How am I supposed to control my lust?

Last updated on August 29, 2020


My girlfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We are both Christians, and we both believe sex before marriage is wrong. At about the four-month point, there was some fondling, and we both felt horrible about it. We both made the choice to never let it happen again (until when or if we ever got married). We did great until about a month ago when I started picking her shirt up and playing with her breasts, but the next couple of times we made out, it moved to other regions. I began to realize how bad this was. I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve talked to her about the problem. We have the current situation under control; that is, we’re taking precautions to avoid those types of situations. I’ve always believed that she is the one God desires me to be with, and I still do. My main question is: How am I supposed to control my actions and thoughts, and how do I stop feeling so bad?


Paul told Timothy when he dealt with young women in his role as a preacher, that he was to treat then as sisters “with all purity” (I Timothy 5:1-2). I don’t know if you have a younger sister, but how would you feel if you walked into a room and saw a guy making out with her as you were with your girlfriend? One day the Lord may bless you with a daughter. Would you be happy if she is used by her boyfriend as you are treating your girlfriend?

Often we don’t see the situation accurately when we are personally caught up in sexual passion. Look at yourself as see how you’ve been compromising your faith and your own commitments. You realize that there is a possibility that the two of you might not get married — after all, nothing in life is certain. Suppose it didn’t happen, how would your future wife feel if she found out what you two did. What would her future husband feel about you if he found out?

I’m assuming that by “it moved to other regions” that you two were engaged in oral sex. So notice the progression you’ve been making: fondling, lifting clothing, exposing the genitals. I think you see where this is heading. You feel bad about what you’ve done so far, and strangely enough, I’m glad you are feeling guilty. It means you still have a conscience. It is the guys who don’t regret their misbehaviors that give me greater concern.

There is only one way to stop this, and it is going to take both of you to do it. You have to stop the sin at the beginning.

You both are looking at this as if the thing you are trying to avoid is you putting your penis into her vagina. You have it locked in your head that as long as you don’t go that far, then you may have sinned, but not that bad. Actually sin started long before that when you allowed yourself to imagine what having sex with her would be like. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). You need to start battling for the control of your thoughts.

But people don’t think clearly when they are sexually aroused. That is why Paul said, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1). By that, he is talking about sexual touch. You knew that it was wrong to fondle, but you allowed yourself to creep back into doing it and going beyond that. So here are the rules:

  1. You will keep your clothing on in each other’s presence.
  2. You will not put your hands underneath clothing.
  3. You will not put your hands or body against sexual areas, even above clothing. That includes not laying on top of each other, her sitting on your lap, or you pressing up against her breasts.
  4. No prolonged kissing.
  5. No spending time when it is just the two of you in a private area. You cannot go over her house, nor she to your house, if no one else is there. When you do visit, you will stay in the public areas of the house.

The reason for all of this is that your relationship is no longer developing. You are so focused on sex that you are no longer getting to know each other as people. Sex is for after marriage. Right now you need to figure out if this is the person you want to live the rest of your life with, and marriage is so much more than sex. Lust is dominating your relationship, and lust is sin. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (I Peter 4:1-2).