Sex is the most intimate way to connect to another person. However, sex is highly glamorized in our culture. How can we help our children choose to save sex for their marriage relationship?
Human beings need fulfilling, intimate relationships to thrive and to be healthy and happy. To love and be loved is a basic human need. I’m an artist and have observed that many times the desire for satisfying intimacy, to know and be known, is mistakenly replaced with nudity and even sex. I heard one young woman, an accomplished and talented artist talk about the regret and “fracturing” she felt after engaging in premarital sex and the pain of the lengthy recovery process.
How can we help children have the ability and understanding to keep the normal and healthy desire for sexual intimacy “under control” until a good marriage is established?
When man was created, God gave him laws and commandments to guide him safely through life, to protect and bless him and ultimately bring him home to heaven. People are complex; we have physical, spiritual, emotional and mental dimensions. Just as a baby learns to control its arms, then hands and fingers to satisfy its purposes, we must learn to control the impulses and natural desires we have to create a satisfying and rewarding life and eternal destiny. As we learn to discipline our passions, to use them for good, we find ways to live and serve that are pleasing to God.
God commanded us to love him first, as he loves us and puts our welfare first. When we do this he is able to protect us from harm and evil. He instructed us not to commit adultery, or in other words, not to have sexual relations outside of the marriage covenant. He created men and women with attributes that complement one another — creating wholeness or a state of “gestalt;” “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 11:11. God gave us families to love and protect us. The family was instituted to bring children into the world and rear them until they were mature and ready to establish their own families. The sexual union strengthens the relationship between a husband and wife and enables the creation of children to love and nurture. The whole process is satisfying and enriching when performed under the proper guidelines. But engaged in illicitly, at the wrong time or with the wrong person, regret and illness; mental, spiritual, emotional and physical result.
My husband works at a hospital and often works with patients with mental illness. Some of those who had attempted suicide or had deep depression had a history of promiscuity, heterosexual and/or homosexual. This is not to say that all mental illnesses are the result of sexual misconduct, but severe cases sometimes are.
Young people are constantly tempted to engage in inappropriate physical intimacy. Loving, healthy relationships can help them avoid the temptation of experimenting with sexual relationships and stay on the path of moral purity and good health. Having attainable goals and family support, as well as the influence of good friends helps shield them from abuse, selfishness and regret. Children need healthy intimacy, especially emotional and spiritual, physical activity, the time and ability to explore wholesome passions and develop talents. They need the examples of parents and adults who live and express love in mature and successful ways. The need to serve, receive and find satisfaction from accomplishments and hard work.
For those who have experienced pain, regret or loss from inappropriate sexual relations, including experimentation, rape or incest; they can find forgiveness and healing and that all is not lost. They need a safe place, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual to recover. Jesus Christ paid an unfathomable price to “purchase us” and restore us to wholeness and happiness. For young people experiencing unexpected pregnancy, adoption is a loving solution to a very difficult problem.
As we control our passions, and learn to have clean thoughts and pure hearts, we can look forward to a good life and the day when we will meet our Savior. When we report on our actions and lives, we can look back with gratitude and satisfaction on the things we learned and experienced and his help in navigating the complexities of mortal existence.