Does Siri know you better than your friends?

Who are you connecting with?


 

Did you know that the average person checks their phone 110 times a day?*

 

I was in a bit of disbelief when I heard this, until I paid attention.

 

It didn’t matter if I was in a conversation, eating dinner, watching a movie, or just hanging out- I noticed that people we’re always on their phones. (I wish I could say I was exempt from that group, but I can’t.) But why? The obvious answer would be the plethora of distraction. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Temple Run, Candy Crush- the list goes on! But why? Are we really that bored and lethargic that we’ll open Instagram 3 times in less than a minute just to keep ourselves occupied? Or is there something else going on?

 

I think, sometimes, it’s easier for us to be numb than to be sad. Sometimes, instead of dealing with the stress of bills, we watch a show we don’t even follow. Sometimes, distraction is easier than confrontation. Sometimes, instead of calling a friend and asking how they are doing, we check out their Facebook and decide for them. If we’re not careful and we remain unaware of this problem, “sometimes” will lead to “all the time,” and we will find ourselves scared, isolated, and alone.

 

Community matters. Having people in your life that know about the details of your life- the fears, the victories, the struggles, the relationships, the hurt, the promotions- matters! Living on your own, isolated and independent, will only get you so far. You need people who can love you through your messes and celebrate you in your victories! You don’t need 20 people to know everything and having one person is better than no person, but 3-5 is healthy and realistic. Plus, with numbers, you gain the variety of perspective and experience.

 

So, who knows you? Besides Siri.

 

– Anna Weygandt (Intern)

 

* Woollaston, V. (2013, Oct 08). How often do you check your phone? The average person does it 110 times a day (and up to every 6 seconds in the evening). Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2449632/How-check-phone-T…

Dreaming About My Husband: Is it Really a Good Idea?

QUESTION


I am wondering if it’s not so good to imagine my husband, our honeymoon night and stuff like that. It just stirs me more to live for purity with the future in mind.

 

TEAM’S ANSWER

 

This is something that I think a lot of girls think about and something that plenty of us struggle with. We as women tend to be more futuristic about who we will marry. We are exposed to so many “fairytale” stories and movies, that we long for our very own story as well.

I think that having vision for the future is definitely important and it provokes us to make choices that will ultimately get us to where we are going. When in a season of being single, envisioning your spouse can give you hope and strength to endure. A quote we hear from one of the pastors in our culture is vision gives pain a purpose. Being single may or may not be painful but any process to get what we deeply desire isn’t always easy. Having vision keeps you hopeful. Check out the link below and read how Webster’s dictionary defines “vision“. One definition is this: “The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision.”

On the contrary, there are ways in our thinking where we can easily slip into fantasy. We begin to create situations and scenarios in our mind that conjure up emotion and even sexual fantasy. This can be dangerous for us to do. It can become a place of comfort that we resort to, to escape reality. This can become one way in which we awaken love before it’s time. Like I mentioned before; dreaming about the future is a beautiful thing and keeps your desires in front of you. However, consider that it may not be very beneficial for you to be stirring up feelings you cannot currently fulfill.

 

Here are some questions you can be asking yourself:

Do I find myself fantasizing about the future and have trouble focusing on the now?
Am I longing for my spouse so much that I feel anxious?
Do I stir up myself sexually thinking about being with my future spouse?
What can I focus on now that will get me to where I envision?
What does it look like to embrace my season of “singleness”?


It is so important to dream and have vision for your future.
A man without vision perishes. On the flip side you don’t want the future to consume your thoughts so much that you cannot embrace what’s in front of you. Consider Nehemiah, he chose to focus on the “wall” in front of him and built that “wall” even when criticism and opposition came. Nehemiah had vision and God strengthened him to be faithful with what he had before him.

It is an incredible thing to long for God’s best and have an idea of who he will be. The truth is God does have the best for you. It will be wonderful. Use this time you have now to picture the kind of woman you want to be and be proactive in going after those things. Some examples could be:

Growing in your spiritual walk
Writing out a dream list: I want to be known as a woman who…
Discovering what your love languages are; how you best receive and give love

 

Here are some great resources for you. We encourage you to check these out:

1. “The Stirring” is a young adults church in our city and the pastor rocks messages on being single, dating, marriage and sex. These podcasts are my absolute favorite. The series is called Under the Chuppah

2. “Captivating By Stasi Elderedge, a book on unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul. Read the following excerpt by clicking on the link.

3. “The Five Love languages (Singles Edition) By Gary Chapman. It is important as singles to know how we emotionally and physically best receive love. This book will equip you in your relationships to love the way your wired and how to love the one your with well.

4. Moral Revolution will enable you to keep hope and vision for the man of your dreams alive, while giving you tools to managing your desires, navigating your heart and equipping you to be the woman he desires.

5. The Naked Truth About Sexuality will give you perspective on why’s and how’s of the waiting process, helping you understand and celebrate God’s design for sex and marriage.

You have the Spirit of the living God inside of you. You have what it takes to manage your thoughts. We are super excited for the journey God is taking you on. You will be rocking your purity and dreaming about your future, while keeping your heart alive by monitoring your thoughts. We speak blessing over your life and much grace for the process.


Top Healing & Restoration FAQ

Forgiveness is key

 

As an introduction to this FAQ, we need to discuss the importance of forgiveness in the healing and restoration process. The Bible shows us that repentance (a change of heart that leads to a change of action) and forgiveness result in restoration and healing of many kinds. If you are seeking a personal victory or freedom in any area of struggle, this is a great place to start.


 

1. WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

 

Forgiveness is an act of mercy. It is the releasing of someone from the judgement you think they should receive because of an offense they committed (knowingly or unknowingly). When you’re forgiving an offender, you must remember this: A person doesn’t have to apologize, repent, or prove their trustworthiness to you in order for you to forgive them. It is not something they can earn from you. The gift of forgiveness is a selfless gift, and like any gift, it’s free.  For example, you did nothing to earn Jesus’ forgiveness. It was a free gift to you.

 

By no means are we saying that forgiveness won’t cost you something. In fact, it may be one of the most costly things the Lord ever asks you to do…much like the Father asking Jesus to give up His life for you.

 

Forgiveness wipes the slate clean. It says, “You are free to go. You owe me nothing. I release you.” That, in itself is incredible, but there’s more to it than just releasing your offender; forgiveness frees you as well.

 

2. WHY IS FORGIVENESS IMPORTANT?

 

No one deserves forgiveness, but it is essential we give it in order to live the life God has called us to live. There are consequences to not forgiving. When we refuse to forgive, we are standing in God’s place as judge over a situation, and we must remember, the measure that we use to judge others, God will use to judge us (Matthew 7:1-2). This is why Matthew 6:15 says that if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you. In other words, if you judge…you set yourself up to be judged. This is why it is so important that we forgive: Without the flow of forgiveness, from us to others, we cannot receive God’s forgiveness.

