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Anglican Youthworks PO Box A287 Sydney South NSW 1235 Australia P: +61 2 8268 3344 E: sales@cepstore.com.au W: cepstore.com.au First published September 2012. Reprinted January 2013 and October 2013. Second edition published June 2016. Copyright © Patricia Weerakoon 2012. This book is copyright. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism and review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without the express permission of the Publisher. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® and NIV® are registered trademarks of Biblica, Inc. Use of either trademark for the offering of goods or services requires the prior written consent of Biblica US, Inc. Some Scripture also taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL READER’S VERSION®. Copyright © 1996, 1998 Biblica. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of Biblica. New International Reader’s Version and NIrV® (collectively, ‘NIrV’) are registered trademarks of IBS—STL Global in the United States and other countries. National Library of Australia ISBN 978-1-925492-00-2 Managing editor—Julie Firmstone Managing editor (second edition)—Cassandra Cassis Theological editors—Marshall Ballantine-Jones, Jodie McNeill Cover design—Bethany Abbottsmith


Contents Introduction 7 PART ONE CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it? What is sex and what is it for? What does God have to do with sex? Take away

14 16 22 31

CHAPTER 2: Teenage: what is it all about? The teen body Body development and common myths The teen brain Take away

32 34 36 49 54

CHAPTER 3: Sexual desire: a gift from God or Satan’s tool? Sexual desire is an important and wonderful part of being human What turns our desire on and off? Learning to manage your sexual desire Take away

55 57 61 64 68

CHAPTER 4: Falling in love and dealing with lust What is this mind-blowing feeling of falling in love? Is lust an uncontrollable force? The ‘handle with care’ warning of falling in love Take away

70 74 82 90 91

CHAPTER 5: Dating and mating What is a date? When is a teenager ready to enter the dating scene? How far should a couple ‘go’ when on a date? Take away

92 94 98 103 113


CHAPTER 6: Happily ever after? 115 Patterns of pairing 118 The brain and bonding 122 Living according to God’s plan for marriage and sex 126 Male and female: Different and complementary sexual response 130 Take away 140 PART TWO CHAPTER 7: Sex, teens and technology The joys and pitfalls of cyber identity The meaning of cyber intimacy Virtual bullying: Cyber bile Dangerous liaisons: Sexting and cybersex Take away

142 146 151 154 156 161

CHAPTER 8: Purity in a pornified world The effects of porn on the brain How porn affects sexual behaviour in boys and girls What if you’ve already been watching porn? Take away

162 167 170 172 174

CHAPTER 9: Sex, gender and identity Biological sex Gender identity Sexual orientation Take away

177 182 184 186 192

CHAPTER 10: Twenty questions Questions girls ask Questions boys ask

194 195 207

CHAPTER 11: So, how should we live?

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What is sex and what does God think about it?


The girls in my class kept talking about getting to ‘second base’ with these guys at a party last weekend. I actually didn’t have a clue what they meant—so I asked. They were snogging and fingering with these boys that they’d only just met. Wow, they allowed these … these strange guys to finger their … their … you know what I mean. Some even talked of giving a guy head. ‘That’s not sex’, they said.

ABBY

We had this sex education class. The teacher had all these pictures. So … we now know all about the seminal vesicles and how they nourish the sperm, and how the egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tube. And watch out—you then get pregnant. Hey, we wanted her to tell us what the clitoris was and what it means to have an orgasm. Yeah, right! Like that’s gonna happen anytime soon.

JOANNA

My mates talk about how girls like rough play during sex. Some even allow their boyfriend to cum on their face. That doesn’t sound like fun to me!

I am in love with this guy. And I didn’t want to have sex but I really wanted to make him happy. So we’re doing these other things and then he’s like pushing me to go all the way ... and before I know it he’s doing it and I can’t stop. I was scared. It hurt and I was crying, but I let him do it because I didn’t want to break up.

TALIA ZACH


What is sex and what is it for? Sex and sexual behaviours are both the simplest and most complex activities you will face in your teenage years.

