Sex’s Unexpected Consequence: Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish

On January 9, just a few days from now, it will be four years since I’ve had sexual intercourse. Since I’ve committed fornication. Since I’ve engaged in “pornea”, which is the Greek word for fornication. Hmph. When you put sex with someone whose not your spouse that way, when you realize that it’s just a “hop, skip and lay down” away from the word, “pornography”, it really does take all of the “fantasized romance” out of the experience, doesn’t it?

So, when Guy approached me about contributing something to this awesome project, I figured that I would share where I am now that I’ve almost “graduated” to a new “degree” of purity; what I really think about myself and the reason why the Lord told us to wait until marriage to engage in yahasey min’, the Hebrew word for “sexual relations”.

As I was sharing with him, when I public speak or do a press interview for one of my books, the question often comes up of what I regret most when it comes to my sexual past. I don’t think I really like the word “regret”. I think I prefer to look at it as what I wish I could have learned the easy way rather than the hard way. Anyway, it’s funny how much we ask questions thinking we already know the answer to. Some people think it’s my having 14 past sex partners. Others think it’s the fact that a lot of them were someone else’s boyfriend. Of course many people think it’s my four abortions. And yes, the healthier I become, the more aware I am of the magnitude of those choices…and consequences. But you know what? I think what I wish I didn’t have to learn the hard way the most was that, in God’s design and purpose for sex, it was never his intention for that door to close…once it’s been opened. Getting my heart stuck in the “revolving door” of fornication? That is what I wish I never had to go through. Detox, in any form, ain’t for punks. Not by a long shot.

My favorite Scripture as it relates to why the Lord desires for us to be in a marital covenant is the Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-20: “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’ There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

Sex is a spiritual mystery. Fornication is the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy. The Bible says that sex makes two people one (Genesis 2:24-25) and when you really think about it, that alone is a mind-blowing revelation. However, it wasn’t until I looked up the word “consummate” recently that I really got why God loves sex and us enough to want us to be married to have it. When you hear of someone’s marriage being “consummated”, usually you think about that being the first time that they’ve had sex since becoming husband and wife. Oh, but do you know what another definition of the word is? It’s “to complete (an arrangement, agreement, or the like) by a pledge or the signing of a contract”. And another is “to bring to a state of perfection; fulfill”. Sex is meant to (physically) bring about perfection between two people…until death parts them. Every time they engage, it further solidifies their pledge. It fulfills them.

The Lord knows that sex is that powerful. So much so that he didn’t want any of us to experience the mental torture and emotional agony that comes from not just disobeying his Word but starting and stopping something that was to be apart of us from the day we’re formally introduced to it. Ever try to pull apart two glued pieces of paper? Yeah. Exactly. As a man by the name of Elbert Hubbard said, “We are not punished for our sins, but by them.” Fornication is a form of punishment because the pleasure of sin is always temporary. Sex, within marriage, was to last forever. “Forever” in the sense of until both spouses are parted by death (Matthew 22:30).

And so, that’s why I stopped. For good. Until I can have an experience that consummates my marriage. In hindsight, in all honesty, I had sex that I enjoyed. But, when I think about the cracks that my heart had, the STD I once contracted, the sleepless nights worrying about a pregnancy, the reputation I had to work to rebuild, the “detoxing” from sex, masturbation and porn that I had to go through…the guilt, the shame, the drama and spiritual confusion…I’ve never engaged in a sexual experience that left me fulfilled. And you know what? I’m worthy of that. Because the Creator of me (and of sex) said so.

Yeah, they say that “true love waits” but I personally believe that they should complete that sentence with, “to be fulfilled”. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Abstinence makes the spirit’s faith stronger. Finally, I believe in “happily ever after” because I’m not editing the romance that the Lord has already written out for me. I’m not waiting to have sex. I’m waiting for God’s best. And that’s never a one-night stand. It’s always for a lifetime.

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Shellie R. Warren is an author, public speaker and the Teen Mom Coordinator for Youth for Christ/Nashville. Her first book, “Inside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love and Redemption” was published in 2004 and her second, “Pure Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Integrity” was released in 2010. She is a feature blogger for XXXChurch.com. She also has two blogs: On Fire Fast Movement (http://onfirefastmovement.blogspot.com/) is for single women who desire preparation for marriage and 10…Again (10Again.us) is designed to celebrate covenant marriage. You can reach her at missnosipho@gmail.com.

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  • MJ

    Wow! What a testimony! Thank you for sharing! There’s such a debate today about sexual orientation, but your life was literally oriented around sex. But not anymore. If God was able to empower you to change a fierce sexual orientation like that, I can’t imagine him not being big enough to change ANYONE’S sexual orientation… even if they were born that way. Please don’t stop sharing your story – God’s story of rescue, hope, joy, peace, LIFE!

  • Anonymous

    WOW Shellie! SO powerful!! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! I pray that your testimony, and theological reasoning, will be something God uses to influence a generation in need of ‘good reason’ to wait! God does have such grand desires for us!

  • Glass_acorn

    Really, really, really good! Bethinks for sharing so openly.

  • Kelvin

    This was a POWERFUL article. It is, also, the BEST reasoning I have EVER seen for waiting until marriage for sex. Thank you for your honesty & vulnerability. I learned a lot today.

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  • LaurenCK

    absolutely incredible article.  A must read for all college students!  And adults!