This is where someone might typically give a statistic about how many teens are sexually active.
But we’re not going to do that. Because just like you would tell your teen, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is or isn’t doing. Your teen can and should be different!
If your teen is a believer in Christ, they are set apart and called to a different level of living. If they aren’t—you can still stand for a better outcome. Your teen is not a statistic—he or she is a human being with hopes, dreams, gifts and talents, and above all else—a future.
Debunking the Myths
- Sexual abstinence is impossible.
One of the greatest gifts and responsibilities God has given us is self-control over our own bodies. With Him, all things are possible. The good news is more teenagers are practicing abstinence than ever before. As of 2020, a CDC study found that only 40% of teens have been sexually active. As believers, we are called to remain sexually pure until marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2, Genesis 2:24). We can and should encourage our teens to make purity a priority.
- It’s no big deal if teens are sexually active.
Recent data shows that teens who abstain from sex are less likely to suffer from depression or attempt suicide. They are also less likely to suffer from STDs, have children out of wedlock, or live in poverty.  Teens who delay sexual activity are also found to have longer and more stable marriages in adulthood. 
There’s more. Teens who abstain from sexual activity are likely to have greater focus on the future, greater impulse control, greater perseverance, greater resistance to peer pressure, and more respect for parental and societal values.
They’re also two and a half times less likely to drop out of school.
So now that we know sexual purity is possible and preferable, it’s important to also realize that it is a parent’s responsibility to guide teens in that direction.
Here’s how to help your teen stay sexually pure.
1. Talk About It.
Most parents don’t look forward to talking about the sensitive subject of sex.
But here’s why it is so important.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy, nine out of 10 teens say they would be more likely to delay sex if their parents would talk to them about it. CDC research confirms that there is a relationship between parent/teen communication and decreased and delayed sexual activity.
Overcome the awkward feeling and talk about it. If it doesn’t come from you, it will come from someone else or worse, the Internet. Push through the awkwardness and be willing to dive into the topic. Even if your teen acts uncomfortable, deep down, they really appreciate that you care enough to do so.
What should you talk about?
Here are a few ideas for discussion.
- Remaining a virgin until marriage is not only realistic, but it is the standard for our family.
- Sex is beautiful, and it is to be shared with one special person within the marriage relationship.
- Sexually transmitted diseases are a big deal.
- Pregnancy will change your life forever.
- Information provided elsewhere is not always reliable. When people say sex is no big deal, they’re leaving out a lot of information.
- Sex has a much deeper meaning than the mere physical act.
- We are here to support you, so you don’t have to make these choices alone.
- It is never too late to abstain.
These discussions are the beginning of providing an expectation and safe space for discussion that will help your teen stay sexually pure.
2. Provide a Positive Home Life
Research has shown over and over that a positive home life is a strong factor in the behavior of teens.
A positive home life produces teens who:
- Achieve higher grades.
- Are less likely to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts.
- Have a higher level of confidence.
- Are less likely to use drugs or alcohol.
- Have a greater sense of belonging.
What constitutes a positive home life?
- Families who eat dinner together at least 5 times per week.
- Families who play games, go on outings, or go on vacations together.
- Families whose parents work to get along and prevent strife in the home.
- Two-parent households.
- Families who attend church together.
- Parents who are present and not gone working long hours.
- Households with well-defined rules and boundaries with clear consequences for breaking the rules.
As part of your plan for helping your teen stay sexually pure, make adjustments in your home life that will provide the solid ground on which a teenager needs to thrive. It will benefit the whole family at the same time!
3. Monitor Media Choices
Media is a bigger factor in child and teenage behavior than most people realize.
Research has found that the earlier a child is exposed to sexual content (even what may seem innocent to us on mainstream television), the earlier they become sexually active. It doesn’t have to be rated R content to be sexual in nature.
Determine to monitor media choices—not just for your teen, but for the whole family. Limit or preferably eliminate sexual content from your choices. You can get an idea about what is in a movie, television show, or video game from a resource like www.pluggedin.com.
4. Keep Your Teen Busy
Another great way to keep your teen sexually pure is to ensure they have a full calendar. Team sports, clubs, music lessons, or part-time jobs are all great ways for teens to learn, grow, and keep their minds and bodies focused on positive activities.
Not only will they benefit from practicing discipline and responsibility, but it removes them from the temptations that come with too much idle time. Most teens say they didn’t plan to have sex, but it “just happens.” However, most of it “just happens” between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., while mom and dad are at work.
Ensuring that you know where your teen is at all times is also a way to hold them accountable for how they use their time.
5. Share God’s Design for Sex
Of all the things your teen hears about sex, the most important thing they can learn is that it is holy and beautiful, and designed by God for us to enjoy. It is out of His love for us that He has given us the command to reserve sex for marriage. He does so to protect us, not stifle us.
You can share with your teen that it is a special gift to save the most intimate act for the one they choose to marry and spend their lives with—and they should want the same from their future spouse!
Help them to look forward to what will be the most beneficial decision they can make for their future, rather than just looking at the now.
6. Remember That Yes, It Is Your Business
Teens can sometimes convince parents that they need to be given space and freedom to do whatever they like.
While it is important to give some freedom, a teen living in your home is not entitled to carte blanche freedoms. Keep in mind that the frontal lobe of the brain (that part that is responsible for decision making and self-regulation) doesn’t finish developing until age 25.
So big decisions at this age require the wisdom and guidance of a loving parent.
Remember that yes, it is your business what they do and who they spend time with it. They can roll their eyes and get mad all they want—you do your job and do it with confidence mom and dad!
A strong set of dating guidelines and expectations can help teens to know where to draw the line. Curfews, rules surrounding spending time alone with the opposite sex, and dating rules can be a good place to start.
We hope these tips on how to help your teen stay sexually pure are helpful. Above all, we encourage you to pray regularly over your teen and their sexual purity. Your efforts will not be in vain!
 Denise Holfers, et al., “Adolescent Depression and Suicide Risk: Association with Sex and Drug Behavior,”American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 27, No. 3, 2004. Robert E. Rector, Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., Lauren R. Noyes, and Shannan Martin, The Harmful Effects of Early Sexual Activity and Multiple Sexual Partners Among Women: A Book of Charts, The Heritage Foundation, June 23, 2004.
 Rector, Johnson, Noyes, and Martin, op. cit., p. 10.