Reader Question: How Do I Resist Having Sex with My Fiance?

Is there hope for a loveless marriage?Every Monday I like to post a Reader Question and take a stab at it! Today let’s deal with one I get frequently from young women: “I want to wait until marriage, but it’s hard!”

Here’s one email that I received:

My boyfriend and I really want to wait until marriage to make love. We know how important purity is. But we’ve been so tempted, and we’ve already gone further than we should. We haven’t had sex yet, but I’m afraid that it’s just a matter of time. I don’t want to start my marriage like that! What do I do?

I know that’s a struggle so many people have, so I thought I’d address it today. Let me start by saying congratulations that you want to wait! You’re making a good choice. And as you wait, it will also become easier to make the decision whether or not this is the person you want to marry. So very good choice!

Now, if the problem you’re having is more that you’ve already begun sleeping with him–or maybe even living with him–and you want to stop but you’re afraid you’ll lose him, read this post on how to stop sleeping with your boyfriend. But if it’s more that you’re feeling really tempted to sleep with him now, and you’re afraid that you won’t stay pure, read on:

 

How Do I Stay Pure with My Boyfriend--and resist having sex?

Know Why You’re Waiting

It’s hard to wait if you figure it’s just something you’re SUPPOSED to do in order to be a “good girl”. Then it’s all too easy to doubt yourself, and all too easy to get a warped view of sex, where sex is seen as something wrong that “good girls don’t do”. Nothing is further from the truth!

God wants us to wait because sex is supposed to be intimate on many levels: physical, yes, but also emotional and spiritual. It truly binds you together. And when you wait, you’ll enjoy a better sex life afterwards (as I found in the surveys for The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex). I’ve written a few posts on why God wants us to wait for marriage, and I’d suggest reading them (and getting my book!) so you have a better view of sex–and more incentive to wait!

Here’s what one woman said on Facebook when I asked my readers what their advice for waiting is:

I didn’t succeed with this, and oh… Do I wish I did. I fell into temptation. Although we did marry, and are still married 15 years later, I still find myself wishing we would have waited for marriage. I can just imagine the sacredness of the wedding night. After a long wait, completely seeking God and relying on His promises. Then feeling that huge sense of accomplishment when you know you’ve done what He commands! Sex is a gift, and when used how its intended, such a privilege and blessing. I’ve recently watched two very dear couples to us successfully wait until their wedding night, and one of them, we’re close enough girl friends for her to share with me how rewarding it was, and I would give anything to be able to experience that. Once its spent, its spent. If I’d known then what I know now, we would have definitely waited. Persevere for the reward God has for you! You will not regret it! And, congratulations!

Have a Short Engagement

Seriously. When you feel that close to each other, it is hard resist. There’s a reason that Paul wrote, “it’s better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:9).

I got married in December. Sure, a summer wedding would have been prettier, but we wanted to marry, and why wait twelve months when we only had to wait three? If you’re sure, and he’s sure, short engagements are likely better, and much easier.

Resist Temptation by Hanging out In Public

If it’s feasible, try not to spend too much time alone in each other’s apartments or homes. I know that isn’t always feasible, especially if you each live on your own, with no roommates. But then try to plan things to do, rather than just hanging out. Go for lots of walks. Volunteer together. Take up some sports you can do together.

When we hang out at each other’s homes, we tend to make out a whole lot. And even if you don’t have sex, you can still get more physical than you would want to. But there’s another danger: if your relationship becomes mostly physical, then you get married without having anything fun that you tend to do together. So it’s better to spend those weeks and months before the wedding finding things you enjoy doing together that don’t involve a liplock.

Get Acccountability

Do you have a good friend you can trust whom you can ask to pray for you? Do you have housemates that can hang out with both of you as a couple? If you have another couple, or a friend, that you can go to for accountability, that can help you resist. If you know someone is going to ask you pointed questions: “did you put yourself in a compromising position this week?”, or “did you go further than you want to go”?, it’s easier to say no. And if you have someone that you can talk to about where you should draw the line, that can help, too.

Be Careful About Praying and/or Talking Too Much About What You’re NOT Going to Do

This one may seem counterintuitive–after all, if you want to wait, shouldn’t you be praying together? Well, yes. And no. You see, praying is one of the most intimate things we can do together. And while I absolutely recommend that couples pray together, you could be finding that this is part of the temptation. So if you’re really struggling after you’ve prayed together, it could just be the natural pull we feel towards sex when we also feel connected in other ways. So maybe you should keep your prayer life in public, too!