 

Judgement is not the only consequence of withholding forgiveness. Unforgiveness acts likes poison in our soul and causes bitterness, anxiety, fear, anger, pain, physical illness, and broken relationships, among other things. We also know that we reap what we sow; don’t be surprised if you find yourself repeating the same actions you didn’t forgive others for. You can’t push forgiveness off until your deathbed and expect to live in joy and freedom now.

 

Forgiveness will also increase your ability to love. If you want to grow in your love walk, learn to practice forgiveness (Luke 7:47). Be quick to forgive, and keep short accounts with people.

 

3. HOW DO I FORGIVE?
WHERE SHOULD I START?

 

Any person, or thing (circumstance, culture, motive, process, etc.) that caused you pain or disappointment can be a territory in your life that needs forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness isn’t just limited to people. And it’s not just about releasing them, but finding closure for yourself. One indicator that you are free is that you don’t have a strong reaction when the person/situation crosses your mind. For example, running into them at Target no longer spikes your anxiety and interrupts the rest of your day.

 

If you know you need to forgive, or if you feel like Holy Spirit is prompting you to, you can do so by saying something like this:

“I forgive __________ for _____________. I give him/her/them/the situation the gift of forgiveness. They owe me nothing. I let it go to the foot of the cross. I give them to you, Jesus.”

Example: “I forgive Joe for ditching me on Friday night. I felt disrespected, angry, and rejected. But, I choose to forgive, bless, and release Joe, to You, Jesus. He owes me nothing. I let him go, and I receive the truth that I am loved, seen, valued, and accepted by You. What Joe did, says everything about Joe, and nothing about me. So, I give him to You, Jesus, and I trust You to lead me as Your daughter.”

Example: “I forgive myself for going too far with my girlfriend tonight. I’m disappointed with myself, I didn’t do what was right, and I didn’t lead well in our relationship. I feel the temptation to partner with guilt and shame right now, but I will choose to lean into the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not let shame and guilt be my teacher. I thank you Lord, that I am convicted about what I did. It shows that I am a son of Yours. God, please forgive me for what I did, I repent. Help my to clean up my mess with my girlfriend, and to lead her well. I also forgive myself, and forgive your Grace and mercy. Thank you Lord that your Word says that you make all things new, and I lean into that truth and that grace tonight. Amen.”

 

4. I THOUGHT I HAD FORGIVEN, BUT I KEEP GETTING TRIGGERED EVERY TIME I THINK ABOUT OR SEE MY OFFENDER. WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST? 

 

All of us experience times when, though we have forgiven someone, our strong feelings resurface, and we find ourselves having to forgive the same offense over, and over, and over again. If you identify with this, we would suggest you explore the following ideas:

 

1. Ask God if there is any other offense you need to forgive. There are often layers to situations, and though you may think you have fully forgiven, you may not have gotten to the root yet. There may be more resolution to be had. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you as you explore this. Simply ask, “God, why am I still hurting? Why do I feel like this still has power over me?”

 

2. Consider if you are truly forgiving from the heart, or if you are simply going through the motions. Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” What we have found, is that those who still feel locked up due to unforgiveness, oftentimes have not acknowledged the pain/disappointment of what actually happened to them. In other words, they haven’t let themselves really feel what happened to them. In short, if you don’t process through your pain, and acknowledge what you feel, you can’t experience freedom. In addition to forgiving with your words, we invite you to forgive with all your heart. It might be the most painful thing you do, but the Word promises you will be comforted.

 

3. If you still feel a strong emotional connection with the individual or situation, you may need to break soul ties that may have been formed. “Soul ties” is a way of referring to the physical or emotional bonds we form with the people around us. They are not all bad. In fact, God created us with the ability to bond with one another so we would have tight-knit relationships and communities. You can read more about soul ties later in question 8.

 

4. Find compassion for your offender. Ask God how He sees them and/or the situation. For example, a young man had bitter unforgiveness toward his father. When he was a child, his dad would tie him and his brothers up and beat them. As an adult, he could not forgive his dad, who should have known better than to abuse his innocent, helpless children.

 

In a counselling session, he asked God to show him the truth about his dad, to show him how He saw him at that time. God showed him a picture of his father as a helpless baby. In that moment he understood that his dad, at that time, didn’t have the ability to parent him properly– that he himself, was still a child inside. With this understanding he was able to have compassion on his dad, in all of his mess, and truly forgive him for the first time.

 

Once you can connect with compassion, you’re more able to forgive and release your offender genuinely. How do you know you’ve truly released them? The fruit of forgiveness is peace. You are able to think about that person or situation with no ill will.

 

5. You still want justice.
The truth is, some of us are born with a bigger “justice button” than others. For some, the values of right and wrong weigh more heavily than heart and intuition. If you are one of these people, we invite you to ask God for His perspective on grace, mercy, and compassion. Ask Him to remind you of the person you were before you met Him. You need to connect in humility with your own humanity; you are just as in need of grace as your offender. We all need a Savior.

 

5. DO I HAVE TO STAY IN RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS HURT OR OTHERWISE ABUSED ME?

 

No. Forgiving does not mean that a violator is welcome back into your life. You do not have to trust him/her. Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. You can forgive someone and choose to no longer have relationship with him/her.

 

6. I FEEL LIKE I’M STUCK IN A CYCLE OF SHAME AND GUILT. HOW DID I GET HERE?

Guilt and shame are a part of our natural moral compass. These feelings let us know that we have done wrong, or have violated our standards. These feelings, in this context, can highlight when we’ve strayed off the moral path. (Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t murder, etc. These are things that would trigger any normal person’s moral compass.) They are the part of our conscience that says, “This is wrong!”

 

With that said, guilt and shame, can keep us out of danger when we are learning the difference between right and wrong. The danger in depending on guilt and shame to be our  teacher, is that a person adapts to being motivated from the outside-in, instead of the inside-out. In short, they are externally motivated.

 

For example, their internal dialogue might sound like, “I won’t eat that entire pizza tonight, because I know I will feel guilty and ashamed afterward.” A healthy dialogue would sound like, “I am a healthy person, and a healthy person does not eat an entire pizza in one sitting.” Did you catch the difference? One is rooted in the internal identity of being a healthy person, versus the external consequence of not wanting to experience guilt and shame.

 

When it comes to our guilt and shame relating to our sexuality, our internal dialogue might sound something like: “I hate masturbating. As long as I feel guilty about it, I won’t do it again! As long as I feel ashamed of myself, I won’t feel tempted.” Or, “If I feel guilty, at least I know I still feel conviction. If I’m a child of God, I’ll feel guilty, and that’s a good thing.” In both of these cases, we embrace shame and guilt and use them as tools to tell us who we are and how to behave.

 

So, in short, you may have thought that guilt and shame were great teachers in the past, because they kept you safe. But now, you have the gift of the Holy Spirit to teach and lead you. You can now be led by love, instead of fear.

 

In a different vein, it is also worth mentioning that it is not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to live with massive guilt and shame issues. Though they were victims, a part of them may have enjoyed a small part of their experience — the attention, the sexual experience, the secrecy — even though they hated what happened to them. These individuals live feeling greatly conflicted and/or overly responsible for what happened to them.

