Advice for teenagers

What limits should we set before marriage?
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Advice for teenagers

Postby young kiwi » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:47 am

Hi all

My wife and I mentor a few teenage girls around 15 to 17. One of them came to us recently saying her and her boyfriend are struggling with bounderies. Nobody had explained what the bible actually says about sex before marriage and they thought they could do what they like as long as intercourse was out.

What advice would you give to this couple? They are wanting to change and do it gods way.

Thanks

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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby Job29Man » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:53 am

I get this question a lot as a Pastor. It's not just young folks either, even older divorcees and widows ask "How far can we go?"

What I teach is Bible principles. "Principles" are not "commandments" nor are they "statutes." They are almost NEVER spelled out letter for letter in the Bible, like so many regulations. Principles are broad based truths that are learned by studying and understanding the words of the Bible's writers, prophets, characters, Jesus, and by watching the actions of God in the history of men and women in the Bible. Like "Oh I see how God reacted this way when that man did that thing. That teaches me that God really HATES it when we do that. Or that teaches me that God really LOVES it when we do that." But often the Bible won't spell out "God hates this" or "God despises that." You have to figure it out by learning the Scriptures as a whole.

When you understand the Scriptural Principles about God's Design for sex and marriage then everything falls into place, and the discussion about "how far can we go?" is easily answered.

Principle: God designed sex for marriage. (This is nowhere spelled out in so many words. But the truth of it is CRYSTAL clear.)

Next always comes the question "what is sex, exactly?" They really truly already know the answer to that, deep down in their hearts, by the conscience that God planted in them, and the Holy Spirit. They are looking for a "loophole" that they can exploit and do petting and oral sex, plain and simple. They want to rationalize that they can do it.

A better question is "what is petting and what is oral sex?" The answer is

"It is the first stage of sexual intercourse; it is foreplay. These pleasurable sensations were designed by God to prepare a married couple for PIV sexual intercourse. Petting and oral sex were never designed to be "the main course." Sexual intercourse is not just the insertion of a penis into a vagina. In God's design it begins with preparing the bodies to join. So, are petting and oral sex actually "sex?" Yes 100% absolutely. They are foreplay, and foreplay is for married people."

Another Biblical principle that no one seems to ask about is "Who, exactly, is entitled to sexual privacy?" The principle is seen in Scripture is that only married couples are entitled to sexual privacy, and all others are entitled to ZERO sexual privacy, nada, zilch, zippo. Again, this is never "spelled out" word for word in Scripture. To actually teach the principle with all the illustrations, etc is a process of several hours of study because it is very, very broad based... a little here, a little there, a subtle indication over there, etc

When an unmarried "couple" comes into my office and ask "How far can we go?" I tell them about these principles and we take the time to go over some of the very nuanced teachings that support the principle. Sometimes I chuckle and ask...

"OK, what we're really talking about here to start with, what you are REALLY asking is 'where can I put my hands and my mouth?' Am I right?"

Then there are blushes ... :oops: and they look down at the floor and say "Yes pastor, I guess that's what I'm really asking, now that you get right down to it."

I kind of laugh to break the tension. :lol: And I say

"Look, don't be embarrassed! It's a GREAT question! You want to stop feeling guilty and you came to me to get Biblical counsel, right? Good on you! I'm very impressed with your hearts! This shows a real desire to please God, and is a good sign in your faith walk! I asked myself the same question when I was in your shoes. And I WAS in your shoes at one time believe it or not."

Then they look up, encouraged, and smile a bit. They are listening. So I continue.

"Friends, this is simple. The Bible principles and logic go together to form a syllogism that is easily understood, and answers your question.
1. Sex is for marriage (principle)
2. Putting your hand or mouth on erogenous zones is the foreplay of sex, so it is sex (God's design of human sexual response)
3. Sexual privacy is for married couples, and for no one else. (principle)
4. You are not married to each other (fact)
5. Therefore you are not entitled to the kind of sexual privacy married couples get while performing sexual foreplay." (conclusion)

Sometimes the light goes on over their heads. :D :idea:
Other times, the light is on, but ain't nobody home. :?

