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Personal Accountability

Dealing with Sexual Sin in a Dating Relationship

by Ali Royann

Dear Ali,
I'm currently in a 3 year relationship with my boyfriend. Our relationship didn't start off sexual . . . but it's getting deeper every time we meet. After engaging in it, I often end up feeling emotionally down. I wish things could go back to the way it was. I want a Godly relationship like we both had earlier. I have offended God. I hope I still have a place in his heart. I hope He is still there for me. . . . I need some good advice.

Feeling Guilty

Dear Feeling Guilty,

No sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. 1 John 1:19 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This doesn’t dismiss the consequences of our sin, but recognizing wrong choices and confessing them to God can now fuel you toward more godly choices and a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord.

God Designed Sex for Marriage

God created sex to be enjoyed and cherished between a husband and wife. Sadly, our culture is moving farther and farther away from God’s design and believing the lies that the Bible is outdated on the matter.

No sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness.

Sex is not just a physical act. Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” When a husband and wife become one flesh, they experience a deep physical and emotional oneness that binds them together. Sex bonds two people together.

Your experience of emptiness and “feeling emotionally down” comes partially from the absence of commitment that the marriage relationship brings. Marriage is self-sacrificing love based on a promise of exclusive loyalty that unites a man and woman until death. It is a beautiful reflection of Christ and his bride, the church. He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

When you give yourself away to someone outside the commitment and protection of marriage, it breaks down an important part of who you are and affects future relationships. You have given precious pieces of yourself away to someone who is not your spouse. In the absence of marriage, sex is simply a union of two bodies for the sake of pleasure (or someone else’s pleasure) that creates an unhealthy view of what physical and emotional intimacy should look like. It can confuse the relationship and shift the focus from emotional stimulation (building a strong friendship and communication) to physical stimulation.

Healing from Sexual Sin

What can you do now? Recommit yourself to purity. Part of confession and repentance is the desire to not repeat the same sin. Commit your relationship to be God-honoring, and require the same commitment from anyone you date. Make purity and obedience to God a priority.

If your boyfriend does not feel the same way, it shows a lack of respect for you and towards God’s design. That is not setting a good precedent for your future together. The character you expect from a future husband should begin during the dating relationship—someone who desires to protect your purity, honor and safety!

Recommit yourself to purity.

I encourage you to seek out accountability with a trusted Christian friend, family member, or leader to help you maintain self-control. If you find that being alone with your boyfriend presents too much of a temptation, make sure to stay in group settings and avoid environments that allow for too much alone time. Consider asking someone to randomly check in with you throughout the day, especially when you have a date planned.

Lastly, you should seriously think about ending any dating relationship where you feel pressured to go outside of your boundaries and convictions. You don’t have to continue an unhealthy dating relationship.

Sex is worth waiting for in marriage. It should be treasured and not taken lightly. It is never too late to commit to purity. Focus on Christ.


“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics.

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