UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.

presents

Teen Issues: Friendship, Dating and Sex

 

 

 

Questions from real-life teens with answers from well known columnist, Tim Stafford.

Content originally appeared in Campus Life magazine. Copyright © 2001-2005 by columnist, Tim Stafford. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.

presents

Teen Issues: Friendship, Dating & Sex

Teen Issues: Friendship, Dating & Sex

Questions from real-life teens with answers from well known columnist, Tim Stafford.

Lesson 6: Social Pressures & Internet Temptations

Social Pressures & Internet Temptations

1

I Don't Want To Have Sex

Question: My prom is coming up soon and a lot of my friends have told me this is the time to lose my virginity. In fact, some of the guys I know are already making hotel reservations. I don't understand why they think it's important to lose their virginity now. Still, I don't know what to say when they talk about it. How can I answer my friends when they ask why I won't be going along with their plans for the evening?

Answer: The simplest answer is: "I have other plans." If your friends want to know what those plans are, say you plan to give yourself on your wedding night to the person you'll love forever.

Virginity isn't something to "lose." It's something to give. Don't give the most intimate act of love to someone who won't be with you for the rest of your life. And don't believe that "everybody's doing it." Several surveys suggest that at least half of the students in your high school aren't doing it.

Deep inside, your friends may already know it's not important to lose your virginity now. In fact, maybe you should ask them why they think you should have sex. It may be they'd feel better if everybody lived the way they've chosen to. Then they wouldn't have to worry they'd missed out on the best. I think every promiscuous person harbors a secret fear that sex is meant to be more meaningful than fun and games on prom night.

2

I'm Afraid I Won't Wait to Have Sex

Question: For several years now, I've kept my pledge to save myself for marriage. But a lot of people I respect—like my mom, my sister and a lot of my friends—think it's stupid to save myself for marriage. No one thinks I'm going to be able to follow through on my commitment. They say it's just not normal to wait until you're married to have sex. I want to prove my family wrong, but I'm also afraid they'll be right in the end. What should I do?

Answer: I'm proud of you for setting a direction you know is right. It's difficult when you aren't around people who support you. Some people will scoff at your pledge because they find it threatening. They've messed up, and they want to think that everybody else does the same. It's a strange way to prop up your self-image, but lots of people do it.

They're wrong, though. You can follow through on your commitment. In fact, for most of history, people considered your approach the natural one. They thought those who didn't save themselves for marriage were the ones who were strange.

"Normal" depends on who your friends are. I would strongly recommend you go looking for some new friends. Keep your old friends, and continue to love your family. But do find some other adults, like your youth pastor or a godly person at your church, who will encourage you to stick with your commitment. You badly need a peer group that understands and shares your beliefs. Look for a Christian group with a serious commitment. Check out churches and fellowships until you find a place where you're supported and strengthened.

3

Serious Without Sex?

Question: I've never been in a serious romantic relationship. I'm afraid to get into one for several reasons. My biggest fear is that I'll end up having sex, and I've already decided I want to save that for marriage. Is it possible to have a strong relationship without going to that level?

Answer: Yes, you can definitely be in a romantic relationship without having sex. Lots of people are. But you'll need help. You have to look for people who will stand by your side.

First, you should only date someone who shares your commitment. If this person isn't serious about saving sex for marriage, you'll never make it. The pressure will be too great.

Second, you need to find a supportive community. I hope you're involved in a church or youth group that believes as you do. This group will encourage you to follow through on your commitment. If you're not connected with people like this, I encourage you to get connected right away—whether or not you're in a relationship.

Third, you need at least one prayer partner. Find someone who will meet with you regularly to encourage you, pray for you, and hold you accountable. Choose a person you respect for their wisdom. You'll probably want to choose someone who is older than you—and someone who will confront you if necessary.

It's never been easy to form a God-honoring romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex. But these principles lead to solid, loving, lasting marriages. I know many people who made the choices I'm encouraging you to make, and they all say that it was worth it. With the right support, you'll be able to say the same thing.

4

Why Is Cybersex Wrong?

Question: I am a 15-year-old girl, and I recently became a Christian. A couple of days ago I was asked to have cybersex, and all I could think to do was tell the person about God. I think I might have really helped him. Now I'm wondering if there are any verses from the Bible that could help me out when I'm telling other people cybersex is wrong?

