Question:

So here is my ultimate dilemma in life: I am currently following God's lead to pursue this amazing woman. She is just incredible to me and she means the world. She is several years older than I am. We both are Christians -- she being saved when she was 19, me since I was a child. To kind of explain the rough details, I come from a family of pedophiles (the joys of life o_0 ). She has been raped countless times in her life. Her story was the worst I have ever heard.God really led us together. Just imagine amazing divine intervention times ten and your close. Honestly this relationship has been centered on God because in reality He has done everything so far.

The big big problem is that the poor girl has scary walls to defend her heart and emotions. She was my first kiss, but the emotions she received from that affection made her shake, and she curled up and relapsed to her terrible nightmares. We have slowly been trying to move through all these things. There are many hurtles (she can't sleep without reliving herself being raped. Isn't that terrible?) My big scare is that we have moved to making out as a form of intimacy, and I consistently encourage her and tell her how beautiful she is to keep her mind present. If I don't, she will relapse and that is so scary. So where do I stop with this? She is so far from ever being emotionally prepared to have sex. We can't just one day expect to get married because the wedding night would kill her. So we have been making baby steps with intimacy. And it has helped, she is trusting me, she doesn't believe that i will just spring on her and force what I want from her. Yes, that is what she fears will happen.

God has been great with keeping my heart and mind guarded in the sense that I don't lust for her. I don't lust for sex. But I am starting to desire her. I mean I am a male who has suppressed sexual emotions from 21 years of living with pedophiles. Granted in my teen years I watched porn and masturbated all the time, so that doesn't help either way though. I am also starting to develop epididymal hypertension (blue balls). The problem is that my body is so annoying, honestly just cuddling with the girl sends my penis for a whirl. So because of the wonderful rapid changes I'm starting to get gnarly cramping in my balls (Yay, I'm being super honest I know.)

So basically that's a rough draft of my current situation. I still read and pray all the time. I'm hitting the gym to stay in shape. My life has never been so on top of things. I'm working, doing school and side jobs. I'm working with the community, doing counseling for Christians, etc. My spiritual life is great! But I'm just so torn with having stronger intimacy to build that trust, suffering because of ball cramps, and then not knowing what lines I should be drawing because even lines like me making out on top of her (which I would have said BAD IDEA!) I have removed because she had to know what I would do if I was in control of her. Would I rape her or take advantage of her? It's just so messy. She is an amazing person, but her past is so terrible. I have come out in some manners so strong as a man of God, trying to not become my father (pedophile remember?). I am honestly one of very few people who will be able to understand her pain in some manner. We work so well, God's intervention fully to be honest. I don't know what I'm looking for. I just need someone to tell me something.

Sorry for the essay.

From a brother in Christ just trying to follow the Lord's will.


Answer:

There are so many issues raised that this might be a bit jumpy.

Among your attractions to this woman is the fact that you get to be a knight in shining armor. There is nothing particularly wrong with this, but keep in mind that it can blind you reality, especially when you may not be able to rescue a damsel in distress. Another part of the attraction is that you been the target of others perverted sexual desires. Here is a woman who doesn't demand sex from you and that is attractive by itself because it places you in charge for the first time.

The core of her problems lie in trust and confidence. It isn't directly about sex, her fears are an outgrowth of trust being shattered. I know you are trying hard to help her face her fears, but you are leaving out an essential element. Intentionally or not, you are pushing her toward sex, but you two are not married, so there is no firm commitment. Always at the back of her mind is the question of whether you'll dump her after you got what you wanted.

You ask where to stop and the answer is that you've already gone too far. I've heard so many definitions of "making out" that I'm left not knowing what your definition is. I'll just assume that it includes sexual touching, which is also forbidden to unmarried couples. "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1). Sexual touching rarely remains the only sin. Sexual sins have a way of progressing because a part of the appeal is the excitement, which wears off when a sin is repeated. Therefore, new sins are sought out.

The one thing that has been slowing you down is your fear of her fears and your desire not to do harm. But you are walking a dangerous path and instincts can easily take over. If things progress further to intercourse, you will not be able to claim it was unintentional. It is like walking along the very edge of a cliff and claiming you have no intentions of falling off. "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:27-29).

Solomon points out the problem when he asked, "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). You can show a hot coal all the affection you want. You can cuddle it and dote on it and it will still burn you. Your kindness to it doesn't change its nature. How often do you hear someone say, "But I love her!" Solomon's point is that your feelings toward your girlfriend won't change the fact that both of you have built-in desires and capabilities for sex. Trigger them and they follow the instincts built into you.

Solomon also asked, "Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:28). Using the same example of a hot coal, if you walk on it, it will burn you. You can apologize and say you didn't mean to step on it, but you'll still be hurt because your intentions doesn't change what it is. Thus, the excuse, "But I didn't mean for it to go this far!" becomes an empty one because your intentions don't change your body's drive.

That is why Solomon concludes, "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:29). Though he is talking directly about adultery, the same point is true about fornication. When you start intentionally stirring up sexual feelings, you are never innocent when thing go further than you wanted.

That is why we are told not to make room for lust and lewdness. "Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:13-14). Lust is those thoughts and desires you keep battling about taking things even further. Lewdness is engaging in sexual foreplay that gets the body ready for intercourse. The Christian must recognize the danger and not start a sequence of events that can't be legitimately completed.

Though you deny lusting for her, yet at the same time you've admitted that it has started. I hate to bring this up, but I think it is something important for you to realize. Pedophiles and rapists both get their sexual arousal from controlling someone else and seeing the fear in their victims. In your concern for this woman, you started down the same path without realizing it. You talk of sex as something you control instead of something shared between two people. You're getting aroused, but it also involves the fear that another person has of you. I'm not saying you are becoming your father. I'm wanting you to see that what happened to you is very sneakily influencing you.

So, let's back up a bit and discuss some things.

First rule is that you can't get good from evil. "And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? -- as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8). I know your intentions are good, but pushing toward lust, lewdness, and fornication is not going to solve problems.

Second, it sounds to me that you would consider marrying her. So my question for you is: Would you marry her knowing that it might mean you will never or rarely ever experience sex with her? It is possible that she will overcome her anguish, but it is also possible that she may not be able to let it go. I'm asking so that you can gage the level of commitment and love that you have for her.

Your girlfriend always had sex taken from her. She has never had an opportunity to freely offer it without regret. If she can see the difference in her mind, she can place the rapes in the past in a different category from having sex with her husband. But that also means she has to know that you will wait for marriage, but right now your actions are saying differently. You've been the aggressor in these matters. While she has a chance to face her fears, it doesn't remove the fears.