Flirting with Danger
About the Guest
Dennis Rainey talks with Michael and Hayley DiMarco, authors of the book Technical Virgin, about a teen's need to draw boundaries in relationships with the opposite sex.
Michael and Hayley DiMarco talk about a teen’s need to draw boundaries in relationships with the opposite sex.
Flirting with Danger
Bob: You know a guy may sound like he’s sincere—like he’s telling the truth.
Man No. 1: We’ve been together for six months. I need to know that you are really mine.
Man No. 2: I think it’s time we take our relationship to the next level.
Bob: But Hayley DiMarco says, “Be careful.”
Hayley: There is a statement that I would like to make—that: “Guys will lie to get what they want, and what they want is sex.” Now, that’s shocking to, I know, parents of teenage boys—and, “Not my son! That’s not true.” But really, what that means is that guys are sexual beings—especially, high school boys are very hormonal. They’re thinking continually about sex.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, May 20th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. We’re going to tell you the truth today when it comes to issues like virginity, purity, modesty, and teenagers. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition. This is going to bring a smile to the faces of some of our FamilyLife Today listeners—and especially those who have taken a son or daughter on a Passport2Purity® weekend. This is a resource FamilyLife put together that is a weekend kit for a mom and a daughter or a father and a son to have a getaway weekend with your preteen and talk about peer pressure, and talk about dating, talk about “the birds and the bees.”
This is a drama that we put together so that parents and children could listen to it together and work on developing convictions about how far a young person ought to go, sexually, with a member of the opposite sex.
Narrator: Once upon a time, in a domain far, far away, a shrewd queen ruled sovereign. [Cheering from subjects]
The queen loved to be out among her people. During times of peace in the kingdom of Ambrose, she would ride on her royal traveling throne. She would wave to children / pronounce good wishes upon the subjects as she was carried about on the broad shoulders of the six most honorable knights in the kingdom.
Girl: Oh, look at the abs on that one! [Record scratching]
Narrator: Well; well. During times of war, these six were called upon to fight for the realm. In the Battle of Weeping Glen, Vincent the Brave left this mortal world protecting a peasant widow from a fiery arrow.
Vincent the Brave: [Yelling] Does this mean I'm dead?
Narrator: Yes, yes, yes.
Vincent the Brave: Oh, goodbye. [Woman screams]
Narrator: After a period of mourning, the queen desired to visit among her people again. It was time to choose Vincent's successor. [Crowd noises / trumpets blare]
Herald: Citizens of Ambrose—
—her royal highness, the queen!
Crowd: [Cheering] God, save the queen!
Queen: And may God save you. Knights of Ambrose, I have summoned you here today because I require one of you to serve in my court, to bear me upon my throne and to advise me in matters of state. Sir Arnold.
Sir Arnold: [Swedish accent] Yah, my queen.
Queen: Would you like to serve in my court?
Sir Arnold: Oh, yah, your highness. It would please me greatly.
Queen: Very well, I know you to be strong, Sir Arnold. You need only answer this question: “If you were carrying my throne around Ambrose Cliff, where the path is narrow, how close to the edge would you go?”
Sir Arnold: Milady, it is—as you say, I am very strong. I could carry you within one foot of the cliff. [Applause]
Queen: I see. Sir Jarrod?
Sir Jarrod: My queen, I am your servant.
Queen: What say you? How close to the edge of the cliff would you carry my throne?
Sir Jarrod: I am as strong as Arnold, but I—I possess perfect balance. I could carry your throne within six inches of the edge. [Applause]
Sir Arnold: My queen, my queen, I could carry you within three inches of the edge.
Sir Jarrod: Could not.
Sir Arnold: Yes, I could.
Sir Jarrod: Could not.
Sir Arnold: I could.
Sir Jarrod: You big oaf, you could not—
Queen: Silence! Sir Connor, what would you do?
Sir Connor: Your highness, were I granted the honor of carrying you on my shoulders, I would go nowhere near the edge of Ambrose Cliff.
