It’s NOT Just a Bunny

Most people don’t understand the power of sex. Our culture has poisoned their thinking and they’ve bought the lie that sex is just something you do because it’s exciting and feels good. Most people are totally unaware of the consequences of being sexually involved with another person.

In previous blog posts, I wrote about the power of “sexual imprinting” and how “sex can make you stupid”. But as I keep hearing more and more stories of couples who are having troubles when it comes to their sex lives, I’m convinced that we are clueless about the ramifications of sex done the wrong way instead of the right way—God’s way. We have to start connecting the dots, folks. How you behave sexually outside of marriage has an impact on sex inside your marriage. It’s an important message that we must get out to our Christian young people.

Dr. Kenneth Ryan has written a great book titled, Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads. I highly recommend it for all single women and for parents of teenage girls. The book explains how to date the right way in order to “find a quality guy without getting your heart shredded”. A large portion of it is dedicated to telling young women how handle themselves when it comes to sex and the importance of doing it right prior to marriage.

Dr. Ryan draws a brilliant analogy that drive home the point of how illicit sex has consequences:

In a classic ridiculous movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there is a scene in which a supposedly horrible beast is guarding a cave. The knights have heard horror stories about its ferocity, having been told, “It has long claws and horrible fangs. It is a hideous monster,” so they approach the cave with great fear and caution. But all they see is a little bunny hopping around in front of the cave. “It’s just a bunny,” the first knight says in a British accent filled with derision. He approaches the cave casually and the bunny leaps to his throat biting and killing the knight. More knights follow and are slaughtered by the fake-looking killer bunny. It is a classic moment in movie comedy.

Sex outside of marriage is like the bunny. It looks like a harmless, fuzzy thing that you would want to cuddle. It looks warm, friendly, and desirable. People who warn against the dangers of sex while single are usually considered radical nuts, out of step with modern times. The derision is similar to that of the knights just before they were slaughtered. Many people hear the warnings about premarital sex and think they are not susceptible to its powers. You are surrounded by movies, magazines, TV shows, and friends who all deal with dating sex as if it is a harmless little fluff ball, nothing but fun. Any negative consequences are ignored or laughed at. Everyone seems to think sex is “just a little bunny” until it is too late.

Far too many people have fallen prey to the fuzzy little bunny of sex, not thinking that it can actually do a ton of damage. This isn’t about condemning people but rather, we need to teach and warn others…especially our young people. You have to talk to your kids and warn them of the potential damage they face and the probability that they will impact their future sex lives when they become sexually active outside of marriage.

People who have had several partners, had all kinds of sexual experiences, used pornography, gotten into masturbation, or ventured into homosexual behavior, etc. have all sorts of imprinting and images stuck in their heads. There are memories and associations in their minds from all they have seen and done. Often people ask me, “Pastor, how do I get rid of these things so that my spouse and I can have a normal sex life?”

Now, this will really depress a lot of people—not that I’m here to depress you all—but the truth of the matter is you may never get rid of these images or feelings. One of the problems we have in Christianity is that because we believe in healing and restoration, people live casually. They think that what they do won’t matter because Jesus will heal it all and make it okay.

The reason so many churches don’t speak out about sexual sin is because Christians think it’s not big deal since once you get saved and ask Jesus to forgive you He’ll just heal it and it will all be gone. But that’s simply not true. Those of you who have been down this path, have you noticed the pictures never go away? You may be serving Jesus for 30 years and be living as pure as the wind driven snow, but sometimes you might be having sex with your spouse and you’ll still remember having sex with someone else. There are woman and men who love their husbands and wives deeply. Yet, if they are honest, they’ll admit that those thoughts still intrude into their minds even years later. They still remember it. A sound, a smell, a touch can all trigger a memory or an image in your mind. It’s not something you can just do casually without repercussions. This is why the bible says don’t do it.

