"God has made us to be physical, relational, sexual beings, which is great if you are married because you can fulfil all areas, but rubbish if you are not. How do you fulfil this if you are not?"
God actually hasn’t made us to be sexual beings; he has made us with the capacity to be sexual beings. He has also made us with the capacity to be non-sexual beings, since all humans have many years of their life without being sexual. He has made us to be relational at every stage of life; this transcends the sexual. To be fulfilled is to fully be. Human identity is not in sexuality: lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender or questioning. We are so much more than that. Live up to your calling. Live in and as the image of God.
"I’m dating a Christian guy and we do not intend to have sex before marriage. We’ve gone too far in the past, far enough that I was worried I might have got pregnant. We don’t intend to do it again, but should I go on contraception just in case? The thought of having a baby with someone when we are not ready seems to be a bigger concern than the idea that being on contraception would encourage us to go further."
You raise some important issues here. You are right to take incredibly seriously the responsibility of conceiving life. You want a baby to come ideally into a secure and forever relationship that has got the foundations to cope with the demands of being shared with children.
It sounds as if you need to talk through together how committed you are to not having sex before marriage, and whether you are therefore safe to not go on any contraception. Maybe condoms might be a middle ground between going on some more permanent contraception such as the pill, and having nothing at all. The act of having to put on a condom will also give you a moment of practicality to check if you are making the right decision as a couple to go ahead with penetrative sex.
There will be good reasons why you decided in the non-steamy moments not to go this far, and they will be worth remembering.
"A friend from church has told me in confidence that he has a collection of sexual images of children on his computer that he feels guilty about and wants prayer for. He has never touched a child himself sexually. He doesn’t want to look at them any more. Should I tell him to destroy his computer and then stand with him in prayer to not relapse? What should I do to help him?"
No. You will then be committing a crime yourself – perverting the course of justice. A collection could be multiple thousands of images, every one a real child who has been sexually abused in the taking of those images, every child in need of protection. You should go to your nearest police station without telling him or anyone else before you do so. Tell the police everything you know. He can be helped and supported through and in the process of justice, but without the clarity and authority brought by the law, he will relapse because this is a profound addiction.
He will need very specialist treatment which, if he is convicted, will be part of the probation service response to him. People who view illegal images of children in this way are never fully ‘healed’ from this behaviour. They have to learn to manage it and be managed in it. The behaviour can stop, and of course they can be forgiven by Christ and by those around them, but the vulnerability will always be there.
For further information contact Stop it Now: 0808 1000 900.
"I struggle to take responsibility for my sexual actions, and constantly find someone else to blame."
You will be getting a pay-off from blaming others: being a victim makes you right and others wrong, it gives you a safer outlet for your original anger than hitting the true target. But the cost will always be greater than the pay-off.
You may be right; someone else may be to blame for this pattern of yours. So how long will you continue to give them power over your life? Forget being a responsible adult; just know that you are response-able. Viktor Frankl observed through his experience of surviving the Holocaust concentration camps that what distinguishes humans from animals is that we are able to choose our response in any situation, however extreme. It’s your choice.