But there’s another thing to consider: if you’re trying to remain pure, and you talk about it all the time, you can aggravate the problem. Let’s say that you’re experiencing a lot of sexual tension. You want to have sex, and you’re really drawn to him. What’s now going to happen if you start talking about where to draw the line? You’ll start to talk about what you CAN’T do, and likely how these things make you feel, and it just can make the whole problem worse.

You already know where the line is. You’ve already decided. You don’t need to talk about it again. Next time you’re in a compromising situation, instead of starting a big conversation about it, why don’t you go make cookies? Or go out for a walk? Or just do something else?

Fight with the Weapons You Have–Memorize Scripture

If you’re feeling tempted, you’re hearing in your head all these messages–

you’re going to fail, you can’t resist, it would be SOOOO good, it’s hopeless!

Why not start filling your head with Scripture instead? When Jesus was tempted, He fought back with Scripture, and you can, too! When you’re going through a hard time in your Christian walk, now’s the time to pull closer to God. I’ve got a list of the 50 best Bible verses to memorize, and if you focus on those, and learn a new one every week, and keep reciting it, you’ll likely find it easier to fight back against temptation! And there are some great verses, too:

Dayspring I Can Do All Things Plaque

Ultimately Waiting Until Marriage Is a Heart Issue

Ultimately, though, you can put all the boundaries in place, and all the accountability in place, and none of it will work if you’re not seriously committed to waiting. I did wait because the idea of NOT waiting was never an option. I grew up always knowing I would wait, and even though it was tempting, we did. We were alone together in my apartment, and we still waited. At some point you either have the self-control or you don’t. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t put boundaries around you, but I guess I’m not as adamant as some of the people on my Facebook Page, because I really do think that it’s ultimately a heart issue. You need to decide INTERNALLY to wait, and you need to just be sure, within yourself, that this is what you’re going to do. I really like this reply by one woman:

Internal motivation vs external rules will carry you much further. I know a lot of folks are saying you should not be alone, but I don’t see that as a healthy way to spend the weeks/months leading up to marriage at ALL. My husband and I were engaged for over two years (he was in a strict military academy for 4 years, and was not allowed to marry or live off base until graduation). We were alone all the time, but stayed active with our church, multiple Bible studies, and just set our minds to waiting until the wedding. We were both virgins when we married, and relied more on the grace of God than rules we set for ourselves.

I do think that if you’re really struggling, setting up rules like don’t be alone, have accountability partners, don’t hang out in bedrooms, etc., are definitely a good idea. But, to be honest, my husband and I didn’t  have those rules, and we waited, because we were also immersing ourselves in Bible studies together and praying together and serving in church together, and we were just totally committed to waiting. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, and I think we all have different temptations that we’re prone to. But ultimately deciding to wait until marriage for sex is a heart issue, and external rules will only take you so far.

What do you think? What do you recommend for couples who want to wait until the wedding? Let’s talk about it in the comments!


Comments

  1. First off, lots of encouragement to the questioner here!! Second, a couple of things that were really good and relationship-building for us during this time: 1) Understand why you really want to wait, and why it’s a good idea. Think through the reasons and ramifications, and cultivate a positive view of sex, rather than a “sex is bad then sex is good” type thing (as Sheila suggested) 2) We always said “I’ve got your back” — i.e., I am watching out for you in this area, brother (/sister). That really built up trust between us, and helped us to think like a team, rather than two people trying to protect ourselves and our purity from one-another. 3) We did make plans. We love to do home-y stuff, and spent a lot of time hanging out in my apartment, which sometimes ended up with a lot of making out. So we would say — today, we want to do this thing, this thing, and this thing, even if they were stay-at-home type things. Having a plan meant that we didn’t say “well, nothing else going on, so, kissing?”

    I think that’s all the things. Congratulations and have fun and keep on!

  2. I read a great book called, “And the Bride Wore White”. In it she emphasizes “stay public, stay vertical”. All of your suggestions are great but for me, those two are the easiest to accomplish and not justify away.
    Good job to the questioner for being honest and desiring the right thing. It is so hard but worth it in the end!

  3. Definitely some great suggestions, Sheila!

    Unfortunately, I failed this test, and I think one of the main reasons was that I had NO STRATEGY. I ultimately made the decision of how far to go in the heat of the moment…as if that was going to work! I wanted to stay pure, but I just didn’t have any tools for how.

