Abstinent But Not Pure

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Throughout high school, abstinence wasn’t an option for me. At least, it seemed to be this way. Purity was something that was never talked about. The only time people were saving themselves was for the “right” person, sweet 16’s, prom nights and until you fell in love.

I became abstinent at the age of 17. My first sexual activity with another girl was at the age of 13. For four years I engaged heavily in sexual activity. Knowing it was wrong biblically, being convicted a number of times, I still gave into sex. All of my friends in high school were active and if you weren’t active, you would be talked about and scolded.

So what does purity even mean? Purity means to be free from something, to be detached, not giving into sexual desires, sexual temptations, and to have a behavior that is at peace with oneself. Purity is to have great morals and standards.

The question I want to ask: How can a person have a pure heart, mind, body and spirit? I believe the answer to this question goes hand in hand with purity and abstinence.

Abstinence means to abstain from something. It means to not indulge in an immoral desire or act. Abstinence in the Christian world usually means to refrain from sexual intercourse. The next question I want to throw out in this post is to help guide us the rest of the way:

How can a person be abstinent and not pure? How is this even possible?

If you have read the Bible, of if you follow the Christian faith you should know the Bible teaches on abstinence and purity. To understand why God requires us to wait until marriage, we have to first understand the concept of marriage and sex. God created sex in the context of marriage for a man a woman to enjoy each other, to deepen their relationship, to enjoy pleasure and to create life. Can people enjoy sex, deepen their relationship with one another and create life while not being followers of God and not married? Of course they can, but I believe he/she misses out on the true potential of oneness God offers. To break that down would take a different blog post.

An article from The Christian Post dating back to 2014 said this: “A survey of 716 Christians released in January, only 11 percent said they save sex exclusively for marriage. Instead, 60 percent said they would be willing to have sex without any strings attached, while 23 percent said they would have to be in love. Five percent said they would wait to get engaged.”

I share those statistics because in today’s culture being abstinent and pure is not the norm. Even for today’s Christians. Whether a person has had sex or not, society, culture, peers, social media, television, magazines all influence and give off all the reasons why a person should be engaged in sexual activity, therefore making it hard for Christians to live a life of abstinence and purity.

Even after the age of 17, as I embarked on my abstinence and purity journey, I faced daily battles with having sexual urges and desires. (These urges and desires aren’t bad. It is what you do with them) When I have conversations with youth and young adults about this topic, I tell them it wasn’t always easy for me to stop being sexually active. I desired it, I dreamed about it, I wanted it, I came close to having it, I engaged in physical/ sexual activity, my mind wasn’t always pure. My thoughts were this: I believed if I didn’t have sex, I was remaining abstinent and pure. I now understand, I was just as guilty whenever I engaged in passionate kissing, lustful thoughts and foreplay.

So yes, a person can abstain from sex and not be pure in their mind and heart. Just because a person is not doing something, does not mean they are not dwelling on it. It is when we dwell on sex for long moments of time and begin to have lustful thoughts about sexual activity that begins to hurt us spiritually.

I want to leave you with some practical tools to help you in your abstinence to remain pure:

1) Never see how far you can go with someone. This is danger waiting within itself.

2) Learn how to set boundaries for yourself. If it is getting late, go home or send the other person home.

3) I would advise not to kiss but if you do kiss: no tongue (french) kissing, kissing on the neck, body, or passionate long kisses.

4) Don’t stare at body parts and keep your hands off. Usually physical touch is what sparks romance.

5) Watch what you say. Don’t tempt the other with flirtatious and sexual words.

6) Get an accountability partner. Someone who is on the same journey as you. Talk about your struggles, ways you can overcome your sexual desires.

7) When dirty/sexual thoughts pop in your head, tell yourself no, don’t follow those thoughts, and think about something positive.

8) Stay away from watching porn, R rated movies filled with sexual scenes.

9) Go exercise when your hormones are rising. This can help take your mind off sex and also settle you down.

10) Try not to surround yourself with people that talk about their sex lives. This will make you feel like you are missing out and you need to bring some type of conversation to the table.

11) Limit your cuddling and no spooning on the couch while watching movies!

12) Get in a courting relationship with someone that has the same mindset as you.

13) Rely on the power of God. Read His word, pray, fast and seek Him in your singleness and when you are tempted.

14) Get in a pre-marital group, singles group or a young adult group. It will be good for you to build community with others that share similar battles.

