Question: I am nineteen years old, and I'm proud to say that I'm still a virgin. I plan to stay that way until I get married, even though it is difficult to control what I feel. Do you have any suggestions that will help people like me to be moral in a very immoral world? I mean, almost everyone I know is sleeping with somebody, and I don't want to do that. Still, I need help to do what is right. What do you suggest?
Answer: I admire your determination to save yourself for your future spouse. You will never regret that decision. But in order to stick to it, you need to understand that sex is progressive in nature. The relationship between a man and a woman naturally becomes more intimate as they spend time together.
In the early days they may be content to hold hands or have an occasional good-night kiss. But from that beginning, they typically become more physical week by week until they find themselves in bed. That's just the power of sex in our lives.
I read one study that indicated that when a couple has been together for approximately three hundred hours, even most of those who are trying to be moral will do things they didn't intend originally. They may not even realize that is where the relationship is headed until it happens.
What I'm saying is that the decision not to have sexual intercourse should be made long before the opportunity presents itself. Steps can then be taken to slow down the natural progression before it gets started. It doesn't work to allow all the preliminary intimacies and then hope to stop the progression just short of intercourse. Very few people have the willpower to do that.
Instead, a very early decision must be made to delay kissing, fondling, caressing, and other forms of physical contact. Failure to put the relationship on a slower timetable may result in an act that was never intended in the first place.
Another important principle is to avoid the circumstances where compromise is likely. A girl who wants to preserve her virginity should not find herself in a house or dorm room alone with someone to whom she is attracted. Nor should she single-date with someone she has no reason to trust. A guy who wants to be moral should stay away from the girl he knows would go to bed with him. Remember the words of Solomon to his son: "Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house" (Proverbs 5:8).
I know this advice sounds very narrow in a day when virginity is mocked and chastity is considered old-fashioned. But I don't apologize for it. The Scriptures are eternal, and God's standards of right and wrong do not change with the whims of culture. He will honor and help those who are trying to follow His commandments. In fact, the apostle Paul said, "He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear" (1Corinthians 10:13). Hold that promise and continue to use your head. You'll be glad you did.
From The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide, by Dr. James Dobson.
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