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A holy roller - but not in bed

Dear Jackson,
I am at a complete loss as to where I stand with my boyfriend. We have been together for almost two years, and while we have always both considered ourselves Christian, he has recently gone on a hardcore evangelical trip. That wouldn’t bother me, except he is now withholding sex from me. He’ll get involved with foreplay every so often, but that’s it. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I’ve realised that the only way we can have sex again is to get married. I think I might want to, but I’m not sure yet, and frankly, the frustration is clouding my judgment. But am I perhaps being selfish for not respecting his new boundaries?

It’s not that you’re not respecting his new boundaries – the issue here is that he’s trying to impose his boundaries on you.

I have nothing against religion, but I’m irked by people who try to force their beliefs on others. If you really want sex from this relationship, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty because your boyfriend has gone from being on the same page as you to mounting the white horse of piety.

It sounds like this tease of a personal Jesus could be using foreplay as an evangelical tool. He goes in for heavy petting, and then stops, leaving you forced to consider marriage to satisfy your loss. I’m reminded of stories I’ve read from the American Bible Belt: teenagers experimenting with heavy foreplay but saving the real deal for their wedding night. What a cop out: if you’re steeped in this type of Christianity, surely all orifices are equal in sin?

Is there something else behind this change in attitude? Is he feeling pressured by a preacher or friends? Is it true faith, or fear? Fear of hell? Fear of sex itself? Find out if something happened on that trip that is bothering him.

Suss out whether he looks down on you for lacking his moral stringency. If he does, you need to think: if he’s going down this route now, where will it end? What will be the next thing he tries to impose on you for religion’s sake? How much are you willing to alter your life for the sake of the beliefs of another?

You also need to find out if he’s prepared to change anything about his life for you. Test those waters. Ask him to take dancing classes, to quit drinking, to eat better, whatever. He’s proved his fidelity to God, but what about to you?

Ultimately, it sounds like you need to find a partner who’s more on your wavelength – someone with faith to guide them, but someone firmly rooted in the modern world. Don’t let your lust pull you into a marriage that could make you miserable. If you’re going to marry this guy, make sure it’s because he’s the one.

Got a question about sex or relationships for Jackson? Email ppp.lifestyle@gmail.com

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