We figured we would get everyone’s attention with that subject line… On May 15th, we will be starting a brand new, four-week series entitled, Sex Is… This is one of the most relevant and important series we have probably ever done. However, we know that the subject of sex causes a myriad of different reactions, emotions and concerns. This is why we (the student ministries team) want to be as upfront, transparent and understanding as possible. First let me just explain how these nights are going to look. It will be the same time as usual, 5:30-6:30pm: Small groups, 6:30pm-7:00pm: Hang out time, 7:00pm-8:30pm: Youth service. The biggest difference the students will probably notice is that instead of just myself (Scott) or Paul taking the stage to preach, we will both be accompanied by our wives throughout this whole series and will be team-teaching this series. Each week either Melissa and I or Paul and Mary-Kate will be talking about that week’s topic. We chose to do this because we want to be relevant to every single student that particular night. All four of us have different experiences and perspectives and we believe that all of these experiences God will be able to use for His glory. Also, towards the end of every Sunday night we will be taking questions that students have. We have set this up in a way that they will be able to ask the questions anonymously. We will probably not have time to answer every single question that is asked, however, we will answer every single question, eventually. We have setup another blog where we will answer the questions that we did not have time to get to and they will be answered there. More information about this blog when it is done, hopefully within the next couple of days. We encourage everyone to look at this blog, see a little bit of what questions are being asked and what we are talking about. I know this is a ton of information but we want EVERY parent to know what is being planned and what is being talked about. If you have any questions or concerns or just want to know a little bit more of what we are talking about please feel free to contact either myself (Scott) at Scottmacneil@nhclife.org or Paul at Paulmannino@nhclife.org.
Below, we have laid out the normal Parent Cue questions and some additional questions for the first three sessions(located at the end of the post) to get the conversation going between you and your children. These questions coincide with the message and also gives you the date of the message. Also, in a different blog post, we have posted an article about how some people learn about sex and some helpful things about how to start the conversation in your family.
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT:
Here is an overview of what we’re talking about. Listed below the summary is a “parent cue” to help you dialog with your child about the session. The question is intended not just to be asked by you, but to be responded to by BOTH of you. Use this opportunity to find out what God is teaching your child, and allow your child to see what God is teaching you as well.
Sex Is . . .
Everyone has an idea of what sex is. Some people think it simply is an act to meet a physical “need.” Others believe it’s the way to make a relationship closer. Some people treat it like an addiction, while others have been burned by it. So what is sex? What was it created to be? Because if everyone has such a strong idea of what it could be and should be, maybe we need to find out what it is really and how we live with what we learn?
Session One: Sex Is . . . Serious (5.15.2011)
Sometimes the things that we think are not a big deal really are. Take sex for example. Sure, it’s a big deal to some people, but other people dismiss it as just a normal part of a relationship or a rite of passage. And when treated that way, if we aren’t careful, sex becomes just something casual. But sex isn’t really casual. It’s, well, serious. There’s more to it than just a physical act. It’s more complex than that. And while we know it’s a big deal because of what “bad” things could happen, there’s a much bigger reason why it’s serious—it’s how God created it to be.
Session One Parent Cue: How do you see people perceiving sex as not that big of a deal in real life and in the media?
Session Two: Sex Is . . . Powerful (5.22.2011)
You know sex is power in our culture when it’s used to sell cheeseburgers or furniture. But sex is power in a relationship too. Guys and girls use it to get what they want. And the tricky thing about sex is, just when you think you have the power, it can backfire. When you try to abuse its power, everybody loses. You can’t underestimate the power of sex, because if you aren’t careful, it will end up costing you.
Session Two Parent Cue: How can sex have power in a relationship? How can it affect you and how you see yourself and the other person?
Session Three: Sex Is . . . Everything? (5.29.2011)
Sex is serious. Sex is powerful. But sex isn’t everything. Yes, we said it. Sounds like heresy in our culture, doesn’t it? But there’s more to relationships than just sex. Sex may meet a need, but it never fully satisfies the deepest needs we have. There’s more to relationships than that. There are plenty of married Christian people who “get” to have sex, yet find out that there’s more to connecting with another person than just physically. Yes, sex is great. Yes, sex is important. But sex wasn’t created to meet every need and be everything.