Sir Connor: You've kept us safe from our enemies. You have fed your kingdom from your storehouses. You have prayed for our peace. Your life is far too precious. I would never put you in danger.
Queen: Sir Connor the Wise—
—will you serve in my court?
Sir Connor: It would be my honor. [Applause]
Bob: That's kind of like Masterpiece Theater meets Monty Python; don't you think? [Laughter]
Dennis: But, you know, Bob, the interesting thing is today—and we were just talking, here, as we came on the air—most young people today don't view the cliff as in having intercourse with the opposite sex as truly a cliff. They think it's a waterslide. They think it's some kind of fun recreation that is just going to be a fun, pleasurable deal.
Bob: And nobody gets hurt; right?
Dennis: That's right; that's exactly right. Well, today, we have some guests again with us who have been talking with us about helping to protect the innocence, and virginity, and modesty, and purity of young people today.
Bob: [Imitating one of the knights] That is correct. We have Sir Michael and Lady Hayley joining us.
Dennis: The DiMarcos join us on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back.
Michael: Thanks. It's good to be here—
Hayley: Thanks, yes.
Michael: —even if it's in a court jester role. [Laughter]
Dennis: No doubt about it. Michael is the CEO of Hungry Planet, and Hayley is the chief creative officer.
Hayley: That’s right.
Dennis: She’s also the chief mother of a little girl.
Hayley: Primarily, the chief mother—the chief creative mother.
Dennis: Yes, but Hayley has written a book called Technical Virgin: How Far Is Too Far? As you listened to that talking about the edge of the cliff—young people today really do need to know there is an edge of the cliff. They also need to know how to stay away from it; don't they?
Hayley: Well, right. You know, that's something I think we talked about the last time we talked; and that is, “Where do they draw that line?” When you're talking about a cliff, how close can you get? Three inches, six inches—where do we decide? A lot of times we want to tell them: "Here is the line. This is where we want you to go."
But, as I think I mentioned earlier, they can tend to fall over it if you assign the line. But if you can sit down, and talk with them, and really use just the story that we just heard and talk about “How far do you think you should get to the cliff?”—when a teenager can make up that decision, on their own, with discussion with their parents—they're much more likely to stick to it than they are to slip down that cliff.
Dennis: And that's what we try to do in Passport2Purity—when a mom and a daughter or a father and a son—get away as these children turn 11, 12—maybe, 13.
Bob: And yet, the challenge for a lot of these kids is they can say, "This is where I want to draw the line," when they're sitting down and talking with Mom and Dad. Then, when they're 15, and they're at a party, and there's a cute boy or a cute girl—all of a sudden, they go, "Did I really want to draw the line there?" That's where it really gets tested; doesn't it?
Hayley: It does. That happens for all of us. I mean, I think everybody goes through that testing phase. When you're a teenager, your hormones are raging. It's very difficult, but that's why you have to have an understanding of God's Word—
—which, for me, that was what really helped keep me on the straight and narrow because I knew, ultimately, who I had to report to.
Dennis: Hayley, you mentioned something in your book that is, I think, pretty controversial. It's going to be controversial; especially, with teenage girls. You talk about flirtation. Let's interact because I think there are some moms and dads—probably, a few single women—listening to FamilyLife Today, right now, who need to hear how you would define flirtation and why you think it's dangerous.
Hayley: Well, there are different levels of flirtation. There are things that girls are doing that they might not even consider flirtation—that they don't even realize might be a problem in their relationship with guys.
There are several things that we do when we’re with guys that we just think are pleasurable, fun—have nothing to do with sex. For example, massages. You see a lot—even at schools—you see a lot of times guys giving girls shoulder massages / back massages. They're just sitting at the lunch table or something—in bleachers.
Dennis: I've seen this in youth groups at church.
Hayley: Oh, you see it all the time! It seems like it's no big deal.
I mean, you're helping somebody out who has a sore muscle. But the truth of the matter is—that is foreplay because what girls have to understand is guys are turned on sexually much more easily by what they see and by what they touch than girls are. And when a guy is giving a girl a massage, it's a sexual thing.
