You may have thought teenage hormones were bad, but nothing compares to now.
Now, you’re an adult. A hot-blooded, full-fledged adult. You know more. You’ve seen more. And, if your body is any indication, you’re supposed to be experiencing a whole lot more.
But you’ve made a commitment. It’s likely not a commitment, but an eternal covenant to chastity. You’ve been taught all your life that sexual intimacy is only to be exercised within the bounds of marriage.
So what can you do, when you’re a single adult who wants to have sex? How can you remain true to your covenants when your own body seems to have turned against you?
How can we have more meaningful gospel discussions about sex and chastity when single adults in their thirties are nonchalantly being tossed the For Strength of Youth Pamphlet, written for teens?
These eight thoughts are meant to get that discussion going and help single adults find help in their ongoing pursuit of chastity.
Recognize Sexual Desire Is Natural
Many single adults, especially women, feel shame for experiencing feelings of sexual attraction and longing. It is important to recognize that sexual desire is a natural part of the human experience.
On a cellular level, we were made to desire sexual intimacy. Everybody, and every body, is different. Sex can be craved on a purely physical level, while other people long for the level of vulnerability and intimacy that comes with sex. We are biologically driven to reproduce; we are also biologically made to benefit from sex. Physical intimacy, including sexual intercourse, has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve sleep, acts as a form of pain relief, and improve both your cardiovascular and immune systems.
Bottom line: your body was created to desire sex. Don’t feel shame or guilt for the natural desires you have; the pursuit of chastity is harnessing those desires and choosing how we act on them.
Recognize Sexual Desire is God-Given
The gospel makes it clear we are the children of God, created in his image. God created our bodies and is the one who implanted a desire for sex within us. Our sexual desires are God-given. Desiring and participating in sexual intercourse isn’t inherently wrong. It wasn’t even designed just to produce children. Here are a few quotes to ponder from Prophets and Apostles:
“There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love.” – Spencer W. Kimball
“Our natural affections are planted in us by the Spirit of God, for a wise purpose; and they are the very main-springs of life and happiness—they are the cement of all virtuous and heavenly society—they are the essence of charity, or love; …There is not a more pure and holy principle in existence than the affection which glows in the bosom of a virtuous man for his companion;” – Parley P. Pratt
“The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure.” – Joseph F. Smith
Understand Spiritual Reasons for Chastity
For many youths, the negative consequences of sexual promiscuity focus on the physical. We hear a lot of unwanted pregnancies and STDs. We are taught to think about how our sexual purity impacts our future spouse or our families. How will your future spouse feel if you’ve broken the Law of Chastity? It’s unfair to raise children without both parents in the home.
Single adults can find personal strength and resolve in opening a dialogue with God about how the Law of Chastity benefits them in a deeply personal and spiritual way.
How does sexual chastity draw you closer to Jesus Christ? How is your relationship with the Holy Ghost affected by your commitment to chastity? Focusing on these sorts of questions can mature your understanding of chastity and why it is so essential to God’s specific plan for your life as an individual.
Be In Tune With Your Body
Learn more about your body! Study the science behind sexual attraction. Use your body in productive, physical ways. This can be through exercise, through sport, or through art. Your body is a beautiful, wonderful thing. The energy and desire within in it can be channeled for powerful expressions of good. Understanding how your body works and then learning how to use it in righteous ways can help you take control of your stronger physical desires.
Set Up Safeguards
As you experience changes in your desire and longing for sexual intimacy, it is important to constantly evaluate the safeguards you put in place. Sometimes, we feel a need to loosen ourselves and redefine what chastity means. This is a dangerous practice and can quickly lead to sinful behaviors.
Be vigilant, no matter your age, in protecting yourself against temptation. Follow the standards of the Church. Work together with God to discover what personal safeguards you can set up in your life to help you avoid situations and relationships that can weaken your resolve to remain chaste.
Respect Sacrifices Associated With Chastity
An understanding of the beauty God intends for sexual intimacy can deepen the pain single adults feel. Every natural and good desire for companionship, support, intimacy, and family is unfulfilled. The natural urges of the body only serve as a reminder of what you are actively choosing not to partake in.
It can be empowering for single adults and those who serve alongside them to respect the powerful use of agency that comes with choosing chastity. It’s not simply a smart choice that keeps passionate teenagers out of trouble.
It’s the choice not to act on the mature and deep desires of your body. It’s the choice to being infantilized by your peers and church leaders simply because you’re not married or a parent. It’s the choice to go hungry when it would be so easy to fill that hunger.
Is it still a smart choice, the choice God wants us to make? Of course. There are so many blessings that come from keeping the Law of Chastity. But there is also a lot being sacrificed and God recognizes that. As a community, we need to as well.
Choose Chastity For Yourself
Chastity is something you need to choose for yourself. While there are others who can inspire us and people who help us hold on to the iron rod, the most joy and conviction comes from the conscious use of our agency. Every day, choose chastity. Choose it because you love yourself and you love God. If you don’t feel that way right now, discover how you can build a relationship with Christ so he can lead you to that point.
Start Talking About Chastity
Because of the sensitive and intimate nature of chastity, it isn’t a subject single adults often get to talk about in any in-depth way. It is important to get the discussion going. Whether this is individually with friends or with a trusted Church leader you feel you can turn to, build a support system of people you can talk with about your struggles and triumphs with chastity. Make it a judgement free, safe place. Go with questions and spiritually seek answers.
We’d love to keep this discussion going in the comments below. What has helped you deal with sexual desires as a single adult?