 

7. HOW CAN I GET FREE FROM GUILT AND SHAME?

Firstly, acknowledge that guilt and shame have been a friend and a teacher to you. Secondly, ask for God’s forgiveness, and don’t forget to forgive yourself. This simply could look like, “Lord, I acknowledge that I have let guilt and shame be a leader in my life and I repent. I ask for your forgiveness. I forgive myself. Today marks a brand new beginning. I will no longer partner with shame and guilt in my life.”

 

Remember, when you wake up tomorrow morning, you are starting anew. Don’t fall prey to the enemy’s lie that you are your old man. Forgiveness restores the standard. Jesus has forgiven you. You are moving on and God only holds you responsible for your actions today. Everything in your past is under the blood of Jesus. When you asked Him to forgive you, He took you seriously. It is finished. The enemy doesn’t get to bring it up anymore, and neither do you.

 

Thirdly, ask for a new teacher.
As we said, the Holy Spirit is with you to teach and lead you. You can now be led by love, instead of fear. So ask Him daily for help, guidance, and submit to His leadership.

 

Replace whatever lies you’re believing about your identity with the truth of who Jesus Christ is in you, and who He knows you to be. What you have done does not get to tell you who you are. Jesus does. If you believe you are bad, worthless, hopeless, or a failure, you need to begin renewing your mind to truth.

 

Let it out. There is power in getting it all out into the light. If you have gone through the above process, or are still working through your process, we encourage you to let others in. Whatever is in darkness, must come into the light if you want to be seen, known, and fully loved. Part of your healing process may be talking to a trusted friend, leader, parent or mentor about whatever it is you felt shameful or guilty about (James 5:16). There is power in confession.

 

And lastly, if your behavior is bringing on your guilt and shame, stop doing it! If you are doing something wrong, you can’t expect to get away with it without your spirit (your conscience) and God’s spirit in you reacting to it! In short, guilt and shame are a consequence of a behavior that violates who you are. If you’re tired of feeling guilty and ashamed, change your behavior!

 

8. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONDEMNATION (GUILT AND SHAME) AND CONVICTION?

 

Condemnation and conviction are not the same things. We want conviction in our lives– it is the plumb line that shows us that we are in line with what is lovely, true, and faith-filled. It shows us the way to freedom. Condemnation, on the other hand, leads us into bondage and makes us feel like we deserve punishment. It is the cousin of guilt/shame, and keeps us stuck in the cycle of always trying to earn forgiveness or give recompense to God for our sin.

 

9. I WAS IN A RELATIONSHIP THAT I THOUGHT WAS LOVE AND LEADING TO MARRIAGE. I WENT TOO FAR WITH THAT PERSON, AND WE ARE NO LONGER TOGETHER. I REGRET MY CHOICE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

First of all it’s important to know that your past decisions don’t have the power to tell you who you are today, or what your future relationships will look like. You made some poor choices and it hurts, but there is hope for you. You have an opportunity to choose a different path and start again… so let’s get started!

 

First and foremost, recognize that this is going to be a healing process, and probably not a healing moment. Second, be wise; know that the enemy is going to try to give you an identity based on your past mistakes…but you are not your past mistakes! This is why knowing the Word is so important (who God says you are, what God thinks about you, the reality of your forgiveness and redemption at the cross, the fullness of Christ’s power working within you, etc.).

With that said, here are a few simple things we’d recommend:

– You need to forgive yourself.

– You need to forgive, bless, and release (cut soul ties) your ex.

– You need to grieve the loss of the “dreams” you had of spending the rest of your life with your ex-boyfriend and let go of any fantasy that he’s going to come back. You need to cry it out, process through your pain, and then (bravely) get rid of everything that you’re hanging onto (letters, movie ticket stubs, pictures, memorabilia, etc) that ties you to him.

– You need to surround yourself with healthy friends to do life with – laugh, cry, make memories, go on adventures. You get the idea. Isolation will not be your friend in this season.

– You need to get spiritual mothers and fathers in your life (ie, older/wiser/loving people – doesn’t have to be your pastor).

– You need to begin renewing your mind (listen, read, watch) and feeding your spirit with life giving things. Not magazines, romance novels, movies, or music, etc.

– Figure out who you are, what you want, where you are going in life, and how you are going to make those dreams come true.

– Begin to dream about your future husband. Eventually (maybe not now) you will be able to do this and you’ll be able to do this with joy, hope, and expectation.

– Know that it’s okay to have a bad day. Give yourself grace. You are healing and being restored and that probably won’t happen in a week.

– Give yourself time to mend. You let your heart and body go places it’s never been before and so it’s going to take time for them to come back into alignment with your spirit … so be gentle on yourself.

– Ask for help and be okay with taking things one day at a time.

 

Finally, you’re going to need to figure out your WHY:

– Why did I cross those lines in the first place?

– Why did the value of my virginity become something that was up for negotiation?

– Why did I decide to let someone else violate the boundaries and standards I set for myself?

– Why did I let myself be violated?

– Why did my value decrease in my own eyes?

– Why do I think the words boyfriend and husband or girlfriend and wife mean the same thing? (They don’t, by the way.)

 

Take your time to work through the above questions. Healing is a process. Allow God to continually remind you who you are and what you are called to; He has an incredible future for you. Know that no matter what brought you to this place, you can decide how you want to live from now on.

 

10. I’VE STARTED SLEEPING WITH MY BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND, BUT INSIDE, I KNOW IT’S NOT RIGHT. HOW CAN WE STOP? HOW CAN WE RESTORE OUR RELATIONSHIP?

 

Bring it into the light. Start telling people. Schedule a meeting with your pastor. Confess your sins, one to another, so that you may be healed (James 5:19).

 


“Light is silent, brings warmth, and is a necessity for life. But darkness is cold and drives us to hide behind walls of self-protection, where we are unreal, or to pretend to be more spiritually mature than we really are. One general proof of heartfelt sincerity before God and man is our openness and transparency.” – Jack Frost


 

When Adam and Eve sinned, their first response was to hide their sin from God. They were afraid. If you feel like Adam or Eve, know this: God isn’t mad at you. He’s actually longing to help you put things back together again. And it’s going to start when you bring it out into the light. You (probably) started this relationship trusting God, so you need to trust Him with this confession. We would implore you, as leaders, to be courageous, and will gently remind you that it’s going to come into the light eventually.

 

Understand this: once you bond with someone in this manner, the pull to continue is very strong. This is absolutely natural, a part of how God made you! Some couples have found that the healthiest way to go about restoring their relationship is to break up and take some time apart; in doing so they are able to work through their individual processes. Breaking up now doesn’t mean that you’re breaking up forever; you’re making a short term investment into a long-term payback.

11. MY EX AND I ARE NO LONGER TOGETHER, BUT I THINK ABOUT HIM/HER ALL THE TIME. HOW CAN I GET MY EX OUT OF MY HEAD?

 

Let’s start here: you may need to take a good, long reality check. If your relationship has been over for a while, and your ex is still a constant center of your thoughts, ask yourself, “Am I doing anything to feed this attachment?” Do you ask mutual friends how he/she is doing? Do you check in on them on Facebook or Instagram? Do you secretly hope to run into him/her at social gatherings? Do you soothe yourself with thoughts that he or she is going to come back? All of these are red flags of a soul tie, and good indicators that you are not connected with reality that it is over.

