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Sex is everywhere. And misunderstandings about it are even more pervasive. Whether you have questions of your own and don't know who to ask, or you are being asked questions and don't know where to turn-this small book has the answers. Bestselling author and speaker, Josh McDowell believes that no question is off limits and that knowledge, not ignorance, is the key to youthful purity and a fulfilling marriage and family. This book builds on that approach with relevant, pertinent...
Sex is everywhere. And misunderstandings about it are even more pervasive. Whether you have questions of your own and don't know who to ask, or you are being asked questions and don't know where to turn-this small book has the answers. Bestselling author and speaker, Josh McDowell believes that no question is off limits and that knowledge, not ignorance, is the key to youthful purity and a fulfilling marriage and family. This book builds on that approach with relevant, pertinent statistics, entertaining anecdotes, and real stories.
This little book will be a very practical tool in the hands of anyone who is struggling, anyone who is curious, anyone who is nervous about asking a "dumb question," and most importantly, anyone who desires to learn how to honor God with his or her body. The Bible is clear on a lot of these issues and Josh's candor (and respect for young people) shines through as he shares these truths about sex. Much like Josh's apologetics books, this book will help equip a skeptical generation with the facts they are sorely missing.
A "Abstinence" has become the battle cry of the faith-based approach to sex—and secular pro grams have started to include abstinence as an "option" as part of a larger safer-sex agenda. But what is abstinence, exactly? And how does abstinence fit into God's plan for sex?
Abstinence simply means avoiding certain things. You can choose to abstain from specific foods or activities or events. When it comes to sexual education, proponents of the abstinence message want young people to say no to sex.
Surprisingly, Christians aren't the only ones pushing you to abstain. Members of the Harvard student group True Love Revolution urge their classmates to say no to sex based on philosophical, biological, and relational arguments. The federal government pumps millions of dollars into abstinence-only programs every year. Even Planned Parenthood promotes abstinence as a behavior that effectively prevents pregnancy and STDs.
The world recognizes that there are strong reasons to abstain from sex, but God doesn't just call us to abstinence. He calls us to purity. So, then, what is purity?
That's a question I've been asking students for years. Sadly, I've never found anyone who can define purity. Can you believe that? Not one person. Not even pastors. Purity is one of the most beautiful concepts in the Bible, and no one seems to know what it means.
I want you to understand purity, because it's not what you think. Understanding purity will revolutionize how you think about sex.
Purity means—are you ready for this?—"to live according to original design."
In any area of your life, if you are living the way God designed you to live, you are pure. If you are not living the way God designed you to live, you are impure.
Abstinence is a habit, or even a rule. Basically: Don't have sex!
Purity, though, is a virtue. It is not simply the choice to avoid sex. It is a commitment to live according to God's design. Purity means saying no to sex, but only so that you are able to experience sex within the loving marital relationship that God created.
Q 2 Why are God and the Bible so negative about sex?
A As our culture increasingly promotes sex without boundaries, God's view of sex seems more and more radical. Since the culture's message is progressively pro-sex, many people interpret God's message about sexuality to be anti-sex. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When it comes to God's view of sex, many people, including Christians, have mistaken God's serious approach to the subject to be negativity toward the subject. God does take sex very seriously. But the picture He gives us of sexuality is more intense, vibrant, and well ... sexy ... than the view taught by the culture. In fact, sticking to God's plan for sexuality leads to sex that is far more fulfilling than the sexual experiences supported by the world.
How do we know that God is pro-sex? Because of the dynamic picture of sex He paints in His Word.
In Proverbs, the writer speaks about a physical encounter that is satisfying and intoxicating (Proverbs 5:19). There's no anti-sex message here! But there's more.
The Song of Solomon is full of steamy descriptions of love scenes between a man and a woman. The book tells the story of two lovers totally immersed in satisfying each other. The lovemaking poetry is vivid and exciting, and God included it in His holy Word.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul recommends sex between married couples often. The clear message is that God created sex for our enjoyment and His glory.
In fact, there's not a single verse in the Bible that calls sex "sinful" or "dirty." The verses that are often quoted to paint sex in a negative light aren't about sex at all. They are about the misuse of sex outside of God's design.
God designed sex as a gift to be shared between a husband and wife. As the original designer, God created this sexual experience to be the most exciting and satisfying. God's message about sex isn't, "Don't do it because it is sinful or wrong." His message is, "Wait—because sex according to this design is so wonderful that it's worth protecting."
For Christians struggling to understand God's plan for sex, the real question isn't, "Why is God so negative about sex?" but rather, "Is God really good?"
