“Sexual Immorality” and Physical Intimacy Before Marriage

dating couple holding hands how far is too far
How far is too far when it comes to physical expressions of affection before marriage?

My boyfriend and I love each other. But we’re struggling to stay pure when it comes to physical intimacy. We’re not sure what the Bible means by “sexual immorality.” We know that premarital sex doesn’t honor God, but where should we draw the line?


What is sexual immorality?

God tells us in the Bible that sexual immorality is any sexual activity that happens outside of marriage. This includes adultery (infidelity) and fornication (premarital or extramarital sex). All of these actions are off-limits for those who follow Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 6:9, Acts 15:29, and Hebrews 13:4). Instead, we should learn to control our own bodies in holiness and honor.

But the deeper answer to your question doesn’t come from asking, How far is too far? It comes from asking, How can my boyfriend and I respect each other and honor God?

Where do you draw the line?

Sexuality is a powerful thing, and the nature of sexual intimacy is progressive. This means that the longer you and your boyfriend are together and the more physically affectionate you let yourselves become, the more difficult it will be to resist temptation. It’s even harder when hormones rage and culture says just do it.

So if you want to stay sexually pure while dating, you have to set and live out dating boundaries.

One way to help yourselves is to look at whether marriage is a realistic option.

Are you ready to get married?

You need to consider a lot of things before deciding to get married:

If you have a green light in these areas, then start moving toward marriage. Marriage mentors as well as pre-engagement counseling and premarital counseling can offer insight about whether marriage might be right for the two of you.

Or do you need to stop dating each other?

If you and your boyfriend are not ready to get married within the next 12 to 18 months, ask yourselves whether it’s a good idea to keep dating. It might be wise to put your relationship on hold until you’re older and better prepared to step into a lifelong commitment.

Why? Because the more time you spend together, the closer you’ll become emotionally — and sexual pressures will only grow. If sexual purity is important to you, there’s no reason to place yourselves in the way of daily temptations.

Would you let us help?

If you’d like help sorting things out, call us for a free over-the-phone consultation at 1-855-771-HELP (4357). Our counseling staff would be more than happy to talk with you.

In the meantime, the resources below are a great starting point.

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