“How far is too far?” The physical aspect of dating for born-again Christians

What is reasonable with regard to the question, “How far is too far?” I’ve been quite surprised in the past couple of years with how much confusion there seems to be with what is smart with regard to physical boundaries between and a girl and a guy who are in a “dating” relationship.

I know some of the people who read this might be shocked at how conservative and prudent my views are with this, but please hear me out, and then you can decide for yourself..

First and foremost, sex is a WONDERFUL and SACRED gift from God that we are to ENJOY!!!!…..within certain boundaries… Biblically, there is no argument to support premarital sex being acceptable to God. It is clear.. Sex is to be enjoyed only with your WIFE. Not fiance, not girlfriend, WIFE… So….sex is out until marriage.

Now with the rest of what I’m going to mention about the physical aspect of dating, I want you to think about one thing first. In seeking the answer to this question, in trying to figure out what you should place as your physical boundaries in a relationship, what is your goal??

As born-again believers, our goal should be to stay physically pure! Don’t just ask, “How far can I go?” But ask also, “What boundaries should I put in place in order to make absolutely sure that I stay absolutely pure?”
It is clear from Scripture that premarital sex is sinful. But what else is clear is that to LUST after a woman in your heart is sinful!

Now, if our goal is to stay physically pure…and if a part of staying physically pure is to keep yourself from LUSTING (sexual desiring or thinking about), then what is the appropriate physical boundaries for a dating relationship between Christians? (assuming both people are Christians, which should be the case because God commands not to be yoked with an unbeliever)

Here’s a list of physical actions and whether or not I think they stay in line with what Scripture says about physical purity WITHIN A DATING RELATIONSHIP.

1. ANYTHING involving nudity: ORAL SEX included….etc.. Obviously you can’t be involved in this and stay mentally and physically pure.

2. “sex with clothes on,” fondling of sexual body parts…given: once again you can’t be involved in this and stay mentally and physically pure within a dating relationship…

3. making out: I don’t know of any guy who would say that he has made out with a girl and did not end up sexually lusting after her.. CHRISTIAN GIRLS: PLEASE KNOW: I would say it’s nearly impossible for a guy to make out with a girl without his mind wandering. Seriously: GUYS: DON’T BE STUPID, DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN THAT SITUATION. THE GOAL IS ABSOLUTELY PURITY. GIRLS: HELP HIM OUT AND DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN THAT SITUATION.

4. Kissing: This is where there seems to be different opinions. I would say kissing is fine within a healthy Christ-glorifying dating relationship. I do say this with one BIG reservation/suggestion: Kissing means something. Make sure there is a solid foundation before ever considering allowing this physical aspect into your relationship.

I hope this helps in your considerations with what is appropriate in a dating relationship between two people who have embraced Christ as their Lord and Savior.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. frgbnd12 says:

    When you first posted this one on Facebook I decided to let it alone, but after reading it again I’d like to make a point or two to consider. However, let me stress I do strongly agree with the main point of the post as a whole – no sexual contact, know your boundaries. and evaluate yourself frequently so that you don’t wind up lusting.
    First of all, regarding your posts in general, I advise that you exercise caution (and you probably do already) when making statements to the effect of “The Bible is clear” or “scripture is clear.” As a theology student, you probably know even better than I do that the Bible was written by dozens of people, transcribed by many more, and translated several times before finally being translated into English for the very first time. I believe that one must, if possible, make sure his interpretation is in line with the lexical, cultural and historical context of the original Greek and Hebrew. But I don’t mean to tell you how to run your blog; it says right there in the title “My Attempt.” 🙂
    Secondly, your list of physical actions contains some good tips for staying on the safe side so that there is little to no risk. However, while I understand perfectly that the list is based on your understanding of scripture and human nature, in my view it tends to generalize a bit. Take #1 for example. I agree with the ‘oral sex’ clause of course, but you say that one “obviously” can’t stay pure if the activity involves nudity. Perhaps you’re only referring to affectionate actions, but otherwise, this isn’t entirely true. This clause presupposes that one or both persons involved have been raised or conditioned in such a way that the mere sight of the other unclad will trigger feelings of lust. Since your main concern behind this is the potential for such a triggering taking place, then let me ask you this: Which is a better way to deal with the trigger? Keep it away, or neutralize it? Imagine if you will that both persons’ parents took care to thoroughly and responsibly teach them as children – before their sexual hormones begin flowing – a positive, practical, healthy, and holistic view of the body, including gender differences and the changes that take place from childhood to adulthood among other things. If it’s done correctly (and, I concede, assuming society and media don’t have too strong an influence), the kids will carry such learning with them into adulthood. Neutralize the trigger early on, and it won’t cause problems with lust when puberty hits. And believe me my friend, such families do exist.
    Of course, even the point I just made goes back to your bottom line – take note of your goal, know your personal boundaries. I could go into more detail, but not without straying away from the subject at hand. Anyway, that’s my take on the matter.

    Regards,
    ~hpg

    1. Ryan Gilbert says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      I think I agree with your clarification of the possibility of a family teaching their children as you said. But I am confused: do you mean using nudity as a way to teach them about gender differences?

      Also, I agree that it is important to use caution when proclaiming the “Scripture is clear.” Although, I do think Scripture is clear on many many things. And while there are many different translations, and many authors, I do not think this in any way disproves its historical reliability. Yes, there were many translations before it was translated into English, but the point I’d like to make is that no major English translations were translated from other translations. Every major English translation used today (NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, KJV) was translated directly from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. I’m not sure if this is contradictory to what you said, or if it’s just more of a clarification.

  2. frgbnd12 says:

    I think I agree with your clarification of the possibility of a family teaching their children as you said. But I am confused: do you mean using nudity as a way to teach them about gender differences?

    More or less, yes. Children are naturally curious. Seeing it will teach them something, not harm them or scar them, but it must be in the correct context (e.g., one of practicality) and before any suggestion that it’s inherently – inherently – funny, embarrassing, or naughty. The idea is to help them to attach a more constructive meaning to it rather than one of mystery or naughtiness, which are both likely to lead to the manifestation of the aforementioned trigger.

    Also, I agree that it is important to use caution when proclaiming the “Scripture is clear.” Although, I do think Scripture is clear on many many things. And while there are many different translations, and many authors, I do not think this in any way disproves its historical reliability. Yes, there were many translations before it was translated into English, but the point I’d like to make is that no major English translations were translated from other translations. Every major English translation used today (NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, KJV) was translated directly from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. I’m not sure if this is contradictory to what you said, or if it’s just more of a clarification.

    This is definitely more a clarification of what I said.

    ~hpg

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