After asking yourself these questions, we’d encourage you to work through forgiveness and break soul ties, as necessary.

FORGIVE
If you feel waves of anger, bitterness, resentment, or other negative feelings toward this person, we would encourage you to work through forgiveness. This is essential to you moving forward.

The first step is to forgive the ex that hurt you and release him/her from the offenses that he/she inflicted on you. Get quiet before the Lord and ask Him to reveal any damaged area of your life that resulted from this relationship. Write a list of any incidences that come to mind. This could start like, “Lord, I release ________ from taking advantage of me. I forgive the ways she used me, dishonored me, put me in situations that devalued me. I release her from every offensive action that she has had in my life.”

 

The next thing to do is to ask the Lord for His forgiveness for your reactions to him/her. An example might be, “Jesus, please forgive me for my participation in anger, hatred, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in my heart. I ask you to release me for speaking and thinking malicious thoughts about her when she made me feel powerless and worthless.” Again, write down any feelings that you experienced while you were dating.

In addition, you may need to forgive yourself. Again, your conversation may sound like, “Lord, I forgive myself for getting involved with someone whom I had reservations about, but continued to pursue. I forgive myself for not having clear boundaries in place and responding with my emotions instead of my core values.”
BLESS AND RELEASE
Finally, verbally bless and release your ex. This shows that you have a repentant heart and a desire for his/her well being. “Lord I bless ______ with healthy, fulfilling relationships in the future.”

 

BREAK (UNHEALTHY) SOUL TIES
This next step may be the place to start if you have constant thoughts about or a strong emotional attachment to your ex. You can say something like this: “God, forgive me for connecting with someone who wasn’t my spouse. Forgive me for making a connection I wasn’t supposed to make. I want to be free from these soul ties, so I’m giving them to you.”

Next, you may want to address that person in your imagination (in spirit). Apologize to them and ask them for forgiveness. If necessary, specifically forgive them for anything they’ve done to hurt you. You’ll want to release anything you’ve taken from them or anything you’ve been given. Be sure that in your heart you’re ready to let go of them. At this time, you’ll say something like this:

“I break any ungodly, unhealthy soul ties between myself and __________ in Jesus’ name. I send back everything that was given to me and any piece of him/her that remains with me. I release you from any bond or connection that was made. I release you from all promises, obligations, expectations, and desires.”

If you feel prompted to be specific about anything, feel free to speak that as well. Whatever helps you to find resolve is good. Explore that with Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Finally, call back the pieces of you that were given or taken by that person. Follow the same pattern as before:

“I call back every part of me from ____________, every part of my heart, my soul, my mind, washed in the blood of Jesus. I thank you, God, for returning all aspects that were lost. I thank you for making me whole again.”

After you’ve broken each soul tie, thank God for making your soul whole again. Invite His Spirit to fill you in all areas. You may feel lighter, and some even experience a physical sensation. Be sure to take time with God so that His presence can heal you. You should feel freer than you did when you started.

DO YOU HAVE ANY UNREALIZED FEAR?
Oftentimes people fall prey to the lie that their future relationship will never measure up to their past relationship. They idealize their ex, remembering every good memory, and forgetting every bad memory; they romanticize their ex and forget why the relationship ended in the first place.

If you think this might be you, simply ask yourself, “What am I afraid of? What do I have to lose by letting go of my ex? Am I afraid to let go? Am I ready to let go?” If you’ve never thought about these questions, and you find yourself being triggered, we invite you to courageously answer them. You owe it to yourself and your future spouse to be honest. It’s time to start living.

 

12. HOW CAN I PROCESS REJECTION IN A HEALTHY WAY?

Facing fear and risking rejection is something everyone experiences in their life. Well, let us clarify: If you want to live a life of exciting adventures and exploits then you are going to have to take some risks and cross some chicken lines — probably more than once. We also understand the outcome isn’t always what we hope for!

If your latest risk ended in the sting of rejection this time around, we are sorry. Getting a no-thank you from a person of the opposite sex is never any fun. Here a few things we can suggest as you work the sting out and move on.

Forgive. Forgive whoever you need to. Forgive her/him. Forgive yourself, and don’t beat yourself up or go into introspection mode. Just because this didn’t work out the way you thought, it doesn’t mean anything about you– your value, your intelligence, your beauty. That is why you have healthy friends and family around you. Pull on their strength and encouragement right now.

Forgive God, if you need to. Sometimes we find ourselves in places of pain because we were just trying to be obedient and follow His leading. Remember, He has your best interest at heart and He wouldn’t have led you to take the risk if there wasn’t gold in there for you somewhere. Don’t blame God. You may never know until you get to heaven why He wanted you to take that risk. The bottom line is He spoke, you obeyed, and you will reap a great reward for your obedience. Period. Obedience is always rewarded with a great blessing, so don’t let the enemy lie to you and try to get you to believe otherwise.

Process through your pain. One of the worst things we see people do when they’re hurting is stuff down their pain and never address it because they are told, “time heals all wounds.” Wrong. Time doesn’t. Time makes you forget why you were hurting in the first place, but time doesn’t heal, and you want to be a healed and whole person. Do whatever you need to do to get to a place of victory.

Don’t stop risking. That’s it. Plain and simple. Don’t stop taking risks. Determine in your heart that you will be a man or woman who continues to take risks and heads the voice of the Lord, no matter what.

 

13. HOW CAN A RELATIONSHIP BE RESTORED AFTER TRUST HAS BEEN BROKEN?

There are many things that can cause trust to be broken in a relationship — disappointments (unmet expectations), misunderstandings (miscommunication), abuse (emotional, verbal, physical, sexual), unfaithfulness (flirting, porn), adultery (emotional, sexual) — just to name a few.

Very basically, trust has been broken when you feel unprotected, unsafe, or hurt and connection has been lost. In some instances, trust can be restored by a simple apology, or the clearing up of a miscommunication. In other instances, trust has been so severely broken that both parties must go through a healing process in order to restore trust and connection in their relationship.

Here are a few general guidelines to get your relationship started if you feel stuck:

If you were the one who broke trust:

Own it. Repent before the Lord. Ask for forgiveness. Begin moving forward to start rebuilding what was broken. Recognize that this season may take time and remember that your feelings are your feelings, and their feelings are their feelings. One party might be experiencing grief, loss, and deep sadness one day, and the other party might be experiencing anger and frustration. It is very important for each party not to take responsibility for how the other person feels, not to try to rush the rebuilding process, and not bring up past offenses. If both parties have truly forgiven one another and have agreed to move forward, then the offense needs to be left in the past. By this we mean, don’t keep re-opening the wound in order to punish or otherwise manipulate the other in the heat of the moment. As you do this, consistency will be built, and trust will be re-established.

