It’s hard not having sex when you’re single. Even when you’re a Christian. And even when you’re female.
I’ve heard Christians still have sex before marriage, they just wait longer than the non-Christian mainstream. And Christians utilise porn, both men and women. So Christians are thinking about sex, and having sex, despite the church’s teachings on sex.
Wait, what? Are churches still teaching on sex?
Are churches still teaching on sex?
I haven’t heard a sermon about sex in a long time. The last time I heard one, I was a teenager. And the sermon did the irritating ‘If you’re married, go have great sex, and if you’re single–um, read a book’ (?!) thing.
Abstaining while I was single was, at times, agonising. And I struggled to find helpful resources (ie. not porn) on the subject. I even went to a large Christian bookstore one day and searched high and low for something on sex and singledom. Nada. Bupkiss. Zilcho.
I remember grabbing some books anyway and heading for the checkout. The young girl asked me, ‘Did you find what you were looking for?’ I looked at her, uncertain whether to cry or scream, and replied, ‘Well…no.’
It wasn’t her fault. There is a paucity of Christian resources about sex that aren’t also about marriage. Anyone who has been a Christian for more than five minutes will tell you there is an abundance of Christian sex-and-marriage resources. But what about singles?
There is a paucity of Christian resources about sex that aren’t also about marriage.
Single Christians have sexual desires (most of them). Single Christians think about porn and brothels and one-night-stands. And single Christians struggle to keep their bodies and minds pure. (OK, married Christians struggle with this too.)
So how do we do it? How do we follow God and his path to holiness when we want to have sex?
Here are three things that helped me through the agony of sex-in-singledom:
- Talk about it. I found a girlfriend I trusted and confided in her–all my worries, doubts, curiosities and failings. She didn’t tell me what to do (or what not to do). She didn’t give me advice. She was there for me. She listened and empathised. And I didn’t feel quite so alone.
- Pray and pray and pray some more. I poured out my frustrations to God. I told him how I was suffering. I got angry and upset and sorry. He listened to all of it. We had full and frank exchanges. He didn’t tell me what to do, which was kinda frustrating. ‘God, don’t you have a solution for me?’ But we kept it honest. And that mattered.
- Remember who and where you are. We live in a sex-saturated world, a world that highly esteems active sex lives and free self-expression. We have to live in this world, but we are not of this world. Our home in heaven, and when we get there, we will fully express our worship to God, and our deepest intimacies will be with him. Sex is a metaphor, a symbol of complete union with God. That is our highest calling. Sex is temporary—heavenly worship is eternal.
Sex is a symbol of complete union with God.
Do these tips ‘cure’ sexual desire? Of course not. (At least, not in my experience.) While we are on earth, we will experience sexual desire and all the associated temptations. That is our reality, as well as our opportunity to pursue holiness to the best of our ability.
So let us remember we belong to God–and that all our unfulfilled longings of this life are precursors to our eternal union with him.
How do you survive sex-in-singledom? Are there any tips or tricks you would give to singles? What helps keep you on God’s path to holiness? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.