Talking About Sex

The Book of Proverbs holds perennial wisdom for parents seeking to teach their children about God’s marvellous design for human sexuality, as well as warn them against temptations to misuse the gift of sex.

Sex is a topic that the Bible doesn’t shy away from. Certainly, you won’t find anything that resembles a sex-education class in the Bible, but you will find plenty of frank discussion about sex.

To give you an idea of the sorts of conversations that parents should be having with their children, I’d like to take you to Proverbs. In the book of Proverbs, you will discover a father who has lots of conversations with his children about sex. I encourage you to go and read Proverbs to see all of the different aspects of this topic that are covered. In this article, I’ll just make four brief observations.

1. More than Just Sex

When we typically think of talking to our kids about sex, we immediately and exclusively jump to the actual act of sexual intercourse. That is, possibly, the most awkward aspect of talking to your kids about sex and needs to be discussed at some point.

But when you turn to Proverbs, you will see that Solomon was not just thinking about having “The Talk” with his children. His conversations about sex were actually mostly not about the act itself.

You will find conversations about the beauty of marriage, exhortations to enjoy sex inside of a marriage, warnings about illicit sex and the consequences that follow, what to look for in a wife and all manner of other angles on this topic.

I think we should have a broader definition of talking about sex than just thinking about having “The Talk”.

Solomon does this often by talking about the various relationships and temptations that are around us. In Solomon’s day, prostitution and adultery were clearly the two main temptations. In our day, we have to deal with things like posters, photos and ads that have men and women in underwear or bikinis or ultra-revealing outfits; people walking down the street or people on the beach in immodest clothes; pornography; hook-up culture; unmarried couples; plus Solomon’s two temptations of adultery and prostitution still stand today as well.

Like Solomon did, we need to include these sorts of topics in our conversations with our kids.

Do you have wide-ranging discussions about marriage, divorce, porn, adultery, hook-up culture, and sexualised imagery that is all around us? You might not have had these conversations yet, but are they on the radar?

2. Warnings before the time of temptation

The second thing I want to note is that Solomon warns his children before the time of temptation comes.

Solomon doesn’t wait until his son comes home one night from the brothel before talking to him about it. He doesn’t wait until his son comes to him with questions. Solomon is pre-emptive and aware of the temptations of his culture.

Just like Solomon doesn’t wait until his children have wealth before talking to them about money, so he teaches about sex, marriage and sexual immorality before his children are tempted.

In Proverbs 5:7-8, speaking of the immoral woman, Solomon says:

“Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.”

This is clearly a warning before the incident. And the reason Solomon gives the warning before temptation is so that his children do not fall into the snare of sexual immorality.

Now, for us, this makes things even more difficult and awkward. Because in our day and age, children are exposed to sexual ideas earlier and earlier.

A 2016 Australian Government report states that nearly half of children between the ages of 9-16 experience regular exposure to sexual images. Another Australian Government report from 2020 shows that the average age of first exposure to pornography is between 8 and 10 years old.

Another report states that teens and young adults aged 13-24 believe not recycling is worse than viewing pornography.

The reality is that we live in a sex-saturated world.

Your kids are going to be taught about sex by someone.

Believe it or not, non-Christian pre-teens and teens are not shy about talking about these things with their friends. So, we should expect that our kids will be having conversations about sex at school or with their friends. As an example, Elijah at a Christian school in year 4 had the kids around him talking about sex.

As Christian parents who have a God-given duty to teach and train these eternal souls, we need to have a plan for how we are going to talk about sex.

3. Solomon warns his son about the consequences

Thirdly, Solomon is clear about the consequence of illicit sexual relationships.

Proverbs 7:22-23 says:

“Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks. Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life.”

And so, Solomon presses home the disastrous end of adultery. It winds up, not with pleasure and joy, but with sorrow, loss and death.

In chapter 5, Solomon warns about how pursuing illicit sex will ruin you. You will lose your wealth (verse 10), your body will waste away (verse 11) and you will come to the verge of total ruin (verse 14).

We, like Solomon, should be unashamed of telling our kids what the consequences are of the things that they may well have never done.

We can talk about how sex outside of marriage often results in children and the messy families that result from that. We can talk about how people go and have abortions to avoid the consequence of their sexual pursuits. We can talk about the addictive nature of pornography and how it will steal your youthful years (as Solomon says in ch 5:9).

These are all awkward and difficult conversations to get into, but they are vital and they are biblical. Plan to speak about these things, pray for opportunities and try to have ongoing conversations with your children about this broad area of life.

4. He encourages his son to delight sexually in his own wife

The last thing I want to note from Proverbs is that Solomon is not entirely negative about sex. He presents an extremely positive view of sex inside of marriage and encourages his children to delight in sex in that context.

The classic passage is Proverbs 5:18-19:

“Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love.”

Who has the most positive vision for sex? The world, or Christians?

Who is presenting the most positive vision to our kids?

The world is telling them to go and have a ball — to let every whim and desire drive them on to greater heights of sexual pleasure. As we’ve discussed, we need to teach them that selling yourself to your sexual desires doesn’t lead to pleasure, it leads to pain and despair.

But we also need to teach them the glories of Godly sex. We should teach them about that with words — certainly. The marriage relationship should be spoken of as enjoyable, pleasurable, something to be desired.

But we should also teach them by example. They should see that their mum and dad are “enraptured with love”. Of course, I’m not saying that they should see you making love, but do they see you delight in each other? Do you kiss in front of them? Do you cuddle in front of them? If your example was all they had to go on, would they think that the sex is better in a godly marriage?


There are a lot of books these days to help you discuss sex, marriage and intimacy with your kids. Here are a few I recommend.

I recommend God Made All of Me which helps you to talk to your kids about nakedness and how they should view their bodies.

There is a series of 4 books called God’s Design for Sex that helps explain some of the physical aspects of sex. They look a little old, but are very good in their approach.

If you want a good framework for how to speak about sexual intercourse with your kids, I found the booklet How to Talk to Your Kid About Sex very helpful.


Photo by Elina Fairytale.

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