If you were the one whose trust was broken:
Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel (anger, pain, sadness, disappointment, shock, embarrassment, etc.). Secondly, forgive (whether the other party apologizes or not). Third, seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, godly counsel within your community, and your own heart as to how to move forwardor if you even should move forward in the relationship. Be courageous; don’t let the voice of pain speak louder than love. Remember, love is patient, kind, and willing to go the extra mile.

Clearly, there are some types of offenses (abuse) that are illegal. There are other types of offenses (adultery) that carry lifelong consequences (pregnancy, STDs, job loss, etc.). Both of these should be handled Biblically, legally, wisely, and within a safe, godly community.

 

14. WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN RAPED OR EXPERIENCED OTHER ABUSE (PHYSICAL, SEXUAL, OR EMOTIONAL) AND NEEDS TO BEGIN THE HEALING PROCESS? 

Our team would highly recommend that any victim of abuse seek an educated, licensed, Christian counselor. In some cases, a sex therapist may be able to help as well.


How Do You Manage Your Sex Drive Without….You Know?

QUESTION


 

How do you manage your sex drive or your desire to have sex without masturbating? Masturbation has been presented to me as my only option and I’m wondering, is there any other way? How can I manage my desires in a healthy way?

 

 

TEAM’S ANSWER

 

First, we’d like to say bravo for asking such a bold question. There are many people walking around with this same mindset, and you are not alone. The fact you are even inquiring shows you desire to do things right so our hat is off to you!

 

I want to bring some freedom and let you know that managing your sex drive is absolutely possible and masturbating is not your only option. In fact it’s probably one of the worst “options” out there. We know that fear isn’t a healthy motivator, so we won’t focus long on this point. But it is worth mentioning the “cons” to masturbation, particularly if you’ve only heard masturbation promoted as the only (normal and healthy) option for controlling your sex drive.

 

Let me start here: I have not met anyone who feels victorious after they have masturbated. Many say they feel ashamed, empty, and lonely when it’s all over. Some may say, “It’s not a big deal,” but habitually masturbating certainly hasn’t led them into greater freedom. (And isn’t that what we’re all looking for — freedom, joy, hope, and, well, abundant life?) Many find that the more they do it, the more heightened their sex drive becomes. This makes sense because

 


When you feed your appetite, it grows.


 

If you’re trying to calm your sex drive down by masturbating, you’re really not helping yourself. Here’s the deal — a couple things happen when you are aroused and/or climax: your body gets flooded with hormones that cause an intense rush of pleasure (endorphins) as well as bond us to the activity, material, faces, fantasies, etc., that we expose ourselves to while masturbating (oxytocin, vasopressin). The combination of these hormones cause us to feel attached to the experience and drive us to repeat the activity—over and over and over—again. That’s the last thing you want if you’re trying to calm down and manage your sex drive.

 

Interestingly, we seem to think that the best way to feel fulfilled sexually is to get as much as we can without going “all the way”. Unfortunately, this leaves us feeling frustrated and empty. Why? Because God created us in such a way that our bodies are programmed to “finish what we start” sexually. Part of this is a relational finish, where we are able to experience oneness with our spouse. Without the relationship that remains after the orgasm fades, we feel like we’re missing something. It didn’t satisfy the way we thought it would, and we’re left with the same desires we started with. Why doesn’t masturbation satisfy these “sexual” desires?

 


Oftentimes, it’s because our sexual desires have less to do with sex and more to do with our physical, emotional, spiritual or relational health.


 

Let’s get back to the point at hand: If managing your sex drive feels like an never ending battle, there’s probably something out of balance in your life. It could be spiritual, emotional, physical, or relational. How can you correct this?

 

1. Learn and practice self-awareness.

Self-awareness is knowing yourself: what you like, what you don’t like, how you feel, what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, and how you affect those around you. Why is this important? Because many of us act out sexually and we don’t know why.

 

We, as humans, hate pain. We’ll do anything to avoid it. When we have (basically) any uncomfortable feeling, we begin to seek out comfort. This is in our design—we were made with the capacity to solve our problems, to seek our answers and find what we need. This comfort may come in the form of healthy relationships, it may come as addictions to food, drugs, T.V., sex, masturbation, etc. Is there anything wrong with seeking comfort? Absolutely not. But we must find permanent solutions to our repetitive problems, be it a lack of intimacy, too much stress, or our inability to process pain.

 

2. Practice putting words to your feelings and experiences.

Am I hurting? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Disappointed? Insecure? Vulnerable? Hungry? When we are able to name our feeling, we are more able to name our need. And when we can name our need, we can fill it in an appropriate way.

When we are unable to put words to our feelings and experiences, we are unable to meet the need that lies beneath the feeling.

 

3. Learn and practice self-control.

I probably don’t need to tell you this, but if you are a believer and have chosen to live a life set apart and unto the Lord, then scripture is pretty clear that God wants you to be able to manage YOU and not be mastered by anything. This includes any and all addictions – masturbation, food, shopping, caffeine, gambling — you get the picture. You can read more about this in I Thessalonians 4:3-7.

 


Consider this: momentary pain is worth long-term gain.


Our culture today is ALL about instant gratification. Delaying gratification (disciplining ourselves) is not a popular idea. We all want to be thin, but don’t want to exercise. We all want to have money, but don’t learn to save. We want to have amazing relationships, but don’t practice the self-control it takes to love, honor, and cherish our loved ones. Simply put, we have to learn to say NO to ourselves sometimes if we are going to reap the benefits of a healthy life later on.

 

Will it be hard? Probably, at least at the start. Remember, if this has been your pattern, you need to break it by abstaining. This means telling yourself no when you want to masturbate, especially if you are used to telling yourself yes, and your body gets what it wants. But, if you persevere, eventually, it will lose much of its powerful pull. The more you tell yourself no, the easier it will become and the cycle will be broken.

 

4. Be aware of your needs.

There are basic relational needs all of us have such as connection, intimacy, being known, etc., and oftentimes masturbation can act as a comfort or quick fix to us when any one, some, or all of these needs go unmet.

Masturbation is often an intimacy issue. It is crucial, for women, to feel known and to feel valued; without these, many women use masturbation as a way to feel loved, wanted, sexy, and seen, if only for a moment. Men may often feel the desire to masturbate when they have felt powerless, or disrespected. But it all comes down to the quality of their relationships and how they feel about themselves in them. Assess your relationships and make sure you have people in your life that know you and feel known by you. Relationships should give us life and bring us strength.

Thriving in relationship will keep you alive as a man and a woman and promote health and happiness. Having enough healthy emotional connection with those around you will help bring your sex drive under submission. If you get what you truly need, you won’t need to use masturbation to get a “quick fix” instead.

 

5. Be aware of what is stimulating your senses.

Let’s break this down: Being aware of what triggers your sex drive or stimulates you is important. What are you watching (movies, TV shows, commercials, Facebook/IM, blogs, etc.)? What are you listening to (music, radio, talk shows, podcasts, etc.)? What types of people do you surround yourself with and what things do you discuss? Are these people life giving? Are they cheering you on and encouraging you to go after your goals and dreams? Do you talk about edifying things or things that take you down a dark road? With sexual perversity all around us it can be quite easy to be sexually stimulated, so just be aware of what you are feeding your body, soul, and spirit.

