Listen: Dr Allan Meyer chats to Sheridan Voysey about Virginity, Dating and Courtship
Part 3 of 7 in ‘The Search For Intimacy’ Series
In a world where serial dating and casual sex are the norm, terms like “virginity”, “purity” and “courtship” are almost relics of history — and it can be hard to imagine an alternative path to love.
But according to Dr Allan Meyer, we need an alternative. He says today’s approach to finding love is flawed, and causes many failed marriages and broken hearts.
The author of the Christian-based sexuality course, The Search For Intimacy, Dr Meyer told Hope Media’s Sheridan Voysey that there’s a much better way.
Why Bother With Viriginity?
Virginity, according to the Bible, is not just about abstaining from sex. The Biblical term for virgin means “one who is separated”, or one who’s “not on the market”. In sexual terms, it’s about reserving sexual intimacy for marriage.
The principle is in place because, says Dr Meyer, sex can change people to the core.
“Sex is not just a biochemical and physical relationship,” he said. “Our sexuality is created out of the pattern of God’s own divine nature, who is a God of intimacy. Sex was designed to change you, to stick a man and a woman together for life. The idea of remaining a virgin until marriage is so that you don’t find yourself with fingerprints or impressions in your innermost being from a bunch of other people, while you’re trying to build a one-on-one relationship with someone that actually lasts for life.”
So…Is God Anti-Sex?
The Bible’s warnings against sexual immorality are not to make life miserable, says Dr Meyer, but because God loves us.
“God is not anti-sex or anti-pleasure, he’s pro-the longevity of a wonderful loving relationship. And virginity plays its part in that, in providing a clean slate, an unmarked canvas on which to build a loving relationship with another human being.
“Single people need to live with this sense that “there’s someone coming”. And virginity simply honours the fact that that person is really worth the honour that you bestow on them, to give them a clean canvas.”
- The Search For Intimacy Part 1 – The Origins And Power Of Sex
- The Search For Intimacy Part 2 – Six Key Principles Of Human Sexuality
- The Search For Intimacy Part 4 – Young Love And The Role Of Parents
The Damage Sex Outside Marriage Can Cause
One of the biggest proofs of the power of sexual touch to cause harm, is the devastating effects of sexual abuse. Dr Meyer also points to the many broken hearts suffered by people in casual dating relationships, as proof that sex outside marriage can be damaging.
“I first became aware of this as a result of counselling the first person who showed up in my office when I became a youth counsellor,” he said.
“This was a girl in the church who was preparing to get married and had gotten involved in premarital sex. She would’ve liked to have been a virgin, but the guy kept putting the pressure on her, so eventually she gave him access to her body.
“She thought, “we’re going to be married soon and it’ll all be ok”. However, he dropped her, went off and married somebody else.
“I talked to her about forgiveness and she was very grateful for that, but she kept coming back and saying this to me: “I don’t seem to be able to let go”. And after many sessions with her, I realised, “something has happened inside this girl that’s beyond just emotions”.
“This was an adult version of the child who’s been sexually touched and feels the impact of that.”
The Beauty Of Sex Inside A Marriage
Dr Meyer believes God’s design is that young men and women know their first sexual experience with someone who has committed to spend their life with them.
“Sex is designed to help a man and a woman be stuck together for life,” he said.
“And it’s designed so that in the beauty of the “honeymoon sexual experience”, a young man and woman would begin the “gluing” process which not only brings healing to their bodies, but to their relationship.
“Sex is such a healing thing. It’s such a wonderful expression of forgiveness for the imperfections of another person’s life. It’s such an affirming, kind, and ministry-based expression of love – caring for another human being.”
How Modern Dating Has Got It Wrong
The typical boyfriend-girlfriend relationship may be Western society’s standard path to finding a life partner, but it’s fundamentally flawed, says to Dr Meyer.
He says the physical touch involved in such relationships are precursors to sex. That’s why there’s such heartache when the relationship falls apart.
“I think it’s a flawed system,” he said, “Because we’ve failed to appreciate the impact on a person’s soul, of what you could call “foreplay”.