If you go to your boyfriend and say, "I heard that when you're giving me a massage, it's a sexual thing." He says: "Oh, no, it's not at all! I mean, I'm just giving you a back rub.” He's lying.
Dennis: He's lying.
Hayley: And you know how you can find out? Ask him if he gives it to his guy friends: “Do you give massages in the locker room, then?” [Laughter] He would be, like: "No way! Are you kidding?"
Michael: “I give all my buddies foot massages. No, it's no problem.”
Dennis: “Do you give your mama a massage?”
Hayley: That's right; your granny? No, because it's a sexual thing; and boy, your mind is racing.
Dennis: And you know the thing is, Hayley, as parents, you can’t be—
—and I think there are some parents who are going to cringe at this—but you can’t be too involved in your kids’ lives to know what’s going on. I know of a family whose children went to a youth group getaway—now, this is an overnight—a Friday night / Saturday night youth getaway that has a spiritual emphasis—
Bob: A church group thing.
Dennis: Church group.
Dennis: Great church. We’re not talking about some church that’s a cult or something. We’re talking about an evangelical church that challenges kids toward moral purity. You know where the kids slept? Out on the basketball—
Dennis: Yes. Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl—lined up like loaves of bread.
Hayley: Oh man!
Dennis: And the thing is—youth group leaders, I think, are young men and women who have high, noble goals and intentions to love these youth; but they are not parents yet. They don’t know what all is going on in those young people’s lives and the battle that parents have—
—in terms of keeping their children pure all the way to the wedding altar.
Bob: Let me tell you about something that has become a point of discussion as we’ve been raising our children: It’s the whole issue of hugging. Now, in evangelical youth groups, that’s an expression of brotherly affection for one another. I’ve had my kids say, “You know, I’ll give my guy friends a hug; and I’ll give my girl friends a hug.” You know it’s a—the massage line doesn’t work there.
Bob: But I remember, being a kid. I remember hugging a girl—
Hayley: —a girl—it feels a little different.
Bob: —and I remember going—
Dennis: —“I like this!”
Bob: —“I like this!”
Bob: And that’s a hard conversation—you know, you have that with your kids—and they go: “Oh, maybe, it was for you;—
Bob: —“but it’s not for me. It’s different today, Dad.”
Hayley: Well, that’s the hard part, I think, for when parents are talking to kids because that’s always what they’re going to do to you. They’re going to roll their eyes because you’re the dad or you’re the mom. You know: “Things are different. I don’t feel like that,”—which is why I think these kinds of books—like Technical Virgin—
—are effective because they are hearing it from somebody who is not a parent and who puts in a way that they can’t get away from.
Like the idea of a massage—if you ask a guy why he doesn’t do this or that with his guy friend, you’re going to find out the truth behind it. The hugging, obviously, seems completely innocuous and different; but we really have to get back to the bottom line of—that we are not allowed—we are called not to lead our brothers to stumble.
And if we know—if, as girls, we know that guys are easily excited, sexually—especially, when they’re teenagers—their hormones are raging. We have to believe that when we hear it from our parents and from books. When we know that’s the case, then, we have to do everything we can—take all the precautions not to lead his mind to wander to that place of lust and, therefore, sin.
Dennis: Okay, I've got a hard question for Michael. You ready for this?
Michael: Bring it on.
Dennis: You and Hayley dated a little later in life.
Michael: Yes, with our walkers and our wheelchairs. [Laughter]
Dennis: Not that late.
Bob: How old were you when you guys first started dating?
Michael: How old was I? I’m not going to say how old she was—37.
Bob: You were mid-30s. Hayley, you were somewhere near that; right?
Hayley: I was pretty near that.
Bob: Yes, alright.
Dennis: Okay; alright.
Michael: Not going there.
Dennis: Alright, here’s my question. You guys weren’t over the hill.
Dennis: We're not saying these limits, and these standards, and these boundaries ought to be other people’s. I just want to know what yours were.