    Doing activities together is a great idea, as well as memorizing scripture. I also suggest having a signal when one of you feels overheated, which means you immediately break apart and take a walk or do an activity. Being alone in public places would also help–like making that romantic dinner for two into a picnic at a public park.

    Waiting until marriage is definitely a worthwhile goal! And worth figuring out some options for HOW to make that happen.
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…A Letter to My Newlywed Self: Age 25My Profile

  4. God’s blessings on this! It is difficult, we’ve been married almost a year now and we did make it thank the LORD :D We actually put up more and more boundaries the closer we got to our wedding. We started off wanting to remain pure because God wanted us to, that changed the closer we got. I knew that the wedding night was either going to be beautiful or full of shame, and that was our choice to make! We actually spent less and less time alone the closer we got, didn’t get anywhere close to a bedroom just to keep safe. Another thing I’ve said to other friends who are engaged is that if you do have sex before your wedding its likely going to be rushed, the guy will probably enjoy it ( cause they seem to climax no matter what we do :P) but the woman will be rushed and its entirely possible that your fiance will think this is just how it goes. Very hard to backtrack that and turn it into something that is beautiful and takes time ( sometimes lots of it :P)
    Think about how you want that part of your marriage to be, something you can discuss without shame, something you can really take your time with and may God bless you as you continue to plan your married life together!

    • So, so true, Deanna on your last point especially! It really does set the couple up for some difficulties later. But everybody can get a new start, no matter what, so if you’re married, and you wish you had waited, check this out on how to Reset Your Sex Life–and deal with some of the problems Deanna mentioned.

  5. “it’s better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:9). This is the scripture I give to couples who are having a hard time waiting. Why wait for the big wedding to happen? Why not get married right away with a small wedding and a BIG honeymoon. My dh and I regretted waiting to have a nice big wedding when we could have gotten married right away and have a wonderful honeymoon. Instead we had a big wedding and honeymoon was not good. :( We didn’t wait to have sex. We had sex before marriage. We regret it but we don’t. However we felt cheated since we waited for marriage in order to have the big wedding. What I know now is: Weddings is a wedding. Its a big day with only 30 min ceremony then reception. I would have preferred a very small wedding and a huge honeymoon. If we had a do-over, we would have waited for sex after marriage but got married right away with a small cheap ceremony and spend the big bucks on honeymoon. So like Paul said “Its better to marry than to burn”.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Holly I agree with what you say, just commenting that not all couples have that opportunity. Someone mentioned above about military college and therefore being unable to marry. Hubby and I were in a similar situation – in our case it required an 18 month long engagement because I have been married before (abandoned by a violent, serial cheat) and had a family court order preventing me from moving interstate, where as my now-husband had a job that is only offered in one location in this whole country and he’d have been pretty much unemployable (or only getting just above minimum wage) had he moved back where I live, not to mention he had a house and would have ended up with a big loss had he sold it to move back and starting our married life with him jobless and with a huge bank loan after selling his house, just wasn’t an option. We had to wait until my daughter and I could move to be with him.

      We could have married sooner and spent a year or more married and living in different states, but again, this wasn’t an option as hubby could not support two households on his income, and as long as weren’t married, I received a disability pension and could (mostly) support myself on it but due to welfare rules, getting married means I lose my pension – and we’re still in debt up to our eyeballs from the 3 months between when we actually ended up getting married and when my daughter and I could move to be with him. That, and even if we had the money, being apart and married was unbearable – we barely managed it for 3 months, and only because he was able to come back for 3 weeks in the middle.

      We didn’t have sex before marriage – I’m not making excuses for having sex before marriage, I’m just saying not everyone can have a short engagement.

      And that waiting until marriage doesn’t guarantee a good honeymoon. We planned an amazing two and a half week long honeymoon, away, just the two of us, very little plans except lots of sex and getting to know each other, only to find out hubby just isn’t very much into sex and spent the whole honeymoon reading and playing computer games and leaving me in bed crying, constantly rejected from sex. In 15 days, we had sex only 3 times and only because I tried initiating several times a day and he “gave in” those times just to stop me from asking.

      Again, it’s not an excuse for having sex before marriage – because I honestly think if we’d have had sex before marriage, it would have been great sex just as it was on our wedding night, but for him, after the thrill of the chase was gone, there was no interest. Had we had sex before our wedding, I’d have been in for even more disappointment on our honeymoon, thinking he was a normal horny guy, only to discover he wasn’t.

