We sat together on the couch. Me with a book in hand, sharing a tale of a runaway train, and my boy, with his hands in his pants.
All at once my palms grew sweaty and my heart beat rapid. I knew this day was coming. I knew that there was an extremely perverse culture out there chasing after him with its lustful destruction. And I knew this was only the beginning of a long battle.
I pondered it for only a second longer before I knew that it was time to make much out of what many think is nothing.
By this point, he knew the story had stopped and looked up to see what could be causing this interruption. I dug deep for my grown-up voice and squeaked out the words despite the trembling in my heart.
It sounded a little something like this:
Son, does it feel good to touch there?
“Yes,” he answers without hesitation.
Did you know that God designed you that way? In fact, He actually created you to have that good feeling because He loves you so much.
He crinkles his nose and wonders aloud, “He did?”
Yes, He did. BUT, in His Word He gave us some very specific instructions about that good feeling you feel. I want to talk to you all about many of the things that God says about this as you get older. But right now, there is something you need to know. That feeling you feel is meant to be a feeling that is shared only with your wife. God wants you to save that feeling for her.
Which means, you’ll need to guard your hands from touching, your eyes from looking at women who aren’t dressed modestly, and your heart from wanting those things. He also takes very seriously the way we talk about those feelings.
A little light bulb goes on and he wonders, “Is that why you don’t want me to use the p (referring to his genitals) word with my friends?”
Yes, son. That’s exactly why. Unless you are talking to a doctor or your mom about it, you probably don’t need to discuss it. Your choice to discuss those things with other boys or girls could lead to all kinds of trouble for you and them.
Satisfied, he moves on. “Can you finish the story?”
And I did. The conversation quieted as quickly as it crept in. But my heart was still beating out of my chest. I found myself wishing that his dad was having this conversation with him and that I didn’t have to think about his hand in his pants or about the websites he might one day find or about this momma’s incredible fear that he wouldn’t be able to withstand the temptation.
Teaching Boys About Sexual Purity
You see, I know first hand the slow fade of dabbling with a few inappropriate images to spending more time with those women than your wife. I know the destructive slippery slope that drops men (and women) straight into the icy waters of emotional affairs, adultery, and divorce.
The lust of the eyes is after my boy (and yours) and I KNOW it is plain foolish to be ignoring it. EVEN at six years old.
No, I don’t think I’m being a little extreme. One trip to the mall, and it ought to be obvious to any Christian than this isn’t a little problem anymore. The life-size ads that drape themselves across the storefronts and dance vividly in the minds of our boys are no longer subtle. Shopping bags, t-shirts, and grocery store magazines are on the prowl for their little hearts.
The message they sell is simple: sexual gratification is instantly available and it will make you happy.
Oh, what a wretched lie! It’s never too early to start diffusing this lie! If I’m not counteracting the message that the world is sending him now, then he isn’t going to believe me later. And worse, if he develops the wrong view about what God created those feelings for, then he will waste this precious gift on self-pleasure, empty images, and cheap one-night stands.
And that, my friends, is what leads to the sexual epidemic we face today. Without a pure and godly perspective, we find ourselves unable to get enough. And the sexual giant is an untamable beast, going from one little image to a nasty and vile horror.
There is no doubt. This is serious and I want to prepare my children to fight it.
You know what? My little talk worked. It’s funny how I doubted it. I had prayed about it and thought about it for so long, but somehow I really just didn’t believe that my talk would do the trick in his little six-year-old heart.
But it did. It’s been nearly 7 months since that day on the couch and only one time have I seen his hands in his pants. That time, I watched him quickly remove it, look up at me, and smile. He didn’t say a word, but I knew he was thinking about what I had said.
And I knew that I hadn’t made it a dirty and bad thing, but a beautiful thing worth saving for his wife, a beautiful act of obedience to a Savior he wanted to please.
Ya know, sometimes I wonder if that was what I was missing. When I was a teen, abstinence was all about pleasing God and yourself. I don’t remember thinking about it from the angle of what I would be robbing from my future husband if I was not pure.
And of course, the lines drawn back then were so lightly etched in the sand and so far from God that they were hard to stand behind. So I didn’t bother. The hope of love prevailed and I bought the lie. Oh parents, don’t be fooled into thinking that this can’t happen to your A+ Christian students, too. We need something more than a pretty little talk backed by a little ceremony with a ring in the youth group.
We need a deep dark line of motivation and desire for purity that is etched firmly in God’s Word. Trust me, if the line isn’t far enough from the world, there is little chance of ending up clearly pure before a holy God.
If you are still personally struggling with this or need more help understanding God’s viewpoint on the issue of sex, check out Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It is a much-needed breath of fresh air in a rather legalistic and vague space.
