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Dear Parents, We Need to Teach Our Kids Virginity Is Not the Point

This spring Jonathan and I participated in a panel discussion on issues of sexuality and parenting. During the course of our conversation, I verbalized two things I think are important when it comes to talking about sex with our children. First, from very early on we need to be cultivating a mistrust of friends’ information. And second, virginity is not the point: purity is.

Long before we ever thought about talking about sex with our children, we encouraged them to come to us with the things their friends told them. Then we could tell them if their friends were giving accurate information — or not. We happen to be a very talkative family (you probably can’t imagine that, can you??), and our children report back to us with gusto.

The things they tell us their friends said are, almost without exception, incorrect. By now it’s almost a family joke. We started this approach early and are hoping it continues into the teen and young adult years. We’ve now started telling our older kids that when it comes to sex, their friends will most likely not be correct. They appear to believe us because this has been the case for so many other topics over the years.

One more thing about the friendship issue: we need to include Google as one of these untrustworthy “friends.” There are a couple reasons for this. The internet may very well give scientifically or Biblically accurate information — but not necessarily. And young people have difficulty discerning reputable sources on the internet. Additionally, finding porn during a Google search is literally 1 second away. {I know this because it happened to me. Ew.} The internet is not our friend when it comes to sex education.

Cultivating a mistrust of friends’ information is something we can do from very early ages before we begin talking about sex or even begin thinking about talking about sex. But when we do begin talking about sex, we need to start steering the conversation away from virginity — which has been a traditional way of talking about sex and marriage — and direct it towards purity.

Elizabeth Trotter
Elizabeth Trotter
Elizabeth Trotter has been living in Southeast Asia with her husband and four children since 2012. She leads the missions website alifeoverseas.com and writes regularly at trotters41.com. For more from Elizabeth, check out her new book Hats: Reflections on Life as a Wife, Mother, Homeschool Teacher, Missionary, and More.

At 15, She Underwent a Double Mastectomy to Transition to a Boy—Now, Chloe Cole is Sharing Her Journey of Detransition

Explore the journey of Chloe Cole, from her early transition as a transgender minor to her impactful detransition and activism against gender-affirming care for minors. Learn from her personal experiences, the broader cultural debates, and the reactions her stance has provoked.

Man or Bear? The Viral Question Shaking Social Media

Lear about the intense social media debate sparked by the viral question: Would you rather be alone in the woods with a man or bear? This discussion sheds light on women's safety perceptions, societal attitudes towards violence, and the broader concern women have towards men.

The Best Marriage Advice I Ever Received Was to Stand on a Chair—22 Yrs Later, Here’s Why I Haven’t Stopped

"The image of a beat-up kitchen chair flashed through my mind, and hot tears filled my tired eyes."