Teen Sex By the Book

It is simple because your brain wakes up and becomes sexual in your early teens and starts you off on the sexual journey of a lifetime. Sex comes to you: it’s not something you need to go in search of. It is complex because, for most of the time, sex involves you and another person. And so you have to learn about the meaning of sex in relationships, what activities constitute sex and how you communicate with the opposite sex.

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The teenagers in the scenarios above are confused about two areas of sex: • What is a ‘sexual activity’? • What is the purpose of sex?

What is a sexual activity? In the earlier scenarios, Abby, Talia and, to some extent, Zach are confused about what constitutes sexual activity. Abby is distressed that some girls would allow a boy they have just met at a party to touch and fondle their genitals. Talia thinks that doing ‘other things’ is not a real sexual activity. So she allows the boy she loves to have increasing levels of access to her body. She is then shocked and distressed when he goes all the way with sexual intercourse. Zach’s comment shows his confusion at the way his mates treat girls sexually, but also his assumption that sex is mainly about having fun. In every one of these scenarios, it seems that the only intimate sexual activity that is classified as ‘sex’ is sexual intercourse. In other words, anything other than the penis inserted into the vagina is not considered ‘sex’. This is something I have come across in focus group discussions with teenagers. It is also borne out in research. In a study with university


What do you and your friends think? The list below gives a range of sexual activities from the lowest level of sexual intimacy to the highest: where would you draw the line as to what is ‘having sex’ with someone? • Sharing sexual texts and explicit pictures. • Holding hands • Kissing with lips closed • Touching the body other than the breast or genitals • Deep kissing (‘snogging’, French or tongue kissing) • Touching breasts or nipples • Oral contact (using your mouth to touch) with breasts or nipples • Touching and stroking the genitals (fingering, mutual masturbation) • Oral-genital contact • Vaginal intercourse We will come back to this discussion in the chapter on ‘dating and mating’. For now I want to leave you with the thought that any act between two young people of the opposite sex is potentially a ‘sexual’ activity. It depends on two things: the level of respect each partner

1

Peck, B, Manning, J, Tri, A, Skrzypczynski, D, Summer M et al. 2016, ‘What do people mean when they say they ‘had sex’? Connecting communication and behavior’, in Manning, J & Noland, C (eds) Contemporary Studies of Sexuality & Communication: Theoretical and Applied Perspectives, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, Illinois, pp. 3–14.

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

students, researchers1 asked undergraduate students what activities constituted having ‘had sex’. Almost all agreed on penile-vaginal intercourse (97.4%) and anal intercourse (85.4%) as having ‘had sex’. The proportion who listed other activities was considerably lower. In terms of oral sex, 58.4% said receiving and 57.7% giving oral sex was ‘having sex’. When it came to touching: 38.6% said receiving and 37.7% giving genital stimulation or fingering was ‘having sex’. Only 14% considered breast stimulation and deep kissing to be ‘having sex’.

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has towards the other and towards maintaining the purity and integrity of the other’s body, and the level of sexual arousal the activity causes in one or both partners. So potentially, holding hands can become a sexual activity with someone who turns you on. Even sharing sexual messages and pictures of your body and genitals is sexually arousing to both partners—making it a sexual activity. The confusion and vagueness as to what is and what is not a sexual activity is played out in the scenarios. Look at Abby’s story: it sure doesn’t look like her friends and their party companions care much about the purity and integrity of each other’s bodies. It’s hard to say if they were even aroused or just playing some crazy party game. The same could be said of Zach, while rightly showing discomfort with boys Teen Sex By the Book

treating girls with disrespect, he thinks that sexual intercourse between boyfriend and girlfriend is acceptable—as long as it doesn’t involve violence. As for Talia, the boy she thinks she is in love with definitely did not respect her body or her feelings when he went ahead and had sexual intercourse with her. It was a selfish act of sexual gratification. Technically, this was an act of violence and not of love, as were the activities Zach describes. 18

Sexual behaviour is an outward expression of your inner beliefs, attitudes and knowledge about sex and sexuality. You, as a teenager, must be very clear in your mind as to what is permissible in terms of sexual activity and what is not. You also need to know where these values come from. What are you allowing into your mind? What is important to you? Are your values from the media, the internet, social media, pop culture and your friends? Or are they guided by the deeper principles of following what Jesus wants for your life? How can you best open the doors of your mind to healthy sexual values and slam it shut to unhealthy influences?


