Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Educator, Author

Let’s Talk About Sex: Intimacy and Isolation

I was speaking at a conference for teachers recently on this topic. In both of the sessions that I taught, a teacher made a very astute observation. They stated that what they REALLY needed to be talking with their kids about was emotional intimacy.

One of the problems with kids becoming physically intimate with each other, even if it doesn’t involve intercourse, is that they aren’t aware of the emotional intimacy that goes along with it. What we need to be sharing with our kids at a very early age is that we were made to be close to others. One of the most beautiful parts of creation is the ability to be intimate with someone you share your life with. We were made in such a way that when we share ourselves physically, we share ourselves emotionally.

The message that we want our kids to internalize is that when they choose to share themselves with another person physically in any way, they will be connected to that person emotionally. That’s a good thing, that’s how we were made! But it also means that you have to be thoughtful about physical relationships. There are emotional repercussions for physical involvement.

This is a very different message from those that the media are sending. In TV shows aimed even at 6-8 year olds, there are often incidents of romance, kissing, etc. 80% of shows aimed at teen audiences contain sexual content. Many times these incidents are casual; all about making yourself feel good. Our message needs to counteract this one. We need our kids to understand that sexuality is good and a beautiful part of who we were made to be, but only within a certain context. When people get involved in sexual relationships as adolescents, they inevitably lead to emotional pain.

Let’s focus on letting our kids know that physical intimacy does not occur in isolation. It is interwoven with our emotions. We are cherished children of God. He wants us to care for and protect ourselves as His treasures, not to demean our worth and isolate our physical actions from our emotions.

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