The Challenge of Staying Sexually Pure

The greatest challenge that our LDS youth have, right now, is to keep themselves sexually pure.   Teenagers tend to live in the moment, not thinking about what they want in life and how their immediate choices will ultimately affect what they want most, in their future.  If we could somehow help them to better understand the consequences of sexual sin, perhaps fewer of them would succumb to the temptation. 

Even the best of LDS teens can find themselves at the bottom of that very slippery slope if they don't set limits for themselves for how they are going to interact with the opposite sex -- even the ones who clearly know what they want.   The other problem with most teens, is that they feel as though they know everything and that they are in complete control.   This may be the most frightening part of parenting our youth. Every LDS parent of a teenager is familiar with the old "eye roll" when they attempt to caution their teen about sexual purity. 

Whether they want to hear it or not, parents and youth leaders have a sacred responsibility to teach these skills.   As many tools as we can hang on their "belts" before they head out the door, the better.   Of course we constantly teach our LDS youth about chastity and staying morally clean, but we're probably not as good about teaching them the WHY part, other than telling them don't!

Mormon Messages Youth has created a very clever and entertaining video to better teach LDS youth the importance of sexual purity and establishing personal boundaries to remain so.

"Latter-day Saint teens are counseled to stay sexually pure, but what exactly are the limits? Using teachings of modern prophets, this presentation shows why that's the wrong question to ask, as well as how we can find happiness and peace through staying chaste."
Chastity: What Are the Limits?

Please consider sharing this video with your own LDS Youth, other parents and youth leaders.


For the Strength of Youth: Sexual Purity


  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I also want to point out our single adults face the same challenges and probably have it more difficult than the youth.

  2. @Casema -

    Thank you for making that point. My husband and I served in our Stake Young Single Adult Branch and I would have to agree with you on this one!

  3. Thanks for sharing! We too in Denmark face the exact same challenges. I remember when I was younger I thought the 'rules' and standards of the church to be only for the weak - until I found out that I myself was the weak one. And what a great message that it's possible to repent and return to the path we set out to in the begining - I will definately be sharing this with the youth in our stake - they need all the help and support they can get and this approach makes sure to give the explanation why it's of such great importance! Thanks again!

  4. That's excellent! Thanks for sharing.

  5. @Louise

    You're welcome. Chastity affects the entire human race! Remaining sexually pure is difficult even for the most committed saints. And as you mentioned, the ability to repent and be forgiven is a critical process to be made clean once again. How thankful we all are for the gift of the Atonement.

    But as I'm sure you know, if we could only encourage our youth to NOT sin in the first place, imagine the heartache and pain they could spare themselves and others, if they were to resist and remain chaste? I have seen way too many of our youth, teens and young adults, have to delay the receiving of temple blessings, attending a desired college, serving missions, etc... because they did not either think to consider the consequences OR they did not take seriously the warnings and counsel to create and KEEP sexual limits -- within their relationships with the opposite sex. Unfortunately, for those who KNOW this, the slide is extremely slippery!

    If I could do anything to help our young people NOT sin in the first place -- I'm here to promote it. I think the more we openly discuss sexual purity with our youth and not just once a year through youth programs, or as parents -- perhaps we can do better to keep the goal to remain chaste in the forefront of our youth's brains! ; )

  6. Glad you enjoyed it, Laurie. This video about helping our LDS youth to remain sexually pure IS excellent. I hope we all do a good job of sharing this one with those who need it most!

    BTW, you're great as passing things along. Thanks you!

  7. I don't feel that teenage sexual activity has anything to do with what adults in their lives teach them about sexuality or morality. Teens want sex. It's been shown again and again that nothing you teach young people stops them from having sex in their teen years. Don't put this on your shoulders as parents and/or mentors, because whether or not young people have sex has little to do with their beliefs about the morality of sexual activity. A recent study showed that people with a religious belief that what they did sexually was wrong still did all the same things as people who didn't have those beliefs; the religious people just felt more guilt about it.

  8. @Macha -

    I've raised five children, through their teenage years. I can understand how you would say such a thing. In some cases you are correct.

