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I have dreams about being sexually intimate. Is something wrong with me?


I have dreams about being sexually intimate, but I don’t want to because I want to stay a virgin. What do I do? Is something wrong with me? —Worried, 15, IL

Shayna Answers:

Dear Worried,

When we dream about sex, usually it means one of two things is happening. If we’ve already had sex or engaged in sexual activities, such as touching and petting, images and sensations can resurface in our dreams. Or, if we’ve never had sex, things that we’ve seen or heard can trigger an emotional response that repeats itself when we’re dreaming.

Since you’re a virgin, what you’re dreaming about may be the result of what you’re seeing or hearing in your daily life. There’s nothing wrong with you, but you are right in identifying a big correlation between what you think about and what you will be tempted to act on. Both Matthew 5:27, 28 and Jeremiah 17:9 say that sin starts in our hearts and minds. Don’t panic, though. Having dreams about sex doesn’t mean you’ve sinned or that you’re destined to sin.

Philippians 4:8 tells us how to handle our thoughts: “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

The first thing you should do is be more prudent about what you put into your mind. It’s definitely hard to avoid seeing or hearing about sex, but, if you want to keep your thoughts directed away from it, you have to make conscious choices about what you watch on TV, listen to on the radio, or see in movies. The more sexual images you see or hear, the deeper the temptation will embed itself.

Second, you need to remove yourself from influences that direct your focus away from God or purity. This may be the hardest change of all, since you may have to stop hanging around certain friends who talk about sex all the time or encourage you to compromise your beliefs. Ask your friends to talk about something else, but you may have to make new friends altogether.

Third, because you already know you’re thinking about having sex, when you’re tempted, the urge is going to feel strong. For this reason, don’t give the devil an opportunity to work. You should avoid any situation that you know will test your weakness. This may mean situations where you are alone with someone you like a lot, or perhaps touching that person in a way that’s arousing. You also need to have a conversation with your close friends and reinforce your desire to wait until marriage to have sex. This will make clear the boundaries you want to maintain.

Find an accountability partner at your church. This can be any young adult or youth leader of the same sex. Make sure you ask someone whose relationship with God is sound and whose behavior you respect. Talk to them at least once a week about what you are doing, what spiritual struggles you may be having, or other temptations that are bothering you. Also, pray with her at least once a week.

Finally, because many of our dreams are a result of our mind trying to reconcile stresses or concerns that we couldn’t consciously deal with during the day, try redirecting your thoughts before bedtime. Read your Bible and pray for longer than usual before you go to bed. This will help to focus your thoughts on God and remind you that with Him, you have the power to control your behavior (Matthew 19:26; 1 Corinthains 10:13)—no matter what you dream.

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