How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #13

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#13 When the room’s a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’…..

Ok. Everybody lighten up! Laugh a little. 😂 My title was supposed to make you smile. I realize this is a heavy topic. One that deserves to be spoken of with dignity and honor. But let me let you in on the best secret; when you do the hard work of laying the foundation for this topic, it can become the most joy-filled, funny, life-giving, God-honoring topic to discuss with your kids. Some of my favorite laughs and sweetest talks have stemmed from talking to our kids about sex.

Furthermore, if we believe God created and the world corrupted, if we believe sex is good and right, then why are we pretending that as married couples we aren’t having sex? Maybe, in all honesty, because some of you aren’t having sex, and that’s another series for another day. The world is not hesitating at all to flaunt their ideas about sex, but as parents, we hush, and sneak, and lie, and dodge, and cover up our sexual relationship as if it’s some contagious and horrific disease. Again, I’m not suggesting running around your home making crude and vile announcements about your marriage bed, but I have NO problem with my children understanding that when our bedroom door is locked, the message is clear, “Your father and I don’t want you in our room!” And the reasons for that can be endless. We are talking, we are “talking” 😏, you are driving us crazy and we are protecting you from near death, we are changing, we are sitting in our closet talking about the days when we didn’t have children and we are trying to figure out where we went wrong in life, etc…etc… 😬

I want my children to have a clear, robust understanding that a healthy married life consists of a healthy sex life, and sex isn’t just for procreation. God created it for our enjoyment. But I also want the details of the marriage bed to remain a holy mystery for them to uncover with their spouse! It’s a tight rope, and we all just have to beg for wisdom. 

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #12

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#12 They Won’t Understand All At Once

I’ll never forget any of the instances when we first walked with our children through the specifics of sex. With our firstborn, I literally had a script written out, “Now Mark, I’m going to say this then you say this! Don’t be too funny or too confusing!” I’m pretty sure I had started a prayer chain and people had signed up to pray around the clock. I felt like we were heading into a war scene. I was a nervous wreck, while sweat poured down Mark’s face.

Our sweet firstborn sat stunned with a blanket over her head the entire time we talked. The talk was a lot shorter than it was when we had run through our lines, but when you are racing through sex information you talk as fast as a caller at an auction. When we got to the end of our perfectly-scripted, prayed-over battle plan, we asked our girl if she had any questions. If you knew ANYTHING about 9-year-old Katie, you knew the girl asked approximately 4 million questions AN HOUR. As she slowly pulled the blanket down from her face, I was anticipating which of the rehearsed questions she was going to ask. Her little cheeks were bright red because she HAD BEEN SITTING UNDER A BLANKET probably hyperventilating, when she asked, “Can I go to bed now?!”

WHAT? No questions from the QUEEN of questions. You don’t need any clarity and deep moral and spiritual guidance???? “Of course you can go to bed, baby!” we told her.

Here’s the deal, your kid might have zero questions the first go around. Your kid WILL NOT remember everything you told them the first go around. They will be a little stunned and slightly horrified at the words coming out of your mouth. They could suffer from a little PTSD. They will remember the strangest things. That’s why part of the goal is simply to communicate that you and your spouse are a safe place to ask any and all questions moving forward, “Daddy and I want to answer ANY questions you might have any time you have them!” This statement alone opened the doorway for communication.

The good news is we got better and better with each “talk”…. Mark and I got more comfortable and learned from our previous mistakes. Our information, approach, and script (which got thrown out the window with Julia) were like a good wine, sweeter with time.

Cheers to all of you and your battle plans!

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #11

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#11 Do you talk about sex in a mixed company in your home?

Excellent question!

We do openly discuss all topics together as a family. One of the BEST things we did was when we first had “the talk” (remember you aren’t just going to have one talk—you want to have tons!) both Mark and I tried to be present. If it didn’t logistically work out for Mark and me to both be there for the initial conversation, the parent that was present encouraged the child to go to the other parent and tell them all about the conversation that was discussed.

I mean who better to help our daughters understand sex from a male perspective than their father? Who better to help our son understand sex from a female perspective than their mother? We wanted them to know from a very early age that we were BOTH safe. It was key to have this conversation with them before they naturally began to pull away from the parent of the opposite sex.

