What No One is Talking About but Everyone is Wondering AboutWe’ve all had questions about sex and romance that we were too embarrassed to ask.
In a world where information is just a few clicks away, it’s hard to imagine there are questions with answers that are hard to find. Yet, being a Christian sometimes brings with it subjects that are difficult to broach with parents, pastors, or leaders. The result often ends up with Christians taking their questions to worldly sources for answers. Due to embarrassment over a sensitive subject, we get answers that don’t always line up with our beliefs, but because we don’t know who to ask or when, we accept the world’s answers and use them to back-up our behavior.
Here you’ll find Godly answers to tricky questions we all have asked at some point. You are not alone in your questions. Maybe these answers will inform you to choose wisely with body, soul, and mind when it comes to decisions surrounding sexual activity.
How far is too far?
After I give presentations about sex from a theological perspective, I generally open up the floor for questions, and inevitably some brave soul asks this one. My response is generally, “You’re asking the wrong question.” When we enter into a relationship (or a make-out session) with another person and we’re asking this, we are beginning with the end game in mind. Not only that, but we’re also trying to make sure we get there! This question, at its root, is a selfish question. We want to know just how much we can get out of our physical activity without sinning. This question begs, “What’s in this for me?”—as opposed to, “How can I honor you?”
Perhaps that’s the question we should be asking instead. How can I honor you as we enter into a dating relationship? How can I honor God as I enter into this relationship? How can we, together honor the bodies God gave us as we begin to venture into the physical realm? When two people begin to date, they each have a history of dating—even if there haven’t been any dates. Both individuals have an idea of what is comfortable for them—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. If I’m wondering how far too far is, I may have a different boundary than my boyfriend. The next thing we need to remember is not only should we try to honor the other person in our relationship, but when we’re young and making out, the chances that the person we’re kissing now won’t be our future spouse are pretty high.
Part of our thought process should be how we’re going to stand in front of God and our current girlfriend or boyfriend’s future spouse and explain to him or her our physical activity. How comfortable are you in saying to the person to whom you will pledge your life to, and with whom you are pledging unity, that the only thing left that they alone get is intercourse—everything else has already been experienced? I know this isn’t a concrete answer to a question most teens are begging to get a definitive answer to. I’m sorry I can’t give you one. What I can say though is this “line,” this “too far” most people want to have defined, is a slippery slope. The boundary line is being asked to be crossed. Once we move our boundaries, activities start to occur that we weren’t planning. Perhaps we need to focus on the positive side of dating relationships and discuss what we do get to do. We do get to spend time together, we do get to have adventures together, and we do get to know one another and whether or not we’re a good fit for one another. I know this may seem unrealistic and a bit dated. I’m certainly not telling you not to kiss or hold hands. I’m just wondering if perhaps we can shift the focus to what we do get to do instead of what we don’t when we’re dating.
Why should I wait until marriage to have sex?
This question comes in all shapes and sizes: I’m engaged and we’re going to get married, so why shouldn’t we have sex now? I love him or her and we’re going to get engaged, why should we wait? As long as I’m monogamous, just one person at a time, then why not?
My first response is: please, slow down. We live in a world of instant, fast hurry. We also live in a world that says more is better. We want fast food, fast answers, fast cars, and fast fixes. We are seeing the pace of hurry even in what we demand of educators and how children are supposed to be learning things earlier and earlier (My Baby Can Read!). We see high schoolers hurrying away their teen years to get into college, and college students constantly preparing for their careers, or marriage, or whatever the next thing is. Slow down! Enjoy what is happening right now. Quit wasting today on expectations for tomorrow. Quit hurrying away your current experiences for the ones you haven’t had yet—including sex.
I remember talking to my friends before I was married. We would say, “Lord, please come soon…but not until I’ve had sex, okay?” Sex was somehow the pinnacle of all human experience—the ultimate feeling of fulfillment, the thing we all wanted in order to feel like we hadn’t missed out on anything. Now, let me be clear, sex is AWESOME! I’ve heard so many people say something to the effect of, “If God made anything better than sex, He kept it for Himself.” It’s true: sex is great and it’s a pretty fantastic experience. It is NOT, however, the pinnacle of all human experience. And, with the act of sex comes two things: 1) another level of responsibility 2) the opportunity to worship God with our bodies, our souls, and our partner.
God’s best plan, His only plan, is for sex to occur between married people. When we have sex before marriage, even if it is with the person we intend to marry, we are, in the long run, denying ourselves the joy that comes from covenanted sex. If we rob ourselves of covenant, we rob ourselves of blessing. When Christians engage in sex outside of marriage, the act is also paired with feelings of guilt or shame. We also open ourselves up to a host of problems such as STDs (even if we’re only monogamous, one person at a time), unwanted pregnancy, and ultimately harm. When we have sex, our bodies are not just engaging, our souls also attach to the person with whom we are having sex. When those two bodies part, the souls are like velcro and take pieces of the other person’s soul with them. If there isn’t any covenant, there is no guarantee that there will be a covenant, therefore sex is still a gamble, even if he put a (engagement) ring on it. There is no guarantee that sex is “safe” until there is covenant.
Last, but extremely important is this: redemption is always available. If you’re reading this and have already chosen to have sex outside of marriage, or participate in any activity that you feel guilt or shame, know that redemption is always free and ready for the taking. Redemption is also complete. No matter what, in all of your living, seek God. He can be found when we seek Him with our whole hearts.