Paul warns us to flee from sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:18 because “All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” What he is saying is that you hurt yourself, you sin against yourself and there is damage done to your own mind and body when you do this.

When you go down this path it’s going to be harder for you and at some level, you may struggle for the rest of your life. There is no magic formula or pixie dust or special prayer that you can say to make the residual consequences disappear. I know that people get upset when I say this, but it’s true. It’s like if you commit murder and then repent and ask God to forgive you, He will. You can even ask the victim’s family to forgive you and they will…but you still have to serve your time in prison. Why? Because even though there is forgiveness, there are still consequences. You can ask God to forgive you of your sexual sin and in your standing before Him, it’s like it never happened. But in your body and in your mind there are consequences to that sin.

Scripture tells us we can renew our minds and take our thoughts captive and that is what people who have done these things have to do. Again, I’m not condemning people but trying to point out the importance of telling your kids and our young people about this. They need to know this is a big deal and that they can’t casually have sexual experiences before they’re married thinking they will just forget it all when “the right one comes along”. You don’t forget it. You can be haunted by the images and the experiences for the rest of your life.

Sexual experience are highly imprinting even if you are not serious about it. Your brain and body don’t know that it “doesn’t really mean anything” and that you aren’t serious and just messing around. There is hope and you are not doomed, but it will require a lot of intentionality, a lot of resistance, a lot of energy fighting the thoughts, feelings and temptations because of your past. You can heal and have a meaningful life, but there is no magic wand to wave to make it like it never happened. People who don’t go there, the ones who do sex right in the context of marriage, don’t struggle with these things.

That is why churches need to talk about this. We should all be driven to teach the truth and quit giving the picture that Jesus will just make things all better…especially those who have been down this road and know what I’m talking about. We must start connecting the dots and realize that sex is very powerful and it’s a really big deal outside of marriage.

Remember the analogy…it’s not just a bunny.

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24 Responses to “It’s NOT Just a Bunny”

  1. Siân Garner-Jones (@MademoiselleSJ) says:

    I honest to goodness wish that I’d known half of this stuff before I landed in the mess I did. It’s all informative NOW, and will help in the battle ahead as I fight for purity again, but it would have helped so much more if I’d known more than just the physical act when I first got tangled on the dating sites (by accident) and when my friend taught me about masturbation…
    If there’s anything I want it’s to stop my kids and hundreds of others going through what I’ve been and will go through.
    Thank you so much for this.

  2. Grp300 says:

    A matter of fact, i think because w e have àn enemy called Satan . We will have a extra attack on our mind. If we had sex before marriage, my ex wife could not connect and it was only lust for her before marriage. After marriage it changed in something spiritual but after years she had a fallback in spirit and it became even not lust, and than she found for someone else to have that connection. I really don’t know if this is because we had sex before marriage, I was her first one. She now divorced me and doesn’t live the Christian life anymore. What will happen to divorced persons, isn’t it important to find someone with who u connect with and how u know, how older u become. How more people u gt. to know who had more partners and sex before marriage. It’s like you can,t find in your thirties a virgin wife and isn’t it fair to have a virgin wife, while I think all man ain’t virgins anymore. I don’t want to generalize but I’m speaking for the most divorced people 30+. It’s hard but I keep my trust in god and look what will come , after 1,5 year not having sexual intercourse. I’m sometimes wondering how it will be and I imagined the lust that I had with my ex wife, cuz I could connect myself with my whole mind. So these real imaginations are still on my mind. And it was also a beautifully woman’s. Sometimes I think if I get a new wife, will not these imagination won’t follow me if she is not that attractive as my ex wife. And finding someone attractive and living christlife and simgle as a divorced single daddy isnt easy. I m not really scares but in the back of my mind I only can use my ex imaginations, I know I need to stop that but it’s the only thing I got,. So I know sex is a bunny, it needs to be the most beautifull thing in the world. I know enough woman who are disappointed in their sex life before and for me it makes it difficult to choose someone like that. They say u don’t choose a woman to have sex with her, but I like mark hunger vision, he said r u choosing a wife to be buddies with her. No he said. I wanna stay single if I look to the messing up of human. Only god gives hope on a better future, he can fix all. But if he will is in his hands.

