I happened to stumble upon your site (specifically this "Chapter 7: Getting Too Close" section) while surfing Google to find what people really thought about sex in general (i.e. how ignorant some can be about how STDs and pregnancy work). Though I completely agree with "no sex before marriage," I feel I have to give my opinion on what you talked about.
I am a Christian, always have been and always will be. But I guess there are different degrees to a religion. Strict rules and an instilled fear of God is not my idea of Christianity. I believe in a forgiving God who wants us to do good unto the world. I do not think that is any excuse to not love one's self (by having pre-marital sex, in particular), but human thought and emotion is a very deep thing to delve into.
I will not argue with the message you are trying to give through that article. It is important for young women to realize that they can find true love without having to subject themselves to sex. "Word on the street" is that sex is "so fantastic," but I believe without a shadow of a doubt that it's better with the person you love and are married to. Unfortunately, this message doesn't seem to travel very fast and still 50% of high schoolers do it before they graduate, but that is neither here nor there.
Like I stated before, I believe in a loving God and that we as people should serve others, and I also believe there's some room for fun too. With my moral system, as long as no sex of any kind happens (intercourse, oral, or otherwise), one is not committing any punishable crime. You see, I am currently in a relationship with someone who I know truly cares about me. He thoroughly embraces my decision to refrain from sex and wishes he hadn't been conned into it with his previous girlfriend. We plan to wed once enough money is saved for us to live decently on our own. For the longest time, we didn't do any more than hugging and kissing, and although the intense emotions are there, so is a sense of lust. I am not going to lie, we do some of the stuff you condemned, but when you type things like, "what will prevent you from going further later?" I am inclined to reply, "Will power. We are troopers who want only the best for our relationship and each other. We are going to wait."
Once again, I am not implying that I am not at all a sinner. Lust is a sort of sin, I understand that. But I still believe that it is a forgivable one if I ask for the blessing. Furthermore, we are extremely careful with our actions to prevent a pregnancy we are not ready for. Which brings me to my next point: your statistics are mostly correct with how condoms and the pill work, but what about using both at the same time? Especially when a couple has tested negative for STDs, do you not think the percentage for an unwanted pregnancy would be much lower? I have gotten the facts and both my boyfriend and I have agreed to have a form of protection we are both responsible for when our marriage becomes a reality. The well-being of him, myself, our relationship, our careers, and our household must be built before another life can be brought into this world. This I swear.
God has been so very good to me throughout my life. My family loves me, I go to college, I live in a beautiful and safe neighborhood, my friends are good-natured, and I've finally found someone who loves me for ME. There were a few times in my life when I almost strayed from the course -- when I was with a guy whom I believed was the "best I could get." They almost convinced me to give up my virginity, even when I really didn't want it at all, but somehow God must have gotten me out of those situations. He helped me through it and I was able to decide what was best for me. I pray for the wonderful things in my life every night, thanking Him for all He's done. I couldn't be more blessed.
I hope to hear a response from you. The website you run sparked enough interest in me to write you this lengthy email. I would like to know what you think about what I have mentioned.
I thank you for taking the time to write. One of my goals in the Growing Up in the Lord series is to explain to young people what God has said about sex in plain terms, both what God expects from us and why God's rules make sense. Stating as you did with chapter 7 caused you to miss the lessons which layout God's teaching on various sexual issues, though a number of passages are presented in chapter 7. The goal of that particular chapter is to deal with the excuses people give to do what God plainly says ought not to be done. I tried to show that the excuse doesn't change what is being done and more often than not the excuse is not very logical.
At at the base of many excuses is the concept that if pregnancy doesn't occur, then no sin happened. Thus with many of the excuses I point out that often what is attempted still carries a risk of pregnancy and to point out that pregnancy is not the only reason God wanted sex limited to married couples. One obvious example is the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The information is not given with the intention of scaring people away from sex. That concept doesn't work well with many teenagers, who tend to act impulsively and to not consider the long term results of a short term action. Instead, I'm trying to give teenagers facts from which a logical decision can be made. If some of those facts happen to be scary, well, I didn't make them up.
You never got around to stating what you and your boyfriend are doing beyond the fact it is causing lust. As I showed in Chapter 5, What Is Lust? the definition of lust is a very strong desire for something. While it can be used in a positive way, we generally reserve it for its negative meaning: a strong desire for something that is illegal, wrong, or immoral. The fact that you or your boyfriend have a desire for sex is perfectly normal for teenagers and adults -- that is how God designed the body to function. The desire for sex has a perfectly legitimate purpose. However, if strong desires are awaking consideration of breaking God's law that sex should only take place in marriage, then you have crossed a boundary that should not have been crossed.
For example, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Jesus did not say it was wrong for a man to look at a woman. He stated that when a man looks at a woman lustfully, committing adultery with her in his thoughts, that is a sin. Therefore, to arouse a passion in your boyfriend, or he in you, to the point where you are imagining having sex without waiting for marriage is a sin. The reason it is a sin is because thoughts precede actions. The only barrier left between the thoughts and the actual action is the opportunity to carry out those actions. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23).
One mistake you are making in deciding what is right or wrong is basing your decision on how something affects you. You are assuming that since you are not tempted to go further in a sexual relation with your boyfriend, then he must feel the same way as you, and that everyone else would make the same choice as well. You claim to have the will power not to go "too far" -- I hope you are right, but it is not a realistic look at the strength of the human sexual drive. I'm writing based on what God says tends to happen and what the secular world admits does happen.
It bothers me that you use phrases like "my moral system" and "I was able to decide what was best for me." Such terms state that your moral decisions are only personal. They are not based on an external standard. The problem with such standards is that people tend to decide that whatever they choose is right. The reality is that people are too close to the problem to appreciate the impact of the choices presented to them. "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Whether you intended to do so or not, you are claiming that you know how to direct your own steps. There is only one who can direct mankind, and that is the Lord God. It doesn't matter what I think or you think about a subject, when God gives direction, then we know that it is the best path. Since God states that lust is both sinful and dangerous, then the best thing to do is accept His judgment. We can look at the matter and see why God gave us these warnings, which is what I have attempted to do in part in my book, but I won't attempt to soften what God has said.
I hope you will consider one more thing. You admit that you are bothered by lust for your boyfriend, but you dismissed it by saying you can always ask for forgiveness. This is a poor attitude toward sin. It is no different than a thief saying, "Sure, it may be wrong to steal, but I can always ask God to forgive me afterwards." You are basically saying that you plan to do what you want, and then think God is going to accept it because you'll apologize for it later. It sounds like a person want to play on both sides of the fence and expecting to get away with it. What is completely missing is repentance -- a turning away from sin. You are saying that you want to embrace sin, stay in the sin, and then ask God to forgive you of that sin. Jesus warned, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).
You have to come a decision that either lust is wrong or it is not. If it is wrong, then you must commit to avoiding it. If you stumble into it despite your best efforts, then God has generously offered to forgive our sins when we confess them to Him (I John 1:8-10). But to go on into sin when you know you shouldn't is another matter. "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27).
In regards to combinations of birth control for married couples, I deal with the issues in advice given to couple about to get married. It is in the study Preparation for a Lifetime and is found in the chapter called "Contraceptives." The first half deals with the Bible's view of contraceptives, what makes a morally responsible contraceptive, and then at the end what contraceptives or combination of contraceptives can do for a couple. Many of the combinations are not well studied, so I could only go into detail with a few of them.