Some young people (and many older ones) think that they can separate their ‘Sunday-Christian self’ from their ‘rest-of-the-time secular self’. Guess what? That’s just not possible. As Paul says: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:18−20) If you’re a Christian, your view of what sexual activity is will not change from one day to the next, whether you’re with church friends or secular friends.

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

Sex and the Sunday Christian

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And importantly, who do you turn to for advice before you engage in any activity and when something goes wrong? Parents, teachers, aunties and uncles, and youth leaders are all ready to help you. Build yourself a little resource list of sex experts you can talk to. The main reason for confusion as to what compromises ‘having sex’ is that young people have different and jumbled-up ideas as to the reasons and purposes of sex.

Let’s explore the different ways people think about sex.


What is the purpose of sex? What you do in a particular situation will be influenced by what you think is the purpose and significance of the activity you are engaging in. This is particularly true of a couple’s sexual activity. This involves more than your own view: it’s influenced by what you think the impact of the activity will be on your partner. This is a truly awesome responsibility.

Teen Sex By the Book

In her book2, Caroline Simon uses the example of going to get your eyes tested. When the optometrist puts different glasses or lenses in front of your eyes, the same thing can look a little different. Similarly, people see the purpose of sex differently depending on the ‘lens’ they are looking through. And the ‘lens’ each person uses is influenced by their underlying belief system about sex. Some of these ‘lenses’ are played out in the scenarios at the start of this chapter.

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One of the ‘lenses’ is what Simon calls the ‘plain sex’ view. I prefer to call it the pleasure lens. Abby’s friends and Zach’s friends are probably looking at sex this way. It comes from a belief that linking sexual activity to love or the commitment of marriage is outdated. The pleasure lens, at its best and healthiest, sees sexual activity as something that is fun and satisfying. This is what Joanna was hoping would be discussed in sex education class. But there is another side to this lens. With this point of view, sexual activity is something that is done to satisfy a personal desire for the intense feelings of arousal and orgasm. It’s a selfish, mefocused attitude to sexual activity, usually with the consent of the partner and hopefully causing no harm. It’s an attitude of, ‘I need to be satisfied. If it feels good for the other person, well that’s a nice bonus’. What about Talia’s view of sex? Or Zach’s friends? What happens here is sexual activity through the lens of power. This is the dark side of sexual

2

Simon, CJ 2012, Bringing Sex into Focus: The Quest for Sexual Integrity, Intervarsity Press, Nottingham, UK.


Then there is the lens of romance. It’s the attitude to sex that says, ‘If you love me, you will make love to me’. Through the romantic lens, the couple are driven by the chemistry of falling in love. It is seen as the natural outworking of the sense of romantic love. Unfortunately for this form of sexual activity, the intense love feelings are temporary. If a commitment is built solely on feelings of love, it ceases when love fades, and break-up, rejection, infidelity and heartache are inevitable. What about the deeper, more serious reasons for sexual activity? Is sex just for making babies? Or is it also the bonding in a committed relationship of marriage? Procreative sex has been around since the dawn of time—actually, since God told the first humans to ‘be fruitful and increase in number’ and to ‘fill the earth’ (Genesis 1:28). And just like it was for the first couple, so it is for every man and woman today: every act of sexual intercourse has the potential for a pregnancy. So, while it is an enjoyable expression of love, sex is also about procreation. Some teenagers may think they know all about it, and not really care about contraception and safe sex, but as you will see later in the book, teenage brains are very susceptible to risky, ‘heat of the moment’ activity. What about commitment and bonding? When you are a teenager, marriage and the commitment of one man and one woman seems (as one teenager said to me) ‘a zillion years away’. So why would you abstain from romance and the pleasures of sex while you wait ‘a zillion years’ for that special boy or girl to turn up? It is because sexual activity

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

activity where, driven by desire and arousal, Talia’s boyfriend uses her as a sexual object. The activities described by Zach are similar. Here the boys assume that girls are objects to be used for their pleasure. This behaviour is driven by porn (more about this later). There are other aspects to this lens. One is where girls make themselves look sexy to feel powerful over boys. This is commonly called ‘raunch culture’.

