Bible Study on Remaining Pure
Remaining Pure In a Sex-Crazed World
For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, so that each of you knows how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God. This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you. For God has not called us to impurity, but to sanctification. Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
This is a suggested Bible study for any size group. The accompanying sermon notes (below) serve as a resource as you prepare to lead this Bible study. Answers are provided with the questions when appropriate, but do not be too quick to give the answers. Allow the participants time to talk about the questions among themselves and offer their own thoughts and reflections. Remember this is only a suggested outline. Customize to your style and the setting.
Bible Study Instruction
Create Learning Readiness: Set the background for this study by sharing some or all of the information contained in the “Context” of the accompanying Sermon Outline and Bible Study section of this guide.
Say: We are all sexual beings. After all, God created us that way. Before sin entered into the world, God called all of His creation “good,” meaning that our sexuality is not a bad thing, but a good one. The expression of that sexuality is what becomes good or bad.
In his commentary on First Thessalonians, William Barclay states that morality in the first century was dead, especially among the Romans and Greeks. He wrote:
“In Rome for the first five hundred and twenty years of the Republic there had not been a single divorce; but now under the Empire, as it has been put, divorce was a matter of caprice. As Seneca said, ‘Women were married to be divorced and divorced to be married.’ In Rome the years were identified by the names of the consuls; but it was said that fashionable ladies identified the years by the names of their husbands. Juvenal quotes an instance of a woman who had eight husbands in five years. Morality was dead.
“In Greece immorality had always been quite blatant. Long ago Demosthenes had written: ‘We keep prostitutes for pleasure; we keep mistresses for the day-to-day needs of the body; we keep wives for the begetting of children and for the faithful guardianship of our homes.’ So long as a man supported his wife and family there was no shame whatsoever in extra-marital relationships.”
Even among the Jews, morality had become lax. Divorce had become all too easy in a culture that once had held that a Jewish man should “die rather than commit murder, idolatry or adultery” They redefined what “something indecent” (Deut. 24:1) meant. The more strict rabbis defined it only as adultery while others included “putting too much salt in the food; going about in public with her head uncovered; talking with men in the streets; speaking disrespectfully of her husband’s parents in his presence; being a brawling woman (which was defined as a woman whose voice could be heard in the next house).”
One does not have to be a keen observer of the state of morality today to understand that, if not dead, it is on life support. Barclay adds, “The new morality is only the old immorality brought up-to-date.”
But for the Christian, God demands sexual purity. We must take that demand seriously.
Ask: There are many kinds of sexual impurity. Can you name some of them? (Write answers on the board.)
Using the material in Other Sources in the Resource section of this guide and the Sexual Purity Fact Sheet included on the Resource disk, help participants gain an understanding of why sexual impurity is a problem. The following will assist you in finding some of those resources:
Examples of sexual impurity.
1. Safe sex (OS1 and OS2)
2. Adultery (OS3)
3. Cybersex (OS4)
4. Sex in the media (OS5)
5. Pornography (OS6)
6. Premarital sex (OS7)
7. Online Predators (OS9)
Ask: What does God have to say about Christians keeping themselves sexually pure? (Ask participants to read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 from several different translations.)
Say: Paul says that sexual impurity is a misuse of the body that God has given us. (Read the quotes and CC1 and CC2. Ask someone to read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 aloud.)
Say: In these verses, Paul says there are two appropriate responses to any temptation to engage in sexual impurity: “Flee from sexual immorality” and “Honor God with your body.”
Ask: Can anyone think of a person in the Bible who did that? (Joseph) Can you think of anyone in the Bible who did not do that but should have? (David)
Say: In 1 Thessalonians 4:6, Paul gives two reasons to reject sexual impurity. It wrongs the other person and takes advantage of people. (Using the information in WS1, WS2, and WS3, talk about the meaning of the words translated “wrong” and “take advantage of.”)
