How can I tell my boyfriend that I don't want to have sex with him anymore? We've been together for a long time and only recently became physically intimate. I realize now that I regret this decision. Can you help me?
We do want to help you, and the best advice we can give you is this: run. That's what the Bible tells people in your situation to do: "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18). 2 Timothy 2:22 gives very similar advice: "Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts" (NLT).
There are important reasons behind the commands given in these verses. Many young Christians are confident that they'll be able to resist temptation when they're in a situation that weakens their sexual self-control. This can be a big mistake because it overestimates the strength of human will-power. If you don't want to get burned, stand away from the fire. If you don't want to have sex, avoid tempting circumstances so that you won't be overwhelmed by them.
This does not necessarily mean that you have to break up with your boyfriend. But you will need to make some significant changes in your relationship. First of all, you should stop spending time together alone. Alone is what couples do on their wedding night. If you and your sweetheart want to be together, make sure other people are present. When you date, go out with a group. When you talk or pray, have others join you. It sounds drastic, but it works.
You should also make a firm decision to avoid any kind of touching or any demonstration of affection that stimulates sexual feelings. The Bible says, "Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases" (Song of Solomon 3:5). If you want to save sex for marriage, don't do anything that causes sexual excitement. God invented sexual arousal to prepare your bodies for sex; it has no place in a relationship where sex is off limits. We could talk endlessly about what this means in practical terms, but you alone know best where to draw the line.
Naturally, you won't be able to put all this into effect until you muster up a certain amount of assertiveness and self-determination. If you're serious about abstinence, you're going to have to take a stand. You must realize that you can stop having sex whether your boyfriend agrees with your decision or not. You have to do what's right whether he likes it or not. If you're the kind of person who can't say no and who has trouble setting appropriate boundaries, you may find it helpful to take a look at a book called Boundariesin Dating by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It's available at most Christian bookstores and can also be ordered from our Online Store.
If you'd like to discuss your feelings and concerns with a member of our staff, please feel free to call Focus on the Family's Counseling department. Our counselors would be happy to assist and encourage you in any way they can.
Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)