The “Dirty Word”

The “Dirty Word”

Oct 1, 2014

The “Dirty Word”

by Rebecca Olson









amazed woman with hand over mouth


Can I broach a topic we’re all afraid to touch here? One that isn’t often broached in the church? A dirty three-letter word that nobody here wants me to say, though I strongly feel it needs to be said? The topic I’m trying to ease into is sex. There, I said it. I know it’s a horrifically taboo topic, especially within the church, but October is “Family Sexual Education Month”. The church is, above all other things, a family—and one that needs to be educating its youth on God’s view of sex.


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sexual education is not well handled in the church—at least, not in mine, and not in any of the others I know of. I think there’s three questions that need to be asked when it comes to sex ed in our church family. First, why is sexual education in the church important? Second, what does God say about sex in the first place? And third, how do we relay what God says to our youth? I’m here, from the perspective of the youth, to try to help you answer those very questions.


First, why is it important? Sexual education is important in the church because education needs to happen somewhere. Obviously the original “talk” happens at home, but beyond the logistics of the ordeal, there are a lot of things left unsaid that should really be talked about. One way or another, children grow up. Whether the future leaders of the church get their sexual education in the church or in the middle school bathroom is up to us—and to me, that choice seems pretty obvious. Don’t ask why sexual education is important, ask where it should happen. I think you’ll come to the conclusion that the best way for young Christians to learn what God intended sex to be is for the church to be completely open with them about it.


Second, what does God say about sex? I think we all know the basic rule—sex is for marriage. God tells us over and over again not to be sexually immoral: 1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7, Ephesians 5:3. If that wasn’t clear enough, Hebrews 13:4 sums it up, telling us, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” God’s cardinal commandment regarding sex is crystal clear. However, this commandment is often twisted into a backwards way of thinking that sex is dirty. We teach our young people not to have sex outside of marriage, but instead of teaching them that inside of marriage, sex is a sacred gift from God, we teach them that it’s wrong, that it’s base and debauched. Google “abstinence” and you’re guaranteed to find hundreds of stories of girls who have abandoned their faith because of the guilt and shame the church thrust on them about sex, even if they waited until they were married to have it. God doesn’t think sex is wrong. His first commandment to Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and multiply. God just wants us to keep ourselves holy. 1 Corinthians 6:16 says, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’” Sex isn’t just a careless act. It’s joining yourself completely to another person. It’s sacred, and it’s wonderful, and it’s a gift from God, but if it’s had outside of marriage, it loses its sacredness. We need to teach young people that sex outside of marriage is wrong, not that sex in and of itself is wrong.


Third, how do we relay this to our youth? As a teenager, I think I can provide pretty reliable insight here. My advice is to be open. Don’t treat sex like it’s the “dirty three-letter word” I referred to at the beginning of this article. Treat it like God’s gift, the way He intended us to. Teach youth that their bodies are temples. Don’t teach them that abstinence is a pledge to recite, or a promise to their future spouse, or a ring on their finger. Teach them that abstinence is part of keeping God’s temple pure. Above all, Church, shine God’s light. Be His beacon of love (pun unintended). Give them the facts and encourage them to make the right choice, but don’t leave out the ultimate message: God is love, God forgives, and God will never forsake you.


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