Let's Talk About Sex!
Sex is a lot like fire.
Fire is powerful. When used in the proper context, it can accomplish amazing things - warmth, light, fuel, power, and ambiance. Campfire smores, Independence Day fireworks, and even the moon landing would not be possible without fire. When fire remains in the confines of a campfire circle, fireplace, or engine, it is a force for good. However, when removed from its intended context, fire can create long-lasting damage. We’ve recently witnessed the devastating aftermath of uncontained wildfires in California, South America, and Australia. The displaced flames have claimed lives, homes, and millions of acres.
Sex is meant to be good. When you have sex with your mutually monogamous lifetime partner (a.k.a. marriage), sex brings connection and enjoyment without shame, fear, or adverse consequences. When taken outside of the boundaries of a mutually monogamous relationship with your lifetime partner, it will eventually cause damage. We all know the physical consequences of sex – STDS, STIs, and unplanned pregnancy – sex also causes painful, long-lasting scars to our mental and emotional health that can be just as permanent.
So how do you keep sex within its intended context?
1. Ask Yourself: Why am I having Sex With This Person? Choose to focus on what you’re fighting for rather than what you’re giving up. Why are you choing to have sex with your partner? Do you see yourself together with your partner for the rest of your life? Are you sure this is the face you want to wake up next to for the rest of your life? What do you want your future relationships, marriage, and sex life to look like - like the relationship you are in now?
2) Know Your Boundaries
It’s nearly impossible to set boundaries in the heat of the moment. Know yourself and your weaknesses. Your boundaries will include specific physical actions, but you may need to add guidelines like - no hanging out in bedrooms, kissing while lying down, or removing clothing. Know which environments make you vulnerable to crossing boundaries. Choose to take a walk rather than watching a movie in an empty house, spend time together in public places, or make it a practice to leave doors open when you’re in a room alone.
3) Have a Trusted Adult to Talk To
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found that you have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone. When you engage in regular accountability appointments, your chances of success go up to 95%. Is someone holding you accountable? This person should be dependable, support your goal, and be willing to ask hard questions. If you don’t have an adult friend who fits the bill, consider asking a trusted aunt or uncle, mentor, or leader in your life.
No matter your past decisions or sexual history, it’s possible to reserve sex for your lifetime partner. Where do you begin? Know your why, boundaries, and who’s keeping you accountable.
If you need to talk to someone about your relationships, sexual health, or your future goals, we’re here for you. You can send us a message and talk with one of our trained educators. For STI testing and treatment, contact Life Choices for free and confidential services.