Ask: When two people are engaged in some form of sexual impurity, how many people are wronged and taken advantage of? (The two people involved plus their spouses or prospective spouses.) Using the material in CC3, CC4, and CC5, emphasize the breadth of the spiritual effects of sexual impurity.
Ask: What other repercussions might there be to engaging in sexual impurity? (Venereal disease, HIV/AIDS, divorce, after-effects of broken relationships on children involved.)
Say: Another reason Paul gives for avoiding sexual impurity is that it goes against God’s call for purity which leads to God’s judgment (See CC6 and CC7). (Ask a class participant to read 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 aloud.)
Ask: How might this passage apply to the issue of remaining sexually pure? Can you think of other passages of Scripture that speak to this issue of sexual purity? (Matt. 6:27-28; 2 Tim. 2:22; etc. Have participants read applicable passages aloud.)
Say: Finally, Paul says that the person who rejects the teaching on sexual purity really rejects God. (Read the quote in CC8.)
Say: Since we are inundated with sexually suggestive and sexually impure messages today on so many fronts, is it possible to remain sexually pure? The answer, of course, is “Yes!” But someone might then ask, “How?” Paul gives two instructions on how to avoid sexual immorality or impurity in verses 3-5. The first is: accept God’s will for your life by practicing sanctification.
Ask: What does the word “sanctification” mean? (Allow time for responses.)
Say: The word “sanctification” comes from the same root word as the word “holy.” Both of them convey the idea of separation from that which is ungodly and attachment to that which is pure. Notice that this is not just something negative. There is a positive aspect to sanctification. Without the attachment to something positive, people would be left to live in a vacuum.
Ask: Can you think of any verses in Scripture that talk about this separation from something and attachment to something else? (Lev. 15:31; Num. 6:2ff; 1 Chron. 23:13; Rom. 1:1; 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 Peter 2:9; etc.)
Say: Paul says that we are to live a holy life. (Read quote in CC9.)
Ask: What are some ways that we can live holy lives?
Say: One way to live a holy life is to “avoid sexual immorality” (v. 3). (Read the quote in CC10.)
Say: We can avoid sexual immorality by learning to control our bodies (v. 4). Paul points out three aspects of this: (1) controlling our bodies in a holy way, (2) controlling our bodies in an honorable way, and (3) not giving in to passionate lust. (Ask someone to read Gal. 5:16.)
Say: We’ve already talked about the word “holy.” The word “honorable” referred to something of value or something that had dignity (See WS9). If we do what is honorable with our bodies, we will not give in to “passionate lust.” (Read quote in CC12.)
Ask: What are some things we can do to make sure that we stay free from sexual impurity? (Allow response time. Ask someone to read Phil. 4:8.)
Say: Here are some guidelines for remaining sexually pure that we should all consider:
1. Sex is good. God created it and called it “good” before there was any sin in the world.
2. Like all good gifts from God, sex can be misused and perverted.
3. The boundaries of sex are the boundaries of marriage.
4. Your sexual purity is essential to a healthy walk with God.
5. You are vulnerable to sexual immorality.
6. You are targeted for sexual immorality (by Satan).
7. Your body belongs to God, not you.
8. Sexual purity begins in the mind, not the body.
9. Once you let your body cross the line, it will neither know nor care about your Christian convictions.
10. If you have sexual intimacy with someone outside marriage, you are stealing from God and the other person.
11. God would not tell you to abstain from impurity if it was impossible to remain sexually pure.
12. Satan will lie to you about sex, but Jesus tells you the truth.
13. You must learn to think long term, not short term.
Say: Here are two final suggestions for remaining sexually pure:
1. Commit yourself to sexual purity before you find yourself in a potentially compromising situation.
2. Find someone with whom you can share mutual accountability. You must both commit to being open and honest about your life.
Say: We can be encouraged that God provides a way to overcome any sexual temptation that we may face. (Read 1 Cor. 10:13.)
