Stopping Premarital Sex... After Starting!


#1

I’ve been with my current girlfriend for about a year, mostly in a long-distance relationship. Whenever we finally meet to spend some time together, all of the pent-up energy comes out and we end up repeatedly doing what we shouldn’t. I want to talk with her about why I can’t do it. She’s non-Christian from a non-Christian country, but she’s very Christian in her worldview and agrees with everything I’ve told her about my beliefs so far (which are in line with Church teaching).

Does anyone have any tips on how to explain this in a tactful but firm way?

I really want to subdue this temptation as my mind (or guardian demon?) uses it as a way to make me feel worthless, filthy, and hypocritical, stop praying, stop going to mass, and generally indulge in a host of other nastiness. If I can beat this I will be in much better shape.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.


#2

You're going to hate this answer:

Just say no, and act on it.

Read this weekends Gospel. "Not one stone will be left standing..."
These moments of pleasure will turn to dust, while your soul will exist for an eternity. Eternity is what is important. Your life is a blink of an eye, as is pleasure. In the end it is meaningless if not used for God's greater glory.
Who cares what anyone thinks? The road to hell is paved with tact (bad paraphrase).
Just say no.


#3

[quote="philothea89, post:1, topic:344993"]

and generally indulge in a host of other nastiness.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.

[/quote]

Let me add a personal note.
One result of sex is children.
Do you want a child? Does she? The host of other nastiness you talk about is not your own problems, it's destruction and death. Abortion. You may wish you had never heard of pleasure.

"If you eat of the fruit, you will surely die".
God meant it when he said that.


#4

In my opinion, don't find a tactful way of doing it. Just tell her that you have been seriously reconsidering your lifestyle, that you are a Catholic, and that you believe sex exists for marriage.

It will be uncomfortable, you will feel like your heart is going into your throat, but it will be far better than squeezing out an unassertive explanation, and you will feel great afterwards in the knowledge that you laid everything out bare. However she handles it, whether well or poorly, you will be better for it.


#5

[quote="TK421, post:4, topic:344993"]
In my opinion, don't find a tactful way of doing it. Just tell her that you have been seriously reconsidering your lifestyle, that you are a Catholic, and that you believe sex exists for marriage.

It will be uncomfortable, you will feel like your heart is going into your throat, but it will be far better than squeezing out an unassertive explanation, and you will feel great afterwards in the knowledge that you laid everything out bare. However she handles it, whether well or poorly, you will be better for it.

[/quote]

I'm fully with you (and clem, posted above) on that--I will be firm and unambiguous, or else there's no point and it will do more harm than good to both of us. Rereading my original post, what I meant was that I would like to explain the benefits of Catholic chastity in a way that would make sense to a non-Christian. I'm not terribly good with pithy summaries, and there are two ways I can see of explaining it: (1) because I'm Catholic and that's what the Church says, or (2) a lengthy explanation of church teaching.

Now that I think about it, I suppose I will just read up on the benefits of chastity and chat with her about those so she can understand my decision. Any additional advice is welcome, of course.


#6

[quote="philothea89, post:5, topic:344993"]
I'm fully with you (and clem, posted above) on that--I will be firm and unambiguous, or else there's no point and it will do more harm than good to both of us. Rereading my original post, what I meant was that I would like to explain the benefits of Catholic chastity in a way that would make sense to a non-Christian. I'm not terribly good with pithy summaries, and there are two ways I can see of explaining it: (1) because I'm Catholic and that's what the Church says, or (2) a lengthy explanation of church teaching.

Now that I think about it, I suppose I will just read up on the benefits of chastity and chat with her about those so she can understand my decision. Any additional advice is welcome, of course.

[/quote]

It's hard to reason with hormones bro. Your actions would speak louder than any words. At some point if you stay together and stay chaste, she may be impressed that you can stay chaste and still want to stay with her. It is very very very (did I say very?) hard to de-escalate a sexual relationship. If the two of you can de-escalate and still stay together for more than, oh, a month, without having sex, you may have a great relationship there.

You might be better at explaining the benefits of chastity than others though. I'm not trying to discourage you from talking, but in my experience, talking about not having sex leads to it. The only way to not have sex is to say no and not have it. Explanations are for philosophers.


#7

[quote="clem456, post:6, topic:344993"]
It's hard to reason with hormones bro. Your actions would speak louder than any words. At some point if you stay together and stay chaste, she may be impressed that you can stay chaste and still want to stay with her. It is very very very (did I say very?) hard to de-escalate a sexual relationship. If the two of you can de-escalate and still stay together for more than, oh, a month, without having sex, you may have a great relationship there.

You might be better at explaining the benefits of chastity than others though. I'm not trying to discourage you from talking, but in my experience, talking about not having sex leads to it. The only way to not have sex is to say no and not have it. Explanations are for philosophers.

