Most young people (churched and unchurched) learn about “the birds and the bees” from a weird mixture of sources: their parents’ sex talk, school playground banter, books, movies, and Netflix. Sadly, sometimes porn is in the mix too. These sources seldom communicate the whole truth. So while young people understand the actual mechanics of intercourse, they probably aren’t informed as to expectations for the “first time,” or their first season of sex.

Most young people learn about ‘the birds and the bees’ from a weird mixture of sources.

This short article deals with the important issue of conveying realistic expectations in this matter. It is my attempt at a sex talk.

Sex Is a (Very) Big Deal

Duh, obviously! To say that sex is a big thing in our world would be an understatement of note. Our society is sex-saturated. Not that sex hasn’t always been a big thing, but today sex is all over the place. It would be challenging to find a movie, series, or even an advert without sexual allusions or innuendo. So, if you want to sell a car (or anything else, for that matter), make sure to employ a sultry, provocative goddess leaning on the open car door.

Sex is a good gift from God, to be enjoyed in the proper context.

The Bible also emphasises the significance and importance of sex. It’s a good gift from God, to be enjoyed in the proper context: an exclusive, committed relationship called marriage. The Bible contains a whole book on courtship, intimacy, and sexual love! God talks about sex. Don’t be a prude. Read the Song of Solomon. Study it. Plenty of good tips in this ancient, inspired book.

The Bible puts a very high premium on sexual purity. Many people would call this bigoted and narrow-minded. Nevertheless, that’s what God teaches. Pastors and marriage counsellors urge young people: “keep yourself pure,” and “watch out for sexual temptation.” This is right and good, as long as sex outside of marriage is not considered the worst kind of transgression. Sexual sin is not the unpardonable sin.

On-screen Sex Distorts Expectations

Contemporary media creates a very false, unrealistic view of sex. On our screens, sex is almost always absolutely fantastic, exhilarating, intense and unspeakably pleasurable. He is a perfectly sculpted Adonis. She is a goddess, looking like she was designed in a lab. Their bodies are in perfect sync. Their pleasure is off the charts. And it all comes with a sound track, of course. Naïve people think that this is normal. But TV sex is thoroughly abnormal, especially for virgins. After all, it’s acting. And what do actors do? We need a better ‘sex talk.’

Contemporary media creates a very false, unrealistic view of sex.

But young men and women think this portrayal is how it will be on their wedding night. On top of that, Christian counsellors have told them: “Wait, it’ll be well worth it.” So, the recipe for great wedding night sex is true love, a godly and pure courtship, a meaningful exchanging of vows, and a stunning wedding reception. The unspoken assumption is that these things will result in great wedding night sex. The consummation expected should be of a type that almost defies description. After all, this is “the big night.” But this is nothing more than a recipe for disappointment, and a sense of failure.

It’s Time for a Reality Check

The movies present us with a gross distortion. Sex is good. More than that, sex is a great gift from a very kind God. But the truth is that “great sex” will probably take some time to develop. It’s almost like learning a new skill. The idea that true love results in great sex immediately is a myth. Despite all the coaching we receive from the media, initially a husband and wife are fairly clueless. This could well include a degree of awkwardness, clumsiness, and fumbling about. Sometimes sex is painful, particularly in the beginning. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you were informed of this.

‘Great sex” will probably take some time to develop.

Of course, this difficulty is not just a “Christian thing.” It’s across the board. Boys may brag about their first time in the back seat of a car. But most of it is insecure bravado and bluster. If they were judged by their performance, they would fail. Outright. Truth be told, they were clueless. Girls are a bit more reserved. But often there is a sense of disappointment and failure. This usually brings with it the unspoken question: Is there something wrong with me?

What We Won’t Speak About, Everyone Else Already Does

I wrote this brief sex talk because the church often fails to address this topic honestly and specifically. Churches (at least in the tribe that I belong to) rarely address these matters. So what people see in media and entertainment is taken as normative. Of course, it isn’t. It’s obvious if you think about it. Yet even this isn’t pointed out often enough.

If we don’t address the topic of sex, Netflix will.

Sex is a subject that needs to be treated with wisdom, but it also needs to be covered. We need to talk more about sex. Maybe you shouldn’t do this from the pulpit, on a Sunday morning. However you can certainly tackle it in young people groups, marriage prep, counselling, and various other teaching platforms. Being silent on this matter is a dangerous business. Because if we don’t address it, Netflix will—along with other, more sinister, productions.