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between a man and a woman bonds the two together. It is not just a physical act3: it’s something that in a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual way forms a special union between them. And it’s not just the two of them. Sex has an impact on people around them—family, friends and colleagues, and ultimately even the society they live in. With sex in a committed marriage relationship, a couple can be playful and have fun, and be deeply romantic. In faith and trust, they can even give their partner power to pleasure their body.

Teen Sex By the Book

So all the ‘lenses’ can be played out when a couple are having sex in a committed relationship. Of course pregnancies and babies are a natural addition to the family. When sexual activity is practised in a marriage context all the other aspects come together in a full, holistic experience.

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What does God have to do with sex? Now you can understand what God has to do with a committed marriage relationship. But what does playful, fun and romantic sex have to do with God? Many people believe that God is a ‘partypooper’ who doesn’t want you to have fun sex. Is that true? People usually think God is against sex because sex is the best fun in the world, and he is the ‘cosmic killjoy’ who only wants us to be ‘good’. And to be good, you have to be boring. And if you have fun, it must mean you are being ‘bad’. It’s not just young people who think this; it is people of all ages. The devil’s most basic lie is that godliness is boring and repressive, and sin— especially sexual sin—is fun and exciting. (That’s what he did when he deceived Eve, the first woman, by saying, ‘Did God really say …?’

3

Brandon, G 2009, Just Sex: Is It Ever Just Sex? Intervarsity Press, England and Wales.


in Genesis 3:1.) The truth is exactly the opposite. Godliness—including godliness in sexuality—can be fun and exciting. When people follow God’s way of living, they show that they trust him, and believe that fulfilling than the temporary happiness of instant self-gratification. People who think God is against sex respond in one of two ways. One way is to embrace God and pretend that we are not sexual beings. But this won’t work: God has made us as sexual beings, and we can’t just escape sexual feelings and thoughts. God has chosen for some believers to remain single and celibate, and this is considered by the Apostle Paul to be a gift from God (see 1 Corinthians 7:7–8). But for others, God considers it right and proper to be married so that their natural desires and passions can be used as God designed (1 Corinthians 7:9). The other extreme is to embrace sex and reject God: to ignore God’s design for sex, to follow your heart and have sex (actually, you’re not following your heart; you’re following the brain hormones … but more on that later). People who act this way have sex when their bodies are ready and their brain desire is turned on—and this happens in the early teens. Friendship, mateship and a longing for relational closeness and intimacy become blurred with the instant thrill of the ‘hook up’ and sexual activity. This may look and feel good—for a little while. The fact is that this doesn’t work in the long run because God made our bodies in a particular way. They work best when we operate within his design: God designed sexuality to operate within a lifelong marriage of one man to one woman within a supporting family of the church. So the basic problem with both of these extremes is their starting point. They both think God is against sex; therefore, you have to make a choice to either embrace God and reject sex or reject God and embrace sex. If you’re a teenager who thinks this way, you are sure in for a surprise.

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

following him is the best life possible. Holiness is actually a lot more

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The Bible has good news about sex: God is for it! He invented it! So we can embrace both God and sex. God invented sex, and blessed us with bodies that are built for sex and brains wired to feel sexual desire and sexual pleasure. And in placing us in a family and in a community of people, God gives us a way of living out our sexuality in relationships— as a son or daughter, as a friend, a colleague and, when the time is right, a lover and spouse. It’s actually a great pattern for sex and relationships. If only we can see straight enough to follow it.

