UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.


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.


Teen Issues: Friendship, Dating & Sex

Teen Issues: Friendship, Dating & Sex

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

Lesson 7: Talking about Sex

Talking about Sex


When Do We Talk About Sex?

Question: I'm committed to saving myself for marriage. My question: When is it appropriate to tell this to someone you're dating? I know it's important to be clear about your standards and values, but it just seems weird to blurt out on your first or second date: "I'm not planning on sleeping with you unless we're married!"

Answer: I agree with you. That would be weird. To tell the truth, though, discussing your standards and values can seem weird at any time. It's not necessarily easy, but it needs to be done.

You can reduce the weirdness considerably by dating people who are serious about their Christian faith. Then you have a good chance of sharing the same values. That makes it easier.

You don't need to have this discussion on your first or second date, but I think you need to have it before you get physically involved. If and when you start kissing, showing physical affection and feeling physical attraction, it's time to talk. Both of you should share your values and agree on some ground rules on what you will and will not do together. This conversation should take place in a public place, like a park or a coffee house, where you won't get interrupted and where you won't be touching each other.

Your discussion will help you to find out if the two of you have different values. If you find that you're not on the same page about waiting for sex or setting limits on your physical relationship, you'd be better off not dating. No relationship can be healthy and happy when two people can't agree on such basic issues.


How Do I Get Her Back?

Question: About six months ago, I met a girl I really like. We went out every now and then, and I'd really like her to be my girlfriend. But we started talking about sex and what it would be like to have sex, and she told me that she's started to feel guilty. She doesn't want to go out with me anymore, because she said talking to me has caused her to have a lot of lustful thoughts. I don't know what to do, because I really like her. I wasn't planning to have sex with her, but I feel like she doesn't understand that. It's almost like she can't hear me. What should I do?

Answer: You talked about sex in a way that wasn't healthy or appropriate for a dating relationship. Maybe you honestly thought that what you did was innocent, but it wasn't. Basically, it's like verbal pornography and does affect your mind. I understand why this girl felt guilty. It shows she takes this kind of sex talk seriously and values purity. She knows what she wants, and together, the two of you weren't heading there.

I think your only chance with her is to demonstrate that you get what she's talking about. But don't just demonstrate it, really work at understanding it. Pray about it. Why did you want to talk about sex like you did? What did it do to your thoughts? How'd it change the way you thought about her? Or looked at her?

After you've had some time to think things over, maybe you can write her a letter and explain what went wrong and why you regret it. Tell her you realize you weren't good for her, or good for yourself. If you feel like you are ready for a God-honoring relationship, tell her you hope she can give you another chance—if not now, then maybe someday. Then try to live in such a way that she can see a change.

I have one more extremely important piece of advice for you. I encourage you to develop different patterns of thinking and talking—patterns that are God honoring and healthy. Along with making sure you're involved in good Christian friendships that are Christ-centered, I would also challenge you to begin reading and memorizing Scripture that will help you make some essential changes. Here is a good one to start with:

"Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Don't allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices…Don't talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn't fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect" (Ephesians 5:2-4, The Message).


Should I Tell Him About My Past?

Question: Although I've never had sex, several years ago I did some things I shouldn't have. I know God has forgiven me. Recently, however, I started dating a guy I'm totally in love with. Soon after we got together he asked if I was a virgin, and I said yes. But I feel like I'm deceiving him. I'm not proud of what I did. I want that kind of behavior to stay in the past! Yet I wonder if I would be better off telling him about it, or if I should just assume that "what he doesn't know won't hurt him."

Answer: I'm not a big fan of "true confessions" early in a relationship. I think sex is a very personal matter, and a strong sense of privacy is needed. So I don't think you are deceiving your boyfriend at all. Someday you may want to tell him more about your past mistakes, but right now, leave your skeletons in the closet where they won't scare anybody. You've repented. You've experienced God's forgiveness. You've been cleansed. What, then, does it have to do with your relationship with this guy now?


Troubled by My Boyfriend's Past

Question: I recently found out my boyfriend of nine weeks slept with his last girlfriend. He never told me about this, and I want to ask him about it. I feel like I have the right to know. He knows I want to remain a virgin until I marry, and he respects me for that. I just want to know how he feels about what he did. I care a lot about him and wouldn't let this affect our relationship, because everyone makes mistakes. Do you think I should bring it up or wait until he says something? When this topic does come up, what should I say?

Answer: Very few people, when they get sexually involved, think about how they're going to like telling someone about it months or years later—someone whom they really love. Sexual experiences don't ever go away totally. They live on, like ghosts, in all future relationships, and can do real damage there.

Since you've only been together for nine weeks, your boyfriend may feel this subject is too personal to share with you. In most cases I would tend to agree. I don't think people should share their sexual histories until they are very, very serious. But since you already know what happened in his last relationship (or think you do), you should ask him. Otherwise it's bound to affect your feelings for him. You need to clear the air. You should talk face to face, at a time when you won't be interrupted. I wouldn't do it on a date, because the emotions of such a conversation can be overwhelming. Arrange a time when you can meet together at a restaurant or coffee shop to talk about something important. Then when you get together, just say, "I need to talk to you about your relationship with your ex-girlfriend. I hate to bring this up to you, but it's really bothering me. I've heard that you had sex with her. I want to know if that's true, and how you feel about it now."

You say you'll continue your relationship no matter how he responds, but I wouldn't be so sure. If he blows you off, if he acts insensitive, if he lacks any regret, then I think you will inevitably lose respect for him. Once that happens your relationship is all but over. I say this because I want to prepare you: this is a serious talk. And he should treat it as a serious talk, too. His attitude toward sex, relationships and God's Word is extremely critical. If you can't agree about sex, your relationship doesn't have a promising future.


Should I Keep Sex a Secret?

Question: Not long ago, I had sex with my boyfriend. I know that it was a sin, and I feel disappointed in myself. I grew up in church and have been a Christian for a long time. I've only told one friend, and have hidden it from my parents and everyone else. I don't want other people (like the people in youth group) to know what I've done because they look up to me, and I'm afraid knowing will turn them away from God or cause them to look down on me. I don't want my parents to be disappointed in me. Should I still keep what I did a secret? I've forgiven myself and I know that I won't have sex again until I'm married. I know I'll need to tell whoever I end up marrying. But do I need to tell anyone else?

Answer: The Bible says to "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16, NLT). When you've messed up, sin damages your spirit. Confession and prayer are part of the healing process. You need to confess, but only to people who will listen and pray. That's one person, or a select handful. It's not everybody. Making it public won't help you or your boyfriend heal. Your youth group doesn't need to know. You need the cleansing experience of confessing to somebody who can express God's forgiveness to you. You also need somebody to hold you accountable. You say, "I know I won't have sex again." How do you know? Having sex lowers your personal barriers. You have become much more vulnerable. Truthfully, you need all the help you can get.

Talking to a friend your age is not enough. You need to speak with an adult who cares about you. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your parents right away, I would urge you to approach somebody older, like your youth pastor or a wise older woman from your church. This person should be someone who will keep your confidentiality and someone you trust to show wisdom and sensitivity to you. Ask whether you can meet regularly for prayer and accountability. As you move forward, perhaps this person can help you talk to your parents about what happened—and you can tell them about the changes you've made so that you won't make the same mistake again. As you take these positive steps, I believe God will help you experience his healing love and forgiveness.


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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