 

6. Invite God in.

You may have already done this, but invite God fully into your process. Try not to get into the habit of just hoping He’ll answer your unspoken questions or requests. Ask Him. Cry. Get angry if you need to. God is not afraid of your emotions, your disappointments, your fears or your shortcomings. Let Him into it all.

 

When we give God access to the center of our behavior, He is ready and available to provide lasting change. Then discover how you can partner with Him to stay free. This might involve having a written plan for how to manage the feelings that precede your desire to masturbate. The Holy Spirit is able to guide you into truth and can bring you the strength, partnered with the tools, to navigate your God-given sex drive. God will never give you something you’re not able to manage.

 

7. Invite others in and say no to shame.

We are huge advocates of doing life in community. So we encourage you to ask for help and process what you are going through with older, wiser, loving leaders, pastors, parents, etc. They have walked this road before and remember, there is no shame or embarrassment in inviting others in and asking for help. In doing so, you may accidentally find the intimacy, connection, and comfort that you need in order manage your sex drive well.

 

8. Change brings change.
Also, never underestimate the art of distraction.

If you’re breaking out of a pattern of giving in to your sex drive, you’ve got to start doing something differently. For example, instead of staying in bed, get up, read a book, or play a game. Stop watching your “normal shows” or going to your normal after-hours spot if it sets you up for failure. This is part of practicing self-control and self-awareness. In a moment of weakness, you need to retrain your brain and body; don’t give in. Get up. Find another activity. Distract yourself. Stop isolating yourself. Spend more time with others. Make a change, and your change will come.

 

In conclusion, masturbation is not your only option.

Your sex drive doesn’t have to feel out of control. You can manage it by growing as a whole person, learning to get your needs met, and staying in relationship. You’ve just got to get a hold of the vision for why you would pass up on instant gratification, and push through pain: what do you, personally, have to gain? This is a question that you need to answer, genuinely, in your own heart.

 

Powerful people can tell themselves what to do. If you worked through all this stuff and you are whole, body, soul, and spirit, it may simply boil down to the fact that you want to have sex. You may have to practice saying no to yourself, at least for a time. There is nothing unhealthy about abstaining from sex or masturbation, and in fact, it may grow in you all of the character qualities that will lead you to healthy, fulfilling relationships, including marriage and a great sex life.

 

Think of it like this: you can’t have every sweet thing that you see or you’ll be at risk for becoming diabetic. You can’t have sex every time you are turned on. You’re learning how to manage your sex drive now so later you’ll know how to point that desire toward one person – your spouse – and he or she will be ever so grateful you took care of this now, and not five (or fifty) years into your marriage.


She’s Pregnant, and I’m Not Sure It’s Mine.

QUESTION


My friend has been told by a person he had a one night stand with that she’s pregnant with his child. He does not know if it’s true or not, but he is not interested in having a relationship with her. I have told him how precious children are to God, according to Psalm 139, and that abortion is murder. Wisdom needed please.

 

TEAM’S ANSWER

We love your heart for your friend and the difficult situation he is in. Thank you so much for seeking wisdom in order to help him! As you have not asked a specific question, we are not sure entirely what you would like us to focus on. You mentioned one-night-stands, unplanned pregnancy, relationship and abortion, which are all very big topics.

It is obviously very important that your friend, first and foremost, finds out if the girl he had a one-night stand with is actually pregnant. If she is not pregnant then, of course, the responsibility is no longer his. However, if she is in fact pregnant, then he has some serious choices to make. You said that he is not interested in having relationship with her, but if she is carrying his child then he is undoubtedly responsible for that and will be in parental relationship with the child’s mother.

We would suggest that you be careful with how involved you are in the process. We completely understand that your friend may need to process his thoughts and pain with you, but be careful not to throw scripture at him or use harsh sentences like, “abortion is murder.” He honestly might just need you to listen and support him through all that he is going through. As each challenge arises, do not be afraid to give your opinion or your beliefs if he asks for it, but make sure he feels loved and valued by you in the process.

We bless you as you help your friend and we encourage you to email us again if you have a specific question that we can help you with.


Finding Freedom in Community

I Am Not Alone


 I’m in the men’s purity group in the church. I didn’t start going because I was struggling with a pornography issue that I couldn’t control, I went because the way that I had chosen to “control” my sexuality was to not acknowledge my feelings and shut them down. I went because what I needed was to connect to my heart and my emotions. I have a need to connect and feel, but that can be scary when I don’t know how to do that.

The men’s purity group is not about getting guys to not look at porn as much as getting guys to connect with their hearts and break out of their isolation. The group had a method that said: “If you want to look at porn, call someone.” I started to learn to connect to my emotions by not isolating myself and, instead, reaching out for an emotionally safe connection. I don’t just call anyone; I call someone of the same sex who is walking with me through life and will embrace me, not try to fix me. I can’t stand it when someone labels me with my struggles and gets more concerned with trying to fix me than connecting with my heart. Walking in purity always requires me to be vulnerable but it’s up to me to make sure that the people I walk through life with are safe and want to know my heart and not my “disorders.”


“I started to learn to connect to my emotions by not isolating myself and, instead, reaching out or an emotionally safe connection.”


I learned an easy acronym called H.A.L.T. which stands for Hopeless, Angry, Lonely, Tired. I found that generally when I want to isolate myself and self-medicate, I usually feel one of these four ways. This gave me power. Instead of getting trapped and falling victim to my feelings, I can do something about them — I can go connect and explore them with someone else. Living a life where my feelings are my friends and I don’t have to be afraid of them is kind of weird, but that’s where I am. I really don’t care about what Christian circles say about living “the right life” if that means I can’t be real with myself. I am holy and clean because of God, not myself. God says I’m clean, and the more I’m me, the more I will naturally deconstruct the things in my life that contradict that. The “perfect” life of performance will always tell me I’m dirty. I am not trying to fix myself; I am getting to know how incredible I am, and the powerful God-made hearts of those around me.

– Andy, 27, Colorado, US

 


Giving God Control

TRADING SHAME FOR JOY


From an early age, sex became an interesting and a secret desire. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that it became a daily struggle in my life. I began masturbating every night and it always led to shameful feelings. It led me to feel like I wasn’t worth very much and I couldn’t ever be anyone special. I was so shy that I could never raise my hand in class. I didn’t have very many friends. And I wouldn’t desire an intimate relationship with God because I felt so dirty. I grew up in church and I felt like such a liar when I sat on the pew every morning.

Sexual desires completely controlled my mind and how I expressed myself. It got so bad that I couldn’t even sit in class without thinking sexual thoughts. It wasn’t just a thought that popped into my head, I would intentionally do it. I would go to church camp and awesome things would happen, but I wouldn’t fully commit to God. I played tug-o-war with the Man who intentionally died on the cross for me. I thought that I was the only one who masturbated. In fact, I didn’t even know there was even a word for what I was doing. Nobody ever told me and I was hurting myself and the people around me every day! I was depressed, I was hurting, I was shameful, I was fake, and I had no idea of what God’s love was and how He could completely transform me beyond my belief.