So I say "OK, let's make this easy. Why don't you two just go ahead and demonstrate for my wife and me here exactly what you want to do to each other's bodies. Just do it in front of us and we'll discuss whether it's "allowed" (air-quotes) or not."

Them: :shock: :shock: :shock: :oops: :oops: :oops:

Me: "Go ahead. You are not allowed sexual privacy because you are not married, so show us what you think is allowed. Do it now, here in the open."

Y'see, to the unmarried all sexual acts and foreplay are forbidden, and they have no sexual privacy. To the married, all sexual acts and foreplay are allowed, as is their sexual privacy. But, you already knew that before you came here didn't you? You just wanted confirmation and accountability didn't you?

"Yes," they reply.

Now, here's where you begin to see the differences among Christians. The more liberal Christians will tend to object "You are making all that up! It's not in Scripture! Show me the chapter and verse that states precisely what you just taught!" :evil:

Y'see they think they are being good "truth seekers" by demanding a precise chapter and verse reading of "the rule." They think that I am being a "legalist" by "imposing a so-called rule that is not stated in Scripture." They think that I am "adding to the Word of God." But in fact they are the ones who are being the legalists by wanting to have a Book of Rules where everything is stated explicitly like a Civil Statute. It that were the case, then our Bible would be 50,000 pages long and look like the Law Books in a lawyer's office.

But God teaches us His will, not always as a list of dos and don'ts, but in a gentle way by showing us His actions in human history as shown in the Bible. A believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit doesn't need a Rule Book and doesn't need someone to cite them "It says right here in the Book of Rules, section 12, subsection B, paragraph 4, line 3, subpoint d.1.4, and I quote "It shall be unlawful for any person to ... blah, blah, blah, legalese ... penalties ... punishments ... exceptions ... it shall be an affirmative defense of the aforementioned violation wherein ... blah blah, the heretofore exceptions notwithstanding."

The legalist is unable to see the principle over the broad swaths of Scripture. He needs a concise Bible statement all in a single verse or passage. And I can find no such rules even against torture of prisoners, beating of children, beating of wives, white collar crimes on the internet, copyright violations, etc. But we all know these are wrong, don't we? And we all believe there is a case to be made against them by a mature understanding of Scripture, don't we? Yes! Indeed, how awful would it be for the cause of Christ if the Church believed "I can do anything not explicitly spelled out and prohibited by the Bible." We'd be just like the Pharisees, just like the world.
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby Job29Man » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:11 am

Job29Man wrote:"Petting and oral sex were never designed to be "the main course."


I anticipate that somebody is already objecting "But sometimes my spouse and I deliberately do these things as a "main course" with no intention of doing PIV due to time contraints, time of month, preference, etc"

Great! :D You are married, all things are permitted to you. Do as you please. That doesn't change the principle that petting and oral sex are sexual foreplay, and designed to prepare the married body for PIV. It's biology. You can do the sexual things in whatever order, or non-order you choose. You are married.
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby slowandsteady » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:26 am

Job, I'd be interested in hearing more about how you developed your principle of sexual privacy. Have you written or read anything that lays out that concept more fully?

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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby poetess » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:39 am

Young Kiwi,

Job has a very good, detailed answer. I will add my own.

Years before I married (in my 40s), I read a principle that I took to be wise: An unmarried pair should not be alone together behind closed doors, nor should they lie down together. It might have been Dannah Gresh who said it (she does sometimes get into the kind of "legalism" Job was talking about, but I think that on this one she is wise). "Stay public and stay vertical." In our own courtship days, I found that cuddling sitting down also really revved my engine, even though we were very careful how we held each other, we didn't do so much as passionate kissing until we were married, etc. But basically we still had to learn what was too much for us, and to avoid that.