God's plan for sex is clearly outlined in the Scriptures. He wants us to enjoy sex, but He asks us to wait until we are married. The world teaches that God's request to wait is proof that He wants to deny what's good for us. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Jeremiah 29:11 makes this promise, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Psalm 31:19 says, "How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you."
God's desire is to give us good things. The boundaries He places on sex are for our protection, not our deprivation. The world may see limits on sexuality as negative, but the opposite is true. God isn't against sex. He's so for it that He wants every man and woman to experience sex according to His original design.
If we choose to believe God when He promises He has good things in store for us, we can freely embrace His plan for sex knowing He desires us to experience sex at its best.
Q 3 Why did God even create sex?
A The Bible gives us three specific for sex. The first one might seem familiar, but keep reading. God's plan for sex isn't as boring as you might think.
You probably already know about the first reason for why God created sex. It's called procreation—that is, making babies.
In Genesis 1:28 God revealed this purpose for sex to Adam and Eve when He said, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it."
God has given us a very God-like ability to create life through the act of sex. The beginning of this verse tells us that God intended the results of sex to be a blessing. When children are born out of a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, the blessing is tremendous!
Of course it is possible to make babies outside of marriage. But creating life is one of the most amazing things you will ever do. It deserves to be celebrated without the shame and distractions of bad timing, within the bounds of a God-honoring marriage.
As humans, we are hardwired with a deep desire for intimacy. We long to connect with other humans and with God. God created this desire within us. Part of His design for sex includes meeting that need for personal connection.
Sex is scientifically proven to create a bond between two people, but the deepest levels of connection and intimacy can only be achieved by pursuing God's plan for sex.
Genesis 2:24 says, "This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one" (NLT).
This passage talks about the bond between a husband and wife becoming so strong that they become "united into one." In other words, they are so joined together that you cannot pull them apart.
The writer of Genesis knew intuitively what science has recently confirmed. Researchers have discovered a hormone called oxytocin, or the "cuddle hormone." Oxytocin is a chemical your brain releases during sex and the activity leading up to it. When this chemical is released, it produces feelings of caring, trust, and deep affection. The same chemical is released when a mom breastfeeds her new baby. The purpose is to create a deep human bond or attachment.
Every time you have sex with another person, your body has a chemical reaction that tells it to "cleave." God created the means to meet your desire for intimacy at a biological level—but there's a catch. Research has proven that God's design for intimacy is at its best between a husband and wife with no other sexual partners.
A University of Chicago survey found that monogamous married couples register the highest levels of sexual satisfaction. According to the survey, 87 percent of all monogamous married couples report that they are "extremely" or "very" physically satisfied by their sexual relationship and 85 percent that they are "extremely" or "very" emotionally satisfied. In other words, the oxytocin is flowing freely in the brains of many married couples! Remarkably, those who are least satisfied (both physically and emotionally) are those singles and marrieds who have multiple partners.
A review of longitudinal research by the National Center for Health Statistics and the University of Maryland found that women who save sex for marriage face a considerably lower risk of divorce than those who are sexually active prior to marriage. When we follow God's design for sex, we are able to form a bond with our spouse that is difficult to break (remember how Genesis said that was when "two are united into one"?).
When we wait until marriage to have sex, we establish a level of intimacy that is unequaled.
We've already established that God is pro-sex and that He desires good things for you. Here's proof: One of the reasons God created sex was for our enjoyment. That's right! God wants sex to be fun!
We see this clearly in Proverbs 5:18–19: "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love" (NLT). Steamy, right? This passage talks about a husband being satisfied by his wife's body. The original text reads more like, "May you be intoxicated by her sex." God intended sex to be exciting and enjoyable.
It is true that sex outside of marriage can be fun, but it cannot reach the level of enjoyment and pleasure that we find when we stick to God's plan for sex.
Once again, research proves that God's design leads to the best sex. Most major studies show a strong correlation between monogamous marriage and sexual satisfaction. Those same studies indicate that women who engage in early sexual activity and those who have had multiple partners are less satisfied with their sex lives than women who entered marriage with little or no sexual experience. USA Today called this research "the revenge of the church ladies."
The world teaches that sex without limits is the most fun, but research has proven what God's Word already teaches. God wants us to enjoy sex. When we stick to His plan for our sexuality we find a level of enjoyment and pleasure that cannot be matched.
So why did God create sex? Clearly, He did it for our benefit and His glory. When sex is enjoyed according to God's plan, the result is amazing! When we move outside of the boundaries God has established for our sex lives, pleasure is weakened, intimacy is cheapened, and the blessings God intended as the results of our sexual encounters can spoil.
Q 4 How do you define "love"?
A Most young people, both girls and boys, claim that being in love is the reason for beginning sexual activity. Clearly, love is a powerful motivator of behavior, and yet most of us struggle to define what love is.