“Holding hands, cuddling, kissing, the issues of sexual arousal, they are all part of a mechanism that is designed to lead to intercourse and orgasm.
“It’s that premature beginning of the arousal, treating another person as if they’re your sexual partner – even if it doesn’t lead to full-on intercourse – when you have no idea yet whether you’re prepared to stick around and honour the impact that you’re having on their life.”
- The Search For Intimacy Part 5 – Marriage: Have You Got What It Takes?
- The Search For Intimacy Part 6 – The 5 Tests Of A Match Made In Heaven
- The Search For Intimacy Part 7 – Healing From Sexual Brokenness: Six Steps
As a youth pastor and teacher Dr Meyer said he watched many young people break each other’s hearts.
“I often watched kids pair off,” he said. “They would hold hands and kiss and cuddle and treat each other like they’re really special for three weeks, and then the next thing you know, one drops the other. I watched the damage that did to people.
“I watched kids leave school over it, over the humiliation. I watched kids leave their faith over that. And I think people are worth more than that.”
The Pathways In Our Brain When We Break Up
By repeating the process of pairing up and breaking up, we form patterns that can follow us through life, says Dr Meyer.
“We have neuronal pathways in our brain which are formed by life experiences,” he said. “And if you keep on forming life experiences where you begin romantic attachments and then they lead to heartache and separation, you build neuronal pathways into your brain that lead you to not being capable of making bonded, long-term commitments with people.”
He believes a lot of people form romantic attachments quickly out of a fear that they might “miss out”.
“When you appreciate the fact that there really is a God, and He does know your life, and He is for you, it removes that fear,” he said.
An Alternative To Romantic Dating
So how is one meant to find the love of their life without dating?
Dr Meyer suggests brother-sister style friendships are the healthy way to get to know someone, until you know you are committed. He taught his own children, who are now adults, to find their life partners in this way.
He references the Bible, where Paul teaches the young pastor Timothy to “treat the younger women like sisters”, and says he gave his own children the same advice.
“It really is a matter of just treating people with profound dignity and spending time with them more like brothers and sisters than prospective bed-partners,” he said.
“There’s some things you don’t do with your sister or brother. So, whatever you can do appropriately with your sister or brother, by all means, go out and do with people on dates. That way you will actually find out what a person is about, who they are, what they think, what they believe.
“And as that begins to move in a direction which is clearly no longer brother and sister, then you need to include others in the growing commitment to another human life, and you don’t cross the line from brother and sister to boyfriend-girlfriend, fiancé, coming-marriage-partner, until you are really clear that this relationship really does have a future.”
From Friendship To Courtship
In old-fashioned terms, it’s called courting.
“I think is worth rediscovering what “courtship” means,” said Dr Meyer. “It is spending time thoughtfully, carefully, deliberately, with another human being, asking the question, “could we build a great life together?”
Parents have an important role to play in that process, too, for younger couples. Dr Meyer encourages parents to share their opinion of whether they feel a prospective young partner is a good match for their son or daughter.
Questions To Ask Before Deciding To Marry
To know whether you are ready to commit your life to another person, Dr Meyer says there are many questions that are important to ask.
“It’s not just about “do we get the hots for each other,” he said. “You need to ask questions like,
- Are we intellectually compatible?
- Do we have social compatibility?
- Is our view of life compatible?
- What do we think we’re supposed to be doing with the one life we’ve got?
- And many more…
He says these questions should be asked early on – before entering a serious relationship – rather than after a romance has already developed.
More On ‘The Search For Intimacy’
- Part 1 – The Origins And Power Of Sex
- Part 2 – Six Key Principles Of Human Sexuality
- Part 3 – Virginity, Dating And Courtship: A Love Story
- Part 4 – Young Love: Should Parents Have A Say?
- Part 5 – Marriage: Have You Got What It Takes?
- Part 6 – The 5 Tests Of A Match Made In Heaven
- Part 7 – Healing From Sexual Brokenness: Six Steps
- More about Dr Allan Meyerand Careforce Lifekeys