Mormon Channel Blog

Family Conversations: How Not To Teach About Sexual Intimacy

August 19, 2015

In the quest to better prepare your children for adulthood, it is vitally important to teach them about their growing bodies and healthy sexual intimacy. Here are some things that are important NOT to do when having these discussions:

  • Don’t discourage them from asking questions; welcome them.
  • Don’t be dishonest if you don’t know an answer to something; offer to seek out an answer together.
  • Don’t expect this to be a one-time conversation.
  • Don’t use made-up words to describe body parts or processes.
  • Don’t teach only about the physical aspect of intimacy—share with your children all other aspects as well (emotional, spiritual, relational, and so on).

Although it is important to discuss the physical aspect of sexual intimacy, it is a very narrow way to define the experience and what a relationship can gain from it. Talk with your children about the importance of love, respect, and having an emotional connection with your spouse as the reasons why you are intimate with him or her.

Many young people erroneously think that the importance of chastity ends with marriage. However, Dr. Carroll points out, “Chastity is a condition of the heart. … Marriage is the beginning of chastity in many ways, not the end.” While marriage is the proper context for sexual expression, as you keep a chaste heart, these expressions will communicate love, respect, and closeness to your spouse.

Spirituality also plays a huge part in sexual intimacy. Healthy sexual intimacy is a divine gift that provides the way for children to enter the world, as well as opening the gates to creating strong, satisfying marriages that are full of love. Intimacy is often a reflection of how you feel about yourself and the relationship between you and your partner.

Also, please keep in mind that children want you to be open and truthful. They don’t want you to beat around the bush about what sex is or what the proper terminology of body parts or processes are. If you don’t share with them what you know, they may get the information from another source, and it might not provide a healthy explanation of the sexual relationship for them.

For more information and tips on how to have these types of conversations with your children, please view the Family Conversations video series on the Mormon Channel.