Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality
In their book, Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality, authors Doug Rosenau and Michael Todd Wilson assert that true virginity goes beyond the physical act of sex and encompasses the soul. The authors believe that the messages that singles receive regarding sex, like "just don't" and "true love waits," are incomplete. Instead, they examine biblically grounded principles designed to help singles celebrate and protect God's design for sexuality -- body, soul, and spirit -- in themselves and others. With solid biblical principles, practical tips, and candid discussions, Soul Virgins can help you create a foundation for sexual wholeness you'll be happy to embrace at any stage of life. Learn more about Soul Virgins.
Suffering From a Relationship Virus?
By Doug Rosenau and Michael Todd Wilson
Without the proper protection your home computer is prone to many viruses that can render it useless. Fortunately, there are many safeguards that you can take to make sure your computer is secure. Relationships also require protection from things that could infect them and cause damage.
God's Word is filled with principles that offer good "antivirus protection" to keep your dating relationships from harm.
Are any of these viruses affecting your relationships? Take some time to examine your dating life and identify any weak areas where infection could creep in. Taking steps now to avoid a nasty virus is will be much easier than having to repair the damage to an infected heart later.
Virus: Disrespecting Your Own Sexuality
Single adults fall into many traps of sexually "dissing" themselves and their relationships, such as sexual bartering, poor body image, and sexual games and myths.
I once asked a single female friend about her first date with a gorgeous hunk: “Did you kiss him?” I knew about her conviction to refrain from erotic behaviors and I wondered how she’d handled someone very attractive to her. She admitted she had kissed him, then defensively stated that he’d given her a great evening and had dropped over a hundred dollars on dinner. I sarcastically threw up my hands and declared, “So now we’re into bartering for your sexual favors?” We both laughed, but I knew she’d gotten my point.
What kind of games do you unknowingly play that cheapen your sexuality? What myths and distortions have you bought into as a single adult: You have to have sex? Sex is simply recreation? You use erotic sexuality as relational currency?
Maintaining soul virginity and deeply honoring God’s gift of sexuality are the ultimate antidotes for disrespect. Accept God’s declaration that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Your body and sexuality are beautiful to him, and you can take great pleasure in that truth. Single adults can practice affirming each other’s soul-sexiness in ways that don’t require bartering of sexual favors, big or small. Pledge to be held accountable by close friends when you’re in a relationship. Encourage them to give you honest feedback about areas where you may be operating under common myths.
Virus: Indulging the Sexual Rush
Something is terribly wrong when sexual interactions are reduced to simple recreation and physical titillation. God’s great plan is about deep intimacy, not creating erotic buzzes and rushes.
Lovemaking can remain satisfying in the covenant of marriage in part because two lovers grow increasingly intimate over a lifetime. But pursuing lovemaking only for the sexual rush always demands bigger and stronger buzzes to maintain the high. This type of erotic pursuit is the stuff sexual addictions are made of—an addiction with very similar characteristics to that of crack cocaine.
Sexual surges are more than hormones; they reflect an intrinsic desire to be intimately connected with another being. Creating a three-dimensional intimacy of body, soul, and spirit takes sexual interactions beyond the buzz.
Virus: Meeting Non-Erotic Needs Erotically
Every person has a legitimate need to be hugged, comforted, and deeply valued. These are not erotic needs. Healthy single adults must find godly ways to meet these needs through appropriate non-erotic means.
After John’s mother died, John simply wanted a woman to hold and comfort him. To accomplish this, he found a girl and become sexually involved. He was eroticizing non-erotic needs.
Learn healthy ways of giving and receiving non-erotic physical affection within single friendships. Enjoy healthy touch through the use of conga lines and shoulder rubs. Christian brothers and sisters can give verbal compliments and help each other feel special and sexy. Most of our sexual needs can be met in non-erotic ways, but it takes creativity, skill building, and encouragement.
Virus: Hoping Instant Erotic Connecting Creates Instant Intimacy
Contrary to Hollywood’s portrayal, instant chemistry and erotic behaviors neither cement commitment nor ensure long-term romance. Many single adults ache for intimate closeness and hope erotic behaviors will provide the answer.
True sex doesn’t create intimacy. It only enhances intimacy that’s already present when enjoyed within its proper context, the commitment of a covenant marriage. Focusing on the physical alone will all but guarantee relational imbalance and sabotage.
Virus: Ignoring and Distorting Boundaries
Many people think they can go too fast sexually, spend the night at his apartment, and indulge in erotic sexual behaviors “just for fun” without any negative consequences.
To say you will never engage in deeper erotic expression unless you’re “in love” with someone is not setting a real limit. Sexual desires and genuine love are easy to confuse when you’re in a long-term relationship, alone in his apartment at 2:00 a.m., or just plain lonely.
A sign of true maturity is the ability to postpone immediate gratification for long-term gain. Every relationship needs healthy stop signs for certain erotic behaviors. A healthy stop sign can be an identifiable behavior (such as touching beneath clothing) that you deliberately choose not to engage in. Put real stop signs in your relationships and not just the vague “in love” rule. Being “in love” is a great feeling, but this feeling comes and goes for most couples -- even those with successful long-standing marriages.
Virus: Repressing Your Sexuality
We could relate countless stories of couples that go something like this: A couple tries to control their sexual surging by complete repression. They never kiss, hold hands, or even allow their knees to touch while watching a movie.
When the couple eventually gets married, they are surprised to find they can't enjoy sexual intimacy because the script in their minds is still saying “wrong” and “dirty.”
We aren’t suggesting you need to “practice” certain erotic behaviors for your honeymoon. What we are saying is that it’s extremely important to recognize and honor your erotic desires and not just suppress them.
Some books on dating suggest that no one should kiss or express any other erotic behaviors before you say “I do.” We’re not suggesting everyone should kiss before they marry—refraining from doing so could be a wise plan for some couples to discipline their sexual desires. But when a particular couple sets boundaries around more conservative erotic behaviors (such as kissing), they should make certain they are motivated by godly, heartfelt values rather than religious traditions or repression.
To avoid these common sexual viruses successfully, you will need honest dialogue with your partner on how to set limits within your unique relationship. Such practical boundaries will serve as a strong antivirus to help protect your budding relationship from harm, promoting loving intimacy.
Learn more about God's design for sexuality in Soul Virgins.
Adapted from Soul Virgins: Redefining Single Sexuality, by Doug Rosenau and Michael Todd Wilson. Used by permission of Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2006. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.
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