I have told many, many people through the years that I think an unmarried couple needs to make a strong commitment to never being alone together behind closed doors. Nearly always people protest, anything from "But we enjoy so much our Friday nights cuddling on her couch while we watch TV, and yeah we've had oral sex two or three times, but we're trying not to, and we've never had intercourse!" to "Two people can't get to know each other if they aren't ever alone together." I'll address the second argument; the first, I think, answers itself.

My husband and I are living proof that a couple can get to know each other really, really well without ever being alone together behind closed doors. In fact, I daresay that a relationship that keeps sexual touch completely out of the picture is a relationship in which people can have clearer heads, a greater ability to get to know each other (not just each other's bodies and aroused states of mind) . . . and a relationship in which partners are able to break up if they need to, more easily and with fewer regrets. Adding sex changes the dynamics, even if that "sex" is limited to sexual touch through clothes. A relationship with sexual elements often bypasses the discernment stage, the are-we-right-for-each-other-and-in-agreement-on-major-issues stage, and rushes right to "let's act as much like married people as we think we can get away with."

These are ways a couple can have privacy for conversation and getting to know each other without having privacy for sexual touch:
(1) You can talk on the phone, e-mail, and/or text. (I don't think I'd recommend Skype to a couple with boundary issues, because it can too easily turn into sexual video.)
(2) You can go to the park and walk around, sit on a bench, swing on the swings, all in complete privacy but in public.
(3) You can go to a fast-food place or the food court at a mall, order a coffee, and sit for hours. You can talk as much as you want, with zero temptation for sex play.
(4) You can go to a friend's house (with the friend being one committed to helping you with sexual purity) and hang out with each other, with that friend having full freedom to come into the room at any time.
(5) You can have your beloved over to your home, but invite another couple, and your beloved leaves when they do.

Many more things could be added: go horseback riding, go to a shooting range, garden together, go bowling. All in all, as long as you are in a place where others can see you, there are lots of opportunities to spend time getting to know each other that remove temptation. Now, for a couple who is looking for excuses to sin, these are just so many "rules" to get around. For instance, if you actually desire to sin, then when you hang out at a friend's house, if you know that she is in the bathroom and you have a couple of minutes before she comes out and you can do what you want until you hear her hand on the doorknob . . . all the guidelines in the world aren't going to help you. But if both of you are committed to sexual purity, there are multiple ways to "be alone" enough to talk but not "alone" with privacy for sexual sin.
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby poetess » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:49 am

BTW, this isn't just advice for teenagers. Any engaged couples reading this, I'd counsel that you don't say, "Well, we're older and more able to handle this" or "But it's different for us, because we're engaged and we plan to marry." Sex play isn't for engaged and married couples; it is for marriage. Sex makes you very vulnerable and very intimate with each other; it is an act of bonding together people who are married. I was past 40 when I entered courtship with my husband, and I still saw these guidelines as wisdom.

Also, I have heard from multiple people that engagement really increases the sexual temptation and desire. Getting "close to the edge" with someone you already plan to marry is going to make it much harder to stop. You're getting married, heading toward the chance for full intimacy. Having sex now is sin against God, and it is very likely to hurt your intimacy later by introducing guilt. Stay the course, and take boundaries seriously, no matter how old you are and no matter how little or much has been your prior sexual experience.
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby Job29Man » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:48 am

slowandsteady wrote:Job, I'd be interested in hearing more about how you developed your principle of sexual privacy. Have you written or read anything that lays out that concept more fully?


As I mentioned, this is a broad based teaching, a process that takes hours of reading through many passages and large swaths of Scripture.

My wife Sarah and I studied this over the course of months of Bible study and many hours of discussions. We approached the question by looking at every single mention of marriage and sexual contact that we could find in the entire Bible. There are hundreds of actual mentions, and indirect allusions to sexuality and sexual contact.

While reading these we asked ourselves about each sexual event or mention.

