The Number One Way To Reduce The Risk Of An Early Sexual Debut

By Dannah Gresh, Creator of Secret Keeper Girl


Of all the things you can do to reduce the risk of your child experiencing an early sexual debut, social science states that one thing reduces the risk more than anything else. And I think it’s safe to say that social science is just figuring out what God recorded in the pages of Scripture.

What is the number one way to reduce the risk of an early sexual debut? It’s not signing a purity pledge. Though signing one has been proven to delay sexual experience by about 18 months, these are not fool proof tools. It’s not peer-based abstinence accountability programs. Though programs like Best Friends have proven that positive peer pressure to delay sex is effective, resulting in an 80% reduction in the likelihood that participants would have sex. It’s not having your child participate in comprehensive abstinence education. Though programs such as Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education have participants who are less likely to experiment with sex than those who did not take the comprehensive course. It’s also not your killer youth pastor, a best-selling book like my first (And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity), or attending a purity event with Christian principles. Nope! These things help and remind us that our approach must be comprehensive when helping our children embrace and live out a Christian sexual ethic.

The number one risk reducer? It’s you, mom! And dad! Parent-child connection is the thing that most reduces of the risk of an early sexual debut and so much more that you might fear for your child including substance abuse, violent behavior, or academic failure.

Many studies, including this one out of Houston,  reveal that parent-child connection is a powerful risk reducer to teen sexual activity. God’s word asserted that thought long before we started doing social surveys. The task of moral development is never assigned to anyone but mom and dad. Not the schools. Not our churches. Not authors and speakers. But parents.

When Bob and I saw this research, we did three things.

1.) We discussed and embraced radical goals in terms of how we connected with our kids—from eating dinner together 3-5 times a week to creating family hobbies that glued us together like playing laser tag or boating. We wanted to connect with our family, I wanted to get better at connecting with my daughter. There is no such thing as quality time. It takes quantity. Period.

2.) We got smarter. Connection also means communicating. We became learners. Reading everything we could to be culturally aware and academically armed with sexual theology, sexually transmitted diseases, and relationship issues, we made it our aim to become the experts our kids needed us to be to guide them wisely. Here’s our list of the top ten resources to talk to kids of all ages about sex.

3.) We created tools for you to connect. This required us to reorganize our ministry… entirely. We stopped doing events for teens only, and began creating parent-child connecting events so that mom and dad get to be in the driver’s seat of value forming conversations. Secret Keeper Girl, which connects the hearts of mothers and daughters to discuss topics like purity, modesty, and true beauty, has been the most blessed of our events constructed under this model. We have live events, but also many other resources and fun mother daughter activities. We also offer an event for teen girls named Pure Freedom.

This fall, we introduced a father/tween son event entitled Born to Be Brave in order to create an environment to talk about biblical “man stuff” that is “100% cool and 0% awkward.” With articles like “Where Have All the Good Men Gone” popping up in the media and emasculation a societal norm, we believe that it’s time to walk with fathers as they teach their sons to be brave.

What does it mean to be brave?

“…the righteous are bold as a lion.” —Proverbs 28:1B

There it is. God’s definition of bravery. Do you see it? Bravery is synonymous with being righteous. It’s doing the next right thing. In a world that pulls at our sons with porn, mind-numbing hours of gaming, and other distractions or evils, we want to set the stage for a lifetime of conversation that makes dads the best examples of bravery their sons will ever know. Our biggest goal, as always, is to create a connection experience for fathers and sons. Visit our new website where dads can take our Strategic Father Connection IQ Quiz to see how well they’re doing with connection. Bob and I hope to see your son and his dad at one of our events in the spring.

Connect with your child and start the conversation by attending one of our events for tween boys and girls! Secret Keeper Girl features fun fashion shows that demonstrate modesty and true beauty, deep Bible teaching, live worship, and stories that help girls aged 7-12 embrace true beauty and modesty. Born to Be Brave features interactive games, Biblical teaching, the WHEEL OF DESTRUCTION, and live worship with the Allan Scott Band— all strategically designed to put the brave back in your boy in a world that will emasculate and rip the goodness out of him, if given the chance.


Michelle - October 11, 2017

That’s great for those who have present parents. Good parents are the answer to so many of the worlds troubles. For those of us who grew up in dysfunction or abandonment these other resources would have been a blessing.

    Dannah Gresh - October 12, 2017

    It is critical to have other resources and especially mentoring programs for those whose parents are not able to enter into the work of parent.

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