FAQs

What if I'm not planning to marry in the near future? Are you still expecting me to wait?
When is the last time you’ve gone to a cemetery and seen a gravestone that said, “Here lies John Doe…He died from lack of sex”. The fact is, no one has ever died from lack of sex. Remember that we’re not talking about celibacy here. That would be taking a vow never to have sex. What we’re suggesting is taking a pause in your life until you’re willing to make a life-long commitment with someone. Sex without commitment is risky. There’s no guarantee your partner will stay with you forever, no matter how sincere they may appear. Looking at the relationship you are in presently, what guarantee do you have that it is going to last? If you’re basing it on their word, you’re at risk. Try abstaining, and see what happens to the relationship. If it continues you have a keeper, if not…
My steady keeps pressuring me to have sex with him/her. What do I do?
It’s always wrong for someone to pressure you! First of all, have you told them your physical boundaries? This will help communicate and eliminate many misunderstandings. If you’ve done this, here’s a few more tips:

  • If you don’t know the person very well, (say, at a party or someplace similar) you can just say “no, No, NO, NOO, NOOO! (Get the point?) You don’t have to explain to them why, you just need to get your “no” across LOUD and clear!
  • If this is your “steady” you can tell them how you feel. For instance, you could say, “Listen, I really like you and I have a lot of fun with you, but my idea of going out with you didn’t include sex. Back off! (We want to make sure there’s no mixed messages here, right?) I still want to get to know you and develop a cool friendship.” This will either be respected or ignored. There’s your answer to whether you should stay with him/her.
  • Ever try walking? If your crush doesn’t get the message, walk away. Just remember, KEEP WALKING!

 Is it possible to 'start over' if I'm already sexually active?

Yes! Many feel, just like you, that if their virginity is gone, they might as well have sex if the opportunity arose since there was nothing left to save it for. WRONG! You are valuable. It’s never too late to start over. We’ve all made mistakes or have regrets. Make your decision to start over but most importantly… stick to it! Remember, it’s your choice. It’s your right. It’s your body. NOBODY has the right to demand anything from you, physically or sexually, that you don’t want to give. It should be respected, not ridiculed. Having a difficult time saying ‘no’? If you want to stop and feel like you can’t, get help! Talk to wise people you trust.
What is Secondary Virginity?
Basically it’s a do-over. It’s making a decision to return to an abstinent lifestyle. Here’s how:

  • Make your decision to start over and stick to it!
  • Value yourself and your decision
  • Hang out with groups instead of being alone with your crush
  • Communicate to your date
  • Avoid temptation (like, duh!)
  • Show your affection in non-physical ways
  • Find support from friends and family
  • Do something to cement your decision. For instance, many fill out a pledge card and carry it in their wallet as a reminder. Others purchase a purity ring, where it’s always visible….always a reminder. Remember, there is nothing magical about a purity ring. It is there to serve as a reminder. Only you can take the steps in avoiding sexual pressure.
What are the benefits to choosing abstinence?
Well here some, just to name a few:

  1. Free from Pregnancy and STIs
  2. Protects your heart more emotionally
  3. Goals are better attained
  4. Free from the worry of Pregnancy and STIs
  5. Better relationships with the opposite sex (due to lack of worries from those mentioned above)
  6. Positive preparation for a healthy marriage
  7. Protects your reputation
  8. Relationship without guilt
  9. No need to lie to parents about what you’ve done (or not done, in this case )
What can I do to prevent sex from happening or lower my risk?
Congratulations! You just realized that prevention is a key component! Here are a few steps to help:

  • Talk to your friends and family about your decision
  • Hang with people who respect your choices
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They usually lower your guard and lead to risky behavior
  • Avoid sex messages from music, magazines, and movies
  • Girls, avoid dating with guys four years or more older than you. (Due to different interests/experiences, studies show that girls who date older guys have a greater chance of getting pregnant)

 I'm going through a relationship break up and feel as if I'm worthless, 2nd hand goods and totally undesirable.

When you’ve experienced a painful relationship break-up, it’s easy to begin wondering whether you ever can have a good relationship again. You long to be loved, understood, listened to, and believed in. Yet sometimes relationships don’t seem to work out the way we anticipated. The result? A lot of hurt and disappointment. The pain of breaking up from a sexual relationship can be even worse because of expectations that weren’t met. There is hope, though. Time really does heal but allow yourself to heal gently. Talk to people you trust, and work through your pain with a good counselor, if that’s what it takes.