With that said, there are lots of times our son will ask Mark a question in private, or the girls will ask me a question, but on the whole, we talk about most stuff all together sitting around the dinner table or driving down the road. No off-limits conversation. And let me tell you, we’ve had some doozies 🙂

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #10

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#10 Resources

Y’all, I’ve compiled ALL my favorite resources into one single space. The books/websites I’ve listed are my go-to’s. I’ve learned so much from so many different sources. Widen the circle. Read a book. Click on a website. It’s all just one step in the right direction!

Click here for my favorite resources.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #9

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#9 What-If

Today is for all the parents who think they’ve missed the boat, and it’s too late to talk to their kids about sex.

Come so close so I can grab your face… IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!

“No, Sara…. You don’t understand! We haven’t done any of these things and our kids are nearly grown.”

Y’all, our kids learn from our mistakes far more than they learn from our successes. Humble yourself, go to your child, apology and open the conversation TODAY! I don’t care if your kid 14, 24, 34, 44, 54, 64, 74 (if you have a child that’s seventy-four and you’re still living, I want to know you!)

“But Sara, I don’t know what to say! It’ll be awkward to talk to my grown daughter, who has her own children, about sex!”

Start with, “I’m sorry!”

I’m sorry that we didn’t talk about sex while you were growing up. I’m sorry if it caused you pain and shame. I’m sorry that my lack of communication about sex might have left you confused and alone. I’m sorry I did not help write this story on your heart. You were always worth being uncomfortable for, and I’m sorry we blew it. Will you forgive me? As parents, we are still growing and learning what it looks like to be Kingdom-minded. Is this an area where we can grow together?

It’s never too late, friends!!

PS If you have specific questions that I have not answered that you would like to see answered in this series PLEASE leave me a comment, or send me a FB message at Sara Littlejohn, or email me

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #8

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#8 No Sleepovers

Are you beginning to see why we chose to talk to our kids about sex starting at a young age as opposed to an older age? We couldn’t even approach today’s question had we not first laid the sturdy foundation: God created, the world corrupted. In answering the above question, we have to peel back the layers of, “the world corrupted.” BUT DO NOT START THERE. If you’ve never talked to your child about sex DO NOT start this conversation about sleepovers. Our kids had YEARS of conversation with us before we ever got to the underlining reason we didn’t do sleepovers.

Initially, when the kids were young (under 10 years old) it was very easy what we said about sleepovers, “we don’t do sleepovers!” “But whhhhhyyyyy?!” “Because it’s a family rule!” *pause* I love the family rule, family mantra, family code, family mission statement idea. Julie Barnhill introduced it to me in her book, “One Tough Mother”… READ IT! It’s this idea that we connect our kids to the family, “Littlejohns forgive!” “Littlejohns give one more scoop of ice cream!” “Littlejohns do hard things!” “Littlejohns honor one another above themselves!” “Littlejohns are always gracious!” And for a long, long time we would simply say, “Littlejohns don’t do sleepovers!” And it satisfied. That doesn’t mean they didn’t push back or they sang songs of praise and blessed our souls, but it worked.

Remember on day #3 how we talked about how 93% of juvenile sexual abuse victims are abused by someone they know, in my private counseling practice sleepovers rank as the top event of where sexual abuse happened.

Sleepovers also are a prime opportunity where peers introduce each other to pornography. Sleepovers invite boredom, lack of adult oversight, darkness, close sleeping quarters, and mischief.

At some point, as our oldest entered the throws of tween-hood, I sensed our answer was not going to suffice. Young girls find their identity in friendships, sleepovers, and peer reviews. (And we had just dropped our FIFTH GRADER into a brand new community. Once again, Katie, I’m so sorry we did this to you. *Insert more money into the counseling fund*) Movies always portray sleepovers as the IT of growing up. I saw her wrestling with the idea that we were keeping this good thing from her simply because we were being mean.

One day, NOT IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT, we sat her down and explained with as much tact and as much clarity as we could why we weren’t fans of sleepovers. It went a little like, “Baby, when we sleep at night our bodies and our brains completely relax and go still. Our bodies and our minds are the most vulnerable they are all day when they sleep. We are not willing to let you be vulnerable in a home or in an environment we aren’t comfortable with or deeply knowledgeable about. Because sometimes in those situations when your guard goes down and you think are safe, someone has the prime opportunity to hurt you! This doesn’t have to be a forever rule. But right now this is our rule and it has always been there to protect you, not to keep good from you. And someday there will probably be a situation that we will be completely fine with you going to a sleepover, but until then we need you to trust us and not push back against this rule!”