Say: As we conclude, I want to lead us in a prayer of commitment that we will remain sexually pure. This is a prayer that everyone can pray if they so desire because it is a commitment for the future, not the past. I’m asking you to pray this prayer along with me silently in the quietness of your own heart. This is solely between you and God. (Say prayer in phrases so participants can pray with you.)
Prayer: Dear Father, I want to live a holy, honorable, sexually pure life for You. I thank You that You created us as sexual beings. We know that our sexuality must be expressed in a godly way—not an ungodly way. Give me the courage and the strength of character to reserve any sexual expression for marriage with only my God-given mate. I commit myself to remaining sexually pure. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
WHAT CAN ONE PERSON DO?
1. Commit yourself to sexual purity before you find yourself in a potentially
2. Find someone with whom you can share mutual accountability. Both persons
must commit to being open and honest about their life.
3. Begin a class in your church that will give people vital information on how to remain sexually pure and what the consequences are for those who don’t.
4. If you know someone in church who is living a sexually impure lifestyle, let them
know that you are aware of their behavior. Also let them know that you are ready
to stand by them, but you expect them to seek Christian counseling to get the
help they need.
Word Studies (WS)
WS1 — “wrong” — hyperbaino — from
WS2 — “wrong” — figuratively, to overstep certain limits, to transgress. Used only in 1 Thess. 4:6, to go too far, beyond what is right [The Complete Word Study Dictionary (Austin, TX: WORDSearch 7 Electronic version, WORDSearch Corp., 2004)].
WS3 — “take advantage of” — from
WS4 — “impure” — from
WS5 — “rejecting” — from a compound of
WS6 — “sanctified” — from
WS7 — “avoid” — middle (reflexive) of
WS8 — “sexual immorality” — from
WS9 — “honorable” — from
Commentary Citations (CC)
CC1 — “God has not called us to be evil and impure, but to be pure and holy. Any impure use of our bodies, any immorality is a violation of the basic purpose for which God has called us . . . God called us for the purpose of holiness and purity. He has called us to have that quality of holiness that he himself enjoys—the quality of rightness of character, of the right use of all that we have” [James T. Draper, Jr., 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1979), 109-110].
CC2 — “A life lived in sanctification is one that is dedicated to reflecting the character and commands of the Lord. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and is not meant for union with prostitutes or for any other type of sexual immorality (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-20). Such activities comprise a misuse of the believer’s body, which is sanctified to the service of God . . . The use of the body (a body created by God) for immoral purposes both degrades the person and dishonors the Creator” [New American Commentary (Austin, TX: WORDSearch 7 Electronic version, WORDSearch Corp., 2004)].
CC3 — “They [the Thessalonians] should never sexually take advantage of other believers. The word rendered transgress means ‘to sin against,’ which includes the concept of stepping over the line and exceeding the lawful limits . . . Paul warns that a believer should not take such advantage described so as to defraud his brother in the matter. Defraud means to selfishly, greedily take something for personal gain and pleasure at someone else’s expense. As is true with transgress, the definition of defraud includes the notion of taking advantage of someone, and in this context it concerns the matter of sexual sin. Whenever believers seek to satisfy their physical desires and gain sexual pleasure at the expense of another believer, they have violated this command”
[John MacArthur, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002), 109-110].
CC4 — “Sexual immorality wrongs the partner in the forbidden act by involving him or her in behavior contrary to God’s will and therefore under His judgment. Two or more people practicing sex out of God’s will are calling God’s wrath down on themselves (Heb. 13:4). The initiator takes advantage of his partner in sin by fanning the fire of passion till self-control is lost” [Bible Knowledge Commentary (Austin, TX: WORDSearch 7 Electronic version, WORDSearch Corp., 2004)].
CC5 — “All sexual looseness represents an act of injustice to someone other than the two parties concerned. Adultery is an obvious violation of the rights of another. But promiscuity before marriage represents the robbing of the other of that virginity which ought to be brought to marriage. The future partner of such a one has been defrauded” [Leon Morris, The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1959), 126].
