How to stop having pre-marital sex?

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 4 years, and we are quite young (19&20). When we got together, we had little faith and religion was not our priority. A year and a half in we gave into lust and since we have continued to have sex. I never felt anything wrong with doing so until recently I became part of my local parish’s youth ministry and realized I needed to stop. For about seven months, my boyfriend and I have been struggling to abstain from any sexual activity – we attend mass together and pray – but he still see’s nothing wrong with having sex; however, I do and I feel horrible every time a slip up happens. We have talked about going our separate ways but every time we do he claims he is adamant about trying to abstain and I believe that we can fight the temptations together.

The past four years have been beautiful and we have grown as individuals so much together, I love him and I know he loves me as well. He tries to fight the temptation and so do I, but he tells me it is very difficult – this lust has a hold on us and I feel as if it is keeping both of us from truly allowing God into our lives.

Any advice?:confused::frowning:

God Bless you that you are at least both trying to more faithful to God and resist this temptation. This is a good sign but it needs plenty of work and prayer.

My 2 cents in point form:

  • Increase your prayer life together (you probably are already doing this).

  • Try and avoid occasions of sin, I.e if you know you both will be tempted if you are alone in your bedroom or wherever etc, then avoid this.

  • Look up some books on this particular topic and speak to your parish priest or spiritual director and get some advice.

  • Never give up the fight, you will stumble sometimes but God knows you are trying. Will power is like a Muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. With the grace of God you will both get there but you both need to work on it.

  • By writing what you have above, you have allowed God into your lives. We all sin, the crucial point is acknowledging this and making amends - confession, repentance etc.

That’s all I have really.

Never ever give up, it’s very tough and I know how great the temptation is but God’s mercy and grace is greater!

God Bless.

Good for you for realizing what was wrong in the relationship and to committing to change.

If you were my sister, and you came to me for advice, I’d ask first if you can see yourself marrying this man in the not-so-distant future (next two or three years, for example). You’ve been dating for four years, so you must know him well. Is he a hard worker? Is he kind? Does he understand that marriage is permanent and for the purpose of raising children and getting his spouse to heaven? Is he Catholic and does he take his religion seriously?

If marriage is not on your or his agenda, then my advice is to split. I say this because it is incredibly difficult to be abstinent, and even more so when marriage is a distant dream. If there’s no end in sight and marriage might only maybe happen five or ten years from now, it’s kinder to both you and him to go your separate ways. And, after all, the purpose of dating is to discern marriage.

If you do decide that this man would make an excellent spouse and it’s just a matter of waiting until you finish a bit more schooling or he gets a job, then there are couple of things you can do:

  1. First, start reading more (together and alone) on why premarital sex is wrong. If he understands and is on board with the reason for the change in your activity, it may be easier to resist the temptation.

  2. Avoid near occasions of sin like the plague. Figure out your boundaries and make THOSE the things you avoid at all cost. Where do you usually have sex? In a bedroom? New rule: no bedrooms, ever. Make a point of standing outside his dorm room while he runs in to grab his coat. Ask him to wait outside yours while you finish getting ready for the date. It’ll be a huge pain and adjustment, but it’ll make it a ton easier, too.

Or if it’s always after watching a late night movie and everyone else is asleep, then new rule: curfew at 11pm. Or if you sometimes drink together and that lowers your inhibitions, new rule: no drinking alone together (I realize that if you’re in the US you’re underage and shouldn’t be drinking anyway…)

The point is, figure out where you usually slip up and make the limit fifty paces to the right of that.

God bless.

I was in your shoes at about that age (younger, actually). I ended up pregnant.

Listen, here’s my best advice. Leave him. He’s a jerk. This is coming from me - a person who isn’t even convinced right now that premarital sex is sinful - I’m personally having lots of doubt about Church teachings. HOWEVER, if YOU don’t want to have sex and if YOU believe it’s wrong, and your boyfriend cares SO little about you to respect your beliefs then he’s a complete jerk and you should dump his *****.

You might not want to break up with him because you’re in love, and you think he loves you too. But listen to this advice because it was the BEST advice ANYONE has ever given me: Sometimes you have to forget what you feel and remember what you deserve.

And you deserve a man who will respect your beliefs. It doesn’t mean he has to agree with you (although I will tell you that when you plan on getting married make sure you’re marrying someone with the same values as you, it makes life way easier). But if he doesn’t respect you then he doesn’t love you. No matter how much he says he loves you. He’s lying. He’s thinking with his penis. True love wouldn’t act in such a selfish manner.

