I’m going to be honest. Not having sex when you are dating someone is hard. Especially when you’re super attracted to each other, haven’t had sex in years and want to marry the person. But to honor God in your relationship and His design for sex, it is so worth waiting until marriage to have sex.
Setting clear, physical boundaries upfront in the relationship is essential to preserving purity and will help prevent doing something that you'll regret later.
The Bible is clear that God created sex for a man and wife to enjoy in marriage. This means that sex outside of marriage is a sin and is not pleasing to God.
When I first started pursuing God, I thought not having sex was impossible. I thought I couldn’t live this Christian lifestyle because I didn’t know how to stop having sex.
As I talk about in my blog post, Why I Chose Not to Have Sex Before Marriage, the important thing to understand is that you CAN stop having sex outside of marriage if your desire to love and obey God is bigger than your desire to have sex.
Once I understood it was important to wait until marriage to have sex and that it is possible to not have sex when dating someone, the next question I wondered was well what is acceptable then? How far is too far?
As a follower of Christ, the question should never be, how far is too far? The real question is, how much do you love Jesus and how much you want to honor and surrender your life to him?
That may sting a little but it’s the tough questions we need to ask ourselves to identify areas where we are getting too close to the edge. You have a relationship with Jesus and it is important to abstain from sex outside of marriage out of love and respect from God, not just out of religion or a bunch of rules.
So with sex, we shouldn’t be asking ourselves whether certain things are okay, but how much we can honor and respect God with our bodies.
If you are still learning about God's design for sex and why it's important to wait to have sex until marriage, I highly recommend reading the books listed below in addition to the Bible. I read these when I was a new Christian and they helped me understand God's design for sex and gave me the encouragement I needed to surrender my sex life to God.
Click the links below to view on Amazon.
Below are a few practices I've implemented with my boyfriend that we have found to be successful. We pray regularly for our purity and I pray that we will continue to maintain these boundaries until we say I do.
It is so important early on when dating to make sure you are on the same page with waiting until marriage to have sex. If you meet a guy in church and he doesn't think that it is important to wait until marriage to have sex, I would move on and pray for him - that he would seek God and his word and that God would convict him to repent and surrender this area to him.
It is also important to identify what is okay and what isn’t. Sex can mean different things to different people and you may be wondering what actually counts as sex. Again, the question isn't how far is too far, the real question is how much do you both want to honor and respect God with your bodies.
For example, my boyfriend and I both agreed not to make out until we are married. I know that may sound crazy to some couples but it actually makes it easier for me knowing how far we can go. I also know of some couples who have waited to kiss until their wedding date. More kudos to them.
Setting the boundaries upfront will make it easier. It’s like setting up a plan before you are tempted and it’s easier because you already made the decision.
I do the same thing when I go to a BBQ - I make a plan ahead of time not to eat all the foods I know are bad for me. I know I love chips and sometimes I choose not to eat the chips at all because I know once I have a few chips, I’ll eat half the bag. With kissing, it’s the same thing. I know myself and that if I start making out, that I'll want more. Since my boyfriend and I agreed not to make out, it makes it easier to not give in because I know it's off the table.
If you are thinking in your head, 'well it's just making out, what's the big deal?' I want you to reflect back and think of what making out has led to in past relationships. Is it easy to just make out and not do anything else? What do you start thinking of when you make out with someone?
For me, in the past making out usually led to other things. Since I've made a commitment not to make out with my boyfriend, I am protecting that door from being opened that leads to other other things.
If you and your boyfriend agree that it's okay to make out, what boundaries can you put in place to ensure that you don't go any further?
You could consider how long it is acceptable to make out for. For example, you could agree that you aren't going to make out longer for a minute or 10 seconds if you are easily tempted. Avoid long, steamy make out sessions at all costs before you do something you'll regret.
General rule – I know some of you are wondering this so I have to say it. Touching/grinding/any contact below the belt should be off limits. This is a definitely pushing the boundaries and eventually leads to having actual sex.
It’s important to be extra careful in certain places or times of day that you are most tempted. For example, I recommend setting a rule or boundary about spending time alone at each other’s places and defining how late is too late to be hanging out.