I saw her brain begin to connect the dots and her whole body physically relaxed, and she said, “I didn’t realize that’s why you haven’t let us do sleepovers. I’m sorry for being so mean and so ugly about it!” And never again did she push back over the sleepover issue.

Our children are now 17, 15, 13, and 12, there are about 6 homes where they are allowed to routinely spend the night. Every home where they are allowed to spend the night we closely know the parents and the siblings living in the home. We know the family’s stance on devices, entertainment, and parental oversight. But we also have laid out specific guidelines and rules with each of our kids when they spend the night somewhere. No showering together, dress in a private area or in an area where there are no cameras, keep your hands to yourself, no sleeping in the same bed or under the same blankets. We also have a 100% call or text us if something makes you feel uncomfortable and we will be there immediately no questions asked.

At some point, each of our kids has thanked us for our no sleepover policy. It hasn’t always been easy or rosy, but we’ve never ONCE regretted our decision!

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #7

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#7 Don’t start with “don’t”…..

I realize how ironic this statement is, but hear me out. We are BAD about this. The church is historically BAD about this. Anytime we approach this subject (especially with our teens) it’s obsessively rooted in “DON’T HAVE SEX TIL YOU’RE MARRIED!” And that’s the extent to which we go. I’m not sure how your parenting works, but simply telling my child not to do something hasn’t always been the most effective means of keeping them from doing something. 

Imagine you are potty-training your toddler and the only action you took in regards to helping them learn was, “don’t pee in your pants!” Some children’s personalities would be so motivated to please you as a parent that they would try their hardest to not pee their pants. Some children would pee their pants just to spite you. Some children would absolutely have no idea how to keep from peeing their pants.

Jay Stringer offers a similar analogy. What if we wanted to teach someone about cooking, but all we talked about was food poisoning. How distorted, confusing, and ill-prepared would someone be to actually cook and know the delicacies and wonders of food and cooking.

Y’all. This is what we do to our kids in regards to sex. We give this grand imperative and then we walk away and think we’ve “fulfilled” our parental-role. Then we are shocked when our children choose to do otherwise or find themselves in a position that wooed them to do otherwise.

No amount of “True Love Waits” conferences, no amount of purity rings, no amount of contracts, no amount of chaperones, no amount of accountability partners, no amount of attempts to legislate your child’s sexuality will actually put YOU in charge of their sexuality. Our children are moral responders and will have to make this choice and a million other choices for themselves. We can’t make it for them.

I can hear the rumble in the peanut gallery already. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I believe God ordained sex to be between one man and one woman in the protection of a covenant marriage. I think there are REALLY important things we can do and say to help our children in this department. But I think we are on a fool’s errand if we simply think telling our children not to have sex before they are married is the primary goal and the primary tactic. It’s not.

Life, sex and Godliness is so much bigger and so much more beautiful than, “don’t have sex before you are married!”

There is so much destruction, perversion, pain and danger that can take place loonnngggg before anatomical parts meet.

I think abstinence should absolutely be the goal in parenting, but I think abstinence has become an idol in American churches. I think we’ve become distracted and obsessed with a moral outcome, as opposed to being experts on the children standing in front of us. I want my children to love their God with their entire being! I want my children to love others with their entire being! I want my children to tell the truth! I want my children to be kind! I want my children to be sacrificial and wise! I want my children to be discerning! I want my children to know their God is good, that He is safe, that He adores them and is moving toward them in every way! I want them to know He is in the business of redeeming brokenness. I want them to know their God is a healer, a rescuer, a guide, a forgiver and He is reason that life is worth living.

If the only relational goal we have for our children is to get them to their wedding day as virgins, we are failing and we will be failed.

Don’ start with don’t. Dive deeper, go wider prepare of feast of information for your child instead of an anemic appetizer.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #6

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

God created, the world corrupted.

Julie Lowe, one of my favorite professors, drilled this idea in to my mind and I see a lot of parents forget this reality: sex was God’s idea and He said THAT IT WAS GOOD!

Many parents hesitate or delay talking to their children because they don’t want to, “ruin their innocence…”

I honestly felt that exact same way!