Before you enter another relationship you may want to consider some helpful hints. Think about how long it’s taken to get to know your closest friend. Developing real intimacy takes time…but it’s worth it! Remember, intimacy isn’t being physical, it’s being known, loved, and accepted for who you really are, and giving that same kind of love to somebody else. The development of intimacy will stop growing and can even go backwards once you start getting physical with your steady. Also, intimacy is the glue that will hold a relationship together, unlike the physical side, which tends to confuse the picture.

So….instead of jumping in to the physical side of the relationship, why not work on getting to know each other by talking, doing fun stuff together and finding out all about the other person. Learn what makes them feel loved, their fears, hopes, and dreams. Learn what trust is all about.

The bottom line is….you’re a valuable person, well worth waiting for!

My parents divorced ages ago, and it still hurts. I feel like it's my fault.
First of all, remember this – IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT that your parents divorced. They are adults and it was their decision, not yours. You couldn’t do anything to stop it from happening. It’s normal to feel guilty when you experience loss, and to feel like it’s your fault, but you’re not to blame.

Having your parents get divorced is painful. It’s easy for the kids to get ignored while the parents fight with each other. But you matter. Your pain matters.

Anger, frustration, fear, pain and unworthiness are all normal things to feel when your parents break up, and these painful things don’t just go away. You have lost so much, and grieving loss takes time. Some days, it’s hard to believe it happened. Some days are angry days. It’s OK to be angry with people when they hurt us, even if we love them. Some days you believe that you can bring your parents back together. You can’t do that. That’s expecting too much of yourself. Some days you feel depressed, helpless, and sad. Often, you need help from other people, good friends, trustworthy wise adults, youth pastors and professional counselors. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help. Don’t feel scared it could hurt your parents, or made them angry. YOU MATTER, and it is important that you get help, so that you experience healing and acceptance and hope. There is hope for you, no matter how impossible your situation feels.

 I don't know if what happened to me was sexual abuse, but I feel like I'm less worthy of love than other people. I feel like hiding, I'm so ashamed.

A survivor of childhood and adolescent sexual abuse wrote this for you.

“I want you to know that there is hope. The healing process really hurts, and takes a long time, but it is real, and good. For me it started with a counselor showing me that what happened had hurt me deeply. The counselor encouraged me to feel my pain, and my anger at my abuser and myself and my family and God. I was allowed to be real. I didn’t have to fix myself, just to look inside and see all the pain and horror, and find words for it. My counselor was angry and sad that I had experienced all that pain. My family got mad when I tried to talk to them about it, and I felt as if I wasn’t important to them. It hurt me a lot. Some of my friends were Christians, and they told me that God hates abuse, and is angry that I was abused. They said he loves, me, and wants me to express my anger to him, and my confusion and grief.

I got so depressed during the process of facing my pain that I wanted to die, and I stopped eating and couldn’t sleep. I felt alone and terrified and helpless. I told God everything, and I let myself fall and fall, and cry and cry, and he was there to comfort me. I didn’t feel better, I just felt kind of safe amidst all the horror. There’s still a long way to go. I talk to my counselor every week, and to friends I trust, and to God, and little by little, I’m healing.”

I want you to heal. You matter, and you are valuable. You might not believe me, but it is true. Please get help. You can’t make it on your own. Find someone you can trust, who is wise. Find a counselor or youth pastor you feel safe with, who doesn’t judge you. It can be difficult to find the right person to talk to, but don’t give up. You’re worth it.

If you, or someone you know are being abused now, TELL SOMEBODY, LOUDLY AND CLEARLY. If your family won’t do anything to stop the situation, tell the police. Your safety and well being are more important than anyone’s opinion. If somebody who is still alive abused you in the past, tell the police, so that they can work to stop the abuser from harming anybody else.

NUMBERS TO CALL: (USA) 1-888-PREVENT or 1-800-583-2964 (daytime, Monday to Friday). Find the hotline for abuse victims in your country. Don’t give up! Call the police in a place far from where you live if you are worried someone will know who you are at your local police station.