Answer: As you can probably guess, there aren't any verses that deal precisely with cybersex. After all, the Bible was written long before computers. Nevertheless, I think the Bible says a lot about cybersex.

To me, cybersex seems very much on the same level as pornography. It plays with sex in a casual, careless context that inevitably degrades the people involved. That goes against the whole spirit of the Bible, which treats sex as a powerful, mysterious connection of two people who bring their bodies and souls together in a permanent bond. God created sex to be intimate and committed. The only place it can be this way is within marriage. Cybersex is at the opposite extreme, so casual that it's only done in a virtual, unreal world.

When talking to others, I'd recommend Ephesians 4:29: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up." Paul continues this encouragement in Ephesians 5:3-4: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." If that doesn't eliminate cybersex, what will?

I would, however, encourage you to use extreme caution in communicating with anyone who wants to have cybersex. There's a very good chance they aren't teenagers, but older men. Be sure you never give them your real name or any information that could enable them to find out who you are and where you live.

5

Trapped by Cybersex

Question: A few months ago, I started going into online chat rooms and got involved with cybersex. I was feeling lonely, and this seemed like a solution. But now I feel trapped. I know this is wrong, and I've tried to stop, but every time I feel depressed or overwhelmed, I go back to it. My youth leader keeps me accountable, but I just keep falling. I feel uneasy and guilty when I talk to God. I know he's forgiven me, but I feel stuck. How can I stop this?

Answer: I'm glad you have been working with your youth leader to help you keep accountable, assuming your relationship really involves accountability. To me, accountability means that your leader prays with you, asks you tough questions on a regular basis and expects you to be honest. If that type of accountability is taking place, then your next step should be removing your access to chat rooms and cybersex. Your strategy should be to make it difficult for you to get into chat rooms. Of course, you can override any obstacles you put up. But these strategies can help you strengthen your willpower:

1) Get a filter. Some filters specifically block access to chat rooms. Some block access to pornography. Check out your options by searching online. You may also want to find software that your parents or a friend can install. That person can keep the password, so you won't be able to bypass the controls when you're tempted.

2) Put your computer out in the open. At home, move it out of your bedroom and into the living room (or wherever your parents will let you keep it). The point is that most people won't do cybersex if other people are around to watch.

3) If you find you still keep using the computer (or mobile device) for chat rooms or cybersex, get rid of your Internet connection. That's right, pull the plug. If you need to use the Internet for school, go to the library or a friend's house.

You can win this battle: "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it" (1 Corinthians 10:13, NLT). Granted, temptation doesn't always feel bearable! Yet the Scripture is true—you can stand up. Don't give up. Fight it.

6

My Brother's into Internet Porn

my brother's into internet porn

Question: I was checking the Internet history on my computer, and I discovered that my older brother, who is 16, has been looking at hard-core porn. Around people, he portrays himself as a strong Christian. He even took a mission trip recently, calling it "a wonderful Christian experience." I feel like I can't tell my parents, and my brother would get furious at me if he knew. What should I do?

Answer: Don't let fear of your brother's reaction keep you from acting. Talk directly to him. Encourage him to talk to an older person who can help and encourage him—perhaps a pastor or a youth leader at your church. I doubt that your brother is a phony Christian, as you seem to suspect. He's just a struggling Christian, caught in a terrible compulsion that many Christian guys struggle with. Pornography can be an addiction like gambling or alcohol. The person involved doesn't feel he can control himself. I bet your brother feels immense guilt and shame. He needs help, not accusations.

Say something like this: "When I checked my computer history, I saw all kinds of porn sites. I couldn't help thinking it was you, and I wondered if you have somebody you can turn to for advice and help."

Hopefully, your brother will respond positively. If he doesn't, don't get into an argument. Just tell him that the next time your computer gets used for porn, you'll have to tell your parents about it.

You might also suggest that he check out these Web sites for help: xxxchurch.com, covenanteyes.com, pureintimacy.org and PornBattle (online seminar).

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Questions from real-life teens with answers from well known columnist, Tim Stafford.

Content originally appeared in Campus Life magazine. Copyright © 2001-2005 by columnist, Tim Stafford. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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