    However, here is what is taught by living prophets, via "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" -

    "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."

    As a parent who could, if I chose, feel guilty and embarrassed about choices my own children have made, I do not. Reason? Because I have taught as I have been counseled -- and most importantly, accept their God-given right to exercise their moral agency.

    Just another thought... but if we do not teach our children right and wrong, when they do (and they will) make poor choices, we would have no basis upon which to further teach them how to reconcile the consequences which they will inevitably experience and better understand the process by which they can move forward with greater appreciation for the commandments; and the promised blessings.

    Ultimately what we want them to learn, is that "wickedness never was righteousness". In other words, sin never brings lasting happiness. Sin takes away freedom. Sin will ultimately move them away from God and their ability to claim all of the blessing that a loving Heavenly Father has in store for them -- not only now, but in the future.

    So, for me -- I'm going to keep teaching:)

  9. Certainly I'm not saying not to teach your children to have a conscience, to do good and avoid wrongdoing. I'm just saying that when you say things like "Of course we constantly teach our LDS youth about chastity and staying morally clean, but we're probably not as good about teaching them the WHY part, other than telling them don't!" seems to me to be implying that one believes that the reason teenagers have sex is because they're not being taught right. From what I can see, that's just not true, and it puts undue guilt on the parent.

    And what I'm saying also really only applies to sexual activity. Drinking, doing drugs, stealing, lying, etc are not natural, positive, healthy human desires the way sex is. What you teach your kids about drugs and stealing will have more effect, because human beings are not naturally inclined to steal and do drugs the way they are naturally intended to have sex. Teaching morality is a good thing. Just don't think that's all there is to it, when it comes to sex.

  10. @Macha -

    I'm sorry, but I simply cannot agree with your complete position on teaching our youth the importance of abstaining from sexual activity. Your first comment strongly implies that since nothing a parent teaches their children about the doctrine of chastity will matter, cuz their gonna do it anyway -- you are, in my opinion, basically saying don't waste your time.

    And I do believe that the better we teach our children, the better their ability will be to make good decisions along life's path. Will they make the correct decision the first time, or every time? Not necessarily.

    I don't separate one commandment from all the rest. We are all "naturally" inclined toward the "natural man" -- and yet we are commanded to "put off the natural man"…

    The doctrine of chastity, when taught correctly, has everything to do with honesty, conscience, avoiding wrongdoing, etc… It falls directly in line with the first and second great commandments.

    It's not my intention to offend, but you sound very similar to so many of the activist groups that push handing out condoms in our public schools, -- who have the exact same reasoning as you pose.

  11. I can see how you would read my comments that way, sorry about that.

    My point about sex being natural etc. is that sex is actually good for you, it's healthy, it's good, while the other things we tell young people to avoid are definitely bad for you - drugs, stealing, etc. It is easier to teach someone to abstain from something that is bad for them than something that is healthy for them to desire.

    And in my point that you read as "don't waste your time," I didn't mean to imply that, I'm sorry I didn't express myself well, but I tried to correct it in the second post. It is important to teach young people about sex and setting limits for themselves, of course. I am just bothered by any implication that if a young person has sex anyway, that it's because the parent just wasn't a good enough teacher. The young person's will and ability to make their own choices has to be taken into account. I think it is especially wrong to say that it's the parent's fault when we're talking about sex, because as I said, it is much more difficult to get young people to abstain from something that is actually healthy for them to want (though not necessary healthy to have).

  12. @Macha -

    I'm sorry for feeling that I need to continue to disagree with you, but I do. Sex is only "healthy" at any age, IF it happens within an appropriate, emotionally safe and committed relationship -- as God intends.

    If you are simply referring to the physical act of sex, being that it's good for the heart and it feels good in the moment so it make me happy, etc… perhaps? Experiencing this level of sexuality, is definitely at the level of the "natural man" and is exactly what we would hope to keep our young people from experiencing, if possible. Every distortion of love is potentially extorted at this level and often confuses an individual's ability to develop the right kind of "healthy" relationship when it really matters.