      We actually had the very cheap wedding – it’s all we could afford the ever growing debt of living apart and the huge cost of going to visit each other, but we still could not marry sooner – in fact, if we could have, we’d have been able to afford a more expensive wedding. Not everyone delays for a big wedding. And I just want to reassure people who have had lousy honeymoons, that it can happen. What is more important is not give up on your sex life and keep working on it – sometimes it takes time to work up to a good sex life in marriage. Young couples shouldn’t give up just because the honeymoon is lousy. And I want to reassure them that the “try before you buy” attitude society has is garbage. Lots of people I’ve spoken to had great sex before marriage and it died off after the wedding, and they fall for the lie that it means they aren’t compatible and get divorced. It doesn’t work that way – sometimes simply the “thrill” of doing something they know is wrong, leads them to think sex before marriage is the only solution to prevent incompatibility when more people just need to hear the message that all marriages can have great sex, even if they didn’t start off that great – a couple just needs to work together to make it treat.

      Holly I know you have regrets, but God forgives you. If you have repented (and it sounds like you have), you need to learn to forgive yourself. What done is done. Focus on making your marriage the most Godly it can be NOW and let the past go. God has forgiven and has let your past sin go – you need to too.

  6. If I had to do it over again, I would not have any physical contact at all before marriage, including kissing. Not everyone is going to think that strict of a line is necessary and that is fine. For me stopping once started was difficult (impossible).

    • My wife and I decided there would be no physical contact before we got married, so the first time I kissed her (or even hugged her) was after the pastor said “You may now kiss the bride.” I don’t think this standard is for everyone but for us it was absolutely necessary, since we both knew it would be impossible to stop once we got started. It’s important to identify your weaknesses right off (especially since the Devil already has) and create situations/conditions that make it less likely you’ll give in to temptation.

  7. I really second the concern that it is a heart issue! We had a long engagement and our pastor really encouraged us to set a bunch of boundaries. If we had been actively struggling this might have been a great thing, but for us it meant we basically went the last 10 months before our wedding with minimal alone time and no kossig/making out. I know that works well for some people but I think it hurt us because those activities became “bad”. Since we have gotten married we are enjoying sex but are STILL trying to regain the love of cuddling/kissing we had before we were married. I miss being able to make out without having sex—they are great together, but sometimes it isn’t the right time/place.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Melissa I totally understand! Hubby and I didn’t go for the no kissing, but I deeply miss the cuddling/kissing without it having to lead to sex. Hubby just isn’t interested anymore. Before we were married, he used to always want to kiss or hold hands or hug. He has very little interest in sex – once a fortnight is enough to satisfy his intimacy needs and so he feels no desire for any other physical intimacy. For me, sex doesn’t fill those other physical intimacy needs (nor am I getting enough sex either) but I have no idea how to change things. We were seeing a christian counsellor but her response was basically that as long as we were having sex once or twice a fortnight, then it’s not an issue and that we should focus on “other” problems – and ignored me that it was our biggest problem.

  8. I had a young woman ask me this recently and my advice to her was to get married, just as you stated. If they are both believers, there is nothing holding them back. They may be poor for awhile but many people married who were poor in the history of the world. It’s good for them! We got engaged in August and had a December wedding also! I loved a December wedding but now our anniversary gets lost in Christmas…
    Lori Alexander recently posted…Ravenous WolvesMy Profile

    • ButterflyWings says:

      Unfortunately other things do hold people back. For us, the longer we were engaged, the POORER we were getting not being married so it wasn’t about putting off marriage to get more money behind us. But we had legal issues (family court) preventing us and there was no way around it. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and be strong and not have sex before marriage if a long engagement is unavoidable.

  9. I love the way Sheila explains things. Two things are important – Know why you want to remain pure and it’s definitely a heart issue. For some people the rules are important for others not. internal motivation is huge. God does give wisdom in all circumstances, and storing and quoting his word may also provide you with new tactics for maintaining purity.
    Also, it helps if both of you are on the same page, because this becomes exponentially harder if he makes it easy for you to give in.
    25 years later, I’m glad we waited. I wrote my experiences around this on my blog in a post called dating and courting.
    nylse recently posted…Notes From My Daughter – The Needy PrideMy Profile

  10. When my husband and I were dating, we had one open-mouthed goodnight kiss, and the next night a long talk in which we both agreed that that was too much temptation for us and we shouldn’t go that far again until we were married. The funny thing is, instead of that creating tension, once we knew where “the line” was, we both felt so much more comfortable in our relationship– there was no more guessing what we could or couldn’t do. We knew we were okay with kissing– and we did kiss a lot– but there would be no open-mouthed kisses and we both trusted each other to stick to that, so there was no worry about the one of us trying to go further than the other was comfortable with. We were engaged within a few months of that, and married six months after our engagement, having successfully saved sex (and making out, except for that one instance) for our marriage, despite spending a lot of time alone together in my apartment.

