middle schoolers and sex

think christian recently reported a study by the university of texas health science center (click that link for the report), based on work done in “a large southeastern urban school district”.

a few paragraphs:

In the study, Markham and colleagues defined sexual intercourse as vaginal, oral or anal sex. According to their research, by age 12, 12 percent of students had already engaged in vaginal sex, 7.9 percent in oral sex, 6.5 percent in anal sex and 4 percent in all three types of intercourse.

More than one-third of youth in the study reported engaging in precoital touching behaviors. Among the students who engaged in precoital behavior, 43 percent reported having engaged in sexual intercourse.

the numbers aren’t huge, but are still horribly high when we consider that these are young teens (really, “by age 12”!). i’m actually surprised that the percentage for vaginal sex is higher than the percentage for oral sex.

talking about sex and sexuality with middle school kids can be awkward and giggle-festy. but we have to go there. and we have to give them more than a “just say no” instruction.

what are you doing in your middle school ministry to talk about sex and sexuality?

(btw: i still think good sex 2.0 is the best sexuality curriculum i have seen for youth ministry — really great stuff).

11 thoughts on “middle schoolers and sex”

  1. i have been astounded at how sexually aware the middle schoolers in our group are. it is such a tough topic though, because in the same small group of 7th grade boys i can have kids who i know are having oral sex and other kids who have no clue what it is. the harderst part is when parents of the clueless kids get angry at the church for bringing up such ‘adult’ topics with their children. i understand the frustration, but based on the research you’re quoting… bringing the topic up regularly is a necessary evil. thanks for the post.

  2. Wow … this was perfect timing! Next Sunday I start a series on sex with our middle schoolers and there are some people that think it’s weird that I’m doing that. “Is that really necessary???” I usually respond, “have you met our kids???” Anyway, I just printed this post so I can have it kicking around.

  3. We just finished a series with our Jr. High and High Schoolers and by the end I was amazed at what our young teens are exposed to (and I thought I had a pretty good handle on things.) Our kids ran the gamut of sexual experiences and influences. Some students were hearing about porn and oral sex for the first time, while some of my 7th grade girls expressed that there are girls at school who are telling them that it’s “cool” to get pregnant and “cool” to have sex with multiple guys.

    We focused on God’s truth that “sex is good” but only when it’s used the way God intended. I found Saddleback’s curriculum to be really helpful. We used it as a start point and then turned it into something specific for our students and culture.

    Bottom line is that if our young teens aren’t hearing the truth about sex at home or from us, then they’re only hearing the lies. Lies from the media, movies, tv, etc, and lies from their friends.

  4. We did a study with our middle school, high school, and parents (parents had to attend if their teenager took part) using Rob Bell’s book Sex God as a starting point. Parents met together and shared thoughts and insights on the book. At the same time, we based our teaching on some of the main points from the book with the students. The aim of this study was to encourage conversation between parents and teenagers, and give them a place to start the conversation. Overall, I think it went well once parents and students got past the taboos and giggles.

  5. Wait, you write, “i’m actually surprised that the percentage for vaginal sex is lower than the percentage for oral sex”, but I’m reading that the percentage for vaginal sex is 12% while that for oral is 7.9% – ????

  6. I’m about to start Group Publishing’s Jr. High Exposed with my middle schoolers. Most of us talk about these issues with our high school students only to find out its too late for many of them. Besides, if they are learning about it at school at a middle school level, why shouldn’t we be teaching about the biblical view in the church. I am really confused as to why there is so little curriculum designed for middle school students on this topic.

  7. As a Sunday School teacher and youth leader, I have had occasion to address the topic of sex with children ages 9-12. It isn’t usually planned, but somehow in the course of studying current events and listening to their conversations the need arises. Some girls have complained about the unwanted attention they receive since becoming more developed while others seem to enjoy it. The boys aren’t really mature enough at this age to understand (in my opinion) why it is wrong to be thinking about those things the way I have heard them discussing it. I have had to reprimand one boy for his physical actions toward a girl … I usually explain how God has specific plans for sexual activity (within the confines of marriage). How it is meant to be a beautiful expression of love and how the world has cheapened it. Sadly, I see some of our kids headed down the wrong road when it comes to their sexuality. They like the attention too much. It is sad to see the need for discussing sex at younger ages, but more and more pre-teens are getting sexually involved.

  8. oops — wrote that wrong, howie. i changed it. i’m actually surprised vaginal sex is HIGHER than oral.

  9. We used the ‘Sex. Dating.’ video curriculum with our students – jr. and sr. high – this past spring. It was well-received. As a matter of fact, we had such good attendance that we are going to talk about sex every week now. :-)

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