Four Mistakes Made When Teaching About Sex

Four Mistakes Made When Teaching About Sex-Chad Higgins

As youth ministers, we want our students to make great choices for their lives. We see countless students get into spiritually harmful dating relationships.  We receive late-night phone calls about the boyfriend or girlfriend who broke a student’s heart. We sit across the table from the young man that sees the sin he and his girlfriend are in and wants out. It breaks our hearts every time. We sometimes feel that if we delivered the right sermon at the right time, maybe it would solve a problem for one of our students. Because of this we may teach things to students that are often shortsighted. They may help them here and now but may not be what they need to hear in the long run.

Here are four things that seem great now but are hurting people down the road.  

1. Sex Is Wrong.  

We all understand that sex is a gift from God and should be enjoyed inside the covenant of marriage. We may even try to teach this. But often what students hear, or maybe what we even say, is “Sex is wrong”.  We hear the stories of Christian couples that experience guilt and shame during their marriages, because this has become so ingrained in their thinking. This seems to be common enough that it should be addressed with students. Abstaining for the moment glorifies God but also produces more enjoyment for them in the future.  Young students are concrete thinkers.  What is wrong now will always be wrong. Help students see the bigger picture of sex in their lives.  

2. You Are Saving Yourself For Your Spouse.

What if that spouse never comes? Was the purity for nothing? Was finding fulfillment and pleasure in God a waste for them? When we teach that purity and holiness is for something other than God, we are teaching idolatry.  There are many benefits that God gives people who abstain from sex: to minimize the baggage they are bringing into their marriage and to have a beautiful gift that is only between the couple for the first time. While these are wonderful by-products of holiness they should not be the ultimate goals for anyone. This type of thinking is self-focused instead of God-focused.  This type of thinking leads students who save their purity in their teen years to becoming frustrated with God when that husband or wife doesn’t arrive. 

3. The Cause And Effect Mindset 

If you save yourself for marriage, then God will give you a wonderful husband or wife. If you have high standards, then God will bring you a person with equally high standards. I can remember being a student at a youth group service. We made a list of the characteristics we wanted in a spouse.  We were told to hold on to that list and never date anyone who didn’t meet these requirements. Being a middle school boy, I think “blonde” was on my list of standards. While there are so many promises made in scripture, may we be careful not to teach promises that are not there. Some of our students may never marry.  Let’s not feed the lie that if they don’t, they’re broken. May we teach obedience over some intriguing cause and effect that may not be Biblical.

4. You Are Dirty If You Have Had Sex.   

While we always want to teach a full view of what sin is to our students, may we not forget that sometimes students do not always see what is their sin and what is the sin of others. One of my most heart-breaking moments as a student pastor was a 15-year-old young lady approaching me after a service asking if she was still a virgin if she had been raped.  Alongside a great female leader, we cried with that young lady and made sure she knew that her holiness and her purity was nothing that someone could ever take from her. That night was a reminder that many students we encounter are hurting and broken just like you and I. May all of our sermons point to Christ and His grace.  
You are not always going to say the right thing.  But I pray that we encourage one another to be careful with our words, to be mindful of what we are pointing these students towards. The love that God has for these students will always be the standard for their earthly relationships. May they see that in us as we teach. My deepest prayers are with you and for you. Thanks for reading. 

We sometimes feel that if we delivered the right sermon at the right time, maybe it would solve a problem for one of our students.

About The Author: Chad Higgins


Chad has served the local church for over a decade in ministry. He has a deep desire to spread the Gospel.  Chad has a passion to see other ministers grow and develop in the gifts that God has given them. He is a big guy with a big smile and a big personality. He is also the founder of the #chalupaspike.