Chapter OneSex And YouFreedom, frustration,
How far is "too far" sexually when you are not married?
Well, this is the big question for many young people, so it's
probably a good starting point. The simple fact is that God does
not map out word for word in the Bible what is and is not okay. It
sure would be nice if he did.
But the Bible does give us a lot of guidance regarding
the age-old question of "How far is too far?" Repeatedly the
Bible says not to be sexually immoral. The Bible does not say
just to avoid the act of sexual intercourse outside of marriage,
but to avoid sexual immorality. In other words, God wants us
to be sexually pure.
So sex is more than just intercourse?
The definition of sex needs to be widened to consider more
than just intercourse. There are many sexual acts that are not
intercourse. Is the action done to cause arousal? If so, it's sexual.
It is hard to be sexually pure in mind and body if you are
constantly pushing the limits of what is, or is not, okay. When
you push the physical or sexual boundaries when you're dating,
it can be like a drug. What was exciting at first starts to seem less
exciting-so you move on to the next level because you want to
feel the next "high."
Why is reserving sex for marriage so important?
Sexual intimacy binds people together physically, emotionally,
and spiritually. Each of these three elements is distinct from
the others, yet they are dependent on one another at the same
time. Sex is a beautiful mystery and a blessing when it is handled
appropriately, and it is completely destructive when it is not.
Sex is the most physically intimate action you can
participate in with another person. And the steps leading up to
intercourse-from holding hands, to hugging and kissing, to
touching another person's naked body-are all part of it. The
level of intimacy that takes place in all physical actions leading up
to and including sex binds those two people together physically,
emotionally, and spiritually. The physical is only a representation
of what is really going on inside both people emotionally and
spiritually. When two people end a relationship that has gone far
physically, it rips them apart, because they have made themselves
so vulnerable to each other on every level.
I love my boyfriend, and he says he loves me. He tells me
he wants to go a little further. How do I decide what is
First, I do not question your ability to be in love. Many
people fall in love as teenagers, marry their high school sweethearts,
and stay married for over 50 years. And within marriage, their
sexual activity is blessed as a symbol of their union.
I don't want to fall into the trap of trying to tell you
exactly how far your actions should go. Instead, I would remind
you that God asks that you honor him in everything you do.
Many students date and display affection in ways that bring
honor to God. However, they've usually set strict boundaries
regarding where not to go.
These boundaries need to be established together-thinking
not only of what you can handle but also of each other. If
holding his hand causes him to fantasize into the land of arousal,
then stop holding his hand. If his giving you a back rub gets your
hormones rushing, then don't let him do it. Your lines should
entrench you into staying on the purity side of things.
Once the ball of physical activity starts to roll, it can be
nearly impossible to change direction. And once you have gone to
a certain level of sexual intimacy, both of you will more easily go
back to that level the next time.
I have two friends who recently got married. Both were
in their mid-twenties and had dated many people before they
dated each other. Each of them was so in love with who God
had made the other one to be that they decided not to kiss. After
dating for over a year, they were married. When they kissed on
their wedding day, it was the first time they had ever kissed. That
is truly a love story. Today, they are very happy and learning to
explore each other's bodies as any married couple would do.
So what do you do when you're "turned on" and in love but
not married yet?
Try playing a great board game like Scrabble. This will take your
mind off those thoughts-or at least you'll spell some pretty
outrageous words! But I guess spelling is a lot safer than what you
had in mind!
On a more serious note, rethink your alone time with
your boyfriend or girlfriend. It is easy to fall into temptation since
you are in love. It's tough to find a couple who can honestly say
they are not tempted to experiment, so why put yourself in that
situation? You need to place some strict parameters around the
relationship. Establish these parameters at a time when the mood
is spiritual, not sexual.
One idea could be to establish ending times for dates.
When you just hang out till the wee hours of the morning-and
no one else is up but the two of you-you have walked onto the
front lines of failure.
You could also consider going on group dates. Lots of
people make for lots of fun. The pressure for intimate action is
limited because of the size of the crowd.
You could also get an accountability partner, maybe
an older married couple who can help you and your boyfriend
or girlfriend to be accountable and sexually pure before you are
ready to get married. (For more on this, see chapter 7 about
My boyfriend and I got close, but he never actually went in
me. I am still considered pure and a virgin, right?
This question is asked of us often: Am I still a virgin? Technically
speaking, the word virgin is defined as one who has had genital
sex. However, the bigger issue is purity.
When you ask if you are "still pure and a virgin," you are
really asking two different questions. Once mistakes have been
made, purity is lost. However, we must realize that with God's
help, purity can always be restored. Always. Too many people get
bound by their past mistakes and give up on the pursuit of purity.
Regarding your statement, "he never actually went in
me," I am concerned about how you got that far along. When
two people plow through that many physical boundaries, they
are nearing the point of no return. This is a place that must be
avoided-not because of rules or regulations, but because you are
committed to the best plan that God has established for you. That
plan is one mate for life. And that can be defined only within the
commitment of a marriage.
Set parameters with your boyfriend before you get
caught up in the heat of the moment. This will prevent anger,
frustration, and a strained relationship if you miss the mark.
My girlfriend and I are trying not to have sex before
marriage, even though her mom said it was okay. So to
honor our commitment we just help each other masturbate.
It feels comfortable, so what is wrong?
There is more than one thing wrong with this. But let's address
what is right first. Your commitment to abstain from sexual
intercourse is admirable.
Now, let's consider her mom's permission. I believe
honoring mom and dad is crucial. However, when our parents
tell us something, we still need to be sure it aligns with God. If it
doesn't, we can't use "parental permission" as a license to sin.
