The average high school relationship lasts only three
weeks after the first sexual experience.
In the United States, more than 65 million people
are currently living with an incurable STD.
Each year approximately 4 million American teenagers
are infected with an STD.
Young women are biologically more susceptible to
chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV than any other group
Rates of gonorrhea are highest in females 15–19
HIV is the eighth leading cause of death among 15-
to 24-year-olds in the United States.
In the past decade, sexual experiences among high
school students have decreased by 16 percent.
Married sex: Sex is good when it’s between
a husband and a wife. God designed sex for us to enjoy.
“A man leaves his father and mother and is joined
to his wife, and the two are united into one”
Premarital sex: Sex is not good before you’re
married. “We must not engage in sexual immorality”
(1 Corinthians 10:8).
Adultery: Sex is not good with someone other than
your husband. “You must not commit adultery”
Homosexuality: Sex is not good with someone who’s
the same gender. “Don’t you realize that
those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of
God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge
in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery,
or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,
or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or
are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will
inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Do you find yourself in compromising situations with
Do you have trouble believing that God has your
best interests at heart with the sex rules he established,
or do you feel he’s trying to keep you from
Do you believe sexual purity is a myth and impossible
for you to obtain?
Do you look at guys in a sexual way?
Do you feel that since you’ve fallen in the
past, there’s no point in trying to be pure
Do you dress immodestly so guys will pay attention
Do you struggle with impure thoughts?
Do you expose your mind to images on the computer
you shouldn’t be looking at?
Are you toying with the idea of getting involved
sexually with someone?
Rebecca St. James: Passionate
By Rebecca St. James
Jennifer grew up in a Christian home, but her parents divorced
when she was young. She felt cheated and hurt as she watched other
girls her age enjoy their relationship with their dad.
FROM AN EARLY AGE, Jennifer loved God. She attended church and
completed Bible studies at home. She listened to Christian music,
wore Christian T-shirts, and read Christian books. Jennifer even
signed a True Love Waits pledge to stay sexually pure until marriage.
And she refused to read and watch and say things that she felt
THEN CAME MIDDLE SCHOOL. Her family moved, and Jennifer struggled
to find her place among her peers. The price for fitting in with
other girls was watching movies she thought she’d never
watch, saying things she thought she’d never say, and going
places she thought she’d never go.
AT LAST SHE FIT IN. Then she met a boy. He told her she was pretty
and smart. Jennifer found the daily affirmation from him she’d
missed from her dad. One day at age 14, she found herself in bed
with her boyfriend. Then he was gone.
SHE MET SOMEONE ELSE, and she found herself in bed with him.
AND THEN ANOTHER.
JENNIFER NOW WRESTLES WITH HPV.
What’s HPV? you may be wondering. Let’s
put it this way: It’s short for human papillomavirus—the
most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.
It hits more than 2.5 million people each year. It has no cure.
It can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.
JENNIFER WISHES LIFE CAME WITH AN "UNDO" BUTTON. But
it doesn’t. She recently told her mother, “I’ve
gone too far. I don’t know how to get back.”
What’s the BIG Deal?
So you’ve heard this before . . . your health teacher gives
you all the warnings about STDs, your parents get on your case
about not going too far with guys, and you’re pretty sure
you don’t want to sign up for teen motherhood. But has anyone
ever given you a real reason—an at-the-core-of-your-being
reason—to save your purity?
God created you, and he knows how you work. He created sex and
the rules for sex. He knows what’s best for you, and he
made those rules to protect you. It’s true that when you
stay pure you avoid a lot of negative consequences—diseases,
heartbreak, pregnancy. But did you know there are also positive
consequences when you choose to stay pure?
• You reflect part of God’s character: his purity.
“Be holy because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45).
• You learn to develop healthy relationships with guys.
“Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and
sisters” (1 Peter 2:17).
• You will have a wedding gift for your future husband
no money could ever buy. “A man . . . is joined to his
wife, and the two are united into one” (Matthew 19:5).
• You have a living testimony of how God is working in
you. “Be an example to all believers . . . in the way
you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (1
Sex is a big deal to God because you are a big deal to
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body
as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your
own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple
of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by
God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with
a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Let’s say you saved up all your cash and bought that really
expensive prom dress you’ve had your eye on for months.
If you loaned it to your friend for the dance at her school, you’d
expect her to take care of it, right? To remember it’s your
dress, treat it extra-carefully, that kind of thing. Well, you’ve
been bought for a way higher price—the price of Christ’s
blood. So really our body belongs to God—it’s sort
of on loan to us for a while. So God expects us to follow his
plan for sex—not because he wants to stifle our fun, but
because he created it for a special purpose.