Michael: One way of showing what our boundaries were was how quickly we got married. [Laughter] We got married in less than a year from when we started dating.
Hayley: It was the Paul's, you know—
Bob: “Better to marry than burn”; right?
Hayley: That's right.
Michael: That's right; that's right.
Hayley: We were burning. We knew that it was time. But we were, again—that sounds like we're telling people to let their kids marry as soon as they start to burn with lust. We were in our 30s and very well-prepared to be married.
Dennis: There would be a lot of 13 who would be getting married if the only qualification was burning.
Michael: Right. Also, you know, part of our story was—I was living in Washington State, and Hayley was in Tennessee.
The long-distance aspect really allowed us an extra layer of protection in distance—just because there was that getting to know each other with our hormones in different time zones.
Bob: And we should say that standard that the two of you held in your relationship was—how should I put this—a repentant standard from previous behaviors; right?
Michael: Well, yes—not only repentant—but also mindful of God's grace in giving us that fresh start. You can’t argue against that.
Dennis: And I hate to go back on this question, but did you really answer my question about what your standards were—
Dennis: —when you guys—when you and Hayley were dating?
Michael: Our standards were the same as in Hayley’s books on dating; and that is, “Don’t do anything that wouldn’t do in front of your grandmother.” [Laughter]
Dennis: I’m trying to think of how a teenage young man might twist that somehow—
Michael: There are always loopholes.
Bob: —“My grandmother’s deaf and blind.” [Laughter]
Hayley: Well, that’s a good one.
Bob: Let me ask this question because—and this is a serious one because we get these emails from a mom who will write and say: "My husband and I have just learned that our 16-year-old / that our 17-year-old—we knew that she had been dating this guy. We knew they liked each other. We don't allow them to date. We've raised them with standards. We've done all of this. We've just learned that they've been intimate. What should we do?"
Hayley: It's ironic because I got an email that stated that exact same thing, except it was from the girl herself, who had had problems with her boyfriend. Her mother had got her the Technical Virgin book. She started reading it and realized what had happened.
I think the first thing to do is to voice to them an understanding of forgiveness from God because that's what all of us are feeling when girls live with a biblical model, and they understand it, and they make a mistake—which is what you're saying. She was raised well, it sounds like, as this girl was.
This girl that I'm talking about had been to, I think, something like three True Love Waits conferences. She understood it, but she slipped up. So, we have to share forgiveness with them—allow them to confess it to us, and then forgive. Then, that, in turn, obviously leads to repentance—is what we have to call them to. So, I think that we have to continue to keep them in situations where that can't happen; but the guilt usually overwhelms them. What we find is one of them usually breaks up because the guilt is too much.
Michael, did you want to say something?
Michael: Well, it's not just the guilt; but a lot of times, what the girl finds out is that the guy just doesn't want to deal with the situation anymore. It's too much trouble. He's been found out—it’s ruined.
One of the things Hayley said earlier, "Guys will lie to get what they want, and what they want is sex."
The second thing that they want is admiration. Guys want to be admired. They want to be—and it goes back to that chivalry thing. Well, you're not really admired by your girlfriend's parents if you've jeopardized her virginity and her purity. Typically, if parents just highly monitor both parties, the relationship typically ends, anyway.
Bob: And what about the couple that you've just found out, and they're not repentant. They don't feel guilty. In fact, they're saying: "We're cool with this. We don't embrace your standards, Mom and Dad. That's how we were brought up, but we feel differently."
Hayley: Well, I'm not a parenting expert. So, I hesitate to dive into saying, “This is how you should parent"; but I am a teen expert. So, I can let parents know, from a teen perspective.
When they get to that age—the teenage years—they are making a lot of decisions on their own. All day long, they're making adult decisions. They are learning on adult levels. They're reading Dostoyevsky. They're studying high concepts.
To forbid them to see one another just makes it more tantalizing. So, it's really hard. You cannot—unless you were moving to another city, how are you going to keep them apart? If they're in school, they're going to see one another; but it's very difficult from that perspective.