I can't help looking at pornography on the internet. I'm not in control anymore.
Internet pornography is an issue for many guys and girls at some point in their life. Addiction to pornography has a bad effect on your “real life” sexual relationships. You can get to a point where the only way you can get turned on is by thinking of porn images. The person you are with feels really lonely, as if you’ve dropped off line and gone away, even though you are right there. This is an awful situation, not being able to be aroused by the person you love. And even worse, when you’re looking at internet pornography, you teach yourself that sexual pleasure is about you being in control. You get so used to this control that when you are with real people, you expect and demand them to gratify your sexual desires. Your partner might not feel like having sex, but you’re so used to being in control when it comes to your sexual desire that you force them. Some porn addicts force people to go further sexually than they want to. Some molest children. Pornography is dangerous.

12 step groups, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous have helped many porn addicts. The first of the 12 steps is to acknowledge that you are helpless to change the situation on your own. Help is available. Don’t be ashamed to ask. There are many people in your situation. Find a support group for recovering sex addicts. Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t stop searching until you have found the help you need. You CAN be set free from addiction to pornography.

Links to check out:

How can I tell if I'm addicted to sex or certain sexual behaviors?
The difficulty here it that so much of the compulsion is internal. It therefore requires that an individual be honest with him/herself and fight off the tendency toward denial. An individual who can do this has the potential to deal with sexual compulsion before it reaches an addictive state; many people cannot. The following are guidelines for self-evaluating compulsive behavior:

  1. Sexual behavior is used to change one’s mood rather than to express intimate affection.
  2. The sexual behavior has to be kept behavior creates pain or problems for the individual or others. Degrading oneself or exploiting others is a symptom of sexual addiction.
  3. The behavior has to be kept secret. Behavior that cannot be shared with another individual indicates guilt and shame and lead to a double life.
  4. The relationships involved are devoid of genuine concern or commitment. This is because the addict uses sex to avoid genuine relationship.

Fundamental to the whole concept of addiction and recovery is the healthy dimension of human relationships. The addict runs a great risk by being sexual outside of a committed relationship.

These are warning signs. They indicate escalating sexual compulsiveness. They are only helpful to the individual who is willing to be painfully honest with him/herself.

Links to check out:

I don't know if you would call it rape. We were on a date. But I didn't want it.
Listen! If you said “no” and it wasn’t respected and they took advantage of you and forced you to have sex, then it is considered date/acquaintance rape. This is a criminal offense. You can report them to the police. Nobody has the right to ignore your boundaries and more importantly IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!

You are a precious person, valuable for who you are, not just for being a body. Rape deeply damages your sense of worth. It is really important for you to find a place where you can heal. You can begin by telling somebody that you know, whether that is a good friend, trusted adult, or a professional counselor. You matter enough to put time and energy into your healing.

When you’ve had somebody violate your sexual boundaries once, it’s easy to get into situations where you could be abused again. You have a right to make boundaries around yourself, and to say NO. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Find people who will really respect, love and accept you. It’s important to protect yourself from situations where somebody might force you to have sex with them. Get to know your partner before you’re alone with them, in a situation where you could be overpowered. Talk about your boundaries. It might feel awkward and embarrassing, but it’s worth it, because you’re worth it!

NUMBER TO CALL: (USA) 1-800-656-HOPE

Find the hotline for rape victims in your area. Don’t give up!

I had an abortion... and it's still haunting me.
More than likely you and a few chosen people are the only ones that know about your abortion. Despite the best intentions for the reason one chose abortion, the effects afterward can “haunt” as one would put it.

Consider the following scenario:

A woman faced with a crisis pregnancy experiences a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety about her situation, and she seeks a fast solution to her dilemma. Since abortion is legally and socially sanctioned, it is the choice she is likely to make, even though she may be violating her own moral code in doing so. Immediately after the procedure, she will usually feel profound relief that the crisis is over, for better or worse. But any moral struggle she felt prior to the abortion will resurface eventually, at which point she will question her decision.

Does this describe you or someone you know? Research has found that abortion can be responsible for a profound array of long-term emotional disturbances in a woman’s life. Psychologist are using the term “post abortion syndrome” (PAS) to describe a woman’s inability to: 1) process the fear, anger, sadness and guilt surrounding her abortion experience, 2) grieve the loss of her baby, and 3) come to peace with God, herself and others involved in the abortion decision.

The following symptoms will not necessarily appear at the same time, nor is any woman likely to experience the entire list. Some may occur immediately after an abortion, and other much later (even 5-20 years). However, if three or more of the symptoms listed below describe what you have been going through recently, chances are you are experiencing PAS.

