Questions from Teens

Real-life questions from real-life teens. Got a burning question about chastity or sexuality or anything else? Ask the REAP Team! Your responses will be answered by a REAP Team staff member. Go to our contact us page and choose 'QNA' from the drop-down menu.

How far is too far?

As an intelligent person, you know that there is a lot you can do (physically), without actually having intercourse, right? So, how far is too far to go, physically, with a member of the opposite sex? To answer this question, we'd like to invite you to consider this question from a father's perspective:

As I describe to you my relationship with my daughter, I'd like you to pretend that you're me.

Before she was even born, I loved my little girl. Through the miracle of ultrasound, I could see her, present in my wife’s womb. We chose her name before she was born. Many nights of the pregnancy, before I went to sleep, I laid my hand upon my wife’s womb and prayed for my little girl, by name, imploring God’s protection upon her.

I had the privilege of being there when she was born, holding her in my arms within seconds of when she entered this world. There were times when she was an infant (as there are times now) when she would cry — and simply being held by me was enough to dry her tears and calm her fears. I watched her grow up, as she took her first steps, made her first sounds, and said her first words.

When she cried, my words brought her comfort. I loved holding her in my arms. I watched her go to preschool, where she would often create drawings that she'd proudly bring home to me; others would consider them scribbles, but to me they are treasures far greater than the Mona Lisa. I watched her grow up and perform in her first dance recital, start kindergarten, receive her First Holy Communion, and move on from grade school to high school. 

She will certainly become increasingly more attractive to members of the opposite sex. There will be guys who begin to think that my little girl is 'hot'; that will make me very nervous. We will probably allow her to go our on group dates in junior high and early high school, but she will have to wait until she turns 16 to be able to finally go out on a 'real' date  alone, with a guy, in his vehicle…

Before I know it, she will be a sophomore in high school, 16 years old, and I will probably be more nervous than she is about her first date. Pacing the living room floor, I will await his arrival (coincidentally, I will be cleaning my deer rifle on this particular evening - because I want this young man to know that I own one). As I pace the living room, waiting for this guy to show up, my daughter comes up to me and says, "Oh, Daddy, by the way, the guy who's taking me out tonight is also a sophomore... in college."


And before I can say or do anything or even know how to react (because I have slow processing), I look out the picture window of our house and see that the guy who is taking my daughter out on her first date has arrived. And he's driving a van. And it's not a mini-van, either — it's one of those full-sized vans with a seat in the back that folds out into a bed... onto the side of which, he has airbrushed "The Shaggin' Wagon."

Now, pretending that you are me, answer a question as honestly as you can from my perspective: how far is too far? How far do you really think that I want my little girl to go, on this date, with this young man, in this van? If you're honest with yourself, from my perspective, I think that's an excellent perspective on how far is too far for you.

Why? Well, the reason that I don't want her to go too far at all is not because I hate her guts. It's not because I want to ruin her life. It's not that I want to keep her from having fun, or impose my morality upon her. It's not that I want to ruin the evening of the young taking her out.

The reason that I don't want her going very far at all is because I love her. She's my little girl. And I only want what's best for her. 

Ladies: I hope that you have a good relationship with your father here on Earth. If you don't, I'm really sorry about that. But please trust me when I say that from the perspective of your Father in Heaven, you are Daddy's little girl. And He only wants what is best for you  and for every person you ever date, who is also His little girl or boy.

Young men, two things: First of all, you're daddy’s little boy. There is no double standard on this issue. And I feel the same way about my sons as I feel about my daughter. You, too, deserve to be treated with nothing nothing but respect. And I hope you know that.

But also, some of you men went there. You were pretending that you were me, and felt some of my feelings toward my little girl on her first date; you wanted to protect her from any harm. And that's awesome because that desire to protect is how God feels. He is a protector. And we should strive to protect all of the beautiful women God has placed in our lives. As St. Pope John Paul II said, “It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.” Our world has far too many men in it who aren't protectors, but predators. God is calling you to so much more.

So, just to reiterate: If you are ever in a situation where you are curious as to how far is too far, just pretend that you're me.

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Were Adam and Eve married?

If the Church says we have to be married first in order to have sex, then why is it not mentioned anywhere in the Bible about Adam and Eve being married since they had two kids - Cain and Abel?


Believe it or not, almost all Christian traditions, and even Jews, accept God the Father as the first "marriage celebrant." It's not like there were any other people on the earth to organize an official service, after all, or attend a ceremony, or dance at a reception after Eve smooshed cake all over Adam's nose.

But, in reality, Adam and Eve had the coolest wedding of them all (making their children, Cain, Abel, and the often-overlooked Seth, totally legitimate). Here’s why: God wed them through the creation of Eve. She is physically part of Adam and Adam was incomplete until she arrived. After the creation of Eve, Adam says, "At last, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." They didn’t need a ceremony to ask God to unify them; He already did it for them through Eve’s creation. The rest of us have ceremonies, with a sacrament, to experience the same type of unity given to Adam and Eve.