    If sex is engaged in outside of the proper bounds it will inevitably create the opposite of what God intended the blessings of sexual intimacy to create. And I'm not necessarily referring to unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.

    I don't think there is anything "healthy" about separating the physical and the spiritual aspects of sexual intimacy, as any kind of justification, on any level.

    And just for the record, I would never want any parent to feel responsible if their son or daughter made the choice to become sexually active -- because they possibly didn't teach them well enough. That's not what I'm selling here. I'm sorry if anything I wrote here, implied such an accusation.

  13. Yes, I agree with you. I meant that sexual activity within appropriate and positive situations (having to do with consent, emotional readiness, and other factors) is a healthy activity, just like any other exercise, with the added bonus of the rush of chemicals like oxytocin, seratonin, adrenaline, etc. that create a feeling of well-being and happiness. Obviously in inappropriate situations, sexual activity is not emotionally/psychologically/spiritually healthy. In a strictly scientific sense, sex is healthy, and there's nothing wrong with a teenager who wants sex. It is not healthy for a teenager to have a great desire to steal, lie, cheat, or some other antisocial behavior.

    I don't necessarily agree with you on what makes sexual activity appropriate, but I didn't want to express that opinion. I see that you did not intend to put the weight of responsibility on parents and teachers, but I didn't feel that was clear in the original post, and that bothered me. That was really my only point.

  14. @Macha -

    I really do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, and allowing me to respond. If anything, we've both had the opportunity to discuss an important topic and perhaps clarify our positions. And, we came somewhat close to agreeing on at least a few things. That's not bad;)

  15. That was a great video. I feel very strongly about this subject. I made the decision as a teenager that I would only kiss the man I was going to marry. I know this would seem extreme to a lot of people (I'm 25 now, so this wasn't that long ago), but it's something that I wanted, and something that I achieved. Even though I had a few boyfriends, I've only ever kissed my husband. My husband and I knew pretty quickly after starting dating that we wanted to marry one another. We had our first kiss (that was the first kiss for the both of us), and two days later started talking about marriage. I'm so grateful that I made that commitment when I was a teenager, and that I had the strength to keep it. When my children are teenagers I will be proud to tell them that I've only ever kissed their father, and hope that our example will help motivate our children to stay pure for marriage. I'm not saying that if you kiss more than one person you're sinning, I'm just saying that that was something that I wanted for myself, and I'm very glad that I accomplished it. Once I knew that I was going to marry my husband, it was difficult to keep the kissing to a minimum. I can definitely understand why we have standards to keep, especially while engaged. Those emotions that you have when you love someone are extremely powerful. My dad, who during our engagement was my stake president, gave us the talk that he gave all engaged couples. He calls it the "10-4-3-D" talk. He encouraged couples to have all their kisses last no longer than "10" seconds, keep "4" feet on the floor at all times, have no more than "3" kisses per date, and have hands off all "D"ementions. Honestly, those are some pretty strict rules, especially for a newly engaged couple who discovered how fun it is to kiss. That 3 kisses rule was really difficult for us. We realized though that those rules were extrememly important to keep us worthy to get married in the temple. Was it hard? Of course. Was it worth it? Absolutely. No questions asked. Sticking to those rules enabled us to be sealed for all eternity, and I couldn't be happier with my pure marriage that will last forever.

  16. @Debbie -

    That's wonderful! Wouldn't it be great if every LDS youth could/would make a similar commitment? From what I see, most youth today don't feel like they could possibly keep such a standard. But honestly, I believe that it is a choice.

    It's as simple as making a choice. Certainly the world complicates the making of such choices. So many distortions. But in reality, everything we do or don't do, comes down to one choice -- and making the choice as to what direction we will go, ultimately leads to that final choice.

    So how important is it for our youth to exercise their agency and choose their boundaries from onset? It's vital!

    You are an excellent example that this is very possible. And to think that you met someone with identical values and limits is really quite amazing!

    Love your dad's counsel. Hopefully it helped many youth during his time of service. We just cannot shy away from teaching our youth right and wrong -- and "yes you can" keep the commandments!


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