At this point in your life, you and your girlfriend are
accountable for your own actions. Adjusting to another area of
lust and sexual sin instead of having sexual intercourse should not
ease your conscience. Look at what 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (The
Don't you realize that this is not the way to live?
Unjust people who don't care about God will not be
joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse
each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the
earth and everything in it, don't qualify as citizens
in God's kingdom. A number of you know from
experience what I'm talking about, for not so long
ago you were on that list. Since then, you've been
cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus.
To think that mutual masturbation is a form of honoring
your vow to purity is total deception. Keep your eyes on the goal.
You and your girlfriend should stimulate each other's spiritual
growth. Seek to arouse in each other a hunger to learn more
about Jesus. When this happens, you truly will be worthy of
dating each other.
One final question-The Bible instructs and warns us
that if you cause another to fall, you will be judged. Is it possible
that if you allow sexual actions into your relationship that you are
causing your girlfriend to fall? If so, what makes you exempt from
God's hand? It's worth thinking about.
My boyfriend and I have dry sex all the time (with clothes
on) and I am the only one who has an orgasm. We don't
have sex, and we both don't always orgasm at the same
time-it's just pleasure, right?
Dry sex, hmmm?
What happens at the peak of compromise is really
irrelevant. We hear this kind of thing a lot. For instance, some
people want to say that if only one of the two people is having
pleasure, then it's not a bad thing or it's not wrong. I call this
Misdirected Morality. Misdirected Morality says, "If I can
pleasure this other person by doing this but I'm not receiving
pleasure, then I'm okay."
But let's break this scene down a little further. You and
your boyfriend are fully clothed. Yet you are rolling around, body
to body, on the floor. You are simulating the full act of sexual
intercourse, yet the only thing he is penetrating is his polyester
pants. Both of you are attaching your conscience, your emotions,
and your affection to each other. The fact that there is still a
sixteenth of an inch of clothing between you does not make this
a God-blessed act.
I fear you underestimate the soul connection that is
happening here. That thin layer of clothing does not have the
ability to protect the purity of your hearts. It may prevent a
pregnancy, but it will still leave you empty when the two of you
move on to other relationships.
Some folks will argue with me about this. They will say
that what you are doing is harmless. Yet I don't believe that a
sexual act is okay just because it can't get you pregnant. That
kind of thinking explains why so many young girls, as young as
early middle school, are having dry sex and experimenting with
oral sex. Many of us in youth ministries were alarmed to hear that
many local middle school students were attending oral sex parties.
When confronted by the school officials, the young girls had a
response similar to yours. They said, "We did not have sex!" As if
that would console their parents. It's Misdirected Morality.
Allow God's Word to guide you. Consider this passage
from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (The Message): "God wants you to
live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to
appreciate and give dignity to your body."
Am I still a virgin if I've given my boyfriend oral sex?
Many hours of counseling have been spent talking with people
who feel they have lost their virginity because of oral sex. The
definition of a virgin is one who has not had sexual intercourse.
Technically, people can be virgins and still engage in very sexual
behaviors. So yes, you are still a virgin. But as we've said earlier,
God's goal exceeds virginity. His goal is purity. And one cannot
participate in oral sex outside of marriage and still be pure.
But I would caution you to guard against the trap of
condemnation. Even if you have missed the mark on purity, ask
God to cleanse you and then embrace the fact that you are forgiven!
With his grace and strength, you'll remain on the right track.
My best friend always makes out with all her girl friends-I
think she's just trying to get attention. Recently, she tried
to make out with me and everyone knows. Now people are
making fun of me. What should I do?
First things first-let's define what it means to be a friend. If your
"best" friend is acting this way, you may need to reconsider the
foundation of your friendship. A friend is a faithful listener, not a
flirty luster. A friend sharpens, but doesn't seduce. A friend gives
attention and doesn't always seek to get attention.
Having said that, let's take a deeper look. You stated
that everyone knows and people are making fun of you. I assume
they are making fun of the fact that she hit on you, not that you
refused. Again, if they are making fun of you for refusing, then
you need to cut these friends loose. It will be better to find some
new friends-or even to be lonely-than to have to fight these
battles with those who are closest to you.
Proverbs 17:9 says, "He who covers over an offense
promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close
friends." If your friends keep talking about you and making fun
of you, they should know that ultimately they will lose you.
If I have oral sex with my boyfriend and then he finishes by
masturbating, would that mean I had sex with him? I didn't
finish him off, and I got no pleasure for myself.
Yes, you had oral sex with him. Never has sex been qualified by
whether you were in contact or initiated contact prior to, during,
or after ejaculation. The fact that you are trying to fly under the
purity radar is a concern. By the time you are at that point, you
may have been more intimate than you can even fathom.
Oral sex is one of the most intimate acts that can occur
between two people. Young people dodging the meaning of sex
have lost the concept of what it means to be pure. It reminds me
of a former president who did not feel he was unfaithful to his
wife because of your exact scenario. In fact, many of the youth
that I counsel use that very example to argue with me.
The greater picture is purity of the mind, heart, and
spirit. God does not delight in the fact that you didn't finish what
you started. God detests the fact that you were in that position at
all. What was meant for intimacy between two married people has
been diminished to a backseat romp where you "got no pleasure
I want to challenge you to reaffirm your commitment to
God, your future spouse, and your own purity. Use the Bible as
your guideline. And don't allow yourself to be used to "start him
off." You are a beloved child of God, not just a tool or a physical
playground for someone else's pleasure.
All my life I have been attracted to guys as much as girls.
Does this mean I am a homosexual?
Thank you for the honest question and for having the right
heart to address this issue. I can tell you firmly the answer is:
NO, you are not a homosexual. Homosexual is a term the world
has dubbed for those who attach themselves sexually to a person
of the same gender.