But here’s the catch, my friends. I’ve never hesitated to talk to my children about what God created. From the earliest of ages I’m whispering in their ear, “look at that beautiful moon God made!”, “look at that sunset God painted to show us His glory!”, “look at all those billions upon billions of stars and think about how God knows their names… and He knows YOUR name!”

But somehow when it comes to the topic of sex we get tight-lipped and stand-offish.

God created, the world corrupted.

Talking about sex does not take away from our child’s innocence. Yes, there is weight in walking through that door and realizing you can’t ever walk back through, but it’s a right of passage to walk through that door WITH our kids! WE should be the ones holding their hands and whispering in their ears, “Let me tell you about this good, right, and precious thing that God created…..”

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #5

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#5 Don’t Leave Them Alone

In our last post, we began to discuss why Mark and I decided to tell our children about sex at the ages we did. The first reason was because we wanted to be the ones who filled their sponge, we wanted to be the first ones to pick up the pen and help to start writing their sexual stories. The second reason we wanted to start the conversation with them while they were young because the average age a child first sees pornography is 7. Stop. Re-read that and breathe.

Sweet friends, I don’t care how killer tight your filters are, I don’t care if you blindfold your child as you walk past Victoria’s Secret, I don’t care if you’ve bubbled wrapped your child and never let them out of your house… The question isn’t IF your child will be exposed to pornography, it’s WHEN they are exposed to pornography have we equipped them to properly respond?

Imagine a child who comes across porn at 9 years old, but their parents have decided to wait till they are 13 to tell them about sex. That child will sit in what we can only imagine is shame and confusion for 4 unnecessary years (longer if the child was exposed sooner). I swore I wasn’t going to give ages, but y’all, waiting till your child is 13 is to talk to them about sex is waiting too long.

Our goal is to be wise in regards to protecting our children against pornography. We do in fact have filters. Our computer is used in our main living area. Our kids have been taught to avoid other people’s devices outside of our home because other people have different standards than we do. We have extensive processes before our kids get devices. We spend hours educating ourselves so we can be prepared to help our kids. But the single greatest defense we’ve got going is open and honest conversations about what our kids are seeing. “Mom, I was watching a 5-minute craft and I saw something inappropriate!” “Ok, baby. Why don’t you pull up the video so we can watch it together and you show me what was inappropriate!”

Talking about sex with our kiddos on the early side, set us up to talk about pornography on the early side.

One of my favorite resources is Not If But When: Preparing Our Children for Worldly Images by Perritt

The truth is we can’t be everywhere with our children, and we are trying to raise our children to leave. Our goal has been to equip them and try and set them up with tools to navigate pornography for the rest of their lives. And for us, that has meant not leaving them alone in their sexual journey!

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex Day #4

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

#4 Fill The Sponge

“At what age should I tell my kids about sex?” This is the most popular question parents want to know. If you’re looking for me to give you an exact age, it’s not going to happen. But I’m happy to tell you why we chose the ages we did, and give you some basic guidelines you should consider when thinking about what age you should tell your child about sex.

Remember, one of the goals is to TALK EARLY. All 4 of our kids were between the ages of 6-9 when we had our first actual conversation about sex, not just a conversation about body safety and the Cookie Monster. Here’s some of our thinking.

Kid’s brains are like dry sponges, and it was an important value/priority to us to be the ones who filled the sponge with knowledge, information, power, and truth. We wanted to be their #1 go-to not only when it came to their sex education, but really in all of life. We determined if we started young and filled their sponges with truth, loveliness, and security by the time ANYONE ELSE (peers, teachers, TV, books, movies etc…) started pouring knowledge into our little sponges, our kids’ brains would be saturated with a proper understanding and a foundational bedrock to stand on. And all other information would just roll off like water does when it’s trying to saturate an already full sponge. (For the record, I cannot take credit for this awesome analogy. I heard it somewhere, but honestly have no idea where. *Dear children, this is what we call avoiding plagiarism or a lawsuit. Cite your sources!*

Our children ARE going to learn about sex, the question is who is going to get to write the story first. We wanted to write this story! Not some uneducated joker on the playground. We wanted to be the first to share with our kids the beauty and design of sex. We wanted to equip them with the truth. We wanted them to be ahead of the curve, not behind.

Here’s to filling the sponge!