CC6 — “Sexual immorality is sin, and God will judge all sin (Rom. 6:23a). All such sins refers most likely to the various forms of sexual uncleanness not specifically mentioned in the context but covered by the general term ‘sexual immorality.’ Everyone who fears the wrath of God should abstain from immorality because judgment follows such sin as surely as day follows night. That God always judges sin is a basic Christian truth which Paul had taught them and warned them about when he was in Thessalonica” [Bible Knowledge Commentary (Austin, TX: WORDSearch 7 Electronic version, WORDSearch Corp., 2004)].
CC7 — “If a believer engages in sexual immorality, God the avenger may judge all these things by allowing one or more of several consequences to affect that believer’s life. For example, the outcome could be a severely damaged marriage, accompanied by loss of family love and respect; the sin could lead to a divorce (Matt. 5:32; 19:9); God may chasten the person by allowing him or her to be afflicted with venereal disease or some other physical affliction; or the sin could result in the absence of blessing, the presence of a greater than average number of trials and troubles, or even an untimely death (cf. 1 Cor. 10:8). Sexual sin by a believer will certainly result to some degree in the loss of eternal reward (cf. Prov. 11:18; 1 Cor. 3:12–15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 John 8)”
[John MacArthur, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002), 111].
CC8 — “The final reason for the Thessalonians to obey Paul’s admonition was that their disobeying it would mean they were rejecting God’s Holy Spirit. Any believer who rejects (‘nullifies, makes void, cancels, disregards, despises’) the command to abstain from sexual immorality is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit. Thus if the Thessalonians disobeyed Paul’s words, they would not merely be rejecting him, the church elders, or some faction in the church, but the Spirit of God. The standard of sexual morality is God’s, and He gave believers the Holy Spirit to enable them to keep that norm (cf. Ezek. 36:27; John 14:16–17; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:16; 1 John 3:24; 4:13)”
[John MacArthur, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002), 112].
CC9 — “The will of God is clearly set forth in many places in Scripture, even though Christians often seem to have a great deal of difficulty applying it in everyday decision-making (cf. 5:16-18; 1 Peter 2:15). It is God’s clear will that His people be holy (hagiasmos; cf. 1 Thess. 3:13). This word can mean a state of being set apart from sin to God, or the process of becoming more dedicated to God. Probably the latter meaning was intended by Paul here. He was not referring to the final state of all Christians when they will be separated from the presence of sin as well as its penalty and power. Rather he probably had in mind the progressive sanctification of his readers by which they were conformed to the image of Christ in daily experiences by proper responses to the Word and the Spirit of God. This is evident by the three statements in verses 3b-6a, each beginning with the word that” [Bible Knowledge Commentary (Austin, TX: WORDSearch 7 Electronic version, WORDSearch Corp., 2004)].
CC10 — “In view of the permissive culture in Thessalonica, Paul considered abstention from sexual immorality to be the first priority in the Thessalonians’ devotion to sanctification. As already discussed, every imaginable sexual vice was rampant in and around Thessalonica; therefore, Paul was especially concerned that the Thessalonians could easily fall back into their former habits. So he gave them the direct, uncomplicated command to abstain from sexual immorality. Abstain means complete abstinence, in this case, staying completely away from any thought or behavior that violates the principles of God’s Word and results in any act of sexual sin. Sexual immorality (porneias) is a term used to describe any form of illicit sexual behavior (John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:13, 18; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; Rev. 2:21; 9:21). Any sexual activity that deviates from the monogamous relationship between a husband and a wife is immoral by God’s standard” [John MacArthur, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002), 104].
CC11 — “‘Honorable’ behavior does not show disrespect for the sanctity of the self or demean the value of others” [New American Commentary (Austin, TX: WORDSearch 7 Electronic version, WORDSearch Corp., 2004)].