15) Be open and honest with your struggles. Don’t hide them or feel bad for having them. It’s normal to have desires and to be tempted.

Abstinence may be hard, remaining pure may be hard but it is possible to not give in. You are not the only one in the race of waiting to marriage to have sex. If you’ve had sex and now you are abstinent, you too can make it to marriage to have sex. You have to be intentional, you have to put in effort. Ultimately you have to realize your sustaining power comes from God’s sufficient grace. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that will keep you and help you in your times of weakness. You got this!

Hopefully some of the tips I left will be helpful to you.

P.S. I would love to hear from some of you. If you practice(d) abstinence, what works for you or didn’t work for you? What advice would you give others that are waiting until marriage?

Two good books that helped me on my journey:

Choosing God’s Best: Wisdom for Lifelong Romance by Dr. Don Ranikur

Holding Hands, Holding Hearts by Richard and Sharon Phillips


16 thoughts on “Abstinent But Not Pure

  1. Good morning!

    I just wanted to say how right on time your post is. I randomly found your post through Facebook and I can’t tell you thank you enough! This truly hit home with me and was something I know God needed me to realize. You def have a follower in me. Keep up the excellent work man of God!

    1. Thank you Kyle for the reply and feedback. You are greatly appreciated. It is my hope and prayer that this message will be received with an open heart. As followers of Christ I believe this is the way He wants us to live.

  2. I agree with this post 100% except for one thing. I believe the correct term is, Chastity and not abstinance. To my understanding priest and nuns are abstinant, they will forever withhold from having sex. Chastity is waiting to have sex until marriage. And we can all strive to be pure. When we are chaste we can truly have an intimate relationship with God. Being chaste is understanding how beautifully God created sexuality and waiting for the day you can become One Flesh with your spouse. I highly recommend the book, chastity is for lovers. This book helped me understand all that has been mentioned. It can be a bumpy road but with God’s grace and mercy we can do it. Only date someone who is chaste and surround yourself with people who share the Love of God with you and will help you in your journey. God Bless!

    1. Maria, thank you for sharing this and bringing chastity to my attention. I do believe the words fits and be used along the lines of abstinence. I will be sure to check out the book one day and share it with others. Thanks for taking out the time to read and share. God bless!

  3. I do agree with you 100% on all of this!! I am of course not a teenager and I have practiced Abstinence for 20 yrs literally because I am a Christian and I was divorced. I did not want just any man around my children therefore I decided not to even date! I have recently been reunited with my High School Sweetheart after being apart for 40yrs!!! We have been dating, talking and discussing many things including the word of God…..however, he recently expressed how he wants to marry me (all of our children are adults now), and actually asked me to marry him! Because of this and the kissing, spending time, etc., these impure desires have come up for both of us! It is hard because we are going through battles in our bodies and minds because we both know what God’s Word says & he doesn’t want to break my consecration until after marriage. We plan to marry next year but it is hard to stay away from our feelings – he lives in another state so it helps but is hard when we do see one another so we fight. My thoughts have been all over the place & your teaching has really helped me to stay in perspective knowing that it would be devastating to succumb to the flesh. Please keep us in your prayers that we will not do that and that we would use wisdom in everything. Thanks for your teaching! My name is LaDonna and his name is Mark

    1. LaDonna, thank you for the openness and honesty. I believe you are in it for the fight. My wife and I back in college were in a long distance relationship and we went through some of the same struggles. Being away from each other for quite some time you want to express how you feel when you’re around them. Continue to rely on God and use wisdom when you are around each other. You two will be lifted up in my prayers. I am excited for your marriage to come. Blessings!

  4. This is a great read & it’s something that I struggle with back & fourth. I know in my heart fornication is wrong & I am convicted every time I do it. I will look into the books mentioned here. Thanks for the article.

    1. Jeriesha,

      Thanks for being transparent. I believe the key to overcoming fornication is of course seeking God but also not allowing yourself to get into vulnerable situations where you know you might give in. Having someone that can keep you accountable and be there for you can help as well. It’s not an easy fight but it is a fight you can conquer. Praying for you my friend.

  5. This has really blessed me. I’ve been struggling with controlling thoughts and not wanting to hurt married friends feelings when hey want to talk about sex. I have been abstinent for over a year and this is the first article I’ve read that’s been of value. Thank you very much!

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