How far can my boyfriend and I go physically before it becomes a sin?
Christians ask this question all the time, so if you are asking this, you are not alone. You are normal and your desires are normal. Being physically attracted to your significant other is a good thing. If you weren’t physically attracted, I would recommend you break up. Our challenge then becomes, what do we do with these desires?
Our churches are filled with conflicting beliefs. Some Christians believe kissing is okay. Others argue you shouldn’t kiss until your wedding day. Some Christians think that everything but vaginal sex is okay. Others argue that sex includes more than vaginal sex. What do we do with these contradictions?
In this post, I will answer ‘How Far is Too Far,’ share some personal stories, and provide some practical tips to live out purity in dating.
Sex is a beautiful gift from God that he created for our pleasure. We must remember that our desires for sex are not bad or sinful. The problem comes when they are acted upon outside of marriage. Because of this, I believe a couple should not go past kissing before marriage. God designed us as sexual beings, and He designed kissing to prepare our bodies for sex. For some of you, kissing may be too far physically. You have to decide for yourself if kissing is something you and your significant other should do. As for other sexual activities, I believe all of them should be saved for marriage.
Why save sexual intimacy for marriage?
Sex is powerful. God created women as intimate relational beings, and when sex is added into the relationship, the two humans are glued together, bonded body and soul. Have you ever had sex outside of marriage and experienced the pain of breaking up after? This is because sex glued you both together physically, emotionally and spiritually and now, you are being pulled apart.
Can you remember in elementary school when playing with glue was fun? My classmates and I would paint glue on both of our hands and then press them together as hard as we could until the glue dried. Remember how it felt to pull them apart? Remember that ripping sensation? When the hands were fully pulled apart, what was left on each hand? Remnants of the glue. It’s never a clean break. Adding sex into a dating or engaged relationship will leave you pulled apart, longing to be back together.
As a woman, I completely understand why you might be thinking, “I’d take the pain as long as I get the love.” In a guy’s arms, we feel so powerfully wanted, loved and beautiful. In that moment, the future possibility of pain seems irrelevant. This was my experience in high school. My boyfriend at the time would often come over my house. We would kiss and he would ask for sexual intimacy, and I would give it to him. In those moments, I had all the power. He would look at me and tell me I was beautiful and wonderful and how he felt amazing.
I exchanged sexual acts for a few moments of feeling loved.
Feeling loved didn’t last long. He would leave and I would be left feeling empty, longing for a hug, one glued hand without the other.
Friends, I did this for years!! Year after year, I let this man use my body and power to fulfill his sexual need, while I was left spiritually and emotionally broken. Our physical relationship was creating wires and connections between my heart and soul to his, but when he would leave, the ties were cut.
Give this guy the sexual intimacy he wants and I will feel more beautiful, loved and wanted.
Have you, also, believed this lie?
It’s a LIE. We end up feeling more ugly, unloved and unwanted. We are left:
In that brokenness, I wondered: What is wrong with me? Why doesn’t he love me? Why does he only use my body and leave?
Being naked and exposed and giving myself to this man, I thought something must be wrong with me. But girls, if nothing else, learn this: what is wrong with you is that you are searching for a love that he can’t fill. You are using uncommitted sexual acts to meet your needs of love that can only be found in Christ.
The temptation to use our sexual power in order to feel loved by a man can only be cured by a greater love.
The love of Jesus.
When you understand the love of Jesus, you can stop separating sex and marriage. You can walk down the aisle in that white dress and freely choose to love a man for the rest of your life. You will take the pressure off him truly to fill your need to love, because you already know you are fully loved by God.
If this hasn’t convinced you, we can always turn to God’s Word and see what God has to say. Check out what the Bible says about purity.
You may think my boundaries are impossible, but I want to challenge you to refocus your question. Instead of asking how far is too far, ask how can we become more like God in this dating relationship. The question should be not to see how close we can get to the line, but rather how close we can get to God. Sin separates us from God. That is why we all need Jesus.
How can we honor God in our purity while dating? Check out these practical tips. (Click to Tweet!)
6 Practical Tips for Purity in Dating
1. Learn to love each other in non-physical ways. Instead of spending hours watching Netflix and making out, go out on a date.
2. Avoid tempting situations. What situations would be likely to tempt you? For example, stop spending time alone in a private place. Get to know each other in public settings.
Instead of Giving into temptations, fight against them. Know that God loves you so much and wants you to experience the beauty of sex as He designed it. God does not want you chained to sexual sins, but rather He longs for His children to experience freedom and love to the fullest. The next time you are tempted, flee. Do whatever you can to run from the situation and experience the freedom that God gives you.
If you do experience temptation, remember that God always gives you a way out. Listen to the Holy Spirit. And if you do sin, remember that God grants grace and forgiveness for those who believe in Jesus.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV).
3. Set boundaries. Have you and your significant other discussed your boundaries as a couple? If not, take the time to do this right away. If one person says they want to save kissing until their wedding day, but the other wants to make out, the couple must follow the more conservative of the two. Boundaries mark someone as special, set apart, and worth the sacrifice. You, daughter of a King, are set apart. You are worth the fight for purity.
Boundaries are a good thing. God draws these lines, God decides how far is too far, so that he can draw a huge yes around sex in the protected walls of marriage. God loves sex in marriage; just read the Song of Solomon.
We want to help our brothers or sisters not to fall into sexual sin or temptation. Talk with your partner. Do either of you have a past of sexual sin? If so, you may need tighter boundaries because it may be easier to push the line. What may work in one season may not work in another. Be flexible. Be willing to communicate and change. If something bothers or tempts you, tell your partner.
4. Take radical steps to pursue purity. Purity will cost you something. What is it costing you?
My friends, press on. The fight for purity is a hard one, but it is worth every hardship. My fiancé and I have grown closer to each other and to God because of it. If your partner does not want to fight for purity, you might want to reconsider your relationship.
5. Place God’s feelings above your own feelings. How often do we think, “But we love each other and want to please each other.” Pray that God changes your heart to obey him more than your feelings and read Scripture to learn how God views our sexuality and desires as single people.
The Bible tells us that our bodies are God’s temples. When you become a Christian the Holy Spirit indwells you. Because of this, when you sin sexually – you sin against God’s temple. 1 Corinthian 6:13b-15 explains this perfectly:
“The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”
When you sin sexually, even with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you are making God’s temple into a prostitute. God doesn’t want you to see how close to the line you can get. God wants you to flee temptation and pursue purity.
6. Pray together and fall in love with Jesus together.
When you feel tempted, stop and pray. Pray that together you would love Jesus more than you love pleasure.
Friends, I want to suggest that asking how far can we go physically may be the wrong question to ask. What if we asked, why does God want to save sex for marriage? What if we asked, how can we get closer to God instead of closer to a line? What if we began to view physical boundaries as God’s beautiful design to protect the gift of sex for marriage?