Teen Sex By the Book

The Bible on God and sex

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Let’s go to where it all began, to the book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. God created all the plants and animals. Then he said (Genesis 1:26), ‘Let us make man in our likeness … ’. (The ‘our’ here is the Trinity—God in three persons as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and yet one God.) God wants us to enjoy life-giving relationships of total intimacy, trust and honesty because he is himself a relational, life-giving God. As the Apostle John said, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:16). And out of his love, he made this universe as a place of life—he created the plants and animals, and breathed the breath of life into humans. Real life—a feeling of being full, complete, and valued—comes from having healthy relationships (and, most importantly, a relationship with Jesus Christ). We’re happiest when we feel safe and loved. In the next verse we learn that this couple in the Garden of Eden had a unique and complementary character (Genesis 1:27). ‘He [God] created them as male and female.’ So they were perfectly gendered as male and female. We can assume that Adam would have had a perfect body with just the right amount of contoured muscles and wonderfully structured and functioning genitals. Eve would have had the perfect hourglass figure. Beauty and physical pleasure are good. God invented erections and orgasms, and blessed us with bodies able to experience them.


And they both knew they were there for each other. Adam was delighted to be with Eve. ‘Finally’, he said. ‘Her bones have come from my bones. Her body has come from my body.’ (Genesis 2:23). You can expect that he was totally in love with her, turned on by her, and absolutely committed to her. God wanted it that way because he had created them. Now that’s romance—Garden of Eden style. Then God gave them the command (Genesis 1:28) to ‘have children. Fill the earth and take control of it’. That was a command to have sex and make babies. They didn’t even have to get naked—they already were! And they were totally comfortable with it. God gave them the gift of sex to make them ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24)—to bring the two together in such a close relationship that they thought and felt and acted as one. That’s why love and sex go together. When we love someone, we want to have sex with them; when we have sex with someone, we fall in love with them. God wanted it that way: God is love, remember? That’s why sex belongs in marriage. To marry someone is to publicly promise to be there for them, and care for them, for the rest of our lives. It unites love with commitment. We’re determined to care for each other (even when we don’t feel like it) because we have promised to do so before God, each other and our friends and family. And that’s also why sex leads to babies. Good sex in a healthy, caring relationship makes us feel alive: it makes us feel whole, happy, and content. And it is designed to lead to new physical life—babies. And when babies come along, husband and

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

Adam and Eve would have been totally comfortable as male and female. OK, it helped that they were the only two humans in the world, so they had no-one to compare themselves against. But the point is, Adam knew he was a male and Eve was a female; Eve knew she was a female and Adam was a male; and they were both happy with that. They weren’t stressed about who they were: they accepted themselves, their bodies and their identities as God had made them.

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wife become mum and dad, and bring up a whole new generation of lovers.

Sex, sin and Satan God wanted Adam and Eve to stay content in a perfect relationship with each other. So, he gave them one warning: rule the world and make it yours, but just don’t eat from the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Genesis 2:17). But Eve and Adam didn’t accept God’s rule. With a little prompting from Satan in a snake suit, they decided they could do a better job themselves. They wanted to be in charge of their lives, to do their own thing. When Satan tempted Eve to doubt God’s word (Genesis 3:1), he made out that God was a killjoy, a Teen Sex By the Book

spoilsport. She believed him. And Adam simply followed his wife. So, with Satan’s prodding, they decided to disobey God. That’s when they

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and each other. And everything in God’s good creation—where they

were in deep trouble. They weren’t comfortable to be naked with each other anymore. So they covered themselves up, trying to hide from each other and from God (Genesis 3:7). God’s judgement on them was to throw them out of the idyllic Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). They no longer enjoyed that perfect relationship and intimacy with God looked after and cared for each other, and made each other happy— was now all messed up (Genesis 3:14–19). And that included sexuality. Today, we’re still living in the shadow of that rebellion against God. Instead of being confident in our gender identity as a male or a female, people are intersexed, transgendered and transsexual. In place of the untainted joy of sexual desire between male and female, we now have a selfishly-used desire that, for many, is simply there to make us feel good. Sometimes our desire is turned upside down and we become gay and lesbian or want a whole lot of other sexual practices and desires (Romans 1:27). We worry about our bodies, instead of happily accepting them as the ones we were born with. We’re too fat; we’re


And, instead of caring for each other, teenagers, both boys and girls, begin to put each other down. There are power struggles and double standards. Blokes who sleep around are ‘studs’, while girls who do the same are ‘sluts’. And sex, instead of being the glue that holds two people together in a committed relationship, becomes a weapon for manipulating people to do what you want. Boys use love to get sex; girls use sex to get love. One or both get used, abused and disillusioned. At worst there’s sexual coercion and rape. And it all looks and feels pretty horrible.