[/quote]

You're right about it being near-impossible to de-escalate--it's the reason I broke up with my last girlfriend. Unfortunately, I'm a slow learner and weak. One thing we've got going for us is the distance--I won't see her for another 6 weeks, so I have plenty of time in which to prepare myself spiritually, mentally, and habitually. She is not very pushy when it comes to sex, anyway, and has always respected my beliefs. Good point on the explanation. Might just be better to keep it straight and simple for now. Thanks. Say a prayer for me.


#8

The discussion and reasons are important. If you've been having sex when you see each other and suddenly stop without explanation she may think you don't care for her anymore and be very hurt. You'll have to explain why you are no longer having sex.

I think it's a good idea to start with the fact that you are Catholic and trying to live your faith. After that you can add in all the worldly reasons premarital sex is not a good idea.

1) Sex causes hormone release that creates feelings of euphoria that may impair judgement when determining how you really feel about someone. If you are in a relationship it should be with an eye toward the future and marriage or there is no point, right? Well, when making a lifelong decision you want to have the clearest judgement possible!

2) STD's. Hey, anyone having sex is at risk. That's just the way it is.

3) Birth control fails. Trust me. I have 2 lovely daughters because of birth control failure. One I became pregnant with on the Pill and one using condoms. Why take the risk or pregnancy if you aren't married?


#9

[quote="MJJean, post:8, topic:344993"]
The discussion and reasons are important. If you've been having sex when you see each other and suddenly stop without explanation she may think you don't care for her anymore and be very hurt. You'll have to explain why you are no longer having sex.

I think it's a good idea to start with the fact that you are Catholic and trying to live your faith. After that you can add in all the worldly reasons premarital sex is not a good idea.

1) Sex causes hormone release that creates feelings of euphoria that may impair judgement when determining how you really feel about someone. If you are in a relationship it should be with an eye toward the future and marriage or there is no point, right? Well, when making a lifelong decision you want to have the clearest judgement possible!

2) STD's. Hey, anyone having sex is at risk. That's just the way it is.

3) Birth control fails. Trust me. I have 2 lovely daughters because of birth control failure. One I became pregnant with on the Pill and one using condoms. Why take the risk or pregnancy if you aren't married?

[/quote]

Hey MJ, thanks for the thoughts. We're both STD free. (1) is a very important point, as is (3). But the most important one was in the beginning of your post--that I'm trying to live my faith and become a better boyfriend, man, future husband, and future father. If she can't appreciate that, well, I think I ought to keep looking.


#10

Seems like you've pretty much got your reasons straightened out.

If you really want to hash out some worldly reasons, I would just focus on the bad judgment that comes with sexual attachment and the lack of patience and commitment that comes with instant booty. It's an uncompromisable discord with the Catholic understanding of marriage, which is a holy sacrament in which two people become as one person, that commit to one another just as surely as one might commit to taking care of their own body.

Stay clear of talking about STDs in the world imo. It makes me uncomfortable when a Christian hangs onto that too tightly. It might be worth taking note of, but ultimately, fornication isn't a sin due to some kind of mathematical risk-cost analysis of getting the crabs. In the youth group my mom took me to growing up, the person focused so heavily on that, and even as an adolescent-young teen, something about the approach made my soul uneasy. 100% of the population might be disease free, but that wouldn't change the wounded marital landscape, the lapsing demographics, the social & emotional isolation, or the eternal void of never giving yourself up to somebody totally and completely. Monogamy is part of the human condition, as it is established by God. You aren't going to succeed in making an unreceptive person accept that, but it will allow you to know where she stands.


#11

[quote="philothea89, post:1, topic:344993"]
I've been with my current girlfriend for about a year, mostly in a long-distance relationship. Whenever we finally meet to spend some time together, all of the pent-up energy comes out and we end up repeatedly doing what we shouldn't. I want to talk with her about why I can't do it. She's non-Christian from a non-Christian country, but she's very Christian in her worldview and agrees with everything I've told her about my beliefs so far (which are in line with Church teaching).

Does anyone have any tips on how to explain this in a tactful but firm way?

I really want to subdue this temptation as my mind (or guardian demon?) uses it as a way to make me feel worthless, filthy, and hypocritical, stop praying, stop going to mass, and generally indulge in a host of other nastiness. If I can beat this I will be in much better shape.

Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.

[/quote]

You said she's a non-Christian from a non-Christian country. Wouldn't it be preferable to find a Catholic who shares your values on the most important matters...which would be matters of faith?

Well, say you get serious and marry. She would need to be "on the same page" with raising your children Catholic. If she's not Catholic, will you be going, with the children, to mass by yourselves?

Will you go to your church and she go to hers?