My husband (not the boyfriend that I had a baby with in my teen years) and I got together when I was atheist, before I became Catholic. We had sex regularly. Until I decided that I wanted to become Catholic and I wanted to abstain until marriage. He listened carefully, reflected on what I was telling him for a few minutes, and then said “okay”. Never, not once did he pressure me, “give in” to temptation and try to persuade me or any such thing…and it wasn’t even like we avoided each other, because we were still co-habitating at the time and sleeping in the same bed. What this demonstrated to me is that he TRULY loved me. That he respected me. This is how true love behaves.

Remember that boyfriend I mentioned that I had when I was a teenager? I had tried telling him I wanted to abstain for religious reasons (my belief/unbelief cycles are ridiculous, but that’s another topic LOL)…and he would agree to it reluctantly with his words, but his actions said otherwise…he would go about things in such a way that I thought “he’s not pressuring me, he just wants to make love, and things just got too heated, we gave into temptation, it’s not his fault, etc”…but what a fool I was! His tactics worked because I was too afraid to lose him, I was afraid that if I insisted on abstaining - or if I spoke up in the heat of the moment then he would not want to be with me anymore. And he didn’t respect me enough to control himself.

Which is another factor…if your man can’t control himself - if he can’t abstain from sex with you when he knows he should since you’re opposed to it right now - well, let’s just say that’s the kind of man that will cheat on you because “he can’t control himself.”

I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be mean but I have a strong dislike, bordering on hate for boys like that. If you were my daughter I rather you have one night stands than give your time and attention to someone so inconsiderate.


You need to avoid the situations that lead to sex. Don’t be alone with him in a place where you could have sex. Do things in public, or where other people are around. When I say my penance prayer, it says that “I will do penance, sin no more and avoid whatever leads me to sin.” That last part is critical. It’s much easier to avoid the things that may lead to sin than to resist temptation itself.

If you two can go to daily Mass together and pray the rosary together, then those things will help. :thumbsup:

You have to decide if you put God first or yourselves first. If God is first then you simply stop.

P.S. Please don’t get pregnant. When it happened to me it was with a condom. They’re not full proof. Neither is the pill. There are countless stories of women who’ve gotten pregnant while using contraception.

I agree with Doubtfire’s advice. Could one of you go to college in a different city? My daughters best friend was with her boyfriend from junior year in highschool. They went to different universities in different cities and even did their study abroad semester in different countries. After college they lived together for four years then married at 27. At the time I really respected both sets of parents for sticking to their guns concerning their college years. 19 and 20 are very young to become an “accidental” family due to financial facts that most young people at your age cannot support themselves, much less a family. Good luck and I will pray for you.:rolleyes:

If you want to know a good book that states the correct approach of sexuality read Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla.

We need to know why it is good to have abstinence and continence, to be chaste and have self mastery. In my understanding, it is the only way we see Gods ways, and acting that way, we protect the person.

On my understandings, the book talks about the sex drive and what is love. Love has two parts, the subjective (affectivity and sensuality) and the objective part. The objective part is to affirm the value of the person (and is the most important one), and is the one that corrects any action, because it takes the protection of the person as north. The sex drive makes the body an object of use. And persons can never be used (because it is the “best good”). Thats why love changes using to loving (when true love, meaning Gods love is the one leading, of course).

About Self mastery from the book:
"Every man in himself must appropriately manage the energies that are latent in his sensuality and affectivity so that they become allies in pursuing true love for they can also be, as is well known, its enemies.
The reason directly founding the fact of moral duty, is the dignity of the person.
Continence is the habit of restraining the concupiscence of the flesh by the will, the ability to moderate effectively the sensations connected with the reactions of sensuality and even of affectivity, is an indispensable method of self mastery, although it does not yet determine the full realization of virtue, as it cannot be an end in itself.
Objectivization without continence by no means could one be called self possessed or chaste.
Objectivization: acknowledging the objective order connected with the lived experience of truth about values. The lived experience of truth in relation to values.
Mastering the concupiscence of the flesh is worthy of the person. If he does not do this he jeopardizes his natural perfection; he allows what is inferior to and dependent on him to act in him, and even more, he subjects himself to it.
This mastery not only aims at the perfection of the person who pursues it, but also at the realization of love in the world of persons and above all in the reciprocal relation between persons of different sex.
The very essence of moderation is unequivocal : whoever has not attained it is not self-possessed and temperate- therefore is not chaste.