If you are feeling hopeless because you’ve already given
your purity away, God is a God of second chances. You may not
be able to go back to exactly how things used to be, but God can
give you a fresh start. "Look, I am making everything new!"
Whether you’ve kept this rule and want strategies for staying
pure or you’ve broken it and want to build standards that
will keep you from compromising again, SHE cannot be healthy without
Get together with a few of your friends. Find a plastic cup
from the kitchen and take turns spitting in the cup. Anybody
feel inspired to take a drink from the community spittoon? (We
didn’t think so!)
Talk about it: When you have sex with someone, you
have sex with every other person your partner has had sex with.
Has it been a long time since you played with Play-Doh? Spend
a little dough and buy some dough—Play-Doh, that is. Divide
the dough so that each of you has a specific color. Take your
Play-Doh and hand it to the person next to you and mix your
colors together. Have her do the same thing with the person
beside her and so on until the last person holds the whole multicolored
mess. Now try to separate the colors to their original purity.
Talk about it: Once you have sex with someone, you
give something away that can never be gotten back. Sex is more
than something you do, it is part of who you are. It’s
an outward indicator of what’s going on inside of you.
Rebecca Says: I have a huge passion for the
issue of sexual purity—so much so that I’ve spoken
about it at almost all of my concerts for the past 10 years. It’s
an issue that spans all marital, economic, and age barriers. I’ve
written a song about it and a book called Wait for Me.
My passion for this issue is fueled by seeing so many of my generation
being ripped off by Satan. He has promoted his lies far too well,
and far too few believers are talking about and living the truth
that combats those lies. I’ve spoken to college students
in Kyrgyzstan, to a downtown club audience in Paris, and to thousands
of people elsewhere around the world about the fact that I’m
a virgin and I’m waiting until marriage for sex. Yet I could
count on one hand the number of times I’ve caught any flak
for speaking up on this issue. I believe that deep down, most
people respect those who stand for purity, and underneath it all,
they know it’s the right way to go.
The good news: You can stay pure. God not only gives
us rules, but he also provides the means to keep them. Purity
is the only way to break sin’s cycle of devastation and
death and to find wholeness and health.
Sex doesn’t just happen out of the blue, and neither
does purity. Though temptation takes place all the time,
sexual sin happens only as part of a descending process. A little
of this, a little of that. You go here, you look there. You push
the boundaries today, and you go a little further tomorrow. One
small pleasure combined with one seemingly insignificant compromise,
and before you know it, sin has taken over. You may be able to
recognize the wrong moves you’ve made, but can you pinpoint
the individual choices that led to them? If you can learn to see
and resist the early compromises, you’re on your way to
preventing the mistakes. Your goal, then, should be to become
a good compromise spotter, to stay on your toes, and to defend
your purity at all cost.
9 Steps You Can Take to Stay Pure
There’s a story in the Bible you won’t believe. It
was written over 3,000 years ago, but it could just as easily
happen today. Even though the main character is a man, the purity
struggle is something that applies to us women too.
While I was at the window of my house, looking through
the curtain, I saw some naive young men, and one in particular
who lacked common sense. He was crossing the street near the
house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house.
It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. The
woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart.
She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at
home. She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at
every corner. She threw her arms around him and kissed him,
and with a brazen look she said, “I’ve just made
my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. You’re the one
I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are!
My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets
of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes,
and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink our fill of love until
Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, for my husband
is not home. He’s away on a long trip. He has taken a
wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later
this month.” So she seduced him with her pretty speech
and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once,
like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught
in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He
was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would
cost him his life.
1. Be wise.
“. . . naive young men . . . who lacked common sense.
Know what you will and will not do ahead of time. Recognize temptation
before it gets too big for you to handle. Your first line of defense
against impurity: your running shoes! “Run from sexual sin”
(1 Corinthians 6:18).
Rebecca Says: I maintain a “shoe-in-the-door”
policy with guys I date. If circumstances are such that we happen
to be in a room alone together, I literally put a shoe in the
door to prop it open. This way we both know that someone could
walk in at any minute. Though taking this stand has not been easy
at times, it has helped me in my effort to live above reproach.
Dating only Christian men and keeping accountability people in
my life are other biblical boundaries that I adhere to without
2. Don’t go where you shouldn’t go.
“. . . crossing the street near the house of an immoral
woman . . .”
Are there parties you know you shouldn’t go to? Are there
hangouts where you’ll fall back into your old (bad) habits?
