Question

I am not going to lie, but when I was little my cousin, who is only a year and a half older than me, did some things to me that changed my life forever. Because of what he did, I started masturbating from a very young age.

I am 19 now and I am slowly letting go. It's not that I don't want to stop, It's just that the struggle is tough.

I have a boyfriend of two weeks and today it happened -- I lost my virginity to him. I had always told myself that sex was something I would do when I get married, but I gave in today. I know it is wrong and what worries me is that I seem to be forcing my guilt. I am in college. My whole family is looking up to me, and they are very proud. I really don't want to disappoint them by my getting pregnant. I am always the one telling people that sex is wrong, and that we should always pray to God to strengthen us when temptation comes; but today I failed to use my own advice. During the sin, my heart was pounding like crazy, and I totally ignored it. I need help, but I don't know where to get it. Please tell me what to do.


Answer

You were sexually abused by a relative when you were young, but because you were young you saw that as at least partially your fault instead of realizing the truth of the matter: that your cousin sinned against you. But since he too was young, that tells me that it is highly likely that he's been sexually abused but someone else. Children who are abused have a strong tendency to repeat the abuse on others as a result of the confusion over what happened to them.

What I've also noticed over the years is that sexual abuse in childhood also has a tendency to weaken a person's resistence to fornication later. I suspect it is due to the confusion that result from the conflict of knowing that what was done was wrong but at the same time knowing that the body enjoyed the wrongful act. I note that conflict in your note. You speak strongly that your fornication was wrong, but at the same time hint that you are struggling with the good feelings it physically caused.

Like most sexual sins, you were focused on not letting a boy put his penis in you. As long as you didn't go that far, you decided you were safe from sin. The problem though is that sin was going on long before the intercourse started, but you were caught up in the enjoyment of the sexual feelings to take notice or even question what was going on. Thus, when things progressed to the point of actual intercourse, you were not in a mental state to make a rational decision.

But consider this other similarity, I see no mention of the shared responsibility of the boy involved. You only knew him two weeks! That tells me that he was pressuring you for sex, even if you didn't recognize it. It doesn't make you less responsible for your part in the sin, but do you notice how you repeat the childhood pattern of putting full blame on yourself because you enjoyed it?

So, let's you and I step back a moment and look at this situation a bit more rationally. Is it sensible to take risks of getting pregnant with a boy you basically don't know? Since the possibility of pregnancy was mentioned, I assume that no effort was made to prevent conception -- not that any method is 100% perfect. Then there is the question of sexually transmitted disease. It sounds highly likely that you are not this boy's first conquest. You should get checked for STDs just to be safe.

But then there is more practical matters. Clearly his standards regarding following God's Word is lower than your own. What kind of husband would he make if you decided to marry him? Could you trust him to respect wedding vows if he is willing to shed clothing with a girl he barely knew?

Also there is the expectation that once done, it is permissible to repeat the sin. One of the great tragedy of fornication is that it basically stops all progress of getting to know another person as a person. Sex becomes the focus of everything you do. But sex can't make a stable relationship. See Marriage's Glue for more about this.

You can't undo what you did, but you can change what you will do in the future. Pray to God for forgiveness. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). Then you need to decide whether to keep this boy as a friend or not, knowing that he will continue to pressure you to repeatedly have sex with him and knowing that your body will respond favorably to his advances. I suspect that the only way to end this sin is to end the relationship -- unless he too admits he was wrong and wants to change (and not just to keep you around for another attempt).

Finally, if both of you are serious about changing, then you need to reset your behaviors with each other so that you aren't doing related sins that lead of to fornication: sins, such as lust, lewdness, and uncleanness. All of this is doable, but it can't be done just by one person. It won't succeed if the other person is undermining all attempts to live righteously.

Thank you for your advice; it cleared up a lot of things. God bless you! :)