Redeemed sexuality: Thinking differently about sex Here’s the good news. God knows that we are totally messed up. He knows that, left to ourselves, we would continue destroying all these wonderful gifts of sexuality and relationships. So he did something about it: he sent his only Son, Jesus, to become a man, who lived a life in perfect obedience to God—a man who never sinned. When Jesus died and came back to life by rising from the dead, he did two things: he took the punishment we deserved for our rejection of God, and he gave us the gift of his Holy Spirit so that we can live a new, healthy life with God and under God’s rule. Jesus’ death was our death. Jesus’ resurrection offers us new life. All we have to do is entrust ourselves to him. That’s what the Bible means by ‘faith’. It’s not irrational; it’s not a leap in the dark. It’s a deeply thought-through, reasoned-out giving of ourselves to our Creator because we know he loves us. How do people show us they love us? Chocolates and flowers? Kisses and cuddles? What did Jesus do to show us his love? While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8).

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

too thin; our boobs are too big; they’re too small; we’re too wrinkled or not wrinkled enough. Whatever else we are, the one thing we’re not is happy and comfortable with ourselves.

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If we entrust ourselves to Jesus, then we have a new identity. God loves us; we’re his children (John 1:12–13; 1 Peter 1:23—2:3; 1 John 3:1−2). It doesn’t matter what our bodies look like, whether we’re fat, thin, white, tanned or wrinkled. It doesn’t matter what our sexual conquests have been—slut, stud or single. It doesn’t matter what our good friends think, what our parents think, what our Facebook friends think. What ultimately matters is what God thinks. And we know that God loves us more than we can imagine.

Teen Sex By the Book

If you follow Jesus, he’ll give you a new way of living. You’ll think differently because you’ll see everything from Jesus’ point of view (which is God’s point of view). And because you’ll see things differently, you’ll act differently. And that’s what this great Bible passage is all about:

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And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves  but for him who died for them  and was raised again. So from now on we regard no-one from a worldly  point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,  the new creation  has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:15–17) You’ll have different values and different priorities about lots of things—including sex. So when your friends ask you, ‘Why aren’t you sleeping with your boyfriend? Don’t you love him?’ you’ll respond with something like, ‘Of course we love each other—that’s why we’re not sleeping with each other. Our relationship isn’t at that stage yet. We’re still getting to know each other and whether we want to commit to being with each other for the rest of our lives. To have sex now would be unloving, manipulative and disrespectful’. Then when they look confused, you’ll continue with, ‘That’s what I like about my boyfriend— he respects me and honours my body. That’s why I feel safe around him. I wish more men were like that’.


Some of your friends might go and talk with each other about how Christians are weird because they can love each other and not have sex, but that shouldn’t be a problem because it’s what God thinks that matters. Others might not say anything, but be thinking to themselves, ‘Actually, this sounds better than how I’m living’ or, ‘Wow—a guy who loves me enough not to pressure me into sex all the time? That sounds pretty good’. So don’t think that the jokes and hard time they’re giving you is always because they’re thinking ‘you’re weird’. Some of them may be just a step away from joining you in believing in Jesus. So invite your friends to find out more. You’re on the path to countercultural sex.

