Hello, all. I have a problem, and I thought the Christians here might have a good perspective and some advice. I’ve been dating my boyfriend (he’s 30, I’m 31) for six months now, and we’ve grown very physically affectionate. We’ve gone as far as you can without actually having penetrative sex. We’ve given each other oral, touched each other intimately, and been naked together, once actually sleeping overnight that way. This situation developed from small actions to bigger ones over time, and now we’re getting comfortable showing each other love that way. The only problem is, of course, that we’re both born-again Christians who believe that sexual actions before marriage are fornication and wrong.
We’ve had an incredibly hard time stopping, and sometimes one of us has to be “the strong one” and say “No, we can’t do this,” when the other one would like to do something sexual. Sometimes we mutually go ahead and do as we want without guilt on either side. In the beginning, both of us (but especially I) felt extreme guilt, but I’ve felt less and less guilt over time.
All of my life, I’ve believed that sexual touching and actions and, of course, sex, are wrong if they take place before marriage. I had made the decision not to kiss anyone before marriage, but I decided that view was unwise and changed my stance shortly before meeting my boyfriend. He’s my first for everything. He was married before; his wife became a non-Christian, and he tried to make the marriage work, but then she had an affair and left him. He wants to marry me, and I can see myself marrying him. He, like me, believes that sexual actions are wrong before marriage.
One thing that has surprised me is that some of the things that were taught to me when I was growing up aren’t true, at least not in my boyfriend’s case. I was told that guys lose respect for you after you give them sex or sexual favors, but he values me even more. Although we feel guilt at times, being sexually active (not actually having sex, everything but) makes us feel very close to one another. It’s not as scary as I had the impression it was; I feel like I was taught some misinformation about sexual behavior. It can bring us closer — although we’ve had some bumps along the road, partially because of my history. Sometimes we comfort each other with sexual affection. He had a rough home life and lost his job recently, and I was sexually abused as a child and am going through therapy. One of his top love languages is physical touch.
I think it bears mentioning that both of us have struggled with pornography and masturbation. My boyfriend believes masturbation is wrong and feels crappy after he does it; I am not positive that masturbation is sinful, but I know that it’s hard for me to keep my mind from lust while I do it and so I believe it’s not healthy for me. In the past, he has stated that sexually sinning together is probably better than sinning with porn or masturbation, though I don’t agree. But lately, he’s been trying harder to follow God and last night ended an intimate session in the middle, leaving me upset. I understand why we should have stopped and why he had us stop.
I wish we could be like non-Christian couples and show physical affection without guilt. But it’s clear to me that God commands believers to save sexual actions for marriage. We’re both worried (when we’re spiritually “sober”) about the effects this might have on our possible later marriage and our relationship with God. Can anyone here relate? Did you have struggles during dating, and how did you overcome them? How did you find the will to stop when it just wasn’t there? Do you have any encouragement for us? Curtailing our activities now sounds very painful and challenging, but it seems like the right thing to do.
tl;dr My boyfriend and I have done everything sexual except having penetrative sex. We’re both Christians and think it’s wrong, but it’s tough to want to stop. How do we stop??
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