Are these two people married to each other?
Is there any indication of God's approval or disapproval (whether directly or indirectly) of this sexual contact?
What was the surrounding culture like and what did the surrounding culture think of the sexual contact?
How did the sexual contact end? What were the consequences, if any?
Did this act take place secretly or was it made known? By whom, under what circumstances, what were the consequences? Is there any indication of God's pleasure or displeasure with this? Does it violate a specific command or teaching?

If this mention is not an actual human encounter, is it a teaching, a rule, a command or what?
What is the spirit and goal of this teaching, rule, command, etc?

When you do all these things, the answers come clear.

Slowandsteady, the sort of quick shortcut to all this might be for you to ask yourself the questions in reverse, like this...

"Of all the mentions of sexual contact between unmarried people in Scripture, where are all the instances with any evidence that this contact pleases God? And if so, why? And if so, how is (insert name of modern person)'s situation similar to that situation of unmarried sexual contact of which God approves?"

BTW, "God's silence" is not the same as "God's approval." Our standard should not be the absence of God's vocal condemnation of something as important as sex, but the evidence of God's approval.

Then ask the question "Of all the mentions of unmarried sexual contact in the Bible, which of them earn God's disapproval? Why?"

The other two questions which is a good "shortcut" to get to a fast understanding of principle is...

1. "Where in Scripture are petting/oral sex/foreplay/etc ever presented as something separate from intercourse?"
2. "Where in Scripture are these things ever presented as separate from marriage?"

With those eyes you'll only find a few cases of physical affection without PIV. One of them is Abraham "sporting" with his wife in Egypt and the King hearing of it, or seeing it and figuring out "Hey, you're not brother and sister! You are husband and wife!"

And I can't find physical affection without marriage that is presented positively, but perhaps it comes closest in Ruth when Boaz spreads his cloak over Ruth on the threshing floor at night. And yet here Boaz doesn't actually touch Ruth, although perhaps Ruth cuddles his feet, but maybe not. :D

[Sidenote: PIV outside "marriage" might possibly be presented sort of approved by God, um, "-ish" in the situations of Levirate marriage, providing an heir to a widow. The case of Onan and the case of Tamar and Judah come to mind. But that is a pretty odd, even unique, circumstance, which has NOTHING to do with two modern unmarrieds getting hot and heavy in the back of a Chevy.]
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby young kiwi » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:16 am

Some fantastic advice! Thanks

I wish I read that before married life!

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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby slowandsteady » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:44 am

Job- It still feels like more of a boundaries discussion than a public/private distinction. I'm not challenging, I'm trying to understand, because I am intrigued and haven't heard things spelled out that way. I don't disagree at all with the boundaries part of the discussion, I am just looking for where the Bible leads to the idea that before marriage sex is public, after marriage sexuality is private. When you add in the cultural differences in the way we find a spouse today, and the relative lack interaction between unmarried people who would later get married its not something that seems clear and obvious distinction. Again, I have no doubt you have come to this from careful study, I'm just interested in some more of your data, can you show us couple of the winks and nods, that you used as a foundation for that?

for the OG -if it's better to move this discussion to another place and leave this for more specific advice for the OP that is fine by me.

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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby poetess » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:14 am

Slow and Steady, I am not Job and maybe you just want Job's response. But I don't think it is as much that sex is public before marriage (sex is forbidden before marriage), but that interaction is public before marriage. A husband and wife publicly declare their commitment to each other, and after that public declaration they are permitted to have private encounters. Not before.

Sex before marriage is public in one way, however: it is a sin and, therefore, opens oneself up to exposure and rebuke (church discipline). Keeping all encounters public is keeping them above reproach and is actually guarding one's reputation against false accusations, besides guarding us from temptation. If a rumor had been spread about me and my husband being sexually involved before marriage, I could have responded very simply: Ask my neighbors if such an accusation is credible. My neighbors know we did not enter my house together unless someone else was with us. They saw us spend a lot of time together in my front yard and on my porch, and they might have seen one or the other of us enter my house to use the bathroom, and they might have seen a friend or two come over and all of us go inside together--but they could have attested that the two of us were not in the house at the same time unless others were present. Any false accusation could have been nipped in the bud, because we had witnesses; we conducted our courtship in public. (Now, obviously we could have gone elsewhere to have sex, but the fact that we were going to such lengths to avoid being alone together behind closed doors in the one place it was most logical for us to be would make that a pretty remote, and not credible, accusation.)