You should be extra careful if the two of you are alone and are watching a movie late at night in the dark. Some couples may agree to have the lights on. Some couples may decide they have to leave before 10 pm no matter what. Others may agree not to ever be laying down kissing or laying on top of each other.
With my boyfriend, we’ve noticed that things get extra romantic and steamy when we are cooking in the kitchen. Jazz music on, dancing in the kitchen, the smell of pizza in the oven, a few kisses here and there, you get the idea. Praise God my boyfriend loves to cook and thank God for also giving us extra self-control in the kitchen!
You should also consider whether you need boundaries when hanging out in the car, spending time near your bed, etc. You know the times and places where you feel more turned on. Establish clear boundaries around those areas and don’t compromise.
Don’t do it. Don’t travel alone and do not share a bed together. Don’t move in with each other before you are married.
This is a slippery slope. Even if you think you have enough self control to resist each other, you have to remember that as Christians, we are setting an example not just to other Christians around us but to other nonbelievers as well.
It is sending the message that it is okay to share a room or bed with someone we are dating. This may influence others who are not as strong in this area to travel together and may lead them into temptation.
Take a stand and set an example for others to follow. If you want to travel together, make sure you travel in a group or with other people. Make sure you each sleep in separate beds in separate rooms. If you’re desperate, ask a close friend to be your chaperone.
Even if you are engaged and know you are getting married, do not live together. "But we are saving money." "But my lease was up and we are getting married next month." "But we are getting married soon." - You can come up with endless excuses but God’s word is still clear. Keep the marriage bed undefiled. Don’t do it.
Our convictions from the Holy Spirit may be different compared to others. While some couples may feel okay making out, this may be too much for other couples and we must listen to the Holy Spirit and how God is guiding us.
If you are unsure if something is okay, here are a few questions to ask yourself. Do I have any doubts that this is okay or pleasing to God? If God was sitting with us on this couch, would he be pleased with how our bodies are right now and with the thoughts in my head? (Sidenote: God is ALWAYS with you through the Holy Spirit so he actually IS on the couch with you right now.)
Thoughts are a big one. Even if you aren’t physically touching, if your thoughts are going places you know they shouldn’t, you need to step away and think of something else.
For example, my boyfriend is very respectful with where he places his hands and I noticed he never grabbed my butt. I told him I respected him for that and asked if it was okay to touch his butt. He said it was okay but sometimes when I did it, I felt myself getting too grabby and thinking of other things. So even if it seems like not a big deal on the surface or if it’s not a big deal for him, I knew I needed to stop doing that because my thoughts were going somewhere else.
While it’s important to be attracted to each other and look good for each other, we must be aware of what we are wearing when we hang out with our men. Men are very visual and let’s be honest, can get turned on pretty easily just by looking at us. You’re beautiful, sexy, have been working out and have a great physique, can you blame the guy for getting turned on so easily?
We don’t need to be covered up all the time but we do need to be respectful of how much skin we are showing, especially with our girls and our curvy behinds. Save all the cute outfits for the honeymoon – he already knows you are hot and that you have a good body.
Saving the big reveal until you are married will be like unwrapping a gift that he will get to enjoy every day for the rest of your lives. Don’t unwrap part of the gift now by showing too much and teasing him. He can’t have the entire gift until you are married so don’t start unwrapping it yet.
Would you show a gift to your nephew and start unwrapping it so he sees what's inside but then tell him he can't have it until Christmas morning? No, that's just cruel. With your man, treat your wedding night like Christmas morning.
Once you’ve set up boundaries, you can do everything right but still feel tempted and turned on. Let’s be real, you’re both hot, attractive human beings who were created to desire and have sex.
It's also important to be clear on how you will communicate to each other when you feel tempted or too turned on.
One of our pastors at our church (thank you Dr. Matt!) told us about the scale system to use when communicating how turned on you are. On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest (aka very turned on), if him and his girlfriend were ever past a 5, they would tell each other and do something to change the situation.
This may mean that they got off the couch. Turned the lights on. Went for a walk. This could also mean leaving and stopping hanging out for the moment altogether.
The important thing is to communicate to your boyfriend if you are too turned on and to have a plan to resist temptation so you don’t stumble and do something you’ll regret.
