I know some of you are cringing right now.
You have zero interest in talking about sex with your adult child who is about to be married. But please hear me out.
Even though you feel it’s a conversation you would stumble through, I encourage you to have it anyway. I definitely think this is a scenario where you have nothing to lose. And a lot to gain.
You never know how something you say could be transformational for this young marriage as they are just finding their footing in matrimony.
Obviously, the hope is that you have already had multiple age-appropriate conversations with your child about puberty and sex throughout their upbringing. That definitely is an easier backdrop against which to have a “soon to be married” sex talk.
But even if you never had any of those talks when they were growing up, you still have a lot to offer in a conversation now.
And this is true whether sex in your own marriage is a struggle or a joy or somewhere in between.
If you feel comfortable, talk with your child and their soon-to-be spouse together. I realize this may be a stretch, so if you know there’s no way you could do it, then at least aim to have a conversation with your child.
Also, it would be great if you and your spouse could together approach this conversation with your child and/or the young couple. Again, I know not all circumstances would allow for this. But if the circumstances are conducive to it, then certainly do it. Don’t let embarrassment or fear that you won’t know what to say stop you from having the conversation.
And even if you know your child and their future spouse already have had sex, I encourage you to still have the conversation. Having had sex does not preclude them from needing some sound guidance on sex in marriage.
3 Tips on Talking About Sex to Your Engaged Adult Child
1. Talk about being intentional
Sex will not simply take care of itself in marriage. It’s not an auto-pilot sort of thing. So encourage intentionality—both in nurturing sexual connection and in addressing any sexual struggles that develop.
In this context, I do think you can speak vulnerably out of your own marriage. Yes, you need to be respectful of your spouse. But you can generally allude to whether intentionality has been a part of your marriage.
“I think we wouldn’t have had some of the sexual struggles we have had if we had been more intentional early on in our marriage about nurturing sex. That’s why I wanted to be sure to talk about this with you.”
“I am grateful we have not taken our sexual intimacy for granted. We aren’t perfect, but we have tried to make it a priority, and when we have had difficulties, we’ve tried to address those instead of pretend they don’t exist.”
The more you can set the standard of why it’s important to be intentional about intimacy, the better.
2. Encourage a deep dive into God’s Word
So many young Christian couples have grown up hearing a lot about what not to do sexually. Maybe they have held on to their purity or maybe they have not; regardless, they grew up with heavy emphasis on the message that sex is something to resist.
So now they are headed into marriage. Do they truly understand what God says about the gift sex is in marriage? Do they genuinely grasp that sexual arousal and orgasm are part of God’s design? And do they know that God gives a married couple sexual intimacy to benefit their marriage in many ways?
Sadly, too many people about to get married don’t comprehend what a tremendous fan God is of a married couple thoroughly enjoying sexual arousal and pleasure within the exclusivity of their relationship. And too many people have believed skewed messages about sex that don’t align with God’s Word. Maybe they think that sex is just for the guy or that sex is just for procreation or that only certain positions are acceptable.
Encourage your child (and their future spouse if possible) to study God’s Word together and to pray together specifically on this area of sexual intimacy in marriage. There are numerous books available as well that would be helpful in this regard, including (but not limited to) the below books:
Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage by Jeff Murphy and Julie Sibert
When Two Become One by Christopher and Rachel McCluskey
The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire
The Sexually Confident Wife by Shannon Ethridge
Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman
These books and others can help them understand that sex does not look like it does in the movies. Authentic and enjoyable sexual intimacy in marriage often is awkward at first and always requires ongoing communication and a willingness to learn.
3. Leave the door open for future conversations
Certainly as a young couple is about to get married, they are consumed with excitement and wedding details. So it’s not realistic that you can have a one-and-done conversation about sex in marriage.
Just remember that you don’t have to have an exhaustive conversation. A better approach is to set the groundwork that will make additional conversations more likely. Leave the door open for them to talk with you.
Help them understand that not only can they come to you at any time with concerns or questions, but also that you will occasionally ask as well. This isn’t about them revealing intimate details, but rather about them knowing you are there as a safe sounding board and to point them to helpful resources.
I can’t emphasize enough the positive impact you could have on your child’s marriage, including in this area of sexual intimacy. Though you may feel some apprehension about broaching the topic of sex, broach it anyway.
You can do this! We help future generations tremendously by helping them see sex as something good and holy and right.
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.