BTW, in talking to those teenagers, I would add something that has only been referenced indirectly: Teenagers who are not on the verge of marriage, and are already participating in sexual play, are lying to themselves if they think they are prepared to enter marriage as virgins, even "technical virgins." If the temptation in a regular dating relationship is too much, that individual is likely to engage in many sexual relationships in the future. And engagement ups the ante as far as temptation. In other words, by choosing not to resist temptation now, one is building very bad habits for the future in addition to sinning now. Draw this line in the sand and cross it, then draw it farther out and cross that one too . . . the main thing is it is a sin against God. But it also is unsustainable, since sexual desire naturally moves bodies closer and closer to intercourse once that door is opened. (I personally don't see any distinction between oral sex and intercourse anyway, in terms of "hey, at least I'm still a virgin!" If you have crossed the line into oral sex, you cannot say "Well, I haven't crossed 'the big' line." Yes, you have.) I don't mean to tell them that they are doomed to failure in the future, but that they are building very bad, sinful habits now, and that those need to change now, before they ever get to the point of real temptation. I personally would tell such a girl she probably is better off not dating at all for a while.
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby jude700 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:42 am

When first reading, thought of one of the religious teachers in high school saying that french kissing was doing in the attic what you would like to do in the basement.

But also remember some books by Walter Trobisch, a German missionary;

I Loved a Girl: A Private Correspondence - Walter Trobisch - Google ...
https://books.google.com/books/about/I_Loved_a_Girl.html?id=yDLerKm_sKgC
May 1, 1998 ... Review: I Loved a Girl: A Private Correspondence. User Review - Stephen A - Goodreads. Set within in 20th century Africa, Trobisch brings us into the world of a young man struggling with sexuality. Although taken within the context of this Africa that is foreign to us such as bride prices, the letters between Trobisch and the young man are full of deep spiritual insights and Christian truths that cut across all cultures and time. This book is great for young men who are currently dating or looking to get married in the near future.

Also for young women and older daters.
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby slowandsteady » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:57 pm

poetess wrote:Slow and Steady, I am not Job and maybe you just want Job's response. But I don't think it is as much that sex is public before marriage (sex is forbidden before marriage), but that interaction is public before marriage. A husband and wife publicly declare their commitment to each other, and after that public declaration they are permitted to have private encounters. Not before.



this makes sense to me. Thanks

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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby rn2god » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:10 pm

The message in the link on this thread actually addresses this very well - http://www.boards.themarriagebed.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=68881

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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby poetess » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:06 pm

I have not read this book, but it looks useful to the conversation, and the essay about it is itself worth reading: https://juicyecumenism.com/2018/02/07/b ... r-pearcey/
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Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby Job29Man » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:34 pm

slowandsteady wrote:I am just looking for where the Bible leads to the idea that before marriage sex is public, after marriage sexuality is private...can you show us?...


Sure, no problem. :D

The polite euphemism for having sex with a woman is, in the Old Testament,

way-yā-ḇō (Strong's 935) "to come in" בּוֹא + ’ê-le-hā (Strong's 413) "unto her" אֵלֶֽיהָ׃

It reads like this "And he went into her" or "And he went in unto her".
The modern mind might think of this as "Oh, I get it! This means he 'penetrated her'." Well ... no, and yes is the answer.

It does not literally mean "he penetrated her" but it does mean "he went into unto her" i.e. into her dwelling, into her tent. And the Biblical presumption is that a man goes into a private place with a non-relative female only to have sex with her, therefore the practice of doing this is never presented in a positive light in Scripture that I can see.

We see this best illustrated in Genesis 31:33, when Laban was searching tents for his stolen household idols.