CC12 — “The God empowered man rules his body. He is not caught in the grip of lustful passions he is quite unable to control. The word ‘passion’ is always used by Paul in a bad sense. It denotes not so much the violent desire, which the English ‘passion’ suggests, as an overmastering desire. The root connects with the thought of suffering, and this noun expresses the feeling which a man suffers. It expresses the passive side of the vice. ‘Lust’ on the other hand is the active, aggressive word. It is used of strong desire of any kind. Occasionally it is used of some good desire . . . but more characteristically it denotes an evil desire, and that a very strong one” [Leon Morris, The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1959), 124-125].
Other Source (OS)
OS1—A battle is being waged in many school systems across the nation over what material and subjects will be covered in sex-education classes. In several places, abstinence-based sex-education is replacing the older model that seeks to give children information on a broad base of subjects such as condom use, birth control pills, and homosexuality. For example, health education consultant, Diane Waggoner, says, “The fear is that we will not be giving students the information and the skills they need . . . Students today are experimenting at a younger age, and they need to understand why they are saying no and how to say no and about the situations they may come across.” Even the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are opposed to abstinence-based sex-education.
But many parents today are sounding the alarm and calling for school systems to teach abstinence-only sex education. Some, like Carolyn Mack of Rochester, Michigan, have been placed on the advisory committee for the local school board. She and several others opposed a video that was being shown to seventh graders that was far too explicit. Cathy Ponder, who was at the forefront of the sex education battle in Northville, Michigan said, “There’s no such thing as safe sex. Children deserve the truth, and they deserve to know that condoms do not protect you.”
Michigan law now requires abstinence-based sex education. However, local districts can decide what else may be included. A proposed state law is currently under consideration that would give parents a majority on curriculum advisory boards.
Amy Klein, “Parents Lobby for Less Sex in Sex Ed,” http://www.freep.com, September 16, 2002
OS2—Advocates of “safe sex,” “abstinence plus,” and “comprehensive sex ed” programs are constantly trying to divert funds away from “abstinence-only” programs. They deny the fact that “abstinence-only” sex ed does work. What are the facts?
• Sexual activity at an early age has multiple harmful consequences.
• Most sexually active teens say they wish they had waited until they were older before having sex.
• Sexually active teens are more likely to be depressed and attempt suicide.
• Abstinence education programs are effective in reducing teen sexual activity.
• Abstinence programs dramatically reduce out-of-wedlock childbearing.
• The government spends $12 to promote contraceptives for every $1 spent on abstinence.
• Government spending priorities do not match parental priorities.
• “Comprehensive sex education” or “abstinence plus” programs are merely safe sex programs wrapped in a deceptive label.
• Parents overwhelmingly support the values and messages of true abstinence education.
• Parents overwhelmingly oppose the values and messages of comprehensive sex ed curricula.
• Comprehensive sex ed programs contain sexually explicit material that is offensive to nearly all parents.
• Claims that parents support comprehensive sex ed or “abstinence plus” programs are false.
• Most parents want their children to be taught a strong abstinence message as well as basic biological and health facts about contraception, but this does not mean that parents oppose authentic abstinence education.
• Allowing state public health agencies to use federal abstinence funds for comprehensive sex ed or safe sex programs would effectively eliminate federal support for abstinence education.
Robert E. Rector, “Facts About Abstinence Education,” http://www.heritage.org (The Heritage Foundation), WebMemo #461 [Accessed December 8, 2004]
OS3—“How prevalent is adultery? Two of the most reliable studies come to similar conclusions. The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior estimates that ‘More than one-third of men and one-quarter of women admit having had at least one extramarital sexual experience.’ A survey by the National Opinion Research Center (University of Chicago) found lower percentages: 25 percent of men had been unfaithful and 17 percent of women. Even when these lower ratios are applied to the current adult population, that means that some 19 million husbands and 12 million wives have had an affair.”
Kerby Anderson, “Adultery,” http://www.probe.org/docs/adultery.html (Probe Ministries) [Accessed December 9, 2004]
OS4—“Nearly 10 years after the advent of the Internet chat room, online infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce, attorneys and therapists say. At the Web portal Yahoo, one chat group is labeled ‘Married and Flirting.’ The problem is so widespread that many counselors devote most of their practices to the effects of cybersex, a wide umbrella that includes describing sexual acts to someone online as well as viewing pornography.
