The Girls' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I have read all the tips that you made accessible to public view, and I really appreciated it. I have have come to some uncertainties which I'd like to confirm. Is touching a bad thing, or is it bad because it can lead you to further desire? If you come to a point where you're going to lose control, how can you stop? And the last question: you said that having an erection may show you that you have to stop, can you explain it in more detail. I'd appreciated if you'd help.

Answer

Touching is a vague term. Holding hands is touching, but there is nothing wrong with mere hand holding.

Let's take a look at what God has said about touching. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband" (I Corinthians 7:1-2). By "touch" Paul is not saying a man and woman cannot hold hands or give a chaste "goodnight" kiss. He is stating that men and woman should not touch each other in sexual ways. It is a phrase found several times in the Old Testament:

"But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also?" (Genesis 20:4). Literally, he had not touched her.

"So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:26).

When discussing moral choices, there are two aspects which must be considered: there are physical acts which are sinful to do and there are thoughts which should not be entertained. Every person has a desire to be touched, it is a part of our human physiology. But some are inflamed by the desire to the point that they are willing to break laws to get what they want. We generally call that very strong desire "lust."

Sexual touch isn't independent of sexual thought and feelings. It inflames sexual desire. "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (I Peter 2:11). Those engaged in sexual touch are thinking about sex, but not in the context of marriage. The thought of committing a sin is equivalent to the actual commitment. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). When a man is touching you in sexual ways, he might not go so far as intercourse, but I guarantee that he has been thinking about it. When a man is engaged in sexual touching, he is reducing your will to resist when he decides to go all the way. Like other sins, sexual sin is a progression. "You've gone this far, going a little bit farther is no different." By providing sexual stimulation, he is builds your emotional response to go along with him and away from righteousness.

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified" (I Thessalonians 4:3-6). Through passion and lust, a man can take advantage of you. Therefore he would not be treating you with honor or dignity. He may claim to love you, but all he really loves is the sexual excitement you bring to him. "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (I Corinthians 13:4-6).

Therefore, in answer to your question, sexual touching between unmarried people is wrong because it creates lusts that cannot be satisfied in a righteous manner until the couple marries.

How do you stop? By refraining from the activity that is causing lustful thoughts. Girls have a hard time realizing the strength of sexual desire. They often will flirt with a man, thinking it is harmless because they don't feel an overwhelming sexual desire at the moment. But what triggers sexual desire in women is different from men. Thus, but a woman's indifference to a man's feelings, she can cause him to sin.

A man's penis gets large and stiff when his body is sexually aroused. That is called an erection. In a man's teenage years, his body doesn't always know what is a sexual situation, so teenage boys are plagued with unwanted erections to their embarrassment. But since an erection is tied to sexual feelings, a man knows when his thoughts are straying down paths that he ought not consider until he is married. Thus, having an erection can be a warning to a man that he should reconsider his thoughts or actions.

For both men and women, when sexual desire builds to a high level, the areas of the brain involved in reasoning become sluggish. They get carried away by the moment and do not think about the consequences. Such a state doesn't lead to good moral choices. The best thing to do is not come close to that state of mind.