Session Three Parent Cue: What makes a marriage “good”? Describe some specific things that make up a healthy marriage. (Some of these things will be from lessons you may have learned the hard way. You may want to consider sharing some of those lessons with your teen if age-appropriate.)
Session Four: Sex Is . . . More (6.5.2011)
Information can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just want someone to set everything aside, and get real with you. You want him or her to have a real conversation. This session is much different from the rest of the series. It takes into account the past three weeks, but also gets real with where students are. Because when it comes to sex, they may be at different places. And they need someone to acknowledge that and help them move in a good direction.
Session Four Parent Cue: What did you learn from this series?
Create meaningful conversation. Adjust questions as needed, and don’t feel like you need to answer all of them.
Sex is serious (5.15.2011)
Did you hear anything at church this week that you had never heard before when it comes to the seriousness of sex? What was it?
What do you think sex does in a relationship?
You know about the physical part of sex. (And if your child doesn’t or simply thinks he or she does, this would be a good time to explain it.) But how do you think emotions play into sex?
How does the spiritual part of us play into sex?
How does the “two will become one” show up in the emotional and spiritual side of us? (The physical is obvious.)
When it comes to sex and relationships, how do most people portray what sex does to a relationship?
With sex, does it ever feel like the message culture, friends or media are sending is incomplete? Like you are only hearing part of the story? (probably not) Why or why not?
As the parent, communicate (appropriately) what you think is being left out of the messages about sex your child is hearing.
When someone doesn’t take sex seriously, how have you seen it affect his or her life? (parent: maybe in a marriage of a relative or friend, a co-worker, in the news; student: maybe in the life of a friend or peer from school)
Sex is powerful (5.22.2011)
Did you hear anything at church this week that you had never heard before when it comes to the power of sex? What was it?
How do you think our culture conveys the message that “sex is powerful”? (focusing on the power of a girl’s body and how she dresses, and the power a guy has when he gets with a lot of girls)
Why do you think guys want to have sex? (If you’re a dad, explain why guys want to have sex.)
Why do you think girls want to have sex? (if you’re a mom, explain why girls want to have sex.)
As a parent, share—either through personal experience or stories of people you’ve known—how powerful the lure of sex is and the way it can change a relationship.
You may want to talk about the power of pornography, and how guys buy into the illusion of sex that requires nothing from them. And increasingly, girls are viewing pornography, buying into the illusion of intimacy that porn portrays of someone desiring them.
Sex isn’t everything (5.29.2011)
Did the message at church surprise you—that sex isn’t everything?
People have sex for many different reasons. Some people are just curious. They want to know what it’s like. Other people are looking for something.
Some people have sex to find security in a relationship, thinking it will make someone stay or the relationship grow stronger.
Some people have sex to get them status. They want to be known as someone who people desire and want to be with.
Some people have sex for companionship. They just want to be close to someone, anyone, and not be alone.
Some people have sex for acceptance. They don’t want to be a 40-year-old virgin.
If you were sexually active before marriage, this might be a good way for you to talk to your child about some of the choices you made, and why you made those choices.
Have you ever known a couple who was sexually active outside of marriage? Does their relationship seem overly physical?
Does it seem like sometimes when people say “sex is for marriage” that it really plays up the concept of getting married so you can have sex? In addition to sex, what do you think it takes to make a marriage work?
Note for parent: Sex defines a relationship in our culture, but it’s only one part of a relationship. Your child doesn’t hear that. Your child doesn’t realize that while it’s a great thing, it’s also not everything. It’s why sex isn’t the end goal for marriage. It’s why if they choose to wait to have sex until marriage, they need to know that sex isn’t the point once they get there. Sex will be a part of married life. It will draw a husband and wife closer together, but it isn’t the only thing that draws them together. Let your child know what you believe it takes to marriage work—even if those are lessons you learned the hard way—and how sex plays a role in that, but that it’s not the only thing.