  1. Guilt- is what an individual feels when she has violated her own moral code.\
  2. Anxiety- defined as an unpleasant emotional and physical state of apprehension.
  3. Psychological “numbing”- a person who has experienced a highly painful loss will develop an instinct to avoid future situations that might lead to serious pain again.
  4. Depression and thought of suicide- the sense of utter futility and a complete inability to experience pleasure form any source. The following are some examples:
    • Sad mood
    • Sudden and uncontrollable crying episodes
    • Deterioration of self-concept
    • Sleep, appetite and sexual disturbances
    • Reduced motivation
    • Disruption in interpersonal relationships
    • Thoughts of suicide
  5.  Anniversary syndrome – there tends to be an increase of PAS symptoms around the time of the anniversary of the abortion and/or the due date of the aborted child
  6. Re-experiencing the abortion – a very common event described by postabortion women is the sudden distressing, recurring flashbacks of the abortion episode.
  7. Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again – a significant percentage of all woman who abort become pregnant within one year of their abortion (generally the concept is the unconscious hope that a new pregnancy will serve as a replacement for the one that was aborted).
  8. Anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues – some postabortion women maintain a fear that they will never become pregnant again or never be able to carry a pregnancy to term.
  9. Interruption of the bonding process with present and/or future children – she may not allow herself to become properly bonded to another pregnancy because of a fear of loss, as explained above.
  10. Survival guilt – most women don’t abort for trivial reasons. They find themselves in the midst of a heartbreaking situation. However in the end, the decision boils down to a sorrowful “it’s me or you, and I choose me.” In an attempt to assuage the guilt of being the survivor, some women will enter a heightened and unrealistic compensation mode whereby they attempt to atone for the selfish choice.
  11. Development of eating disorders
  12. Alcohol and drug use – often used to serve initially as a form of self-medication and a way of coping with the pain of the abortion memories.
  13. Other self-punishing or self-degrading behaviors – in addition to eating disorders and substance abuse, the postabortion woman may also enter into abusive relationships, become promiscuous, fail to take care of herself medically, or deliberately hurt herself emotionally and/or physically

Recommended Reading:
No One Told Me I Could Cry by Connie Nykiel
A Solitary Sorrow (Finding Healing & Wholeness after Abortion) by Teri Reisser, M.S., M.F.T. with Paul Reisser,M.D.

Check out these websites:

I just want to have fun and enjoy being a teenager. This abstinence stuff is irrelevant. You guys need to get a life.
The teenage years can be an absolute blast! In fact, as an adult you will reflect often on these years as a teen. Many adults have said that if they could live their teen years over they would have remained sexually abstinent. Why? They realize their flippant sexual behavior affecting relationships they now have and have many regrets. Do you want to reflect on the good times and memories or reflect on hurts of relationships, worry of STIs, and the possibility of pregnancy? Just because you’re a teen and remain abstinent doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Yes, sex is fun, but it also has painful consequences if you’re not ready to take responsibility for those.

Let’s review some risks:

  1. Pain of relationship breakup
  2. Unplanned pregnancy – there is no easy option here no matter what the choice
  3. STIs – that’s enough to worry about right here – HPV, Herpes, HIV, Hepatitis B, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and Trichomonas just to name a few.

Want to have fun? Have real fun – without the painful consequences.

Check out these links:
www.medinstitute.org 

I'm sexually attracted to friends of the same sex. I think I might be gay.
Are you sexually attracted or are you confusing that with just really liking your same sex friend. There’s nothing wrong with really liking or even loving a same sex friend. Often that’s sign of a unique and awesome friendship. If you were told at one time to “explore this side of yourself” and you did and your body reacted, this is not an indicator of being gay. It’s an indicator that your body is reacting to sexual response. See, your body doesn’t know that it’s single, married, or gay for that matter. It will respond to sexual stimulation, despite where it’s coming from. So again, THAT IT NOT AN INDICATOR OF BEING GAY (now that should be a relief to some of you!) 1Research has shown that no one is born “gay” any more than one is born a professional athlete. There are circumstances that can occur in life that can lead one into a homosexual lifestyle.