“‘The spouse committing cybersex might as well have actual sex because the impact of getting caught is akin to getting caught in a hotel room,’ said Buckhead divorce attorney Shiel Edlin. More than half his firm’s divorce cases involve cybersex.
“While there are no reliable statistics on cyberaffairs, the author [Shirley Glass, “Not ‘Just Friends’”] estimates 44 percent of husbands and 25 percent of wives have had extramarital affairs. A generation ago, affairs were based on torrid sex. Spouses today stray from their marriages through all sorts of Internet high jinks: pornographic pictures, sex chats and Webcams.
“The Internet makes sex as interactive as monitoring a checking account or playing a game. At one Web site with 750,000 members, live sex shows play like home videos. The 3-year-old Web site is essentially a chat room with video cameras.
“‘The Internet makes . . . cheating a whole lot more convenient than ever in history,’ said the Web site’s founder, Gordon Williams, who adds 4,000 members a day. But even Williams, who makes his living off live Internet sex, has qualms about cybersex’s effect on marriages. ‘That convenience should not be an excuse to take away your responsibility to your partner, and it does not reduce the guilt or hurt that cheating causes,’ he said.”
Adapted from Helena Oliviero, “Your Cheatin’ Mouse,” http://www.ajc.com (Atlanta Journal Constitution) August 1, 2003
OS5—“Sex has become TV’s standard for programming success. A study by Lou Harris and Associates revealed the three [major] networks broadcast 65,000 references to sexual behavior in one year. In case you’re calculating, that’s 27 references per hour. The number will only rise in the future . . . A Florida State University study reported that a typical prime-time hour of television gave audiences 1.6 references to intercourse, 1.2 references to prostitution and rape, 4.7 sexual innuendoes, 1.8 kisses, and 1 suggestive behavior. Additionally, TV characters talk about sex or display sexual behavior 15 times an hour, or once every four minutes.”
Henry J. Rogers, The Silent War (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1999), 92.
OS6—“Pornography has grown into a $10 billion business—bigger than the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball combined—and some of the nation’s best-known corporations are quietly sharing the profits.”
“American Porn: Corporate America is Profiting from Porn—Quietly,” http://www.abcnews.com, January 28, 2003
OS7—“Early sexual activity has manifold harmful effects. Teens who are sexually active are more likely to be depressed and are more likely to attempt suicide. Beginning sexual activity at a young age greatly increases the probability of becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases. Girls who begin sexual activity at an earlier age are far more likely to have abortions.
“Women who begin sexual activity at an early age are far more likely to become pregnant and give birth out of wedlock and to be single mothers. Since single mothers are far more likely to be poor, early sexual activity is linked to higher levels of child and maternal poverty.
“Early sexual activity seriously undermines the ability of girls to form stable marriages as adults. When compared to women who began sexual activity in their early 20s, girls who initiated sexual activity at ages 13 or 14 were less than half as likely to be in stable marriages in their 30s. Beginning sexual activity at an older age, however, is linked to higher levels of personal happiness in adult years.”
Melissa G. Pardue, Robert E. Rector, and Shannan Martin, “Government Spends $12 on Safe Sex and Contraceptives for Every $1 Spent on Abstinence: Executive Summary Backgrounder,” http://www.heritage.org/research/family/bg1718.cfm, January 14, 2004, 17.
OS8—The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, a nonprofit organization dedicated to confronting global epidemics of nonmarital pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases with health care data, exposes many hidden truths about oral sex. Here are the institute’s alarming findings:
For much of our culture, oral sex is a taboo topic—something too private and personal to discuss openly—but that silence has resulted in a dangerous lack of knowledge. When it comes to people’s health, ignorance isn’t bliss. In fact, it can be costly and painful. For the sake of their health and safety, people need to know the risks of oral sex. [WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SOME GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS.]