  3. Cindy says:

    Wow! this is brilliant! I am so thankful for reading it, if only i knew the imprinting consequences when i was young, because ive been down that road myself.
    I wish thre was a way of putting this on TV and in newspapers so every single person would see it and realise what they are doing!
    I am so taking this to the youth group at our church:-)

  4. Jenifer says:

    Dear Mr. Gunger,

    My name is Jen and I am 24 years old and still a virgin.
    The particular topic of having sex before marriage has been on my mind an incredible amount lately. When I was younger I promised God and myself that I would remain abstinent and wait to give myself away until I was married to the man I would be with for the rest of my life.
    However, when I made that promise, as a preteen, I had no idea I would be 24 years old and still unmarried. I have not dated much for the simple fact that I was aware boys wanted sex and wanted little to do with girls who did not provide that. So, I never developed when it came to dating and dealing with the opposite sex in general. Now that I am older, in college, and more confident, I am just now receiving attention from guys, except they are mostly unchristian.
    I have begun to question what I want anymore. I am continuously told that I am still young and have time, but I feel old and have felt unwanted until now.
    Because this topic has been weighing heavily on my mind, I chose to write my English Research Essay on “The Psychological Damages of Premarital Sex.” To try and remind myself why I shouldn’t. While Researching I discovered your articles.

    Yours are the only articles I have found that have truly offered a reminder why it matters to wait.
    Knowledge is not all that is needed to put something into action. Simply knowing it is wrong is not always enough. I understand the repercussions that having sex before marriage causes that I have read about, but they have not helped me make my decision to continue waiting… until I read a few of the articles you have written.
    God has used what you’ve written to remind me about how much better my marriage will be because I’ve waiting and if I continue to wait.
    It still hurts and I know that it will remain difficult, but hearing about the marriages struggling with lust and things because of their previous sexual encounters, I am finally able to see what my only option should be. It is a struggle to be “set apart” but I will try to remember that the rewards are well worth it in the end.

    I thank you for that.

    • Carl says:

      My wife was a virgin until we got married at 31. My daughter is 27 and still a virgin, but getting married a a few months. They are both happy and proud of the fact that they waited and it causes me to love and respect them all the more!

    • Julia says:

      This is actually directed toward Jen and any other young women out there. My first response was to say, “Just don’t think about it.” And I don’t mean from a promiscuous side, but as a matter of practicality. If you think about it all the time, or worry about it all the time, the less happy you will be and the more likely you are to fall–be it for the wrong “man” or into a fling.

      I am still single and a virgin, and I am 31 years old. I have a friend, same scenario, though now she’s a fiancee getting married in October, and she’s either 38 or 39 by now. I’ve dated a few young men, one I even thought quite promising, but it didn’t work and that’s ok. We just both went our separate ways.

      So I guess my message is, do what is right; have that decision firmly made in your mind. Then you don’t have to give it any other consideration or worry. You’ve made your commitment, and you leave everything else in the hands of God–whatever He wills.

      Good luck!

  5. Reddie says:

    WOW!! How true this is! Thanks Mark for bringing this to a real simple head! Its the simplest way to explain such a complicated and controversial subject in the Church today!

    Pastors and Elders can’t hide there heads in the sand, cause it goes underground because they preach “just don’t”! We have to be more proactive in our explanations and our honesty from those who have come through the trap in our congregations! We need to break down the facade of “I’m so Holy” and get real!!

    Good One Mate!

  6. Vicki says:

    The information in this article is so TRUE — not only for teens and pre-marital sex, but the same holds true for infidelity in a marriage. You can never go BACK as if it never happened. The memories, images and hurts are with you for a very long time, if not forever. Sex outside of marriage is never a good thing.