Other couples have also used keywords or code words to communicate when they are too turned on. Sometimes these keywords are agreed upon upfront in the relationship or become obvious over time.
For example, my boyfriend knows I love to cuddle on the couch and has realized that if I say “more” after we kiss, he knows I really do want more and it’s time to separate. (I told you, like a bag of chips people, you always want more.) One night he got up so fast from the couch it was like he was running away from a spider!
Over time, there may also be a look in each other’s eyes that you know means things are getting too hot and steamy. Identify these cues and act on them to avoid doing something you’ll regret.
It is so important to have Godly mentors in our life for various reasons but especially when you are navigating dating in a relationship. Be honest with your mentor in detail of what your boundaries are.
While a lot of people know it’s important not to have sex, we need to be talking about what is acceptable and what’s not. It’s helpful if both parties have a mentor of the same sex to discuss these questions with.
Ask and let your mentor hold you accountable for your boundaries in your relationship. Give them permission to ask the hard questions and be honest with you if they think you need help in this area.
For example, my boyfriend and I planned a trip with a group of people to Hawaii and made plans to sleep in separate beds in separate rooms. When I told my mentor that I was going to have my own hotel room, she asked if it would be helpful to call me at a certain time of night to help ensure that we weren't hanging out alone in my hotel room. That is a good mentor - let them ask the tough questions and let them in if you need extra support and accountability to be strong and resist temptation.
It is so important to pray over your relationship and to pray for your purity. I pray these prayers often during my alone time with God and also pray them together with my boyfriend.
Pray Ephesians 6:10-11 and ask God to renew your strength and to be strong in the Lord to resist temptation .
Pray Psalm 51:10 for God to create in you a pure heart and steadfast spirit .
Pray Psalm 139:23 and ask God to reveal anything in the relationship that is not pleasing to him and to convict you through the Holy Spirit.
Pray for God to bless your sex life once you are married and that you will have insane chemistry and passion (This should be a given, God created sex for marriage and wants it to be passionate, you can read Songs of Solomon in the Bible for more inspiration).
All things are possible through Christ who gives us strength, including waiting to have sex until marriage. You can do it my friend. If God can give me the strength to surrender sex to him until I'm married, he can and will do it for you if you surrender this area to him.
I pray he gives you the strength today to commit to purity in your relationship and to set clear boundaries. I also pray that he will bless your sex life when you are married with the sexy, Godly man he has for you!
Join my free 14-day Attracting Your Future Husband Challenge to pray over your future husband and become the woman and wife he is looking for as you wait on God to bring you together.
In the challenge, I include the prayers and bible verses I prayed the most as I waited on God to grant the desires of my heart. You'll get daily content for two weeks to help you pray & press in to the plans God has for you and your future husband.
Praying for our future husbands is powerful. It doesn't matter if God has already revealed who your future hubby is or if you are still waiting on God to bring you your man, prayer is one of the best things we can do to support our future husbands.
Click on the image below or click here to access my free prayer guide on Praying For Your Future Husband where I include the top 5 scriptures and prayers I pray regularly over my boyfriend.
Want more blog posts about Christian dating? Check out the blog posts below for more Christian dating tips and insight from God's word.
God showed me that I needed to have a relationship with Him before he would bring me my future husband. One Transforming Love is based on my testimony of how I gave my heart & life to God so he could transform me into the woman and wife my husband was praying for.
When I was first saved, surrendering my sex life to God wasn't easy. You can learn more about my story and why I chose to stop having sex for God in my blog post, Why I Chose Not to Have Sex Before Marriage.
If you are looking to learn more about what the Bible says about sex and how you can surrender this area to God, I highly recommend reading the books on purity below.
I read all of these books when I was a new Christian and they were instrumental in helping me understand why surrendering my sex life to God was so important. These books helped me understand the importance of purity and how to date in a way that would honor's God design for sex.
Click the links below to view on Amazon.
*If you are dating someone, I recommend The Wait for you and your boyfriend to read as it's written from both a man and woman's perspective. It's written by Meagan Good (the actress) and her husband.
Purity is possible with the power and love of Jesus. You can do it my friend.
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Join the FREE Attracting Your Future Husband challenge, a 14-day prayer challenge that will help you pray over yourself & your future husband as you wait on God to bring you together