Love is perhaps the most talked about, written about, and sung about subject in all of history. From movies, to music, to poetry, everyone seems to offer a different definition for love.
"Love means never having to say you're sorry"—from the movie Love Story.
"Love is a verb"—lyrics by dc Talk.
"Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without" —from the movie Meet Joe Black.
"Love is friendship on fire"—from the movie The Perfect Man.
Most definitions of love make for catchy song lyrics or romantic movie scripts, but do they hold up in the real world? When applied to our relationships and sexual experiences, do we even know what love really is?
Love is one of the most intricate and powerful concepts in the world, and yet I have found that very few people seem to understand it. Defining love is a critical step toward understanding God's purpose and design for sex. After all, if you cannot define love, how do you know if you are in love? If you cannot define love, how can you know if you are being loved? If you cannot define love, how do you know if you have a loving, intimate relationship? If you cannot define love, how can you express love through sex? You can't.
In order to fully understand what love is, let's take a look at what it isn't.
LOVE ISN'T A FEELING.
When you were little, your mother could command you to eat your vegetables (that's an action), but she couldn't command you to like them (that's a feeling). When I ask people to define love for me, most of them tell me it's a feeling. But love cannot be a feeling because you cannot command an emotion. You can only command an action or a decision.
Who can command us to love? God can and does!
John 13:34 says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
Ephesians 5:25 states, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
Clearly, love is more than a feeling. It is a series of choices. When we choose to love, our emotions can be transformed, but love is expressed by acts of the will.
LOVE ISN'T SEX.
Our culture teaches that "love" and "sex" are interchangeable words, and that sex is a measuring tool to gauge whether or not you are in love. It further teaches that sex is a necessary component for a loving relationship. But God's Word gives us a definition of love that has nothing to do with sex. Unmistakably, sex and love are not the same.
What is it about sex and love that makes them so easy to mix up? Remember in the answer to question 3, I stated that during sexual activity the brain releases oxytocin, a "cuddle hormone" that produces feelings of caring, trust, and deep affection. That "feeling," combined with pop-culture's attempt to sell sex and love as one package, can lead many to think that sex equals love. Since we already know that love isn't a feeling and we can determine that the world's definition of love is inconsistent at best, undeniably sex is not love.
Excerpted from THE BARE FACTS by Josh McDowell Erin Davis Copyright © 2011 by Josh McDowell. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Let's Get Started
1. Are Abstinence and Purity the Same Thing?
2. Why Are God and the Bible so Negative About Sex?
3. Why Did God Even Create Sex?
4. How Do You Define "Love"?
5. What Does the Bible Mean When It Says, "God Is Love"?
6. What Is a Person's Most Powerful Sex Organ?
7. Can Sex Affect My Brain?
8. Hasn't Modern Medicine Eliminated STDs and Infections?
9. What Is the Most Common STD?
10. Do Women Get More STDs than Men?
11. Is It True that Young People Get More STDs than Any Other Age Group?
12. Isn't It Safe Sex If We Use a Condom?
13. Even Though Neither of Us Have Symptoms, Can We Still Have an STD?
14. Can You Get a Shot or Take an Antibiotic If You Get an STD?
15. Is It Difficult to Get an STD?
16. Can STDs Be Linked to Serious Illnesses Like Cancer?
17. Isn't It Safe Sex If I'm on the Pill?
18. How Can I Avoid Getting an STD?
19. Is There a Relationship Between Premarital Sex and Mental Health?
20. Is It Okay to Have Anal Sex?
21. Is Oral Sex Really Sex?
22. Can I Have Oral Sex and Still Keep My Virginity?
23. Isn't Oral Sex Safer?
24. Isn't Sex a Private Act Between Two Individuals?
25. Isn't It Better If We Live Together First?
26. Isn't Premarital Sex Really Great Preparation for Good Sex in Marriage?
27. Sex Is so Beautiful, How Can It Be Wrong?
28. Aren't My Hormones Too Strong? Isn't It Unrealistic to Wait?
29. I'm Not a Virgin. Is It too Late for Me?
30. Is Sexting Wrong?
31. How Can I Be Forgiven and Feel Forgiven?
32. How Can I Know If a Person Loves Me?
33. How Can I Know God's Will?
34. How Can I Say No?
35. How Far is too Far?
36. What Can I Say to Those Pressuring Me to Compromise?
37. How Does Pornography Really Affect Me?
38. Is Masturbation Okay?
39 What Can I Do If I Feel Like I Cannot Stop My Pattern of Sin?
To the Girls, From Erin Davis
To The Guys, From Josh McDowell
A Note to Youth Leaders
Posted January 1, 2013
Posted May 30, 2012