Falling From Freedom: Thinking About Dating, Sex, and Marriage (AND a Giveaway!)

Couple 01

As a single, almost-28-year-old woman, I have a confession to make:  I have dressed with a motive of ‘catching a future mate’ (yes, catching- like a fish) more times than I wish to count.

In fact, if I’m not careful, I can still do it.  A couple Sundays ago, I found myself spending extra time on my hair and makeup, and the thought crossed my mind: “You never know who might be there!”

It was church.  The only “who” I should have been anticipating was Jesus, but there I was, getting ready for worship and making sure everything was ‘right’ in case the future hubby was there.

Ever been there?

I stopped, did a heart refocus and went to church.

As women trained by lustful hearts and the words of romance novels or porn videos, we have been very poorly trained when it comes to interacting with the opposite gender.

From one direction, we expect them to be perfect, well-muscled, baritones in shining armor.  On the other side, we expect them to be sex-craving lunatics who only want one thing.  We either expect everything from men or nothing from them.

It is an all-or nothing approach we take to all of our freedom.  Our pasts, our sensitivity, our fear of falling, our guilt, all make us feel that any sexual thought is lust.  It is all or nothing.  Either we are lusting or we are not thinking about sex at all.  This is why we feel guilty, dirty, or sinful when we find a guy attractive, when we get turned on for no good reason, or have sexual dreams.

It’s all or nothing with us- if we are thinking about sex, it has to be lust.  This creates a problem for us as we broach the topic of guy-girl relationships.

You want the relationship because it is natural to want it, but you fear the sexual tension that will inevitably follow.  When you boil it down, when we choose our future mate, we are also choosing our forever sexual partner.  Now, that shouldn’t be a primary factor in your relationship, but it will come up, because that is how we, as humans, work.

As women who are sensitive to issues of lust, it can be tempting to squash those feelings, or to shove them under the rug, and then take them out and flog ourselves with them later.  We tell ourselves that we are not strong enough, that our minds are still dirty, that we should not be having these ‘problems.’  Yet, so many times, the ‘problems’ we are having are not problems.

If you are a single woman, listen to me:

It is OK to anticipate sex.  It is OK to desire marriage.

Should we dress in sexually provocative ways?  No.  More importantly, should we act seductively?  No.  But we have to recognize the fact that women, too, were given sexual desires, and it is OK to recognize those.  Do we dwell on them?  No.  Do we indulge them in sinful ways?  No.

The desires themselves are not sinful; the way you respond to those desires can be.  Do you go home and fantasize about the man you met today?  Do you plan out your wedding night when he asks you out on the first date?  Do you wear a dress just a little tighter, a little lower, a little shorter, in order to draw sexual attention?

[Tweet “Your God-given sex drive is not the issue; the way you handle it is.”]

By all means, look forward to marriage, look forward to sex.  It is not sin to desire what God has for us.  I don’t think God would have it any other way!

Photo: ?—?:Muramasa / Foter / CC BY-SA

Now, as promised, I am giving away a copy of Joshua Harris’ book, “Sex is Not the Problem (Lust is).”

Sex is not the problem (lust is)

It is an absolutely fantastic book helping to draw the line between Godly sexuality and worldly lust.  I benefited so much from reading it, and I am sure you will too.  Since I’m no expert in running these sorts of things, I am using Rafflecopter.  Here it is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some of the entry options require a little ‘work.’  Be sure to share around!

PS:  I am not sure about international availability/translations.  If someone outside of the US wins the random draw, I’ll see what I can do.



  1. Having sexual desires are not wrong, but what we do with them can be. What we do with our thoughts, words, and actions that determine if the desire is good or bad.

  2. Telling the difference between sexual desire that is not lust driven and that which is has been something I’ve struggled with for a couple of years now. I have learned to stop and ask myself “what am I feeling right now, what are the emotions in my heart, am I wanting to do this to medicate some pain, fear, rejection, etc.” More times than not this is the case. As I have focused on the things behind the desire and have begun to shed light on them through prayer, accountability, and counsel I have found freedom I never expected. Not necessarily freedom from temptation but freedom to choose what I will do with the temptation. The more practice I have at walking away from it, the easier walking away becomes.

    1. Robin,
      That is some great advice- to stop and really get to the bottom of your actions, and even to question if you are doing it to ‘medicate’ some pain. So often, we think that lust is just impure sexual motives, when really there are so many ways our motives can be incorrect. We can fall into the trap of doing things to cover up deeper pains, fears, and issues. Thank you for bringing that up.

  3. What do you feel are some lines between holy
    sexuality and lust?

    Our sexuality is God-given, so it is never somthing we should be ashamed of in and of itself. It’s how we handle it. Ephesians says that there shouldn’t even be a “hint of sexual immorality” among us, yet we all (believers and non) “hint” at it in many ways, sometimes without even realizing it. I, too am guilty of focusing too much on my appearance when it comes time for worship. I don’t dress immodestly, but my focus so many times has lied in who ‘might’ be at service. I think holy sexuality as a single would include dressing oneself gender-appropirately & conducting ourselves as women or men in a godly manner.

  4. What are some ways you feel we can creatively teach sex to young people while still upholding chastity?
    I think that vicarious learning is detrimental. I struggle with lust as a result of the images I’ve seen and they way I’ve allowed myself to be held. I think that it’s important to emphasize vulnerability, rather than the actual action.

