“To get straight to the point: I am single, but I don't really know what to do with my sexual feelings and desires. What is allowed and possible and what is not?"
This is a brave question, and also one I don't get often. Probably not because the subject is not relevant, but because people do not dare to ask questions about it.
How do you deal with sexuality? I think it's good to see sex in a big picture. Sexuality is part of who you are and is ultimately meant to increase intimacy with your partner.
What do you call sex?
At the end of my psychology study, I researched attitudes and behaviour surrounding sex in Christian students before graduating. My first question was: what do you call sex? When would you say you had sex? I gave participants a list of different acts, ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse. What turned out? People generally don't see kissing as sex. Sexual intercourse is, of course. But opinions were very divided on the in-between area. The less experience people had with sex, the more likely they were to say that something was sex - and therefore not okay for them outside of marriage.
Sexual intercourse belongs in a marriage as far as I am concerned. Call me old-fashioned, but the best, most intimate and most satisfying sex is sex in a marriage, according to research from the University of Ottawa (2010). According to the researchers, people who live together feel less safe and are therefore less able to surrender to each other than people who are (happily) married.
Kissing seems more like after a few dates, because it can cloud the contact and make your view of someone less sharp. The first few dates are better spent getting to know the other person's character than the body of the other.
But what if you are not in a relationship? Masturbation or masturbation was a crazy out of category in my aforementioned study. About a quarter of the students thought it was sex, but half thought it was not allowed. At least 95 percent of the men and 70 percent of the women did it regularly. So from a psychological point of view, masturbation is normal behaviour. Why then that doubt whether it is allowed or not?
Aukelien Van Abbema is a singles and couples counsellor, public speaker, and successful author, including the title Dare to Date.
Helping people with Christian dating, relationships, singleness in church, dating in church, loneliness, connectedness, christian connection, healthy relationships.