ASK LISA - How Do I Navigate Sex and Dating?
Ask Lisa is a advice post for people who write in to me, asking questions about a specific problem or situation. Although this is in no way a substitute for therapy, my hope and prayer is that it gives encouragement and direction for whatever you face.
If you have a specific question you would like answered, write in. I’d be glad to tackle it together!
I need your advice. I am a thirty two year old woman who loves Jesus and who has dreamed of being married her whole life. I feel stuck and hopeless that I will ever find someone to share my life with. I don’t date often because I find the online dating scene to be shallow and painful. Just when I begin to talk with someone I enjoy, they ghost me to move on to someone better. Sometimes they text later when they are bored or have gotten out of another relationship, and act as if nothing ever happened. The hurt that accumulates becomes overwhelming.
The men who do ask me out are usually individuals I’ve met through church or close friends. From the start, it seems like after a few minutes of conversation, the sexual innuendo begins, growing more intense as the evening passes. What bothers me most is that I was taught from a young age in church to value purity. I was encouraged that my purity would be a great gift to my husband, something he would treasure. What I have found is quite the contrary.
When I tell my dates that I am uncomfortable with suggestive conversation on the first date, and that my purity is something I value, they look at me in disbelief. That’s when the sexual pressure and questioning intensifies, right before they lose interest. I am insecure in the area of sex because it is something I have never experienced. I don’t want to be seen as a prude, yet I want men to know clearly where my boundaries are and respect them. I am trying to date quality Christian men, but I feel hopeless in this day and age that I will find anyone who a) doesn’t pressure me for sex, and b) who respects my commitment to purity.
Is there any hope for me? Does God have someone out there who won’t mock and/or reject me for being a virgin? Will I ever find my husband if I don’t have sex with them while dating?
Pressured in Prattville
I feel truly sad for your experiences with dating. I applaud your decision for purity and truly believe that God will ultimately bless your faithfulness to Him. It does not make your situation any easier, however. The truth is, we live in a highly sexualized culture where there are few, if any, mores that restrict any sexual desires, even in the church. Many preachers rarely preach about sexual purity from the pulpit in fear of offending someone. It has become highly commonplace within the single population of churches to have sex outside of marriage, and the desire for purity seems rare at best.
This breaks my heart. This is not God’s desire for the church, nor is it His desire for His children. I share your concern about online dating, which I will share more specifically about in another post; but to be clear, Christians should engage in online dating in a manner that glorifies God, and the dynamics that have become commonplace in the age of technology, do anything but glorify God. Ghosting and baiting devalues God’s children and should be unacceptable to any Believer who is mature in their faith.
For those who don’t know the terminology, ghosting generally occurs when two people are regularly communicating via phone, text, or Facetime, and one suddenly disappears without warning and without explanation. Baiting refers to the pattern of reaching back after communication has been cut-off when one is bored or lonely.
The cycle of ghosting and baiting is disrespectful and unhealthy for everyone involved.
Human beings are not objects to be used to fill a void of boredom and/or loneliness. CLICK TO TWEET If you are dating someone online and recognize that you don’t wish to continue the relationship, you should respectfully let the other person know. Furthermore, once you have ended communication, you should never reach out unless you are sincerely reconsidering the relationship and are committed to pursuing the relationship solely and intentionally.
As to the issue of sexuality in relationship, it saddens me that there is so little respect for purity in the dating world. Though dating has changed tremendously throughout the years, God has never changed and His Word is as faithful and true today as it has ever been.
Don’t feel as if you have to compromise your values and beliefs in order to find love. The person God has created for you would NEVER pressure you to have sex before marriage, nor would they ever make you feel uncomfortable about your decision to honor your faith. CLICK TO TWEET I know it is hard to believe, but there is someone out there. I don’t know where or when or how God will bring love into your life, but He will. Trust Him.
Until then, I don’t believe you have to share your personal boundaries regarding sex with every person you date, especially on a first date. Your boundaries are yours, and you should share them only when you feel led to share them, only to those with whom you feel safe sharing them. Never allow anyone to pressure you into sharing anything you don’t feel comfortable sharing. CLICK TO TWEET
No one needs to know your sexual habits or history on the first date —period. No one. It is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to be pushed into sharing information with a complete stranger. As you build relationship with someone, you can determine how much information you provide and when —usually as the relationship matures and becomes more serious and in-depth conversations arise naturally. Respectfully.
We as Believers are called to be ‘set-apart,’ ‘in the world, but not of the world.’ We are to be the light shining in the darkness. We as the Body of Christ have lost our way. Yet do not lose heart. Continue to feel proud of who you are, of who Christ has called you to be. Do not apologize for your purity. Don’t. You are a daughter of the King. Remember that. He is faithful and what He started, He will complete. CLICK TO TWEET
In the meantime, live life to the fullest. Don’t wait to find love in order to start your life. Live out your passions and purpose today. Right now. Invest yourself in loving and serving others, wherever that may be. Find joy in every moment.
I will be prayerful that God will cover you with His peace and protection as you pursue relationship.
**The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional.
About This Community
Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
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