You may have read that Teen Vogue published an article this week for its audience of girls, ages 12-18, which is a how-to guide for anal sex. In fact, the creators of this magazine are writing instructive articles for all kinds of sexual acts. They want young girls to believe that sexual activity (including BDSM) is a natural part of being an older child in this country. It’s hard for those of us who are older to even fathom what kind of influence that this world can be on our kids–we, who read teen magazines for the quizzes about what type of friend we were, articles about how to handle our period. Our twelve year olds open teen magazines and take quizzes about what kind of sexual partner they are and read articles about how to masturbate and how “valid and valuable” porn is.
It’s hard to even believe that on a continent where an estimated 1.5 million children are currently being sold to satisfy detestable, porn-fueled desires that a teen magazine can so flippantly sell sex to kids like it’s candy. But, it’s happening.
As the mother of a twelve year old, I’m distraught and appalled that someone wants to teach her what anal sex is. But, the line in the article that bothered me the most has broader implications, and it’s the real message I want to counteract in my daughter’s heart and mind: “There is no wrong way to experience sexuality, and no one way is better than any other.” The writer says this with all authority and legitimacy. She is writing for a big name magazine, and her article has official looking anatomical drawings. If I have not taught my daughter to recognize sex ed fallacies when she sees them, then how will she discern that what is in this article isn’t true? Even more, if I haven’t taught her to view all things through a biblical lens, how will she know lies from the pit of hell when she sees them?
So, here is what our kids need to know. There are plenty of wrong ways to experience sexuality.
Ask any girl who has had her soul stripped bear by someone she hardly knows. The world tells her that’s fun. Ask any boy who stumbled across pornography on the phone his clueless parents bought him, who now can’t make it through the day without looking at it. The world tells him that’s the way it should be. Ask any college student who’s had so many partners that she isn’t really sure who’s the father of the baby she is about to abort. The world tells her to be proud of it. Ask any thirteen year old who saw an article in Teen Vogue and decided to try anal sex. The world laughs and says everyone tries “butt stuff,” as the Vogue writer so eloquently puts it. And, decision by decision, the kids of America learn again and again: there are plenty of wrong ways to experience sexuality. Ways that hurt them deeply. That cripple them emotionally and spiritually. Ways that will cause problems in their future marriages. Ways that wound the heart of God.
There is a better way. We have to teach our kids the truth here. We can’t avoid these conversations because we feel awkward. We can’t ignore these issues because we’re convinced our kids “would never do that.” We can’t go on pretending that we’re living in the 80s and 90s. Those days are way over, and, parents, the advice that is streaming into your kids’ hearts and minds is wicked and laced with everything that Satan would hope to see happen to your child. Do we really understand how much and how often and how effectively the world is sex educating our kids? There is no more time for being prudish and bashful and childish about sex when it comes to our children. They have to hear the truth from our lips, often, and with conviction. We have to ask questions. We have to be at least as diligent as the strangers at Teen Vogue when it comes to real sex education and teaching our children the very best way to experience sexuality.
We have to teach our kids that one of the greatest gifts of God is the intimacy between a man and a woman who have committed themselves to loving every inch of each other’s heart and soul. We have to teach them that great sex is safe sex, in the arms of the person who has vowed to hold us up when we need it, who has promised that no illness or accident, no outside interest, no schemes of this world will separate us. We have to show them what it looks like to be in love. We have to talk to them over and over and over again about the differences between Teen Vogue‘s versions of sex and God’s great blessing of sex. Most of all, we have to teach them that all this sex talk really isn’t about sex. It’s about obedience to God’s word. It’s about holiness and sanctification and trusting God with their future in all areas, even sex. It may sound cliche. It may make you nervous. It may make your teen roll her eyes. But, whose voice do you really want inside her head when she is faced with a monumental decision about sex: Teen Vogue‘s? Or yours, spouting the truths of God’s word?
I know which one I want ringing in my kids’ ears, so I’ll keep talking. I beg you, parents. Wake up. Protect my kids’ future boyfriends and girlfriends and spouses. Protect the future pastors and engineers and teachers. Show them how to live according to God’s word in the bedroom, on the internet, and everywhere. The Teen Vogues of the world won’t stop. When will you start?