Reality TV star talks love, dating and God

Published 9:59 pm Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jason Illian, a former contestant on “The Bachelorette,” speaks to students and parents at Washington’s First United Methodist Church on Thursday night. (WDN Photo/Edwin Modlin II)

One former reality-television sensation was in Washington to convey the message of his faith and about the importance of waiting to have sex until marriage to area youth.

Jason Illian, a former contestant on “The Bachelorette,” came to Washington to speak to students and parents at Washington’s First United Methodist Church on Thursday and again at the Beaufort County Shrine Club early Friday morning. He talked to youth č and adults, too č about love, sex, dating and God.

He addressed students’ questions about sex and relationships. He told them that sex is not the same as love and that he didn’t have sex until he married when he was 30 years old.

When asked about being on “The Bachelorette,” Illian said, “They (producers) didn’t want me on the show because I was Jason Illian. They wanted me on the show because of my beliefs in God and the fact I was a virgin. They looked at me like they’d never seen one before, like I was an endangered species or something.”

Illian said there were three things he learned growing up that helped him in life. One of those things is to “stay put when you’re lost.”

“When you’re lost and you’re flailing about,” he said, “you tend to do random things without focus. Stay put. If you’re lost, your loved ones will come find you, so stay put.”

The second and third points he covered were to be together and to stay vertical.

“It’s OK to kiss,” he said, “but don’t lay down. Stay vertical. If you lay down, that’s when all the hormones rush to your head and you don’t think clearly. So, stay vertical.

“You know how some guys say they ‘need’ sex? Well, in all my years of study and research and living life, I have never once come across an incident that a guy has spontaneously combusted and died because of not having sex.”

He said a child’s life can be difficult when her or she feels he or she can’t talk to his or her parents, which is normal. Just sit down and have a talk, he said.

Illian said it’s been great coming to Washington and speaking with students and parents.

“I actually grew up in a small town,” he said. “So, I’m a little more passionate about letting others know the importance of waiting (to have sex) until marriage.”

Illian said things are different now then when he grew up less than 15 years ago because of the influence of the digital world, such as having the Internet so accessible and providing access to anyone.

“So, young people today not only have the challenges we faced growing up, but also the easy access to even more influences at their fingertips,” he said. “So, it’s tougher for them these days than it was for us.”

Illian said he hopes students he talks to find it easier to talk to their parents about sensitive topics in the future because those topics influence their futures.

Illian, who has two children, has traveled to all 50 states to deliver his message. Once, he spoke at more than 50 events a year. Now, he limits himself to a few events a year.

“Part of my ministry is giving back, so I choose a dozen or so places a year and speak to them so they can speak forward to the next generation,” he said.

Illian said the technical company he manages, Social Books, is releasing a Bible application to make it easy to download passages from the Bible directly to a cell phone.

“For example, if you underline a verse of the Bible, you can import your Facebook into your e-mail contacts and I can see your verse when it’s underlined,” he said.