What guidelines should a single Christian parent follow when it comes to sex? Obviously, as a single parent, you’ve already had sex, so what boundaries should you set when it comes to dating? How does a single parent live without sex?
Many single parents acknowledge that “not doing it God’s way” got them into trouble in the past and want to be more thoughtful and more informed for their next relationship.
Many single parents don’t wish to remain single and sexless but finding a partner with a child (or children) that comes with the package is tricky.
What Does God Ask of Me?
God calls everyone who loves him to be sexually pure. Our bodies are where the Holy Spirit resides. Therefore, we honor God when we take care of our bodies through proper eating, exercising, and abstaining from pre-marital sex.
Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don't participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Romans 13:13
In the Bible, God’s people wrestled with sexual sin as well. We get the picture to “flee” or “run” from sexual advances and sexual sin. We also learn sexual sin is a sin against God.
1. When Joseph was in Egypt, he was seduced more than once by Potiphar’s wife. In Genesis 39, we see Joseph run from the temptation and explain that it would be a sin against God.
No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Genesis 39:9
She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. Genesis 39:12
2. Job, proving his innocence for his troubles, says he has made a promise with his eyes to prevent himself from lust.
I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. Job 31:1
3. King David committed adultery after watching Bathsheba bathe. It’s easy to think David’s situation doesn’t apply to you because you wouldn’t have an affair, but David didn’t start out looking for an affair either. Instead, his lust drove him to sin.
When David admitted his sin to the prophet Nathan and asked God for forgiveness, he says his sin is against God.
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan replied, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 2 Samuel 12:13
Abstaining from sex with the person you’re dating, turning from lust and masturbation are all possible even if you’ve struggled to abstain in the past.
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18
While it’s impossible to give a “follow these 3 steps to stay sexually pure as a single parent,” it is entirely possible to be sexually pure. You treat it like any other stronghold (a force that has power over you spiritually and is not from God).
What is the Big Deal? I’ve Already Had Sex.
Jesus can make us new again. Regardless of your last sexual relationship was in marriage or not, we always have the opportunity to start fresh with Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Every time you have an intimate encounter with someone, you risk developing a soul tie to them.
A soul tie is a profoundly spiritual or emotional connection to another person after physical intimacy with them. This connection is present even if you’re no longer with the person.
Creating a child with another person almost certainly creates a soul tie. And not all soul ties are negative.
But passion can have a dark side, and when you have an unhealthy soul tie, you feel a connection to a person amidst obsession and manipulation. You may feel as you’ve given a part of yourself to another that you can’t get back.
Most people can look back on their lives and identify unhealthy soul ties. But, conversely, healthy soul ties are created in stable, loving, God-focused relationships.
Soul ties can be broken, as much in the same way a stronghold can be.
How Can a Single Parent Be and Stay Sexually Pure
If only we could follow a simple 1-2-3 process, then “poof” we’re free of sexually impure thoughts and actions. But as with most things in life, it doesn’t work that way.
What works is spending more time with God than you are with things of this world.
- Do you watch more Netflix than you do reading the Bible?
- Do you try to live rightly with God when you’re in church but separate the rest of your life from him?
- Do you only come to God when you have a problem?
- Are you on social media more than you are in prayer?
The reason it’s so imperative to daily block out what you’re seeing and hearing that isn’t from God is that we live in a sexual-crazed world.
As Christians set apart, we have to live differently. But, to do that, we have to limit how much space in our lives we will give the things of this world.
How Do We Practically Limit the World From Influencing Us?
First, “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Our thoughts determine our actions. When you have a sexual thought, give it to God. He knows anyway, but when our flesh insists on “hiding” or separating the sexual part of yourself from God, that’s just a big enough of a gap for the enemy to sneak in.
Make it clear to anyone you date that you want to wait until marriage for sex. This declaration may leave you with few dating candidates, but that isn’t a bad thing.
Guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). Remove the temptations you face to guard your heart: stop seeing that person, quit watching that show, get off the dating app, etc.
Ask God to make you sexually pure. Don’t think just because you’ve had sex in the past that it’s too late. It’s never too late with God. We see this truth in action when Jesus was on the cross. The criminal on the cross next to him was saved at that moment, right before death. No one is too far gone.
And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:42-43
Ask God to put a pure and clean heart in you. He will do this through daily reading of his word and spending time with him daily. This means just sitting with him – no phone, no plan. And talk to God about your day continuously.
If you have past sexual sin to atone for and don’t know where to start, then pray Psalm 51 to God. This is the Psalm David penned as a confession and repentance of his affair.
When you have a lustful thought, immediately pray. Ask God to help you set your mind on the things above.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
Trust the power of God to help you in this area. Sexual sin maybe something you never fully conquer. But every day, you can take it to the Lord and ask him to help you through the day.
What About Lust and Masturbation?
Some will argue that masturbation is okay since it’s not specifically in the Bible with the argument of “I’m not hurting anyone.”
But masturbation rarely happens on its own without lust. Whether the lust is from a book, porn, or thoughts in your head, it’s still lust.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Colossians 3:5
If you think masturbation is not connected to lust, then bring it to God in prayer. No part of our lives is hidden from him, so giving God every part of your life is what He desires. But, on the other hand, if you’re keeping back masturbation and feel any shame around it, then can you genuinely say God approves it?
What it Does and Doesn’t Mean to Be a Single Christian Parent When it Comes to Sex
The Christian walk is full of battling what our flesh wants to do and what the spirit calls us to.
It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
“Since I’m Not a Virgin, It’s Too Late for Me.”
It’s not too late for you. You can live in Christ’s freedom for you by starting anew.
Regardless of your past, once you bring it to the feet of Jesus, he will remove all shame and sin.
Intimacy does not equal sex.
Just because you choose not to have sex doesn’t mean you are swearing off intimacy. Intimacy is found through close relationships where you share a bond emotionally or spiritually.
Consider what is beneath your desire for sex. Is it comforting to you to have someone else hold you? Does it make you feel worthy and loved?
Anything that drives us away from God is potentially an idol in our lives. God is able and meant to fill you completely. Jesus is enough.
How Celibacy is Different
Staying abstinent until your subsequent marriage does not mean you’ve taken a celibacy vow. You are in a period of waiting. You can wait well (even through years or decades of waiting) and still desire sex.
Celibacy is a gift given to those who feel called to abstain for the kingdom of God. However, waiting to have sex until you’re married and in a committed relationship does not equal celibacy.
Be Set Apart
Facing opposition from potential dates will come when you live a sexually pure life. But the opposition does not mean it’s wrong.
As God’s children, we are set apart. Or different from the rest of the world.
We have values that may not mean much to non-believers. Accept the fact that you are living for God, and sometimes others won’t understand.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19 ESV