Bob DeMoss is known as a youth culture expert, but his book Sex and the Single Person (Zondervan, 1995) spans generation gaps to hit single adults of all ages who struggle to balance their need for intimacy with their desire for abstinence. DeMoss wrote the book as a 37-year-old, never-married single man in the mid-'90s, but his advice is timeless. (DeMoss has since married.)

"Thankfully, by [God's] grace," he wrote, " I'm still a virgin at 37 - even though at times I feel like the last American virgin." What he has to say is sound counsel for singles who are committed to sexual purity and those who have tried the "free sex" movement and found it to be more about bondage than freedom.

The author says he was blessed even as a youth with a strong, committed relationship with Christ. Still, he says, "All of life requires restraint. I'm puzzled why so few have the inner strength to exercise some small measure of discipline when it comes to their sexuality."

Well, for those who'd like to tell him why -- he's got some practical and proven suggestions. He doesn't condemn or get preachy. He just advocates using a lot of common sense. Given the continued escalation of sexually transmitted diseases, DeMoss makes even more sense now than when he was writing the book.

He debunks such secular wisdom as the false premise that "no guy can wait until marriage, so why not just practice safe sex."

A recurring theme is that the individual must realize and accept the mature position that sex is not "all about me!" DeMoss is effective -- and repetitious -- in articulating this principle: "Marriage and sex should not be our objective -- rather, becoming a godly lover [in marriage] is the goal."

Poignant real-life illustrations, an occasional light touch and humor help convey the extent to which we've bought into the world's ideas about sex and marriage. For example, he advises readers to learn how to be "an awesome, godly lover from those who are doing it right. (Hint: few marriages in Hollywood qualify.)"

The following chapter is "Sex and Intimacy: Listening to Those Who Are Married." He recounts interviews with couples whose marriages have stood the tests of time and trials. In the same chapter, he says too many ask, "What can I get from my date?" not "What can I give?"

He responds to Ann Landers' best wisdom that "for some, abstinence is not a realistic alternative. Self-control is certainly a virtue, but unfortunately, it often fails when confronted with the urge to merge."

DeMoss' response: "Permit me a healthy gag, Ann." He insists that singles can indeed maintain abstinence if they so desire. Sex is not an overpowering force that manipulates us like mindless pawns on a chessboard. People do have self-control.

"How to Handle Those Hormones" talks a lot about communication as a key to maintaining purity in a relationship. If both man and woman know each other's standards and boundaries, both will be more protective of each other as well as of themselves. He lists five quick trade secrets: know your bottom line, communicate your position, stick by your convictions, avoid compromising circumstances, and bolt like a bat. Pretty simple, really, but proven effective.

Readers should not avoid the last section -- "Dating in the Nineties: Applying Intimacy, Avoiding Disease." It is more relevant and practical in this decade than in the last. The truths that DeMoss identifies will easily resound with any single, man or woman, who is not self-obsessed.

Promiscuity or purity? The latter makes a whole lot more sense.


Randall Murphree, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is single and the editor of AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.