Are You Unconvinced About Sexual Purity?
My first sexual encounter unfortunately occurred at a friend’s sleepover party when I was just six or seven years old. To this day, the details of the molestation are hard for me to remember, but that didn’t matter; I was still emotionally scarred. For years afterward, I struggled to view myself as someone who was beautiful and pure. I felt damaged, insecure, and unprotected. It had happened at a friend’s house—a place where I should have been safe.
As is often the case in a situation like mine, I grew up thinking that most men were abusive. I was convinced that most men were overly interested in sex, wanted to control women, and were unfaithful. It took me a long time to realize that my thoughts concerning sex and sexuality weren’t healthy. God had to retrain my mind and heart, so I could begin to think about sex from a positive, wholesome perspective.
What Does “Sex” Actually Mean?
Most people don’t learn about sex in a healthy way. Some of us had experiences that left us feeling damaged; after our first sexual encounters, we felt heartbroken or ashamed. Some of us learned about sex through our young friends, who didn’t necessarily have all the “facts” straight themselves. Or we read about sex online or in books or magazines—sources filled with other people’s opinions and views.
The result is that many of us believe things about sex and sexuality that aren’t necessarily true. They may be “true” according to the world’s standards, but they don’t have the light and love of God at their core.
Some young people are even confused about what sex is. According to Sabrina Weill, author of The Real Truth About Teens and Sex, a number of young adults don’t even know how “losing their virginity” actually works. Is oral sex “real” sex? Is touching someone’s genitals “real” sex? She writes:
It's interesting that nearly a quarter of teenagers seem unsure about what qualifies as virginity loss—this used to be a rather cut-and-dried issue. It speaks to the new and shifting boundaries and new ways of talking and thinking about sex that this is no longer the case. I will add, though, that in my experience when teens are talking about themselves (i.e.: "When I lost my virginity"), the term "virginity" does tend to mean sexual intercourse.
Click here to read chapter 1 of her book.You might find it interesting.
What Is Best for You?
Many young people who believe in God understand that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is a sin. Yet they are not above “testing” other aspects of sex. It is like they’ve convinced themselves that as long as they don’t actually have intercourse, they are following the basic “rules” of Scripture and aren’t stepping into sin.
But here’s the thing. Any sexual act outside of marriage runs the risk of damaging your heart. Even if you’re not having sexual intercourse, you are opening yourself up to a realm that God does not intend for unmarried people to enter. This isn’t because He believes sex is “dirty,” nor is it because He loves control and wants to keep His people in line. But He wants what is best for you, and honestly, the best for you looks like waiting until marriage.
Here are a few things you can do if you’re still trying to determine where the “line in the sand” falls when it comes to sex:
- Pray about it.
- See what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage (1 Thessalonians 4:3–8) and having a pure heart before God (Matthew 5:8).
- Allow God to “retrain” your mind with His thinking (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- Be honest with God. Tell Him exactly how you feel and what you’re struggling with, and in turn, let Him be honest with you.