Week three of Talking To Your Teenager About Sex class…only one more to go! My many thanks to each of you who have ventured into this new class about teenager’s sexuality. As we have been exploring language for discussing what healthy sexuality looks like for teenagers, YOU are helping to shape the content direction for future classes, blogs and…maybe even books!!

So while technology, on last Sunday, denied us all access to this great video on the differences of how men and women experience trauma in the brain, I thought I would blog a bit more about how pain plays a role in our view of sexuality.

Ready? Here we go!

We all have a sexual portfolio that we carry with us. The context of our view about sex has a foundation. Often we do not think about where we formed our ideas or images of sexuality, but they are rooted in our experiences and the emotions that were attached to those experiences, whatever they may be.

As parents, if we have our own perceptions and unresolved pain because of our own experiences, we run the risk of transferring this onto our teenagers. Need an example? Wish I didn’t have one, but I do. Many actually, but I’ll just share one.

Our daughter was headed out on her first date. Her first date!! Believe me, I tried to act cooler at the time — honestly. So, about an hour after she left, I began to pace. Kitchen to family room. Family room to kitchen. Then again. And again. And again.

You see, panicky images of my own first date and how I had “tricked” my parents to sneak out with that one boy dominated my thinking and paraded through my imagination.

I wish I could have named it so clearly then, but what I was doing in those moments of pacing was transferring my own thoughts and images … onto my daughter:

  • She would lie – because I had lied.
  • She would sneak around – because I had snuck around.
  • She wouldn’t tell me about the date – because I had never told about my dates.

The truth was, our daughter was on date — a first date — with a boy that we knew and a curfew that afforded them little time to sneak around. My own unresolved pain was blinding me to the truth of who my daughter actually was and what she was experiencing in those moments.

What if part of the tension with our teenagers is about us re-remembering our own days of being a teenager AND getting to engage with God’s grace and forgiveness, inviting both teen and parent into deeper relationship with our Creator?

How might we empower our teenagers if we could identify with them vs. transferring our own experiences onto them?

Teenagers today face a world that is saturated with sex as a physical act and little to no understanding about the true nature of being intimately connected to another human being.

Maybe God grants us this tension-filled time to draw us towards the so often misunderstood element of what sexuality reveals: our deep desire to be seen, to be valued and yes, to be touched.

The beauty of what God created in our human capacity to be with another human being is sacred and meant to be experienced without shame or fear.

What if we reveal to our teenagers a beauty that cannot be achieved through mere one night stands?

Risky but true – we as parents hold deep wells of instruction for our teenagers, but we must risk the dangerous ground of confronting our own pain and inviting our teenagers to see what God created to be good.

Any first dates in your house lately?

~ b.