    1. Adrienne,

      Thanks for that comment. I would love to hear more of what exactly you mean or even if you have specific examples of how to approach this in a different way. Since I do, sometime, work with churches or leadership groups, I think it is valuable to have as much perspective as possible. You can shoot me an e-mail; I would love to chat some more about your thoughts.

  5. I think one way to teach youth about sex is to maybe have a youth group that meets weekly or monthly. I think the group should have an atmosphere of honesty and realness. Try to relate to youth on their level and be welcoming. Youth open up more when they know you care, when you are real with them, and when you have a friendly and trusting attitude. I probably would have different speakers come talk with youth also. Just having meetings is boring so I probably would come up with creative approaches such as watching a movie, having discussions, speakers, etc.

  6. sex is a gift given by God, when you look at it like that and make it a way to glorify God it’s beautiful… but if you give in to our selfish pleasures and use sex to gratify your own self then it becomes lust….

  7. It’s amazing to me how much of this struggle comes down to motive. Only you and God can know your heart. And, there’s no sense in trying to lie to God. Sometimes I find myself questioning why I’m doing a certain thing (dressing a particular way or flirting) and then I have to go back and double check my honesty about the answer.

  8. What are some ways you feel we can creatively teach sex to young people while still upholding chastity?

    When talking about young people it’s found very important to also teach their parents and educators.

    It’s commonly seen sinful when a girl shows that she craves touch. It’s also a big deal when parents find that their kids are growing up sexual desires. It makes you feel a lot of guilt. And this ‘God-given’ gift becomes a burden and turns our soul to hide this feelings and needs like if they were sin.

    When this happens kids start having the natural curiosity increased and may start to seek things in TV or internet.
    Sometimes little friends are the ones who tell us how sexual intercourse occurs and we start to go the wrong way since we don’t get to know nor understand the true meaning of love and sex.
    Even if our parents are married.

    I think a good way to teach would be to show (not in a precocious age) how it is OK to feel a certain way when we watch a kiss (i.e. in movies) or a passionate seen (not sex scene).
    Maybe showing a video and then showing how that’s a gift of God. It’s natural to feel that way.

    Sometimes (even now, and I’m 19 yo) i feel awkward when watching kissing scenes with adults by my side and i kinda think it’s not right t feel that way and that they would get judgemental if they knew what i’m feeling.

    Or maybe I’m the only one in the whole planet that feels this way :/

    Hope you find this helpful Jessica!
    And thanks for the oportunity. C:

  9. What are some ways you feel we can creatively teach sex to young people while still upholding chastity?

    form youth groups to discuss the topic of chastity in an interactive and positive/uplifting way! have talks(young adults who are abstinent can give talks on what its like to stay chaste) – encourage young people to be more active in their quest to remain pure in this tainted world.

  10. What are some ways you feel we can creatively teach sex to young people while still upholding chastity?

    Hi Jessica!

    I believe one great way to teach sex to young people while upholding chastity, purity or getting to know our self worth is finding ways to contrast truth and the real purpose of sex and sexuality with the mistaken examples that the world give us; such as the love and relationships in movies, music, technology, trends, etc.

    I’ve personally experienced a best understanding of something when I can relate it to a specific “normal” situation in my daily living. In most cases, we tend to believe that what we are hearing or reading has little or nothing to do with us, just because is not precisely our case but when the speaker relates the topic to something regular for everyone it suddenly hits you.

    Besides, sex and chastity can become a lot more attractive when linked to something teens are attracted to such as celebrities, movies, and music as I mentioned.

    Hope is useful, thanks for the opportunity!


  11. Being a Christian married woman, I think it’s really interesting reading all of these posts from the perspective of one who a sorta made it to the other side of sexuality. I think that a huge assumption that is being made here is that when you get married and are encouraged to have sex, then everything will just fall into place and it will be this beautiful, perfect garden of eden experience.

    Unfortunately, our world’s distortion of sexuality does not leave itself outside the door of the honeymoon suite. Although I do not choose sexual sin or choose to identify with it, I still suffer from it’s interpretation of sex. The world has told me that lust is good, nudity is porn, and sex is rape. It takes away dignity and it is possessive. Possessive in that it demands my attention and makes me feel like a victim.

    Quick background: my dad was arrested 3 days before my wedding for molesting my little sister. Although it doesn’t make sense to me because I never witnessed my dad act in such a way towards any one, it is a single, relatively small example of how the world has forced its interpretation of sexuality upon me.

    My husband is such a blessing to my life. He is gentle, cares about me and respects me. He is also the most handsome guy I know. We both waited to have sex until we were married, and I thought that was all I needed to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Yet, that has not been the case at all. Because I still have a soiled perception of sexuality. What was portrayed as “lustful and sinfully decadent” before marriage, now repulses me. I don’t want to be dirty, and yet it is the way I’ve been taught to view sex. Sex is one of the most frustrating things ever! My husband does not get my struggle.

    I don’t mean to be depressing with this post. Honestly, I’m posting it for two reasons. 1. So you’re not ignorant about the effects of having a sinful view of sexuality. It’s not enough to turn a blind eye and not fall into addiction. You need a whole new perspective of sexuality. The kind that God said from Heaven: this is good! 2. I still need that good view. I sorta get it intellectually, but I have been educated wrongly by the world for so long that it’s hard to believe: this is really real and this is distortion. I could really use any resources or tips on how to deeply know sexuality God’s way.

  12. This blog is awesome!!! Thanks a lor for sharing your thoughts and experience and Glory to God for this beautiful service you do.

  13. Thank you for this. It is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I worry about crushes becoming lust. This was exactly what I needed to read.