  11. Absolutely wouldn’t want to say that anything is “bad”. Quite the opposite – so good it’s worth waiting for!

  12. My wife and I waited until our wedding night. During our 3 month engagement we kissed and cuddled a lot but we knew it would go no further. Our honeymoon was not that great but now after nearly 40 years sex just keeps getting better and better as time goes by.

  13. By God’s Grace, I’m able to say I was a virgin when I got married at 42! That doesn’t mean there wasn’t temptation or lines I wished weren’t crossed, but we kept a short engagement and had a conversation early on about staying pure. My husband is an honorable man. Be careful about the movies/tv you watch and the music you listen to. Make sure you are not alone very much. When you know it’s the person, you know. Get the pre-marital counseling too. Most of all, ask God to help you be wise. People in olden days had a chaperone, which isn’t a bad idea. Double date or go out with others. Sometimes I regret even what little we did and wished it had ALL been left for the wedding night. God is good and desires us to be holy as he is holy and with the help of his Wisdom and Holy Spirit, we have the ability to do it!

  14. There is some great advice here. I just wanted to add that I think that deciding to wait and being really tempted not to, is a great problem to have. Your husband is the man you will spend the rest of your life with, therefore being apart in any way will feel unnatural once you are committed to marriage. My husband and I, really felt the pull to be intimate when we were engaged and it was a fight of will to save it to the wedding night. But I always hoped to marry someone who I would sturggle to keep my hands off. Each time I felt the pull towards him, it was another little sign that this was the right man for me, that we belong together. Saying goodbye each evening felt wrong (although it was the right thing to do). The more difficult it was to stay apart the more confident I was that our marriage was a good decision. Although you may feel weak with temptation, it’s probably a symptom of a strong connection, that will be even stronger if you can wait for the right time to act on it.

  15. Sheila maybe you could tackle this questio/subject in another post…..

    How far is too far? Is French kissing far enough, or, hands up shirts, or hands down pants, or hand jobs, or oral sex….

    This article made me think of some friends whom tell people, ” sure we didn’t kiss before marriage, but we dry humped a lot”.

    • That’s actually a great question! What do other people think? My feeling–kissing okay, as long as you realize it’s easy to get carried away. Just don’t lie down together. Anything else–nope.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree with that standard with the caveat that if kissing activates the launch sequence then that’s probably not a good idea either. I’d love to see a post on this subject in the future! We’re married now so obviously it’s not an issue anymore, but it caused a lot of fights between us when we were dating. I felt guilty about what we were doing, but my husband (boyfriend/fiancé at the time) figured that as long as we weren’t having sex we were fine. I doubt we’re the only couple who ever faced this issue and perhaps your younger readers could be spared some heartache!

  17. If you need any encouragement to wait for sex?… and all red blooded people worth marrying will need a bit especially more toward marriage…please Go to simpletorememeber.com and listen to Gila Mansolson’s lecture on The Magic of Touch and she also shares some of her journey from a normal promiscuous college girl to marrying a man she never touched. She is a Yale Grad and communicates very well. I doubt if as a Jew she is even a Christian but she forgot more than most people ever new about why you should wait for the excitement of touch till marriage. There are some very good reasons that you possibly never thought of. Please do yourself and your future spouse a big favor and listen to her good advice to wait. It will bless your marriage and be so worth it. We waited and for many years now have been reaping the blessings for waiting. You can too. Do not give up. If you cannot wait till marriage you will hate yourself for not waiting! I heard and read too many sad tearful story’s. I am not Jewish. I am a born again Christian but truth is truth and this one is important to your future sexual happiness in marriage, so if you are looking forward to having sex do not waist this opportunity to build up healthy sexual tension and guard it carefully. Sexual tension is one important key to bonding sex in marriage. Blessings as you resist temptation to indulge now! Rather move up that wedding date!

  18. The qusetion about how far is too far is very interesting.

    Sadly I think a lot of people thinks Sex= penile-vaginal intercourse. I know I did.
    With that kind of thinking you don’t consider oralsex, manual stimulaion or even anal sex, being sex.
    You’re doing stuff that I thinl are meant to be kept inside your marriage and still think you stayed pure. I don’t know where this thought came from but I don’t think it’s biblical.

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