I am eighteen years old… and have a girlfriend…. We both attend the university…. I want our relationship to have a purpose: to end in marriage. I don’t want to play with her feelings, but I also don’t want to do things that are immoral. My question is: What should I as a man do to avoid any temptation that could lead us to sin?
We talked about meeting in a place where we could be together privately… and we shared nude photos with each another. We didn’t end up meeting that way, nor did we have a sexual encounter physically… but if I don’t do something, the worst could happen…. I don’t know how to tell her that these things are bothering me because they pull us away from God….

Dear Friend,
We are impressed with your desire to follow God and do things His way. We agree that you should be concerned about the consequences of having a physical relationship with your girlfriend. And we agree that you need to take preventative measures now before you make a mistake that you will regret for the rest of your life.
You and your girlfriend have already interchanged nude photos of yourselves. Unfortunately, this is a sign that the two of you are focused on the physical rather than the emotional. You might deny that this is true, because you feel quite emotional when seeing the photos of your girlfriend. However, that kind of emotion is purely lust. It is not love, nor does it increase your love for one another. On the contrary, it is detrimental to your relationship.
Couples who spend their time communicating and getting to know one another’s story, their priorities, their preferences, and their life goals are progressing in their relationships. Conversely, those who engage in a sexual relationship spend their time focusing on achieving physical pleasure rather than on deepening the emotional connection. They are setting a course for a shallow and unfulfilling relationship.
Movies and books strongly emphasize the physical interactions between couples. Those who are reading or watching those stories are led to believe that physical attraction is the confirmation of true love.
Unfortunately, that myth has caused more divorces and heartache than we can imagine. Physical attraction comes easily to most people, but deep meaningful communication can be difficult. Those whose relationship is built on physical attraction have almost no chance of a long and happy life together. On the other hand, those relationships that are built on deep and sincere friendship, accompanied by physical attraction, have an excellent chance of building a great life together.
If you believe that you really love your girlfriend, you can still save your relationship. Refuse to take her to places where you will have privacy. Tell her that you respect her purity and you will not take that from her. Refuse to take indecent photos of yourself, and ask her not to send any to you. (Both of you should be concerned about those photos existing at all, since they could be hacked and shared with others.) Most importantly, openly share with her your desire to build your relationship according to God’s design.
We wish you well,