“I would go to church camp and awesome things would happen, but I wouldn’t fully commit with God. I played tug-o-war with the Man who died on the cross for me.”


It was right before spring break in my 8th grade year that I decided to give up the life I was living. I was going on a missions trip with my church and I had recently been digging into the Bible more. I felt like it was time to start living a different life. Little did I know what was in store for me. God knew and now that I look back, He was helping me through it all. After the missions trip, our whole youth group began reading a book about sex, dating, and relationships. The book, thank God, approached the topic of masturbation. It was then that I realized I wasn’t the only one, and now I knew there was actually a word for it! I was and am so thankful that somebody was brave enough to write about such a touchy issue.

Since then I am a completely different person, not just because I gave up masturbating, but because I gave God complete control of my life. I am a new person in Christ. God has helped me so much. He has taken away my shame and hurt and I am responding to the calling He has on my life. I am so grateful that I can wake up each day with the joy He has put in my heart, rather than the shame of what I did when no one was looking last night. I am now a Junior in high school I can gladly and thankfully say I have been free since the 8th grade! Thank you Jesus for lifting me up out of the place of darkness that I was in. Thank you for healing my heart and enabling me to find identity in You and not finding identity in my past. Thank you Jesus!

Stephen, 16, Colorado


Embracing My Heart, My Feelings, My Desires

THE AUTHOR OF MY HEART


Most of my life, I have attempted to control, stifle, and sometimes completely disown my desires. Unfortunately, when dealing with sexual desire and longing for intimacy, I was unaware that they could be expressed in a healthy way. More often than not, I would try to fool myself into thinking that I didn’t really have those desires, or that they were from the devil and I should try to rebuke them. If I was attracted to a woman or noticed that she had a nice body, instead of being able to simply admit, “She is pretty and there’s something I see in her that I’m attracted to,” I would deny the feelings of attraction in the guise of “staying pure.”

I discovered that we are not powerful enough to deny the desires God has created in us from coming to fruition, and if we go too long with ignoring them, they will come out one way or another. The longer I denied my natural sexual desires, the stronger and more uncontrollable my urges got, and after labeling these desires as bad, the only way for them to surface were through perverse versions of the beautiful desires God had planted in me. Without a healthy way to express my sexuality and longing for intimacy, I turned to placating these desires with masturbation and pornography. Of course, this never came close to touching the desires God had put in me and left me feeling more wanting than before, with a huge side of guilt and shame.


“I would try to fool myself into thinking that I didn’t have those desires, or that they were from the devil and I should rebuke them. I denied my feelings in the guise of staying pure.”


It wasn’t until God dealt with my shame that I was able to fully embrace my desires. Through a series of events, I was able to lay all my shame before the Lord — all of my shortcomings, failures, disappointments, everything. After I exposed all of myself to Him, His response blew me off my feet. I felt Him looking at me with kind eyes. I was so shocked to see such genuine love, and even the sense that He missed me and had been waiting for me. There wasn’t any look of disappointment or disgust, which I had thought I would surely find. He showed me that no matter how big a hole I dug or how bad I messed things up, His love is greater and He will always be there eagerly awaiting my return.

With the shame gone, I was able to talk with God about my desires. When I saw a woman I was physically attracted to, I was able to admit it and talk to God about it. It was revolutionary for my life. Instead of hiding some of the deepest longings of my heart from God, I was able to invite Him in and He began teaching me! He showed me how He had handcrafted my heart and placed every hope and longing I’ve ever felt inside it. He told me that the pain and emptiness I had been feeling was meant to be there, because He would not let any of His children continue on in life missing the gifts He had prepared for them. He wouldn’t take away the pain because the pain was an indicator that there actually was something missing that only He could help me find.


“There wasn’t any disappointment or disgust (which I thought I would surely find). He showed me that no matter how bad I messed up, His love is greater and will always be there.”


The biggest revelation that has changed my life is realizing that I can trust God with taking care of my heart. He is completely aware of my wants and needs (because He is their author) and understands how to meet them more then I could ever hope to. Now as a single person, I still experience sexual urges and even sexual frustration from time to time, but instead of hiding from the urges, I tell God, “Thank you that the desires of my heart are alive and well. I know that you made them to be 100% met. And I’m okay with waiting and being frustrated because I know where you take me will meet those needs 10 times better than anything I can do on my own. So, Father, I completely trust you. Continue to teach me about what you have put inside of me.”

Brendon, 25, California


Rebuilding a Relationship

PUTTING THINGS INTO REVERSE


About three and a half years ago, a sequence of events began that would ultimately change my life forever. About that time, I was living with my girlfriend who, in all honesty, I hooked up with in a one night stand. We both grew up in church and knew that how we were living was wrong, but we wanted it to work so we made up every excuse we could to make it seem okay.

Fast-forward to today. We are still together, we are madly in love with each other, and even greater, we are insanely in love with God. We have huge hearts to help others transform their relationships to allow God to be at the center. How did all of this happen? God. Only God could pour out enough grace in our relationship to completely transform it to one of purity, honor, and covenant.


“Only God could pour out enough grace in our relationship to transform it into one of purity, honor and covenant.”


We allowed God to basically put our relationship in reverse and then slowly rebuild it, all the while changing our beliefs and mindsets. This isn’t an easy process, especially when couples stay together like Libby and I did. We moved out and became physically pure with each other, which meant no sex, no foreplay, and during certain time periods, no kissing and no hand-holding. During this time God taught me that I needed to know myself before I could attempt to understand someone else. I had Libby in my “God spot.” I looked to her for everything— joy, happiness, value, confirmation, and even guidance. I had to come to the understanding that only God can be in the God spot. I had to learn what it meant to have an identity as a son to God.

— John, 23, Florida

 


Top Sex FAQs

LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX

What is sex? Some of us have a straight-forward understanding when it comes to this subject, whereas others of us have some blurred lines that need clarity. In an over-sexualized society, it seems to be the most intriguing, confusing and liberating topic. Every day we are bombarded with sex and sexuality, but what do we do with the hormones, the awkward questions, the boundaries, the desires, the temptations? Apparently men think about sex 70% of the time, two-third of college students have “friends with benefits” relationships, and still many of us are wondering where the line of purity stands. Here are some of your top questions answered to help bring clarity and understanding of yourself and others.


 WHAT IS SEX?

When people talk about sex they are usually referring to sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is any sexual contact between individuals involving penetration (the insertion of a man’s penis into a woman’s vagina). Additionally, there are other sexual acts that are also referred to as “sex”. For example, anal sex (the penetration of the anus), oral sex (penetration the of the genitals with the mouth), and fingering (sexual penetration with the fingers).

WHY DOES GOD GIVE US A SEX DRIVE?

God gave us all a sex drive, ultimately, so we would desire to have sex and procreate. God’s initial commandment to Adam and Eve was to “go forth and multiply”. He gave each of us a need to known and be known physically, emotionally and spiritually. Like all desires, there comes a responsibility to steward this gift and use it wisely. Sex has the ability to bond two people together spirit, soul, and body. This is why God designed sex to be experienced fully in the safety and covenant of marriage.