Don’t go there! Some girls don’t physically go where
they shouldn’t go, but their minds and emotions do. They
think and daydream themselves to places they don’t belong.
Don’t go where you shouldn’t—emotionally and
What about You?
Where have you gone physically or emotionally that made you feel
dirty and compromised?
What was it about the temptation that first got your attention?
How will you avoid going there again?
3. Stay in the light.
“It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness
fell. . . .”
If it has to be done in the dark when no one is watching, it’s
If you’re about to do something with your boyfriend and
it feels wrong, it probably is. Before you do anything, ask yourself:
Would I do this at Starbucks?
Would I do this if my youth pastor or my little sister was sitting
in the room?
Does this act bring me closer to God or push me further away?
4. Be able to spot sin’s many disguises.
“. . . seductively dressed and sly of heart . . .”
Arm yourself with what is right so you will know wrong when it
comes. Know the truth so you’ll call the lies for what they
are. Temptation is kinda like those plastic desserts they have
on display at some restaurants—do you know which ones we’re
talking about? They look enticing on the outside, but one bite
and you realize looks aren’t everything. Satan likes to
wrap sin and lies into pretty packages—but the consequences
are more deadly than a mouthful of plastic.
5. Don’t hang out with the wrong people.
“. . . the brash, rebellious type, never content to
stay at home . . . often in the streets and markets, soliciting
at every corner . . .”
Choose Christian friends who challenge you to step your faith
up a notch, not friends who drag you down.
“If you play in the mud with white gloves on, the gloves
always get muddy, the mud never gets ‘glovey.’”
Name three people you have hung out with when you shouldn’t
have. What effect did it have on you?
6. Draw your lines carefully (and stick to ’em).
“. . . threw her arms around him and kissed him, and
with a brazen look she said, . . . ‘You’re the one
I was looking for!’”
Draw the solid line of what you will and won’t do. Talk
to your now-boyfriend or your someday-boyfriend about the boundaries
you have set. Then walk that line carefully. Put yourself only
in situations where you can uphold the standards you’ve
set for yourself.
7. Don’t let yourself get worn down.
“My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored
sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh,
aloes, and cinnamon.”
You’re most vulnerable when you’re tired, lonely,
depressed, angry, or struggling in a relationship. Satan even
tried this tactic on Jesus. “When the devil had finished
tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came”
(Luke 4:13). Satisfy yourself with Christ, then sin will seem
less attractive (see John 6:35).
When you get into a situation and you are no longer sure of what’s
right, follow this battle plan:
1. Retreat! Get out of the dangerous situation.
2. Go to the top. Ask God for help.
3. Find an ally. Ask a friend or mentor to keep you accountable.
4. Regroup. Come up with a plan to avoid a close call like this
in the future.
8. Don’t believe everyone’s doing it.
“Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses.”
Sex outside God’s plan has consequences: unplanned pregnancy,
STDs, destroyed reputations, emotional pain. Don’t be duped
into believing that no one will know.
You may be sure that your sin will find you out.
Those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.
But even if no one did find out, the most important audience
would know: your Father who sees all. He watches everyone
closely, examining every person on earth. Psalm 11:4
When it comes to sex, statistics say that everybody is not doing
it. In fact, purity is on the rise. The percentage of high school
students who said they’d had sexual intercourse dropped
from 54 percent in 1991 to 47 percent in 2003.
But even if everyone else were doing it, the Bible tells
us that when we follow a blind man, he’ll lead us into a
ditch (Matthew 15:14). If we follow a blind culture, it will lead
us to destruction.
Think of at least three people who stand for the same things you
do when it comes to purity. Get together with them and make an
agreement to hold each other accountable for making your rules
on sex and keeping these rules.
What accountability questions will you ask each other when you’re
not dating anyone?
What accountability questions will you ask each other when you’re
considering dating a guy?
What accountability questions will you ask when you’re going
out with someone?
9. Know a Trap When You See One
“She seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed
him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going
to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting
the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying
into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.”
She's Been There
Ask a trusted, godly woman (such as your mom, your grandma, a
family friend, or your youth pastor) about some regrets she's
had in her relationships with guys. What have these regrets meant
in her life?
Together, think about some girls you know who've gone too far
and the consequences that have resulted.
Talk about people you know who've made purity their goal and
the blessings that have resulted in their life.
SHEism: The truly pure SHE keeps her heart clean before God
and enjoys the health of a pure mind and body.
Excerpted from: SHE Teen by Rebecca St. James and Lynda
Hunter Bjorklund. Copyright © 2005. Published by Tyndale. Used
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