The Bottom line about teaching boys sexual purity
I don’t want my children to have Bill Clinton morals…always changing the line of what is really defined as sex. I want them to seek wholly after a pure HEART before God, which in turn leads to pure thoughts, pure hands, pure lips, and a pure marriage. I want them to have a level of purity that holds no question, no ambiguity, and no shame. A level of purity that will lead them to a beautifully godly spouse and give them the real gift that God intended to give them in marriage.
All of that starts now with the discussion of what we are amusing ourselves with and instruction of what it is all intended for.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you need to have the exact conversation above with your boys when they turn six. As parents, we have to get before God in prayer and ask Him when the time is right and what we should say. I would, however, strongly suggest that your focus be on the feelings that touching yourself creates. That is the same lustful feeling that your boy will feel throughout his life. The earlier he learns EXACTLY what God created it for, the better.
My focus is on helping him understand what God wants from him in terms of purity:
*Pure heart—> A pure heart is one that seeks gratification only from God and puts nothing above Him (Psalm 24:3-5).
*Pure thoughts—>Pure thoughts are those that focus on God and not the pleasures of the world (Phil. 4:8). Jesus is very clear that even looking at a woman lustfully is adultery (Matthew 5:28).
* Pure eyes–> Pure eyes turn away from those dangling ads in the store, those magazines in the checkout line, and even the ladies underwear packages in the department store. I love that even at six, my son doesn’t look. Period. And believe it or not- he is far more sensitive to this than I am. I love that I am teaching him this now, so he will know how hard he will always have to work to keep his eyes pure in our culture.
Resources for Teaching Boys About Sexual Purity
1. Of course, the most important resource is the Bible. There are plenty of particular passages that are fantastic, but the truth is, the best way for any of us to remain pure is to daily read the Word.
2. Raising Real Men is an excellent resource about all things boys. Authors Hal and Melanie Young have an amazing website in addition to their book, sharing parenting resources and tips. They have six boys who have given them lots of opportunities to gain unique expertise in this subject. It’s a MUST have for any mother of boys.
3. Their newest book is perfect for your preteen and teenage boys. It’s written directly for young men and is a fantastic challenge to help them think through the issues of purity, marriage, and everything in between.
4. Christian sex education you can trust gets a little more tricky. Thankfully, I’ve found a wonderful resource that goes far beyond the technical questions and teaches a biblical perspective.
The author, Luke Gilkerson, is a conservative Christian with both theological training and over a decade of experience working with Covenant Eyes, training families to protect their purity online.
We’ve done (and LOVED) all three books in the collection.
The Talk is designed to be done with young children between the ages of 6-10. Although it covers a topic we are often less than excited to discuss, it’s truly a sweet blessing. The girls asked a few questions about God’s plan and what stuck with them most was the rich Scripture included in the study. When I did it with the boys, they had a LOT of questions and I was thankful to have the opportunity to discuss these big concepts in a holy context long before their peers gave them other ideas about it.
Up next is Changes. Perfect for boys/girls on the cusp of their teen years, Changes gives kids a biblical perspective on puberty and the changes that are happening to their bodies. As an early “bloomer” myself, I want my kids to be equipped with security about their bodies and who God made them to be, so they understand how to deal with these changes when they come.
Relationships is the final book in the series. I must admit, this one provides an incredible foundation for sexual temptations and desires I WISH my parents had given me. You’ll want it on your family bookshelf to use between ages 11-14.
5. Another resource that’s not overtly Christian but extremely practical for helping our kids be prepared for what they will encounter online is the book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures by Kristen A. Jenson.
In this short book, your kids will learn the difference between “good” and “bad” pictures and what to do when they encounter “bad” pictures. I love this book because it really gives kids a step-by-step plan. When I first read the book to them, I did add my own spin by referring to Christ and His design for us. But it’s a great springboard for a much-needed conversation.
6. Last, but most importantly, I use Covenant Eyes resources to keep tabs on everything being viewed both in our house and on devices my kids own. This is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do as a parent so you can have conversations about browsing choices BEFORE things get out of hand.
It’s impossible to prevent your kids from ever having access to troublesome websites (unless you really are going to lock them up). Kids are exposed in the most unlikely of places and they need to TALK about what to do. Keep communication open with them by keeping tabs on what is going on.
What are your thoughts? Have you had “the talk” with your boys? In what ways are you teaching them to protect themselves from the dangers of our culture?
Disclaimer: I use the real p word when talking to my kids about their body parts. I use the proper term for inappropriate internet images, as well. I am not using them here in order to keep search engines from picking up those phrases for the wrong purposes. I simply want to keep the filth off my site. So, thanks for bearing with me on that one.