Youth ministry is full of awkward and difficult situations, but very few more awkward than having to breach the topic of sex. Giving a talk on sex is uncomfortable, embarrassing, and flat out weird and many times that is the exact reason it is avoided. Too many youth workers avoid the difficulties by omitting the talk and therefore do an extreme disservice to the students with whom God has entrusted them.
Giving the sex talk is so necessary! We live in a world that is constantly teaching our students about sex and how they should engage in it. Everywhere they turn students are filled with thoughts on how they should view sex and sexuality, and how to handle sexual situations. The problem is 99% of the time God’s view of sex is left out. It is crucial we teach our students what God says about sex and His plan for sex in their lives.
But necessity doesn’t make it any easier; the conversation is bound to be awkward, embarrassing, and result in giggles. So, here are 6 tips for giving the sex talk:
1. Acknowledge the awkwardness
There WILL be awkwardness during the talk, it is absolutely inevitable and unavoidable. Which is why it is best to acknowledge it. Tell students in the beginning of your talk that it will be awkward, and lay out a standard of behavior that is expected of them. If you fail to acknowledge it, no one will know what to do with themselves when the awkwardness arises.
While acknowledging it won’t keep all of the giggles, sideways glances, comments, and uneasiness at bay, it will break the ice and allow you to set a standard and expectation. Instead of pretending the elephant doesn’t exist, acknowledge it and move forward.
2. Be Direct
Don’t allow the awkwardness to keep you from being direct and tackling the issue straight on. Students are not getting the watered down version from the world around them, so there is no need to dance around the issue or be ambiguous with the truth about sex from God’s Word.
3. Be real
Present the lesson with authenticity and genuineness. When talking about an issue that makes you uncomfortable, the tendency is to present the material in a very impersonal and inauthentic way. Make sure you stick to who you are and be genuine.
4. Don’t Be Crude
Being direct and real does NOT give you license to be crude. The talk shouldn’t be an anatomy lesson. Don’t use crude slang, make sex jokes, or make light of sex itself. Sure, adding humor and making the talk light is great since it is such an intense topic, but joking or talking crudely about sex should not be done. They are not the laughs you want, and will definitely communicate the wrong message.
5. Stick to God’s Word, not public opinion
For years the church has been known for what they are against more than what they are for, especially when it comes to sex. Many Christians who grew up in the church were brought up to believe sex is dirty and wrong, which is obviously not true. God Himself created sex but the public opinion of the church turned it into something different.
On the flip side, the public opinion of the world is also completely contrary to God’s Word. Stick with God’s Word and don’t lean on the bias of public opinion when teaching on sex.
6. Make it practical and applicable
Simply teaching what the Bible says about sex and telling students to wait does next to nothing in helping them stay pure. When you teach on sex, make it attainable and applicable to their real, everyday lives. Give them practical application to help them navigate this difficult area of their lives.
The sex talk is not an easy one to give but it is essential. Hopefully these 6 tips can help calm your anxiety and make the talk more impactful for the students in your ministry. If you have questions or would like ministry coaching in speaking or any other area, email StokedOnYouthMinistry@gmail.com. Thanks so much for being a youth worker!
Todd has been in youth ministry for over a decade and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of Stoked On Youth Ministry, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd on Twitter @TheTodd_Jones, Instagram @Todd_Jones or for speaking inquiries visit TheToddJones.com