The Effects of Sex
The guilt I felt after having sex was overwhelming. I thought God could never forgive me for what I'd done.
You want to know what it's like to have sex before you're married? It's like building a big wall between you and God, a wall you wonder if you'll ever break through. I know because I had sex with my boyfriend.
Derrick and I met our freshman year of high school. It didn't take me long to develop a big crush on him. By the time we were seniors, we were very close friends. But that seemed to be all we were, at least to him.
One day, when we were taking a walk, he reached for my hand. I was so surprised, you could have knocked me over. A few days later, he kissed me for the first time. And after a few months, we were fooling around, doing more than we should, on a pretty regular basis.
To me, the idea that someone as cute as Derrick found me attractive was incredible. And for the first time in my life, I actually felt beautiful, even sexy. I suppose that's why I forced my conscience to shut up when it told me we were going too far physically. I hadn't dated much, and I had never done anything except kiss a guy before. So being with Derrick—and knowing he wanted to be with me—was too strong a temptation.
Near the end of our senior year, we had sex for the first time. By that time, I wanted it as much as Derrick did. He never pressured me, and he never made me do anything I didn't want to do. When I think back now, I almost wish he had pressured me a little. At least then I could blame him. But I can only blame myself.
Television and movies make it seem like sex is just this fun, romantic thing that doesn't really matter. But sex affected me more than I ever dreamed it could. It changed every relationship I had. Sex became the focus of my relationship with Derrick. It also affected my relationship with my parents. I couldn't look them in the eye, especially when Derrick was around. I thought my parents would be able to tell just by looking at us, and I didn't ever want them to know.
And it definitely changed my relationship with God. I felt too ashamed to even talk to God, much less ask him for help and forgiveness. That's when I felt that wall start to go up—the wall I thought would hide me from God.
I had been a Christian my whole life, and I'd never gotten into any trouble before. But the guilt I felt after having sex was overwhelming. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep me from doing it again. Instead, I tried to justify what Derrick and I were doing. I told myself it wasn't a big deal, that it was just a physical act. I tried not to let it bother me.
But it did bother me—a lot.
By the time Derrick and I broke up a few months later, I could hardly look at myself in the mirror. When I did, I saw someone dirty, someone who couldn't control herself, someone who was slapping God in the face on a regular basis.
After the breakup, I felt like my only hope was to turn back to God and repent for what I'd done. I tried to do my regular devotions, but I couldn't. Every time I read the Bible, it seemed like I found a verse about sexual immorality that just made me realize how much I'd disappointed God. I couldn't even pray.
I had always known God forgives sins. I had even told other friends that God would forgive them for the sexual things they'd done. But now that it was my turn, I just couldn't believe that God could wash all that sin away. It seemed like too big a job, even for God.
It took me months of struggle to finally ask for forgiveness. The wall I'd put up between me and God finally came down, but I still had to live with the "bricks"—my feelings of guilt—that were piled around me. I knew God had forgotten my sin. The trouble was, I couldn't.
It's been a few years since Derrick and I broke up. And every single day, I struggle to trust in God's forgiveness. Every day, I have to fight off my fears that God will punish me someday. My biggest fear is that I will never find a Christian man who'll be able to live with the truth about me. And even if he can, I'll have to live with the knowledge that I stole something from him. I've made it impossible for him to enjoy God's gift of sex with someone who saved herself for him.
Back when I started having sex, I was focused on the pleasure I wanted right then. If I'd only known how much pain it would cause, believe me, I never would have given in.
*As told to Carla Barnhill