Last updated on October 25, 2020
I looked through your site and read some of the questions and answers on premarital sex, but I would like more explanation and help. I’m a twenty-two-year-old virgin, and up to this point in my life, I’ve dealt with the temptation to have sex pretty easily. But I think that I’ve never been really tempted because I didn’t start dating until just 6 or 7 months ago. I’ve never had a boyfriend.
Three months ago I met someone and we started dating “casually.” From the start, he made it clear that he wasn’t interested in anything long-term and didn’t want anything long-term. As a Christian, this was a clear signal that I should walk the other way because I was looking for a long-term relationship that would hopefully end up in marriage. Another signal was that even though he had a Christian upbringing, he wasn’t a practicing Christian. But I found myself unable to resist continuing to go on dates with him because he is a kind, warm and affectionate person, who, if we weren’t dating, I would want to be friends with.
Things started to get physical between us almost right away, and we’ve gone far in this direction like touching each other in places and so on. I started thinking about the real reasons why I didn’t end things after the first date, and I’m worried that my problem goes beyond being tempted to have sex. The past three months have been a really difficult period in my life: I have issues with anxiety and depression, and also relationship issues with my parents whom I live with. I’m also struggling to put behind me some really difficult experiences I’ve had growing up as a child. As of now, I have no close friends and live a relatively socially isolated life. I’m thinking that I using our dates and physical touching to get away from these problems. Being around him is one of the few things I enjoy in my life at this point. What’s worse is that I know that at some point we will go our separate ways because he doesn’t want anything long-term and this is adding to my anxieties because I don’t want to get attached to him and get hurt later on.
My question is how do I find the strength to end things with him? Because right now it feels good being around him, but I can tell that if I keep going with things, I might make more mistakes like sleeping with him and add to my existing problems, which are hard enough to deal with. Any advice would be great!
Given how perceptive you are concerning both what is going on and why you are dragging your feet, I’m surprised a bit that this alone isn’t sufficient motivation to stop chasing after the flesh. “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14).
Let’s put this bluntly. The boy has told you that he isn’t interested in marriage. He quickly moved your times together to one that is sexually stimulating. Thus, his motivation is clear. He wants to have sex with you, badly enough that he is willing to expend time breaking down your defenses. To him, you are another challenge to conquer, enjoy for a while, and then move on with no regrets. He’ll be able to do this because to men sex is something a person does. Liking the person you’re doing it with helps but ultimately it isn’t a requirement.
For you, you are starving for attention and affection, so much so that you are willing to bend your principles to “purchase” them. Logically you know he isn’t really interested in you, but it is easy to ignore this. In this, you are behaving in a typically female way. It is the relationship that is piquing your sexual interest in this guy.
But I suspect that you are focused on avoiding fornication because you know that is sinful and carries a large number of risks. So long as he doesn’t put his penis in you, you believe you are safe. As a result, you are only worried about the things you are doing only in the sense of what it might lead to. You don’t really see that you are already in sin. Committing fornication is a sin, but we sometimes get trapped into thinking that if we avoid one sin, then other things that lead up to it are not so bad. What you two need to come to realize is that the sins leading up to fornication are just as bad. All sins are equal in this regard; they all lead to death (Romans 6:23).
Thus, the “messing around,” the heavy petting of each other’s bodies, and the touching of private areas are the sin of lewdness. Paul said, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1), and by that he is talking about sexual touching. You can’t stir up the body’s instinctive desires for sex and think you can resist.
Even thinking about doing things you should not do is a sin. I’m not talking about passing temptation, but the acceptance of doing something sinful if you got the chance. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). Jesus’ point is that sin begins in the mind and the place to first battle sin is there. You can’t let yourself daydream about having sex or committing acts of lewdness. The Song of Solomon illustrates this well. Each time the heroine starts to daydream of sex, she stops and issues the warning: “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases” (Song of Solomon 2:7). Stirring up passion is a poor attempt at rushing love. Love isn’t the physical acts. Love is how you treat each other, even at the worse of times (I Corinthians 13:4-8). Yes, married couples who are in love get involved in physical acts that demonstrate their love, but you can’t get the cart before the horse. Doing the physical acts doesn’t mean you are in love; yet, too many couples think they are making love happen by engaging in acts of sex.
Logically, if you aren’t supposed to do or dream about doing the things that lead up to fornication, then it is just as wrong to talk about sex. “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:3-7). Personal phones and the ability to send private pictures have caused this to become a major stumbling block in our society. Because the other person is not present, we fool ourselves into thinking it is acceptable to discuss things we would never say or do in public. But the sin of uncleanness (dirty talk) is just as bad as any other sin. Perhaps people have gotten numb to it because uncleanness is present in our movies, songs, and books. We are so used to its presence that we become numb to the fact that it is wrong and a danger.
Now that you see what is going on in a clearer light, do you find yourself repulsed by the sin you’ve been snared? I can pretty much guarantee that if you put your foot down and say no more fooling around, let alone absolutely no sex, he might push a bit to see if you really mean it, but these types of guys will just pack up and look for easier pickings. He is not the type of guy who is going to wait around until marriage to have sex. He’s been hanging around because he thinks you’re close to letting him in.