If you want to use, say, Natural Family Planning, would she cooperate?

I would strongly recommend your reconsidering this relationship, altogether, and finding a good practicing Catholic.


#12

Knock of the “fooling around”.

Marry the girl and have all the legitimate sex you want.

Have children, raise a wonderful Catholic family, and live happily ever after.


#13

Regarding sexual temptation, Augustine says in Confessions vi 20,

Whilst I talked of these things, and these winds veered about and tossed my heart hither and there, the time passed on; but I was slow to turn to the Lord, and from day to day deferred to live in You, and deferred not daily to die in myself. Being enamoured of a happy life, I yet feared it in its own abode, and, fleeing from it, sought after it. I conceived that I should be too unhappy were I deprived of the embracements of a woman; and of Your merciful medicine to cure that infirmity I thought not, not having tried it. As regards continency, I imagined it to be under the control of our own strength (though in myself I found it not), being so foolish as not to know what is written, that none can be continent unless Thou give it; and that You would give it, if with heartfelt groaning I should knock at Your ears, and should with firm faith cast my care upon You.

Don't let this be an occasion to pray less. It's a reason to pray much more!


#14

[quote="clem456, post:3, topic:344993"]
Let me add a personal note.
One result of sex is children.
Do you want a child? Does she? The host of other nastiness you talk about is not your own problems, it's destruction and death. Abortion. You may wish you had never heard of pleasure.

"If you eat of the fruit, you will surely die".
God meant it when he said that.

[/quote]

There are ways an means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy... one of which is endorsed by the Church.


#15

Yes he probably knows that. :shrug:


#16

Another thought you might find helpful is that your views on sex are changing so that you now view it as something even more special and meaningful. Those who view sex as a casual thing, to be had with just anyone view it as pretty much just a biological function. Those who view it as something for committed relationships see it as something more, not only is it biological and pleasurable, but it is a way of expressing and receiving love and affection. Those who view it as reserved for a permanent relationship in which both parties have completely, unreservedly, and irrevocably vowed to live for the other until death see sex as even more, not only does it have all the aspects of the former two views, it also takes on the ability to be a sign of the depth of the commitment involved in that relationship, so not only is it a way to express and receive love and affection it is a way to express yet again the complete and unconditional vow you have made to the other person, and, in turn, to receive this same gift from the other. Sex takes on a whole new dimension of meaning and facilitates a whole new level of emotional intimacy between partners when it is able to take on this added meaning of a complete and irrevocable gift of self. Its not just a matter of following some Church's rules, but that your view of sex has changed, that you have begun to see sex as something even more valuable and meaningful and so don't want to have a cheaper version than that. Yes, sex is still meaningful in a loving relationship, but it is cheaper than sex within the relationship of two completely and irrevocably committed people.


#17

[quote="JB_Dugan, post:12, topic:344993"]
Knock of the "fooling around".

Marry the girl and have all the legitimate sex you want.

Have children, raise a wonderful Catholic family, and live happily ever after.

[/quote]

It would be great if it were always this easy, but it really isn't. It is problematic to advise people to marry just because they have a hard time staying chaste. We should never advise someone to rush into marriage, because that all too often leads to a broken marriage that damages not only their lives but the lives of the children they have brought into the world as well. As Catholics we should be advocating for all couples to spend plenty of time carefully discerning a vocation to the married life and warn them against rushing into it, not the other way around.


#18

[quote="thewanderer, post:17, topic:344993"]
........ As Catholics we should be advocating for all couples to spend plenty of time carefully discerning a vocation to the married life and warn them against rushing into it, not the other way around.

[/quote]

One doesn't need to be Catholic to advocate this sensible course!


#19

[quote="Rau, post:18, topic:344993"]
One doesn't need to be Catholic to advocate this sensible course!

[/quote]

Oh, of course! But we have a special duty as Catholics to advocate for this as our view of marriage is that it lasts until death, no divorce and remarriage for us, so it is all the more imperative to ensure people go into it well prepared with their eyes open or not at all. :thumbsup:


#20

[quote="thewanderer, post:17, topic:344993"]
It would be great if it were always this easy, but it really isn't. It is problematic to advise people to marry just because they have a hard time staying chaste. We should never advise someone to rush into marriage, because that all too often leads to a broken marriage that damages not only their lives but the lives of the children they have brought into the world as well. As Catholics we should be advocating for all couples to spend plenty of time carefully discerning a vocation to the married life and warn them against rushing into it, not the other way around.

[/quote]

That is very pastoral.

But it isn't working very well. That is painfully obvious by the growing number of young Catholics co-inhabiting before marriage.

I do agree that all couples should carefully discern their commitment to God and each other before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. Accordingly, during that time of discernment they should be strongly counseled about the spiritual dangers of premarital sexual relations.


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