1. What Is It?
Oral sex is contact of one person’s mouth or tongue with the genitals of another person.
2. Who’s Doing It?
Oral sex is fairly common among American adults. In a national survey from the early 1990s, three out of four adults said that they had tried oral sex. One out of four said they practiced oral sex the last time they had sex. In this same survey, unmarried persons, college students, and Whites and Hispanics were more likely than others to say that they practiced oral sex.
Due to understandable sensitivities, there are fewer data available about how common the practice is among teenagers. Anecdotes from educators and counselors suggest that oral sex is becoming common in both middle school and high school, even among many who consider themselves virgins. In one study of 12- to 15-year-olds, about one of every six students said they had tried oral sex (including many who had never had vaginal sex). In a study of senior high students, more than four out of five nonvirgins and one out of five virgins had tried oral sex. Teens exposed to drugs and alcohol are particularly likely to try oral sex.
3. Is It Sex?
There is widespread confusion about whether oral sex is sex. In one study, one-third of college students believed that oral sex was abstinent behavior. However, if sexual activity is defined as bodily contact meant to give or derive sexual gratification, then it is clear that oral sex is sex.
4. Is it Safe?
Another misconception about oral sex is that it’s “safe.” This is a dangerous myth. Although pregnancy is not an issue with oral sex, a wide variety of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can be spread through oral sex. Some of them are painful. Some of them are untreatable. And some of them can be deadly.
Despite widespread misconceptions, oral sex puts participants at risk for a number of STDs.
If you’ve already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity—including oral sex—or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected.
Adapted from “The Facts About Oral Sex and STDs,” http://www.medinstitute.org (The Medical Institute for Sexual Health) [Accessed December 13, 2004]
OS9—“Child and adult pornography is frequently used by pedophiles to lure children. The typical child molester befriends the child, often through Internet chat rooms, and, after building ‘trust,’ exposes the child to pornography. This is done in an attempt to make the child think that this behavior is acceptable and to lure him or her to participate. The experience of exploitation and abuse becomes a lifelong struggle for the victim and leaves them with the fear that their photos are still out there.”
“The Effects of Pornography and Sexual Messages,” http://www.nationalcoalition.org (National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families)
OS10—Sexual Purity Guidelines
1. Sex is good. God created it before there was any sin in the world and called it “good” (See Prov. 5:18-19; Song 4:5; 7:1, 6-9; Eph. 5:3-4).
2. Like all good gifts from God, sex can be misused and perverted.
3. The boundaries of sex are the boundaries of marriage.
4. Your sexual purity is essential to your walk with God (See Ps. 24:3-4; 66:18; Prov. 28:9; Zech. 7:13; 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 John 1:9).
5. You are vulnerable to sexual immorality (See Prov. 16:18; 1 Cor. 10:12; Gal. 6:1).
6. You are targeted for sexual immorality (by Satan) (See Eph. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 1 John 4:4).
7. Your body belongs to God, not you (See 1 Cor. 6:20).
8. Sexual purity begins in the mind, not the body (See Ps. 119:37; Prov. 4:23; 23:7; Matt. 5:28; 15:19-20; Phil. 4:8).
9. Since God doesn’t want you to have premarital sex, neither does He want you to do that which prepares your body for premarital sex (See 2 Tim. 2:22).
10. Once you let your body cross the line, it will neither know nor care about your Christian convictions.
11. If you have sexual intimacy with someone outside marriage, you are stealing from God and the other person.
12. God has your best interests in mind when he tells you not to have premarital sex.
13. God would not tell you to abstain from impurity if it was impossible to obey Him (See Titus 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).
14. Satan will lie to you about sex, but Jesus tells you the truth (See John 8:32, 43-44; 14:6).
15. You must learn to think long term, not short term (See Deut. 30:19; Gal. 6:7-9).
Adapted from Randy Alcorn, “Guidelines for Sexual Purity,” http://www.epm.org (Eternal Perspective Ministries) [Accessed December 10, 2004]