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Sex: worth waiting for

You can call me old-fashioned, but when I got married last June, I was a virgin. And yes, it was worth it.

When I was twelve years old I knew as much about Jesus and the Bible as someone who has only gone to church every Christmas. As a teenager, however, I was invited to join a Christian youth group that taught God’s Word and taught me how much He loves me. If no one there had told me that God says you should wait until you are married to have sex, I would never have thought about it.

God created sex and He gives it as a gift so we can enjoy it. Like a wise inventor, He has also given us instructions about how best to use it. There is a whole book of the Bible that is about love and sex, but not in the same way as we are exposed to it in the media. Song of Songs describes passionate and exciting sex, but it is not shared on social media, it is exclusive, ‘My beloved is mine and I am his.’

The culture that young people are growing up in today says the opposite. ‘Just do it if you want to, but remember to use a condom,’ is taught in sex education in schools. A condom doesn’t protect you from emotions, a broken heart or a poor self-image. We’re told that we’re free to choose, but no choice is free of consequences: ‘I can do anything, but not everything is profitable,’ writes the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth.

Safe guidelines create both excitement and freedom for you and your partner. When God has put the guidelines in place, it is the task of the church to tell young people about the consequences of breaking them.

Twelve years later I’m the leader of the youth group I grew up in. I’m constantly meeting young people there who think it’s demanding to weave their way through the jungle of tips and advice for a ‘better sex life’. It can seem that sex is a requirement for entering ‘adult life’, and so it is expected that you have sex by the time you are a certain age.

There is pressure put on young people who maybe feel that they aren’t ready, but who are afraid of being different. It’s not so easy to communicate another perspective on sex when the media and pornography is screaming after them with misinformation and false expectations, but we have to try!

Unfortunately, I know that I’m the exception, even in Christian circles, but if no one says that they managed to wait to have sex, how will young people today know that it is possible? Jesus was radical, he defied cultural norms and authorities with the result that a few people started to follow him. Going with the flow doesn’t cost us anything, but it does cost us to stand against it. And I admit that it wasn’t always so easy to resist the temptation. But who knows what the consequences could be if more people join us?

The average age of first sexual relations has increased in Oslo. Young people wait longer till they have sex, and I believe and hope that this is a sign that a counterculture is on the offensive. There are plenty of good reasons to wait till you have sex, but for me it was also crucial to have open, humble role models in my youth group, who told me it was worth waiting for.

For you who think that ‘worth waiting for’ is a lost cause, I totally disagree. It is perhaps naive today to think that you will stay with one sexual partner your whole life, as it is so far from the reality. But if we stop encouraging young people to wait, how will they know that this is an alternative? I will never accept today’s sex culture, or act as if I did. Jesus didn’t do that, and the church mustn’t do it either – then it would have given in.

Written by a 24-year-old woman.