than you would have anticipated.

If we don’t lead the way, then we spend so much of the rest of our time trying to deprogram our children from the affect of the lies they’ve been told. Plus, by telling them first, we take so much of the allure and mystery away from the subject that Satan often uses to mislead them. Darcy and I (both) sat down with each child and explained sex to them just as they were going into Kindergarten. If you are raising your kids in a more isolated and controlled environment, you might get a couple of years more before you have to explain it. But not much more than that. Plus, you have to keep in mind that there is a natural curiosity within a lot of children that is not curtailed by isolation.

It is not necessary to go into graphic detail. We simply explained basic biology to them. We went on to say three more things. First, we told them that God has made sex a wonderful part of married life—something fun and pleasurable for a husband and wife. They have that to look forward to. Second: Like all good things that God has made, Satan has tried to corrupt this gift. He works overtime to deceive and destroy people in this area. That’s why we wanted to inform them in advance so that they can know the truth. Lastly: They’ll hear things along the way that might want to mislead them. Should they have any questions about expressions they hear, words people say, or impressions they receive from others about sex, simply ask either one of us and we’ll explain it all in light of the truth. This makes the “sex talk” not so much a single message to them at a point in time, but an on-going discussion that can guide them throughout their childhood.

For more information on this topic there is a great resource we have available for you in our bookstore. It's called How and When to Talk to Your Kids about Sex. It does a great job of answering all of your questions – even ones you didn't think to ask. It also gives you a good idea of what to say and when your child is ready to hear it based on the development level of your child.