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Is it OK to date someone who’s been sexually active?


Is it OK to date someone who’s been sexually active?—New Dater, 16, IL

Shayna Answers:

Dear New Dater,

I guess that all depends on whether or not that person wants to be sexually active with you! In today’s culture a lot of teens aren’t virgins, especially if they’re not Christians. So if premarital sex is the norm for your peers, the unfortunate result is that you may end up dating someone who isn’t a virgin. Don’t freak out, though! Just because a person has been sexually active doesn’t mean that they aren’t datable! It’s just that there are some important things you need to consider.

It’s important to date someone who understands and shares your commitment to purity, even if they’ve been sexually active in the past. Ideally, someone who shares your religious beliefs will be able to encourage you and keep you accountable when it comes to purity. However, if a person has had sex before, it doesn’t mean that they can’t commit to abstinence now. Romans 3:23 points out that we all make mistakes!

What you do need to do is have a discussion about purity and physical boundaries with this love interest, just as you should with anyone you date.

Start this discussion by stating up front that you want to wait to have sex until you’re married. Then explain why. After all, you need to make sure that your future dating partner is on the same page as you are. Otherwise one or both of you will end up getting hurt in this relationship. Even if she is a Christian, she may not have a clear understanding of abstinence. Plus, she needs to know your reasons for waiting, so this is why it’s important to communicate them to her (see 1 Peter 3:15).

Don’t worry about trying to be a biblical scholar when you explain why you want to wait until marriage to have sex. What will be most meaningful in this  conversation is explaining your convictions in your own words. If you need to review why purity is so important, read Genesis 2:24, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Timothy 5:22, Exodus 20:14, and Colossians 3:5. You can also ask your youth teacher or pastor to give you a brief summary of what else the Bible says about pre-martial sex.

Then discuss with your future dating partner what your physical boundaries are. This is extremely important. To prevent confusion, hurt, and disappointment later on, make a plan now. Perhaps you’ll promise not to be alone together in dark or secluded places to avoid temptation. Or, you may choose to go only on group dates for a while.

The thought of having this conversation is uncomfortable for a lot of people, but it is important to decide what your boundaries are before they’re tested. Remember, the devil is always searching for a chance to mess you up (1 Peter 5:8)!

To stay pure you’ll also need the help of an accountability partner. This person can be your parent, your youth pastor, or a young adult that you respect at your church. Talk to this person at least once a week about what you’re doing in your relationship, ask for guidance, and pray together. Ask your dating partner to stay accountable to someone too.

Changing the status quo from a past relationship is possible. Most important, if you make it a priority to obey God, He will bless you for it (Deuteronomy 28:1).

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