“Ask a Priest: What If My Daughter Is Being Pressured to Have Sex?”

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Q: My 19-year-old daughter has been in a romantic relationship for the past year and a half and has just been told by her boyfriend that he is unable to wait until marriage to have sex with her. So, after spending a day of fun together, he cried and communicated to her that since she is unwilling to change her mind on this stance, they should break up even though he wouldn’t like to lose her. Some hours later he texted her to say that the decision to break up was taken too quickly, and so they agreed to take a two-week break from the relationship to evaluate their situation. Some background: My daughter is religious while he isn’t. Yet, at the start of their relationship he had agreed to respect her opinion about premarital sex. He comes from parents who did have premarital sex. In fact, they were forced to wed when they expected their first child, only to have their marriage annulled a few months ago. Next month his mother will be marrying her cohabitating partner of three years. His dad too has a girlfriend. According to the boyfriend even his grandparents would have had engaged in premarital sex. The boyfriend is currently taking anti-anxiety pills. Although he is a sweet person, he has dropped out of university twice and left two jobs … not much of a sense of commitment … which I fear could, in the future, manifest itself in marriage. My daughter now seems confused. Could you please give me some guidelines as to how to advise her? Is it true that most boys are unwilling to remain chaste until marriage ? His psychologist was surprised to hear they don’t have sex and told him that this could lead to problems of sexual incompatibility in marriage. Thanks in advance for your help. – S.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Your daughter sounds like a fine young woman. She seems to have integrity and knows how to stand by her principles.

From what you describe, the boyfriend has a lot of problems. Permit me a few to-the-point observations.

First, people who really love each other want the best for each other, which means they try to help each other grow in holiness. This boyfriend wants your daughter to fornicate with him — in effect, to put her soul at risk for the sake of his pleasure.

Second, more than a few men have used the line, “If you love me, you would sleep with me.” And more than a few women have fallen for that line — only to find themselves soon abandoned.

Third, this boyfriend seems to have an extremely distorted and deficient view of sex. He thinks it’s going to solve his problems. It won’t. In fact, it will cause more problems for him and especially for your daughter if she gives in. Your daughter deserves a lot better.

Aside: That psychologist shows a very faulty view of human sexuality. Chastity is one of the best preparations for marriage. It gives people the chance to develop a deep friendship, and it teaches them the kind of discipline that they will need after marriage. That is, it prepares them for those occasions when as a married couple they will have to live like celibates.

Fourth, a man worthy of your daughter would respect her desire to guard her chastity.

Fifth, the history of the boyfriend’s family is very telling. Premarital sex seems to have been rampant — and what are the results? A family tree with lots of problems. Does your daughter really want to be the next branch on that tree?

Another red flag is his difficulty in completing a college program or holding down a steady job.

You might want to consider giving strong encouragement to your daughter to remain chaste. She would do well to save the gift of herself for someone who respects her purity and who shows a lot more maturity.

Perhaps you might want to intensify your prayers for your daughter. And think about giving her something to read, such as How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul.

That boyfriend could use your prayers, too.

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