Recently I received an email from a 14-year-old I’ll call Sarah. She said she’d made some stupid decisions. She’s fourteen and after fooling around with a guy she feels lousy and doesn’t want to do it again … but she usually does. She wanted some advice.
I immediately thought of the book Nobody Told Me by Pam Stenzel and Melissa Nesdahl. This book says everything I want to say about teen sex and purity and so much more! I asked Melissa to help me craft a note to Sarah and this is what she came up with:
I am so glad that you took the time to write. You are not alone in your struggles and so many will benefit from your honesty.
First of all, “fooling around” with guys has me concerned about your physical health. Dealing with the emotions and boundaries are critical, but first we MUST talk about your body.
Many teens do not realize that ANY genital contact – hand, mouth, or genital to genital contact – place you at risk for disease. Now, if you are like most teens you are thinking I look fine. I feel fine. And, I’ve noticed nothing down there. I’ve escaped that risk.
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
One in four teens have at least one STD and, sadly, 80% of the people infected with sexually transmitted diseases HAVE NO SYMPTOMS. That is four out of five! STDs are spreading like wildfire because students do not realize they are infected and it is going from person to person to person.
Since you are a female, infection places you at higher risk for damage. Infertility in our country has gone through the roof largely because of internal damage to girls’ bodies resulting from STDs. This is not just about “the heat of the moment.” This is about your future marriage and ability to have a family. Please see your regular family physician or OB/GYN for complete bacterial and viral disease testing.
I am thankful that you want to set up boundaries. Because you CONTINUE to place yourself in dating situations you are going to struggle. Part of setting up healthy boundaries is going to mean STAYING OUT of dating relationships and all one-on-one situations with the opposite gender right now. I’d suggest waiting to date again until you are 16 and then group date through the rest of high school. It will keep you in much safer situations.
In the meantime, please do a few things- 1) read NOBODY TOLD ME for added encouragement from your peers going through the same situations and rising victorious in recycled virginity. 2) Write a letter to your future spouse. This forward thinking exercise will help you to see beyond today. 3) Also, think through the character qualities that you want in your future spouse. What top 10 things are a “must?” What won’t you tolerate? Thinking through these questions will help you be selective when you start dating again so that you only date people with marriage potential…rather than dating just to date. 4) PRAY!
Sarah, God made you. And, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 He tells you this, “”Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” You are struggling emotionally because your actions are outside of your Maker’s will.
But, here is the amazing thing. If you truly repent and TURN FROM YOUR SIN, God places your sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He forgives you. Now you need to forgive yourself. In doing so, you will feel new respect for yourself and love for your Savior.
Your past actions DO NOT have to be your future ones. You CAN choose recycled virginity from now until you marry. One day you will have to tell your future spouse about your past, but you will be able to say that you were tested and have remained pure ever since. That shows INCREDIBLE character that you can be proud of.
Today you get to decide. Will you choose character so that you attract a Godly man of character one day? Or, will you continue to be used, abused, and placed at risk. Your Creator says you are worth far more. Choose healthy boundaries so from this day forward you can live out His best.
I BELIEVE IN YOU!
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your heart and this great information. I highly recommend Nobody Told Me. Also, pick up a copy of Praying for Your Future Husband for a young woman you love. You can pre-order now!