God could have created Eve separately, in another garden, and given her a separate mission, but He didn’t. He created Adam and Eve together, placing them in the same garden, of the same flesh, for two purposes. First of all, in Genesis Chapter 1, God immediately tells them to be fruitful and multiply. Sure, God is a practical God and knew that the human race couldn’t flourish without these two getting together, but there’s more at work than just God’s desire for more bodies and souls.

The second purpose, more clearly revealed in Genesis Chapter 2, describes God’s recognition that it is not good for man to be alone. We were created to be in unity – for both practical purposes (babies) and to help one another through life (bonding). None of us were meant to fight through life on our own. God exists in a community of persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And since we're created in His image and likeness, we should exist in community too.

God’s plan isn’t that we just have nice, close friends to help us along, although this is part of His plan. There’s more – if we're called to marriage, He wants us to experience total unity with someone. Man and woman came from one to be reminded that we were meant to be one (biologically, through sex and the total personal intimacy comes with it). It’s a powerful and cool thing that a man and woman’s body, heart, mind and soul can do – we are really meant to complete one another. The creation of Adam and Eve as one shows us this reality.

Judeo-Christian teaching believes that God showed us the model for marriage and family in the creation of Adam and Eve, in His statement that man should not be alone and in His instruction for them to be fruitful and multiply. Jesus accepted this traditional view of marriage as well, as he disapproved of adultery (affairs) and fornication (sex outside of marriage). If marriage wasn’t needed to have sex and have children, fornication and adultery would not be an issue. But Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11). And, if the idea of marriage was too strict, limited or just wrong by the time Jesus arrived, he would have suggested an over-haul of the system – but he didn't. In fact, his chose a wedding to be the place for his first miracle.

Does this mean that you could be "married in God’s eyes" or feel married without going through the sacrament or ceremony? I’ll answer that with another question. If your father was the only welder on Earth, and you needed two pieces of metal to be welded together, could they become unified if you never bring the pieces to him? You can stick them together with glue or duct tape or velcro, but that wouldn't be anything like being welded together.

Only God can make two people one (none of us have the talent of pulling our partner out of our rib); He can weld us together. The public, sacred wedding ceremony is where this happens. It is the present-day version of Eden. The sacrament in the Church is what turns a man and woman into the "one flesh" reality in word and sacrament. The wedding bed makes them one flesh physically. Every act of sex after the consummation (the wedding night) is a renewal of this binding sacrament.

It’s a beautiful package deal God intended for us all along. Although many people in this world today don’t believe marriage or sex to be this powerful, lasting or important, as Catholics, we still do. Through the sacramental grace of the Rite of Marriage, and the renewal of the wedding vows through sex within marriage, a couple can be united almost as closely as the first husband and wife – and can glimpse the perfect unity we were all created to experience in Heaven.

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"Friends with benefits..." what do you think about it?

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Does chastity include tight clothes & heavy making-out?

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I don't regret what I've done. Am I a terrible person?

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Want great sex?

Many people seem to think that the best way to have great sex in marriage is to have lots of practice - with lots of partners - before marriage.

If you're called to marriage one day, God wants you to have great sex as much as you do—or else He wouldn’t have created it so good! Great sex actually happens when you accept God’s plan for your sexuality through the gift of chastity. What makes sex great? The type of sex where you can give all of your heart, soul, mind and body without ghosts of the past, fear, regrets, or any devaluation of sex from prior experiences.

Have you ever heard of sex as “going all the way?” Well, in sex outside of marriage, a couple isn't able to give all of themselves in sex. There is no solid commitment to support such a self-gift. Typically, their hearts are closed to any new life that might result from their sexual relationship. The person they are with could leave them the next day or the next year. How do you get your heart, mind and soul back when a relationship like that breaks up? Sex outside of marriage trains us to use sex for our own desires of pleasure, security, comfort, etc. That means, when we do get married, we won't know how to give all of ourselves through sex, which can lead to major deficiencies in bonding and intimacy.

A 2016 survey of five European countries found that people who consider themselves ‘very right-wing’ politically are the most satisfied with their sex lives. While political affiliation is no guarantee of a great sex life (as always, correlation does not necessarily equal causation), there are a few reasonable assumptions we can make as to why those who are more conservative or traditional in their values would say they are very happy with the state of the bedroom union.

Why would that be? Perhaps it's because couples who are happier in their relationship overall are also happier in the bedroom. They feel more confidence, more freedom, more trust, and more able to communicate honestly with their partner about their wants and needs. Some of the factors that lead to this kind of relationship? Saving sex for marriage, practicing Natural Family Planning (which includes short periods of abstinence when a couple is trying to avoid pregnancy – and absence does make the heart grow fonder…), non-cohabitation before marriage, fewer sexual partners of the course of a lifetime, long-term familiarity with your partner, a lack of anxiety over the status or stability of the relationship, avoiding pornography, an openness to children, and the knowledge that while sex is an important part of a healthy marriage, it’s not everything a relationship needs to thrive. This long list of attributes of a healthy relationship are all part of living the virtue of chastity.

Many people see sex as merely physical, but it's so much more than that. Sex which is emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually bonding is also actually more pleasurable physically—you’re truly going all the way. You can choose to train yourself for great sex in the future right now, through chastity. Your future spouse will thank you for it.

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