  7. John says:

    This is great stuff and it should be taught in Youth Groups before it even makes it to Sunday Morning. There are so many young people out there who truly have no idea why sex is bad other than being thought of negatively by friends or disappointing the church. Even from a secular viewpoint this would make a LOT of sense

  8. Jim says:

    It is sad that there is not a book for young men on finding a godly young woman. I have a son in his late teens, and so many young women his age are not concerned with what God has created them for, what their calling is, they want to be married, have kids, have a nice house in the suburbs, wear nice clothes, go to church, and be god of their own lives. I think that the coming era is going to need a heart for God to really be a Christian. I think that the book “UnChristian” basically describes our culture, and much of the church. Understanding the power of sex, without knowing the Creator who designed it to be powerful still leaves all sorts of other ways that heartbreak can come into our lives.

  9. Marilyn says:

    I was sexually abused as a child & my step-father taught me to masterbate. For many years now I have a difficult time having an orgasim with my husband unless he stimulates me that way which he doesn’t care to do. I am very frustrated. My husband was a virgin (though he was involved in masterbation before we were married) & he is a great lover but has lost interest in making sure I am also satisfied. He shuts down when I talk to him about it. This has been going on for over 20 years.

  10. Kathy says:

    Thank you, this was a fantastic article. And having seen the film you referenced, that scene is a more than appropriate visual. I’m impressed.

  11. Ann says:

    Pastor Mark,
    This is so amazingly well written. I really appreciate your teaching this as it is encouraging to us as parents to keep teaching our kids to wait for their wedding. Almost all the kids they know have given the gift away carelessly. I will share with them this bunny story. Bless you for blessing us!

  12. Drew Jensen says:

    If you are looking for a resource to teach young men about this subject, I recommend Valiant Man by Lifekeys International (http://www.careforcelifekeys.org/aus/index.php?Itemid=12&amp ;) . While this probably isn’t suitable for adolescents, it tremendously helped me to understand the issues of sexual imprinting on young men, and to be able to better discuss the subject with my teenage sons. I think all fathers of boys should take this course to better understand the pitfalls of sexual imprinting, as well as to better understand and explain to their sons marriage and how to respect and treat women.

  13. Regan Scherencel says:

    I am a pastor who confirms this teaching. My first sexual experience was at age 12, and it left me struggling my entire life. Thanks for telling the candid truth. I share your videos with my churches (Laugh your way series). but would like to know if you have a “Bunny” series available for church teen groups. Thanks so much.

  14. Sherri Hampton says:

    We attended one of Mark Gungor’s seminars (dvd, I believe) at a church in Idaho. We thought it would be a “nice” diversion with some good ideas, but it was truly profound. Especially the “imprinting” part! I think people are ill-equipped to “just say no” to sex before marriage–this is an incredibly important message. Thanks and keep spreading the word! P.S. Thankful that the Bible does offer hope for mind-renewal–as you said, it does take discipline and work.

  15. Ruby says:

    I love that someone like you has been called to stand apart from the current secular culture and, as you point out, some Christian groups and teach God’s truth to bring God’s ways to a needy generation. Thank you for validating my own understanding of God’s intent for sex and for equipping me to teach it to my own children. I know God is already blessing you just by calling you to be his voice.

  16. Edwin G says:

    I totally agree with what you said but I would like to add something that wasn’t mentioned. This will also affect your spouse. When we married I was a virgin. Almost immeadiatly there seemed to be something wrong. She was cold, distant, unfeeling and I couldn’t figure out if I had done something wrong. More than five yrs. into the marriage she finally told me about all the partners she had been with. It was hard to be intimate with me because of all the “movies” that would go on in her head while we made love. We have been saved and we have been married more than 35 years and the problem still remains. So I would like to say to those who are considering sex before marriage that it will greatly affect you, can hurt your spouse and damage your marriage relationship to a great degree.

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