Remain celibate while dating

As much as some of my closest friends and family - my own mother even. A year ago, I published Chastened, a memoir detailing my decision to voluntarily spend 12 months living and loving without sex.

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Shortly before turning 30, I was in New York visiting friends when I happened to bump into my university ex with his new fiancée, doing a spot of holiday engagement-ring shopping on Fifth Avenue.

The words 'I love you' carried the same forbidden frisson that sex once held for our grandparents.

Deciding to ban sex from my life for a year was a drastic response to the kind of dating woes plenty of women put up with.

It's OK to express your love in little ways, but don't start messing with the package that is sex. In fact, with the way advertising and Hollywood exploit sex, it would be impossible to think about it. Soap operas, certain songs, books, television shows, movies and Web sites only turn up the pressure. 5) Make a promise to God, and daily renew your commitment.

To get really practical, avoid French kissing and petting—anything that is sure to ignite the fires of passion. Feeding your thought life with junk only makes it harder to remain pure in your actions. Decide where you're going to draw the line, and tell God that with his help, you are not going to cross that line until marriage. The Bible says it's a serious thing to make a vow to God.

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