Bible
And Laban went into Jacob's tent (way-yā-ḇō),
into Leah's tent (way-yā-ḇō),
and into the two maids' tents (way-yā-ḇō),
but he did not find them (the idols).
Then he went out of Leah's tent, and entered Leah's tent (way-yā-ḇō).


Obviously Laban did not have penetration sex with Jacob, Leah, the two maids, or Leah. Laban simply entered their tents (way-yā-ḇō). Laban's was the Household which they were fleeing, and which included all of those people whose tents he entered. They were all "of his household." He had legitimate business to search for stolen property, law-enforcement style. This was not improper to do.

BUT, in Genesis 29:30 on Jacob's wedding night to Rachel...
Bible
Jacob also went in to Rachel (way-yā-ḇō)


And, in Genesis 30:4-5, When Rachel gave her handmaid Bilhah to Jacob as his concubine...
Bible
Then she (Rachel) gave him Bilhah her maid as wife, and Jacob went in to her (way-yā-ḇō). And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son.


In these two verses and in many other passages in the Old Testament we see the phrase that means "go into the tent of" (in Gen 31:33 and elsewhere) to be another way of saying "he had sex with her."

The idea is that a man does not enter the tent of a woman not his relative or of his household unless he plans to have sex with her. In other words the proper place for a man to have interaction with a woman is out in the public view, NOT in the hidden confines of her tent, NOT in private. Because when a man goes into a private place with a woman not of household one assumes that they are going to have sex. And it is improper to have sex outside of marriage, therefore it is improper to enter into the tent of (into a private place with) a woman alone, unless it is your wife.

Judges 16:1, we see
Bible
Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her (way-yā-ḇō)
Going into the tent of a harlot brings the presumption of sex with the harlot, adultery, sin.

This is a practice of God's people, and of he ancient near east in general. It is also the assumption of the Bible in presenting the interactions of males and females. Privacy between a male and female (who are not related) is presumed to only occur in marriage. It is a principle, an over-arching representation of "how things are properly done" in the Bible.

If you way-yā-ḇō the tent of your wife (privacy with her), this is presented as wholesome and good.
If you way-yā-ḇō the tent of a woman not your wife or relative (privacy) this is presented as bad.

Therefore the preponderance of evidence is against any right to general privacy between unrelated males and females, and by extension, certainly taboo for sexual privacy.

There is much, much more. And it takes many hours to read and study thoroughly to get saturated in the sense of modesty and propriety of this thing in Scripture. But you asked for a hint, and here is one. If you still have questions I now turn it back to you to make a case for the opposite, that privacy between a male and female unrelated is presented in Scripture as good and permitted. Remember that sexual propriety is not just a small deal with God, but it is a HUGE deal, which when mishandled has resulted in death, destruction, and disaster for people in the Bible.

I believe the burden of proof should lie with the person who challenges the Bible's norms and wants to push the limits of propriety to the far edge so as to accommodate a non-biblical cultural practice (i.e. modern North American standards of propriety).

My conclusion from this and many other texts in Scripture is that it goes against Scriptural principles for an unmarried "couple" at the very least to expect any kind of right to intimate privacy, and may have even broader application that even those not romantically involved should not be privately alone together.

I think our common sense tells us this too. For example; is it proper for a married man (with no obvious sexual interest) to go alone into a private place with an eligible single woman? Why/why not? OK, now if it IS improper for the married man because of sexual propriety, then why is it proper for the single man WITH an obvious romantic/sexual interest in the same girl (a mutual interest) to go into a private setting with her?
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Date of your marriage (past or future): December 9th, 1972
Gender: Male
Location: New Zealand

Re: Advice for teenagers

Postby skypilot » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:06 am

Young teens are being told that it is OK to be sexually expressive when you want to be. Here in NZ teenagers get told it's alright to do what you want and how you want from the age of 9 upwards. I agree with all Job and the others who have given advice.Stick in there and keep yourselves grounded in the Lord.


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