Everything But All the Way?

Everything But All the Way?

I know sex outside of marriage is a sin, but in this day and age, staying a virgin is difficult.
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Q. I know sex outside of marriage is a sin, but in this day and age, staying a virgin is difficult. I think the best compromise available is not going all the way but having foreplay. What do you think?

A. I agree with you about one thing: It is very difficult to hold on to your virginity these days. So many messages tell you that sex is no big deal, that it's normal to have sex before you're married and abnormal not to. Very few movies or songs or TV shows or books or magazine articles give you examples of couples waiting to have sex. And all of those messages can make it really difficult to stand up for what is right.

But doing what's right is nearly always difficult. Whether it's being honest or treating people with kindness or abstaining from sex until you're married, the right choice is rarely the easy choice. And no matter how the times change, the truth of the Bible does not. So you have to decide which kind of person you want to be—one who does what's right or one who does what's easy.

As for how to handle the temptation to have sex, I think you're heading down a dangerous path with your "foreplay" theory. I mean, it's called foreplay for a reason. It comes "before" sex. All the kissing and touching that leads up to sex serves a very specific purpose—to get your body ready for intercourse. But your body doesn't like it when you stop it from doing what you've prepared it to do. It wants to keep moving in the direction of sex. The closer you get to that line between foreplay and intercourse, the more difficult it is to stop. It's like making yourself a huge hot fudge sundae then trying not to eat it. Why would you?

If you really want to hold on to your virginity, here are a few things I think you should do:

1) Only date people who are committed to holding on to their virginity. It's a lot easier to stay a virgin when your date isn't pressuring you for sex.

2) Set clear physical boundaries with whomever you date. Decide what you will and won't do. Stick to that decision.

3) Avoid being alone with your date. The best way to avoid temptation is to stay out of tempting situations.

Living the life God wants for you isn't easy. Life is filled with difficult choices. But with God's help, you can be the kind of person who refuses to take the easy route.

Carla is an editor of the Teen Devotional Bible (Zondervan).

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