IS ORAL SEX OKAY IN A MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP?

According to our sex therapist: “There is nothing in the Scripture that says that oral sex is wrong. Some make a case that Song of Songs 2:3 and Song of Songs 4:16 are implying oral sex when it talks about eating the fruit of the garden. I do believe it is talking about sex but I am not convinced it is talking specifically about oral sex. So we need to look at what we do know in order to make a wise decision. Sex is about connecting/oneness, pleasure and creating new life. In this frame I would say that oral sex is fine as long as the people involved are married and

OK with it themselves. I do not want anyone to force a partner to do something that they are truly opposed to – that goes against any true bonding and isn’t loving. There is such freedom in sexual expression in marriage – that is one of the fun things about sex in marriage! You can have fun and delight in your spouse’s body. There can be mutual pleasuring, which can include oral sex. If you have had teaching in your church or family that said that oral sex was ungodly, then I would want you to make up your own mind and to be open to looking at what the Bible really says about sex.

But if you come down on the side of oral sex being wrong, then it would be wrong for you. Be open to freedom, but don’t push yourself past any personal conviction you feel. You can have a wonderful fulfilling sex life without it. But in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with oral sex in marriage.”

IS ANAL SEX OKAY IN A MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP?

According to our doctor: “Anal sex is not permitted in scripture due to order, hygiene, and purpose. The anal canal is for waste expulsion. Whatever pleasure sensors exist there make defecation tolerable rather than painful. It’s not ordered as a sex organ, but a disposal unit. It is the down staircase, not the up. The hygiene issue is obvious: a vessel for excrement passage is not suitable for penile insertion, thus anal sex carries with it much higher rates of causing infections and spreading disease.”

According to our sex therapist: “Anal sex is more common than many people think. But it is an unsafe practice in my opinion. Many people have the impression that anal sex is safer because you cannot get pregnant. But it is not safer, it is actually riskier.The risk of getting an infection is greatly increased with anal sex due to tiny tears that can be in the tissue of the rectum or anus making you more susceptible to the transmission of infection. Any sexually transmitted disease can be transmitted through anal sex. It is possible for someone to get pregnant even with anal sex, if sperm are released outside the vaginal opening and make their way to the fallopian tubes. I do not think it promotes intimacy and connection and believe it is best avoided.”

WHAT IS A NORMAL FREQUENCY FOR MARRIED COUPLES TO HAVE SEX?

There is no normal. What each couple is happy with is normal for them. However, there are averages. Depending on the study, the average married couple in the US is having sex 1-2 times per week. For those concerned with how much is “enough” for your spouse, here’s an important triusm to think about: “If you can’t say no, you can’t really say yes.” It’s okay to say “no” if you don’t want to have sex — this will enable you to say “yes” when you really mean it. “Duty sex” or anything under obligation is not fun for anyone. Most husbands will tell you that’s not what they want — they want your “yes”, your enjoyment and your sincerity. Now, if you are saying “no” all of the time, then that’s a different issue. However, saying “no” isn’t going against the Bible; your wishes and desires matter, too. You might even find that you are saying “yes” more often when you discover the reasons why you don’t want to and resolve them in a healthy way with your spouse.

SEX HAS BECOME BORING IN MARRIAGE.
IS IT OKAY TO SPICE IT UP?

According to our sex therapist: “It depends on what you mean by ‘spice it up.’ Sex should be playful and fun. That is part of the delight of being sexual. Loss of inhibition, vulnerability and laughter are all a wonderful part of sex. But sex is always about connecting and oneness. So anything spicy that doesn’t meet that criteria needs to be left alone. That said, most couples need to learn to be creative sexually and give themselves permission to have more fun. Permission granted!”

IS SEXTING WRONG TO DO BETWEEN A BOYFRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND? WHAT IF IT MAKES THEM FEEL CLOSER OR MORE CONNECTED?

First of all, if you’re reading this and you don’t know what sexting is, let me give you quick definition. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, primarily through cell phones. It’s a common practice among teenagers and is becoming more common among adults.

One of the logistical problems with sending nude pictures of yourself is that you lose control of the picture the minute you send it — it can be copied, posted or misappropriated once it has been sent. Be aware that those photos can come back to haunt you later on (such as if you’re trying to get a job or applying for a scholarship) if the recipient abuses that information given. Depending on who is receiving them, also be aware that in some states, having underage nude photos can be perceived as child porn, and you can be prosecuted. Simply put, it’s just not wise to send nude photos on the internet or through cell phones.

Sexting a boyfriend or girlfriend is not going to make them feel closer or more connected. It actually can do the opposite. Sexting separates the person from their body and makes them just a body. The desirable method would simply be face-t0-face interaction, or talking on the phone. If you are thinking that you feel more connected because of sexting, then you may be confusing intimacy with sexual behavior. You want to get to know someone as a whole person and sending naked pictures or sexting will interfere with knowing who he/she is. Sexting separates the person (the soul) from the body and we were made to be known at deeper levels.

Sexting only has one purpose: to sexually stimulate the people involved. If you are trying to remain pure, then this is not a wise thing to do. I hear people say that it’s not a big deal, and that it’s okay because it’s not having sex. Let me ask you a question: If your girlfriend sent those pictures to some other guy, would you be OK with it? Why or why not? There is a reason why the wives of a well-known Congressman and a professional football player were upset over the sexting that their husbands were doing with other women. They felt betrayed as if their husbands had been cheating. It is not having physical sex but it is very close. It is sexual behavior that might as well be sex without touching. It crosses a line of intimacy that should be for a husband and wife. So for many reasons, I don’t think sexting or sending naked pictures between a boyfriend and girlfriend is a good or wise thing to do.

AS A CHILD I REPEATEDLY PLAYED DOCTOR.
WAS IT SIN? AM I REQUIRED TO DO SOMETHING?

According to our sex therapist: “Playing doctor is a universal, innocent expression of sexual curiosity that is normal. It is normal for children to be sexually curious and to play, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” This curiosity signals to parents a need for specific sexual education and boundaries with doors open, and parents nearby. Sexual curiosity is natural. As children we should never have been punished or embarrassed for showing our curiosity. It is natural to ask questions about sex and to discover our own bodies, as well as observe other’s bodies and have questions about them. So to answer your question, No, it wasn’t sin.”

WHY IS SEX SOMETIMES PAINFUL FOR A WOMAN? WHAT CAN SHE (WE) DO ABOUT IT?

According to our doctor: “Painful intercourse, or dyspareunia, can have many causes other than just vaginal tightness, and the physician can perform a detailed history and careful physical exam to sort things out. A gynecologist can get you set up with a dilation program to comfortably stretch out the vagina, if that turns out to be the main issue. In the mean time, using ample water-based lubricants (e.g., K-Y Jelly), pre-dosing with anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., Ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), gentle but plentiful foreplay, great communication, and lots of patience will help.”