Dennis: You can't force obedience. You're raising your children, ultimately, to become independent—to have their own walk with Christ. And what you have to, I think, do in that situation, Bob, is you have to begin praying that God will get their attention because, as a parent, it may be out of your hands.
Hayley: That’s right.
Dennis: You may have given all the lectures, given all the warnings, given all the challenges; and yet, in the end, it is the Lord God who takes His Word and puts it in a person's heart and helps it become personal conviction.
Hayley: That’s right.
Dennis: Back to that couple, who are teachable—I just have a couple of things I'd say. Number one—use the opportunity to explain grace and forgiveness. I find, within the Christian community, we talk a good bit about grace and forgiveness—but when it comes down to truly making a tragic mistake—like premarital sex or involvement—we don't know how to apply it, from a biblical standpoint—and help our young people experience it, and help them feel forgiven by us, and help them know that they're not being judged but that there is grace, and mercy, and there is cleansing. That's what the gospel is all about.
A second thing I do is—I would want to talk to both of them. If it was my daughter, I'd have the conversation with her. I'd have the conversation, separately, with the young man—one, just to confirm the story. I'd want to find out the truth because, sometimes when sin is found out, it gets exposed like an onion.
Michael: You peel layers.
Dennis: One layer at a time because of shame, and guilt, and, "Gosh, I just don't want to tell the whole story." You really do need to come completely clean.
But then, thirdly, after you've heard it, help the couple build some boundaries and protection for one another, if they do move forward in the relationship. I'm with you, Hayley—a lot of them do break up because the relationship has been focused on the wrong thing. They can't turn the corner back to just having a heart-to-heart relationship that's non-physical.
You may need to help your children, at that point, and take a little bit different view of dating; but that's where a book like yours is so valuable and why every parent, I think, ought to get a copy of this—and I think kind of read it together.
Bob: That's exactly what I was thinking. Hopefully, you’ve already had conversations with your daughter and reading through a book like Technical Virgin isn’t the first time you’re having a conversation like this.
In fact, our hope is that moms and daughters or dads and sons will have gone through a Passport2Purity weekend before their sons or daughters hit adolescence—before the hormones kick in. You get a weekend away where you go do something fun together. Along the way, you listen to some CDs, where Dennis and Barbara Rainey are talking about peer pressure, and talking about dating, and talking about “the birds and the bees,” and all of the issues that are going to come up during the adolescent years. Then, that weekend becomes foundational for ongoing conversations. It makes it possible to say, “Why don’t we go through a book like Hayley DiMarco’s book, Technical Virgin?”, or, “….the book that Michael and Hayley have written together called True Purity?” These are resources designed for parents and teens to interact around.
And you can get information about all of these resources on our website. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com. In the upper left-hand corner of the website, you’ll see a link that says, “Go Deeper.”
That’ll take you to the area of the site where you can find out more about the books by Michael and Hayley DiMarco and about the Passport2Purity material that we’ve developed, here, at FamilyLife. Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link that says, “Go Deeper.” You can order these resources from us, online, or just get more information. Then, call if you’d like to order: 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.” Just ask about the books by Michael and Hayley DiMarco or about the Passport2Purity material when you get in touch with us. We hope that these resources can help you as you have ongoing dialogue with your sons and daughters on these issues of purity.
And real quickly, let me just remind our listeners about the opportunity that’s available to them this month. Between now and Father’s Day, any donation you make to FamilyLife Today—
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Go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click in the upper right-hand corner of the webpage where it says, “I Care.” You can make an online donation. Or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make your donation over the phone. Or if you’d prefer to write a check and mail it to us, here is the mailing address: FamilyLife Today, P O Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. And the zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to talk about how churches and families can work together on issues like we’ve talked about today. What can a church do to help equip husbands and wives and moms and dads to have a stronger marriage and a healthier family? Pastor Jack Hibbs and his wife, Lisa, from Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills, California, are going to be joining us tomorrow. Hope you can tune in as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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