Sex and the single girl

by Leslie Nack

Sex. As a single, Christian woman chances are that word is either shrouded in mystery or in shame. However, it probably is not a wordsingle girl with ring finger up that you use often. I think that should change. In a culture that offers up many options for sexual expression it is time that the Church embrace a mature and honest discussion about sex and singles.

Desiring sex is normal

For several years, I taught a sexual integrity class for single women who were in unplanned pregnancies at Hope Resource Center. It got me really, really comfortable with talking about sex, emotions and relationships. I lived an adult life as a Christian woman for a number of years before I met and married my husband at age 30. I remember sitting in class with these awesome expectant moms talking about God’s plan for sexuality when someone in the class would realize that I was a virgin. Since I taught this class for several years, I taught many different women and this played out the same way every time.  A wave of shock, horror, and wonder would spread across the room. These women could not believe that a seemingly normal, fun-loving and somewhat attractive woman was a virgin at age 24, 25, 26, etc. Then one of the less shy ladies would ask, “Don’t you want to have sex!?” And my answer usually went something like this, “Yes I want to have sex! I am a human!” Repeat after me, wanting to have sex is normal. Sometimes as Christians we assign shame to non-shameful emotions and desires. A desire for sex is okay, especially as a grown woman; we just have to learn to channel our desires in ways that honor God. When I was single, I had a few friends who I could talk bluntly with about my sexual desires and it helped me guard my heart and my body.

A man’s desire for you does not define your worth

If you have ever had the pleasure of being in a romantic relationship or going on a really good first date then you know the feeling that accompanies being desirable to a man. If you haven’t experienced those things, you still probably have an idea of what you think it feels like and you are pretty sure that you want to feel that way. As women, we want to be wanted, we want to feel pretty, and we want to feel needed. Most single women I know really battle the question, “What is wrong with me that nobody wants me?” The answer is nothing is wrong with you because being desired by a man does not bring you value and worth. Being a beloved child of the Almighty God defines your value and your worth (I John 3:2). As hard as that is to believe sometimes it is true because romantic love, marital love, is designed to teach us about God’s love anyway. Being loved by a man is supposed to help us know what it is to be loved by God. I came to understand this while I was dating my husband when God spoke to my heart, “He loves you a lot, but I love you much better than he ever will.” Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. A husband’s love is a symbol of Christ’s love.

Fighting temptation
Temptation to sexual sin looks different for every person, but I am going to focus on two temptations that I think are easy to keep secret and lead to serious destruction in our lives. Porn and relationships with toxic men.
Porn is not a guys’ problem. If you are a woman who looks at porn, you are not alone, 30% of Internet porn is used by women. Porn creates a world of non-reality that you may use in attempt to curb loneliness, but studies show that porn use actually increases loneliness because it detaches us from real people. Experts categorically agree that porn use: lowers your view of women (because women are used for sex rather than loved and cherished), separates you from real relationships, and decreases your sexual satisfaction. This is a great blog from the perspective of a woman who experienced porn addiction.  Please take a few minutes to READ it, then ask a trustworthy friend to help you break your cycle.

Sometimes, singleness can feel like a desert. A dry barren wasteland that leaves you looking for an oasis of eligible men rather than water. You are going about your life living by the well-meaning advice of friends and family to be the best you that you can be and to advance your career, social life and spiritual walk. Though, somehow, no godly men are taking note of how awesome you are. You rarely or never get asked about by men at your church or other Christians. That stinks. The temptation comes in when non-Christian men do notice how pretty, funny, smart and charming you are. Male attention feels good and that is normal. However, you have to decide in advance your standards for men that you date. The major deal breaker for a Christian woman is that you must date a Christian man. If you value your faith then your partner must share that same faith. So, when that cute, yet clearly not a Jesus-following, guy from work asks you out it is best to say no. Even though you want to say yes so very badly. You may also find yourself on a second or third date with a man that professes Christ, but it is becoming clear that your commitment to the faith is not on the same level. As hard as it is to turn away from the attention and affection, it is better to do it sooner than later. When it comes to sexuality, it is incredibly important that boyfriends hold to your same Biblical standard of abstinence until marriage. It is difficult to maintain physical standards of purity when you and your guy believe the same thing, but nearly impossible when you do not.

What are you waiting for?
Sexual abstinence until marriage seems like an antiquated notion in the world of “16 & Pregnant” and “Two and a Half Men.” There have been campaigns and programs for years encouraging teens to save sex for marriage and promising that if they do, married sex will be hot, heavy and amazing. I have to say, that I think married sex is pretty amazing, but that actually isn’t the point and abstinence until marriage is not a one way ticket to knock-your-socks-off bedroom action. There is no shortage of materials on the sanctity of sex in marriage from the Christian perspective. Some of it is mediocre and some of it is phenomenal. Of all of the thousands of pages that you could read and all of the hours of sermons and Bible studies that you could listen to, it all boils down to this: sexual faithfulness to a spouse is a symbol of spiritual faithfulness to God.

Idolatry and adultery are closely linked in Scripture. All of our human relationships are designed to teach us about God. Understanding that will change how we ask questions about sex in relationships. Sex is a gift to be experienced with your spouse that shows you the intimate relationship of God and His people. Sex is linked to permanency which is why procreation and children result from sexual intercourse. The hormones (dopamine in men and oxytocin in women) that the brain emits during physical touch and especially during orgasm are designed to connect and bond people. Sex is about faithfulness, commitment and permanency. That is what you are waiting for. (And, as a bonus God made sex really fun for us.)

Forgiveness for your past
Chances are that at least half of the single women reading this article are frustrated at this point. You can think about nothing but your failures in your sexual life. Whether your thoughts are drifting to past non-marital sexual relationships, the porn habit that you just cannot seem to kick, or a marriage that ended in divorce, remember this: you are chosen, you are forgiven and you are dearly loved.

Jesus Christ came to this world to forgive us for our sins and to redeem us from our sins. I have heard sin described as being less than God intends for us to be. I think that is especially true of sexual sin. Any sex outside of a mutually loving and supportive marriage is less than what God intended for sex. Because that is true, the effects of sexual sin seem to stick with us and pop around corners when we least expect it. So, while you may know that you are forgiven; know also that you are redeemed which means that you are new and you have a new purpose. How will God use your sexual past to minister to others? Embrace what Christ has done for you and cast off your shame while you ask Him to use your past to change other women’s futures.

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