The Bible, church and purposeful, disciplined godliness This is why all teenagers need the Bible. It’s not fundamentally a book of rules (although it does have rules, like the Ten Commandments); it’s a book about God, Jesus, us and our world. The Bible teaches you how to see yourself, others and the world in God’s way, and how to act in line with that new way of thinking. It is a call to a countercultural way of living. One with consequences in this life and the next The Bible doesn’t tell you exactly what you should do in each and every sexual situation. But then, neither does it tell you what music to listen

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

And it’s the same with guys. When your friends ask you, ‘Is your girlfriend good in bed?’ or ‘Have you reached fourth base?’ you’ll go, ‘Dude, we don’t do that sort of thing yet. I love her too much to use her like that. It’s too early. If she trusts me enough to live with me for the rest of our lives, then we’ll make promises to each other before God and our family and friends. And then I can ask her to give her body to me. Not before’. Then when your friends look confused, you’ll explain that ‘to love someone means to honour and care for them, right? Even if it costs us—that’s what Jesus did for me. What does love mean to you?’

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to, what video game to play or what car to buy. It gives you principles and guidelines for life as God’s people in his world.

Teen Sex By the Book

God is not a tyrannical ruler. He has given you choice: you can choose to live God’s way or you could look around at the world with its menu of seductive choices, and take the quick and easy route to what appears to be instant satisfaction. If you take choice number two, you may well wonder why, in the long run, you’re left feeling hollow and empty, like the life’s been sucked out of you.

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Living God’s way sexually, by keeping sex within marriage, may seem too difficult. But developing the strength to wait is a bit like working out in the gym. It’s about practice, practice, practice. In the beginning, it can be tiring and frustrating because you don’t see the results. But after a while the exercises become easy and automatic, and you see the positive effects in your body and mind. Living God’s way sexually and relationally will feel strange at the beginning, because you’ll be out of step with what most people around you are doing. It would be much easier to just be carried along with the flow. At best, people will think you’re weird. They might think you’re silly and old-fashioned. They might think you’re immature—‘Grow up and have sex. You need the experience!’ At worst, they’ll get angry because, just by being who you are, you’ll threaten them. Be polite, kind and respectful but expect that they may think you are judging them for using their sexuality for momentary pleasure. On the other hand, you may want to live God’s way, but feel guilty and unworthy because of the crazy choices you’ve made in the past. Always remember: Jesus died for guilty, unworthy sinners, not for good people (Luke 5:31−32; Romans 5:6−10; John 4:10). And you can know for sure that, if you come to God and say ‘sorry’, he will definitely forgive you. That’s why the Bible says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). So hang in there. We’re talking here about the God who


And this is why it’s important to regularly get along to a church. Church is people—people who have entrusted themselves to Jesus, and who are learning from God’s word what it means to see the world God’s way, and act accordingly. They are there to help each other make godly choices in everything, including sex. If you’re already a regular churchgoer, think about your attitude to people who struggle with sexual sin. Are you afraid of them? Do you think they’re ‘dirty’ or ‘dangerous’? What would have happened to you if Jesus thought sinners were dirty and dangerous? There would have been no cross and no resurrection … and no hope of us being loved and forgiven by God. If you’ve managed to keep yourself pure, well done—keep going. But always be compassionate towards people struggling with sin—any sin—including sexual sin. Compassion doesn’t mean approval. Jesus died and rose—he simultaneously forgives us and calls us to a new, godly way of life. That’s the attitude we need to have towards people who struggle with sexual sin. Accept them because they’re forgiven in Christ; then challenge them to live for Christ.

Take away In this chapter, we have explored world views and God’s views on sex and sexual behaviour. Where are you in this picture? What do you think sex is for? What constitutes having sex? And when do you think you’ll be ready for it? And finally, what do you and your friends think of God’s way of living your sexual lives?

Read on to learn more about teenage and how science and sex research points to God’s way as the best way for true sex.

CHAPTER 1: What is sex and what does God think about it?

created the universe—the God who can take someone like the Apostle Paul, who was trying to destroy Christianity, and turn him into such an effective Christian minister that he wound up writing a third of the New Testament. If God can do that, then he can take the worst sexual deviant and make him or her a child of God.

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Teen Sex by the Book by Patricia Weerakoon  

Renowned sex educator Patricia Weerakoon provides Godly advice to questions teenagers have about sexuality and relationships.

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