2 Studies have shown the following factors attributing to the homosexual lifestyle:

  1. Lack of affirmation from same sex parent – parent is absent a lot during childhood
  2. Disassociation from same gender – Lack of love and the need to fulfill it. Awakening usually happens in Jr. High; OR dad abuses mom and child thinking is “I won’t grow up to be like you. All men must be like my father.”
  3. Overbearing Mother – Single parent household (female situation) parent-child relationship off balance. No male role model in child’s life and child seek it elsewhere. Sometimes mother unloads problems on child when child is not ready to handle this info emotionally.
  4. Sexual Abuse – there are no statistics for this but it’s like a no-brainer. When sexual abuse happens, disassociation happens…as explained in item 2.

The bottom line is that you are a valuable, worthwhile person, and you matter. We don’t want to judge you, or put you down. We want you to experience security and safety in relationships, and to know that you’re loved.

1Research taken from book “Homoseuality and the Politics of Truth”, Jeffrey Santinover, MD 1996
2 http://www.metanoiaonline.org

Many have found these sites to be helpful:

I think I'm pregnant.
Feeling alone and scared? You’re not alone. There are people trained and available to help you during this critical time in your life. First of all, take a deep breath. You’re going to make it.

Let’s look at some of the symptoms that a pregnancy can have:

  • Your period is late or is very light
  • Nausea or queasiness
  • Vomiting, commonly called “morning sickness”, which can occur anytime during the day by the way
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Nipples darken and surrounding area (areola) broaden
  • Frequency in urination
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation and heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Experience mood swings (angry, sad, happy for no apparent reason)

If you are experiencing any three or more symptoms as described above you have reason for concern. You may have already done a home pregnancy test but need reassurance that it truly is positive. This is common. There are organizations that offer free pregnancy test without the pressure of pushing you to decide one way or the other. Call 1-800-395-HELP for the nearest pregnancy center nearest you to make an appointment. All services are free, confidential, and caring.

Other sites to check out: www.pregnancychoices.org

I'm a guy and I think I was sexually abused, but I thought that only happened to girls.
A gentleman who was also abused wrote this just for you:

“I was sexually abused by one of my friends when I was young. This was difficult for me to understand. I thought, ‘how could I have been abused? He is still my friend, yet I didn’t want him to do those things. How could I let this happen?’ I felt a lot of shame. I took a lot of responsibility for what happen like many victims of sexual abuse do. The freedom came when I was able to say with the help of my pastor that what happened to me was bad, that I didn’t want it. I suddenly realized that this incident caused me to question my manhood. Instead of falling into homosexuality like many people do when their manhood is questioned, I jumped into proving myself as a man in every way possible. This pursuit of affirmation controlled my life. The realization that I was living my life to prove my manhood shocked and broke me. I sat down with a pastor and began to look at all the pain, hurt, and rejection that I felt and asked God for freedom. One by one God began bringing to memory people and situations that hurt me and I released them to Him. When the memory and wounds of being sexually abused came I released them to Jesus and at that moment I felt His affirmation and love for me. I have never felt more free in all my life. The pain that used to come from the inside is no longer there. There are times when I get hurt from someone but it no longer comes from the inside so I don’t have to let it question who I am or carry it with me. I am so glad that God is able to take away the things that entangle us as we release them to Him.

If you have been sexually abused as a child or are in a sexual abuse situation right now, you need to also realize THAT IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! You also need to tell a trusted adult to get the help that you need, because to deserve healing.

For more information on sexual abuse: http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/home2.htm

Cohabitation - isn't this a great idea?
Thinking of cohabitation (living together?) Here’s a few myths to check out before making a decision.

Myth: “You’ll save money!”
Fact: The average income for cohabitating couples is significantly lower than married couples

Myth: “You’ll be safer!”
Fact: Many individuals, especially women, believe they will be safer with a live-in-partner that they would be oon their own. However, aggression is at least twice as likely to occur in cohabitation relationships as in marriage.

Myth: “You’ll be happy!”
Fact: Annual depression cases for cohabitating individuals are three times the number of depression cases among married individuals

Myth: “You’ll have better sex!”
Fact: Individuals who have sex before marriage report lower levels of sexual satisfaction in marriage than those who abstained until marriage.

Myth: “Great marriage guaranteed!”
Fact: 40% of live in couples never get married. Couples who cohabitate before marriage have a 50-100% chance of higher divorce rate than couples who do not cohabitate before marriage

Myth: “Your children will be safe!”
Fact: There is a significantly higher risk of sexual abuse and physical violence (including lethal violence) for children in cohabitating homes than for children in home with married parents.