:  Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view.  If you’ve got a question about anything related to singleness, please CLICK HERE to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).

QUESTION:  I am a middle-aged woman and a strong follower of Christ.  I have had sexual addiction problems and never had a “real” date—it had always been just straight to the bed.  While I know that some of my flirtatious behavior at times is totally wrong, God give us the desire to be sexual and I believe being flirtatious is okay.  How does a woman let a man know that she is interested in him and not cause lust?

HE SAID:  By the manner in which you phrased your question, there appears to be a number of issues you are struggling with besides not knowing how to show a man you are interested in him.  Lust, ungodly relationships, flirting and sexual temptations are common battles even for those who are strong followers of Christ.  These can be many of our biggest obstacles to godliness.

Paul gives us the following counsel for our relationships:

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:  that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him (1 Thess. 4:3-6a).

In regards to having had sexual addiction problems, nearly all addictions—including those of a sexual nature—necessitate the need for professionals to guide you through.  Most recovery programs set up a “step” program to follow in order to gain control over the compulsion.  Many addictions are never completely defeated, but rather carefully managed throughout a lifetime.

Likewise, in order to maintain a discipline of purity in our lives, we must set up our own personal step program which includes accountability, prayer, Scripture memorization, and barriers to temptations.  Our lack of restraint will not only cause emotional and spiritual harm to ourselves, but also impact those we interact with.

According to Wikipedia.org:

  • Flirting is a form of human interaction between two people, expressing a romantic and/or sexual interest.
  • Sex addicts repeatedly and compulsively try to connect with others through highly impersonal intimate behaviors … empty affairs. …

Flirtatious behavior, as you mention in your question, can be used in a manner that is totally wrong.  Flirtation, although flattering for some, can arouse certain behavior that is contrary to how God wants us to live our lives.  You have experienced the results of how it can negatively contribute to those who may not have the same values, morals, and control that you desire.

Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor. 6:12).

“Harmless” flirtation may be permissible; however it is not beneficial to those who are susceptible to sexual temptation.  We, as Christians, must know our own limitations and those of our brothers so we don’t cause either to fall into temptation.

I agree that God gave us the desire to be sexual.  He created us as sexual beings for the purpose of glorifying Him and procreating within the borders and covenant of marriage.  However we must only engage in sex within these boundaries.