I recently spoke to a large group of high school students about sex and sexuality. A number of students had told the staff that they were either gay or bisexual. Many of the teachers didn’t know what advice to give them beyond, “That’s OK. I still accept you.” Recently, Yahoo News posted a photo of a cake baked by a fifteen-year-old girl with the words “I’m gay” written in frosting. That’s how she announced to her parents that she is gay. Her last line to them was, “It gets batter.”
Unfortunately for our kids, understanding sexuality is a mess in our culture. The truth is, the development of one’s sexuality is a complicated, important, and serious one that takes time—much more time than we are willing to give it. According to my colleague, Dr. Armand Nicholi, a psychiatrist from Harvard and editor of The Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, a child’s sexuality isn’t fully developed until he or she is near twenty years old. The reason for this is that sexuality isn’t simply a matter of genetics, parental ideals, or the configuration of genitalia. It is a beautifully complex process, which is influenced by environment, personal experience, hormones, personality, family dynamics, and genetics.
Sadly, our culture pressures kids to make decisions about their sexuality way too soon. The reason for this is social engineering and financial gain. Kids are bombarded with sexual messages from the time they are seven years old, and they are led to believe that being sexy and defending their sexuality should be front and center in their lives. I told the group of students to whom I was speaking that their sexuality should not define them. It is a part of who they are, but it isn’t who they are. They aren’t gay, bisexual, or straight. They are Josh, Tanya, Lucy, and Amelia. When I said this, they all cheered. They want the pressure off.
So when a fifteen-year-old girl or boy tells me that she or he is gay or bisexual, I ask them why they believe that and if they feel confused. Usually they say “yes.” After listening, I encourage them to give themselves time to develop. In my experience, girls or boys make such declarations because they are beginning to become sexually active. They feel pressure from our culture to define who they are and a big part of this begins with sexual activity.
Then I tell them exactly what I tell heterosexual kids. Beginning sexual activity during their teen years is serious and risky business. When they make adult statements, I respond with adult statements, like “Do you know that 20 million Americans contract an STD every year in the US, that one out of five Americans over age twelve tests positive for genital herpes, and one excellent medical journal projects that if teens don’t put the brakes on with sex, that by the year 2025, 39% of all men and 49% of all women in the US will be positive for genital herpes?”
Their faces drop because no one speaks to them as though sex is serious business. Kids think sex is fun and consequence-free (maybe they worry about pregnancy), and they feel that they can be and do whatever they want as long as they use a condom. No one wants to tell them the scary truth because the biggest, little secret in America is that we are experiencing an epidemic of STD’s amongst our youth. But so much money is made from selling sex to our kids that no one wants to shout this from the rooftops. Lawsuits would appear from clothing and shampoo manufacturers. They want their money.
Source: Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk | Dr. Meg Meeker
What to Say When Your Daughter Tells You She’s Gay
My oldest daughter, Charis, is four, so hopefully we’re a little while away from having any sort of sex talk. But at some point in the future, I’m sure I’ll be talking to Charis, along with the rest of my kids, about sexuality, and there’s the possibility that one of my kids will experience homosexual attraction.
What would I do if Charis told me that she was experiencing homosexual attractions?
The first thing I’d do is give her a giant hug and tell her that nothing, nothing, nothing can ever change my love for her.
She’s my precious little girl, and nothing is ever going to change that. I’d thank her for telling me about her feelings and tell her that she can always tell me anything, no matter how big or small. I want my kids to feel comfortable telling me anything and to know that I won’t get angry with them no matter what they tell me.
I’d tell her that God loves her even more than I do. He created her in his image, and because of that, she is precious to him. He sent his son to die for her sins, which also proves that she is precious to him.
Then I’d tell her that if she follows Jesus, her sexuality is not her identity.
Her identity is rooted in Christ. She is a child of God who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in her. Her fundamental identity is not her sexual desires; her fundamental identity is as a forgiven sinner, united to Christ, full of the Holy Spirit. That’s what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he said:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I’d say, “Sweetie, if you follow after Jesus, your identity is as a new creation in Jesus. These desires that you’re experiencing don’t define who you are. Jesus defines who you are. You are his. You belong to him. That is your identity. It’s who you are.”
Stephen Altrogge works as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA, where his main duties include leading worship, working with college students, and shining his dad’s shoes. He also has written a number of worship songs that have been included on Sovereign Grace Music albums. Stephen is the author of the book Game Day For the Glory of God: A Guide For Athletes, Fans, and Wanabes, which was published by Crossway Books in September 2008, and The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence, which will be published by Crossway Books in April 2011. When not shining his dad’s shoes, you can find Stephen drinking coffee or playing video games. More from Stephen Altrogge or visit Stephen at http://www.theblazingcenter.com