Purity is out of vogue nowadays. How do teen girls and women remain sexually pure or reclaim purity? Here’s help and hope from counselor Lucy Ann Moll, whose article first appeared here on her website.
Doesn’t purity seems “old-fashioned” and “not relevant” in today’s sex-saturated culture? Many Christian girls and women have given in to peer pressure and media messages that you’re weird if you aren’t sexually active. You remember what it was like to be young, hormones raging, don’t you?
Did you or a friend have sex before marriage? What did a loss of purity cost them or you?
In this short article, you’ll learn:
- the statistics on purity among young adult Christians
- the pressures to have sex before marriage
- how to reclaim purity
“Our souls crave intimacy”—Erwin Raphael McManus
Like other Christian women, you may have planned to remain a virgin until your wedding night but then. . .your Christian girlfriends were sexually active and you thought, “What’s the harm,” or. . .your boyfriend pressured you to have sex, or. . .you were drunk and one thing led to the other. . .
The truth is, you can begin anew where you are right now. You can find hope, help, and healing.
Statistics on Purity
Are single Christians having sex?
Eighty percent of unmarried young adults (ages 18-29) who are self-identify as evangelical Christians have had sex, reports a study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The same study also reported that this percentage is slightly less than the 88 percent for all unmarried young adults.
Yet virginity may be on the rise, suggests a 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Twelve years ago 22 percent of men and women under age 24 said they were abstinent. Five years later that figure stood at 29 percent for women and 27 percent for men.
Pressures Against Purity
MEDIA, CULTURE, MUSIC, PORN: The media markets sex. The culture encourages it. Music celebrates it. Pornography degrades God’s gift of sex.
God designed sex to be selfless and beautiful–and between a husband and wife. In the Song of Solomon, the author Solomon describes the sexual longing of the woman on her wedding night:
Awake, O north wind,
And come, O south!
Blow upon my garden,
That its spices might flow out.
Let my beloved come to his garden
And eat its pleasant fruits (4:16).
LATER FIRST MARRIAGES: The average age for ﬁrst marriages has increased over several decades. In 1965, the average man ﬁrst married at age 22.8; the average woman, 20.6. In 2010, the average age was 28.1 for men and 26.1 for women, according the U.S. Bureau of Statistics.
Purity rings and True Love Waits campaigns don’t appeal to 30-something singles.
A college-educated, 27-year-old Christian woman told me, “I didn’t have sex in my teens and early twenties but now I have a boyfriend. I don’t sleep around. I’m careful with whom I have sex. Marriage isn’t what it used to be. It’s a different today.”
BIRTH CONTROL. Before the advent of the birth control control pill in 1960s, getting married and having babies went hand in hand. Now couples could have sex with little concern for pregnancy, removing a main reason for marriage. Says Albert Mohler in We Cannot Be Silent:
So long as sex was predictably related to the potential of pregnancy, a huge biological check on sex outside of marriage functioned as a barrier to sexual immorality. Once that barrier was removed, sex and children became effectively separated and sex became redefined as an activity that did not have any necessary relation to the gift of children. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the separation of sex and babies from the moral equation.
3 Truths to Reclaimed Purity
ONE: God helps you overcome temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
To face temptation, why not choose to be confident in the truth of God’s Word? Cultivate a daily walk with Jesus through prayer and Bible reading? Connect with a church? Commit to being thankful?
TWO: You are complete in Christ. Marriage doesn’t complete a woman, Jesus does. I counseled a woman who deeply desired marriage. Two disappointing relationships with men she met through an online Christian dating service brought her to my office. She felt depressed. She had the wrong belief she’d be happy only in marriage. During our time together she learned that singleness can be a gift (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) and she needed to wait on God’s timing (Psalm 91:2).
THREE: Choose to embrace “renewed abstinence.”
Renewed abstinence is obeying God’s Word to wait for sex until marriage. It’s reclaimed purity. God promises to help you as you build godly relationships with with fellow believers, both men and women.
Do you struggle with purity? Do you have questions about choices you made in your past? Please contact us.