There is no mature abstinence without acknowledging the objective order of values: the value of the person stands above the values of the sexus. The point here is practical acknowledgement , i.e., one that influence action."

Hmm… I think he really needs to show you that he’s willing to try to abstain. If he doesn’t believe in abstaining, as you said, what is driving him to try to abstain? is it that you want to? I think since this is something where grace really helps… his reason should be more about God and his soul, otherwise it might be too hard for him.

If you really don’t want to break up with him, it would be very important for your soul and his to abstain. Here are some ideas I had…

  • meditate on the Passion. Think of Christ as He was being scourged. Have you ever seen the movie the Passion? the Scourging was for impurity. Every time you commit a mortal sin, you remove yourself from grace, which is basically like - killing your soul. Every sin adds to what Jesus had to die for. I think meditating on this can give the fortitude to fight this sin (the courage to fight it, in other words). The fact that you want to stop already shows that grace is working in your life. Now comes the part of cooperating with it and receiving further grace :slight_smile:

  • you need to remove yourself from ALL occasions of sin. That means: not going to each others houses. Only meeting in public places and group dating.

  • Also, according to Catholic teaching, dating should lead to marriage. I mean even if it doesn’t, it should have that intent - even if later the couple discerns they are not for each other. Is your boyfriend planning on someday marrying you? or is this not important to him?

I would encourage you to spend time in prayer, go to Adoration, pray the Rosary, and make God the first priority :slight_smile: He loves you infinitely more than a boyfriend can - even the best one. Your boyfriend should respect your views. If he’s trying to abstain, he needs to show that he’s trying. But both of you should come up with a plan. Instead of going to each others’ houses, if you are, or whatever place that is private, why not go to Adoration together? or get a meal together in a restaurant and talk but then don’t be in private together? Going with a group can help in this.

God bless you!

Given your ages, I would have thought you would have limited opportunities for sexual intercourse. Can those time and/or places be avoided?

I’m very confused. How can the OP just “not get pregnant” if, as you admit, contraception isn’t fool-proof? :confused: I do hope you’re not suggesting the abortion option? :frowning:

I do agree with you about how the boyfriend not being fully committed to chastity is probably the crux of the problem.

ETA: Other posters, I KNOW if the OP is a Catholic she shouldn’t be contracepting anyway.

Nobody should be contracepting, it is grave matter even for non-Catholics.

Was my message not clear? I think she should dump him. He clearly doesn’t respect her. I also wanted her to know that even if she’s using condoms that that it’s not full proof.

But now that you bring it up, she should know that the Pill is way more effective than condoms and the Pill and condoms combined are probably the easiest way not to get pregnant, and she really should stop having sex but if she won’t she should know how to prevent pregnancy. Church doesn’t actually teach that contraception outside of marriage is a sin anyway, they always refer to the conjugal embrace, but having sex outside of marriage is taught to be a sin - it’s not like you can compound sin, two mortal sins aren’t worse than one.

Artificial contraception is always grave matter, because it removes the procreative significance of sex. It is a sin if you are married, it is a sin if you are committing adultery, and it is a sin if you are fornicating. And yes, it is worse to commit more sins.

I’m tired of discussing this topic because it’s come up several times on different threads, however if you actually read Humanae Vitae you’ll find that it always refers to contraception being intrinsically evil in the marital/conjugal act. It does not teach about it in general. That’s why it’s okay for rape victims in Catholic hospitals - after having undergone testing to confirm they haven’t ovulated - are allowed to recieve a form of emergency contraception. But anyways, it doesn’t even matter if contracepting outside of marriage is a sin if we already know the Church teaches that sex outside of marriage is a sin. So if a person insists, especially at such a young age, that they can’t stop having sex outside of marriage, I would advise them to know there stuff when it comes to preventing pregnancy. I’m being practical. If she were my kid id rather deal with a contracepting, formicating daughter than a pregnant daughter. I was pregnant at 18, believe me it ain’t easy. And with pregnancy you then deal with jerk boyfriends and their pressure to abort, and forgive me if I think putting a girl in a situation where she even has to think about that is way worse than her protecting herself considering she’s gonna have sex ANYWAY.

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