Talking About Sex: Big Words for Little Ears

Written by Aszia Pearson
Published on March 12, 2021

When it comes to talking about sex, God’s story is never off-limits. The world doesn’t hesitate to begin lying to children at a young age, neither should we hold back the truth. We see a great, permission-giving example of this when the Israelites enter the Promised Land…

“There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.” (Joshua 8:35 ESV, emphasis mine)

Joshua told the whole of it and didn’t skip a word with the little ones present. Do you know what the whole of it includes!?

An explicit Bible

I read the Bible out loud because it helps me understand what I am reading. And what better moment to get a little reading in than when you’re rocking a baby to sleep or helping a toddler wind down for “quiet” (whew. that’s another post) time? I’ve made this a daily (ish) practice since my daughter was born.

And we started “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1a).

I casually flipped through some of the pages we’ve read together so far, so I could pull out a few gems for you…

“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.” (Leviticus 19:29)

“If any man among you becomes unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp, but when evening comes, he shall bathe himself in water, and as the sun sets, he may come inside the camp.” (Deuteronomy 23:10—11)

Prostitute. 

Nocturnal emission.

These are words I have read out loud in my young daughter’s presence. 

These are words in our Bibles. 

These are words Joshua read out loud before the little ones. 

And do you want to know who blushes and feels just a tad uneasy upon hearing these words? 

Me!

My daughter has no sense of shame or embarrassment yet. To her, it’s just Momma reading out loud again. To her they are just words, among many, that are beyond her vocabulary. 

Yet, I read them. 

I don’t edit or omit them to protect her “little ears.” I say them out loud so that I can practice and grow in my comfort level to be ready for the day when I’m not just reading, but we’re actually, you know, talking.

One day words like these—and words that are far more crass and vulgar—will pique her interest. 

I’d rather her hear about these things from me and my husband first, from God, by his Spirit and through his Word, first.

Progressive revelation

We don’t have to be afraid to share the truth. I’m not saying we should overwhelm our kids with anatomy or complex themes, and I’m certainly not saying we should expose them to inappropriate sources. But I am saying… 

We get to be storytellers!

Let me break it down for you with an example you might be more comfortable with.

When you teach children about something like trees, you intuitively know that at age two about all they can handle is, “this is a tree.” 

As they grow you may begin to describe various trees by their names—Maple, Oak, Pine. You’ll address the different parts—branches, trunk, roots. Or various functions—beauty, shade, oxygen. 

Eventually you will turn to the symbolic or artistic merit of trees. And one day before you know it, your young pupil will be in a collegiate level botany class schooling you!

Notice how in this context, the natural progression of conversation doesn’t seem so intimidating? 

It can be this way with sex too—another one of God’s brilliant, creative ideas that we are free in him to experience and discuss.

Consistent communication

God talks about sex quite a bit—the stewardship of our maleness or femaleness as his image-bearers (Genesis 1:27), the sexual union of a husband and wife (Genesis 2:24), the unfaithfulness of adultery (Hosea 1:2), the wrath he has over sexual abuse (Deuteronomy 22:25—27), the forgiveness he has for sexual sin (Psalm 32:5).

Our Father is kind of the resident expert on the subject. 

Our kids should know that.

When we present these truths often (and refrain from the urge to censor), we invite their questions to come to us. We are able to gauge what they know and what they want to know. We lay a positive foundation and establish that we are safe.

Cultivating this connection, by regularly and honestly communicating with our kids (especially about traditionally hard or confusing topics), is one of the most important things we can do as parents. 

As with any relationship, there will be miscommunication, misunderstanding, and misfiring along the way, but nothing can replace the intuition and intimacy we have with the children entrusted to our care.


Looking for other resources on tackling tough conversations? Check out this video and the articles below.

How to tackle tough topics with your kids

How to Talk to Your Kids about the Border Wall (Or Any Social Issue)

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Aszia Pearson

Aszia Pearson is a message advocate for pureHOPE, a ministry equipping men and women to pursue purity through relationship with Jesus. She is a writer, etymology enthusiast, and exuberant hand-talker who has been proclaiming God’s better story of sex for over a decade. She loves inspiring people to engage with truth, experience freedom, and live out of an overflow of their hope in Jesus. You can follow along @findpurehope! 

Aszia is married to her favorite person (and only slightly bitter that she used to be both the better cook and Scrabble player), and she is “Momma” to two children with whom she shares an abiding love for large breakfasts.

Read more about Aszia

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