For some good Christian couples, falling into sexual sin before marriage can seem downright impossible. “It’s just not going to happen. We’re not those sorts of people.”
Never fear – it’s easier than you think! Here are 8 easy steps to follow – you may even find you’re already doing most of them…
1. Set your boundaries as close to the edge as possible. Once you’re in the heat of the moment, you’ll be surprised how easy it is for you both to go just one more step.
2. But make sure your boundaries seem convincing. Remember, you need to be able to deceive yourself and your partner. Very few people have the courage to just go right ahead and live a double life; one of you is bound to chicken out. So you need to convince each other that you’re keeping a safe distance, when actually you’re well and truly past the point of no return. Your hormones will do the rest for you. But don’t get greedy! Pick a convincing boundary where 90% of the time nothing will happen – that way, if you see each other 5 times a week, you’re guaranteed a night you’ll remember at least once a fortnight.
3. Afterwards, make sure you beat yourselves up for the wrong thing. The key thing is to obsess over your lack of self control in that one final moment of decision.
This is like a drunk driver, who didn’t see a stop sign, beating himself up for not having better reflexes. Whatever you do, don’t ask what you were doing driving drunk in the first place.
Keep on doing exactly what you were doing before, then pray that you can be so super spiritual that it doesn’t even matter. As with many things, you need to be unrealistic about your limits.
4. Move house. Changing cities? Heading to a residential college or share house for university? Now is a great time to start messing about. Many people find the accountability of living with Christian friends and family a real brake on their hypocrisy – so seize the opportunities that this new stage of life offers. At most colleges nobody will blink at seeing your boyfriend or girlfriend leave your room at 6am – so make sure there’s nobody there keeping you accountable. And if you’re moving in with Christian mates, pick a share house with lots of bedrooms and few shared living spaces. You’ll have no choice but to curl up under the blankets watching movies on date night.
5. Appoint one person to be the sole guardian of purity in your relationship. If you’re both taking equal responsibility, there’s less chance of a simultaneous moment of weakness. So divide and conquer.
If you get in the habit of one person always being the one to say no, you can ensure that no momentary lapse goes to waste.
Most people find it’s best to give this job to the woman – this is great, because it reinforces the myth that women don’t want sex. (Bonus tip: once you’re in this pattern, see if you can leverage guilt and/or insecurity to break down the resolve of the “designated prude” by questioning their commitment to the relationship.)
6. Take note of Bible verses which niggle at your conscience, and look for possible doubt over their meaning. If 1 Corinthians 6:18 is keeping you awake at night, start to question whether Paul means something completely different by “sexual immorality” to all other Biblical authors. If Matthew 5:29 makes you uncomfortable, remind yourself that Jesus could be speaking metaphorically and therefore not be terribly serious.
I know … they don’t seem convincing right now. But these asterisks in the margin of your Bible don’t need to be watertight by any means. Avoid any research or sustained ethical thinking about God’s plan for sexuality. You won’t need it. Once you’re in the moment, suddenly that 1% possibility will look like the most watertight case in the world.
7. Interpret love chemicals as incontrovertible spiritual guidance. God made sex for marriage, to help people keep their promises through thick and thin. When people have sex their bodies release chemicals which make them feel good and bind them together. This is great in the ups and downs of marriage, but it’s even more useful for deluding yourself that what you’re doing is right.
8. Decide now that this relationship is worth more than Jesus. It may be that, in a moment of clarity, you realise exactly what you’re doing and start thinking uncomfortable thoughts.
It’s very important if you get to this stage to have an excuse ready for why you simply must keep this relationship going at any cost – “it would destroy him if we broke up” or “I will be single forever”
Hopefully by this point you’ll be so far down the track that making the changes necessary to turn around will seem so drastic that they threaten the very survival of your relationship. It probably won’t, but the fear of what those changes will mean (spending less time together alone, kissing less, not sleeping in the same house, etc) should be enough to paralyse you from any further action.