Ahhh, the ever-popular “how far is too far question?” If I had to list the top three questions I get from our website or even at events, this one would definitely make the cut. I personally don’t think there is one hard and fast answer that is true for everyone when it comes to this question.
Depending on whom you ask, some Christians will say kissing is too far, while yet, others say it is anything beyond the kiss. The real question is at what point do you personally, hit the point of no return? For many, it is possible to draw the line at kissing and resist the temptation to want to go beyond that. Some may find it very difficult to stop at just a kiss and will need to draw the line before that. I would highly suggest some basic rules to ensure that you don’t cross the line. Don’t put yourself in situations where you will be alone with your boyfriend for extended periods of time. No lying down next to each other. No snuggling under covers. Also, there’s a big difference between “kissing” and “making out.” A “kiss” is more like the punctuation at the end of a sentence. “Making out” is an open-ended sentence that invites a variety of different endings.
Now, I realize many of you are reading this and thinking, C’mon, lady—do you know how hard it would be to draw the line at a kiss? I do. And I realize that very few of you will have a 100 percent success rate in doing so. Survey results back it up: Christian or not, our bodies are wired to desire physical intimacy and to say no is a difficult challenge for many. However, in spite of what the culture implies, we are not sex-craved animals that must satisfy the urges within. Another challenge in the battle to remain pure (and one that I hear few Christians address) is the fact that the average age of marriage continues to increase over the years for both men and women.
In Bible times, it was not uncommon for teens to marry very young. It is speculated that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was as young as fourteen to sixteen years old when she gave birth. Today, the average age of marriage is nearly twenty-six for women and twenty-eight for men. It makes you wonder if the same God, who gives us raging hormones in our teen years (in order that it would encourage us to marry and bear children), ever intended that we wait almost a decade longer (or more) to enjoy sex. Food for thought. I am certainly not suggesting that this gives teens permission to go for it when it comes to sexual activity. Nor, am I suggesting that you get married in your teen years. I am, however, suggesting that we question our culture’s mentality of delayed marriage into the mid-late twenties and beyond.
If you are asking the question “How far is too far?” let me give you a list of some things you might want to avoid to help you in the battle to stay pure:
- dating a guy who doesn’t hold your same values and beliefs,
- dating a guy who doesn’t have the same boundary line and respect your boundary line,
- being alone with your boyfriend for extended periods of time,
- watching shows and movies that depict sex and sexual activity as a recreational hobby,
- reading sexually suggestive books (romance novels and smutty teen fiction like Gossip Girls), and
- not having a firm game plan for where your boundary line is—figure it out on the front end rather than after the fact!
Here are some things you will need if you are to stand up to the challenge:
- prayer (on a regular basis); pour your heart out to God and keep the lines of communication open. Tell him you are struggling . . . ask him to help you remain pure.
- accountability: tell at least one Christian friend or mentor where your boundary line is and ask them to check in with you to see how you’re doing. Also, ask them to pray for you.
- time spent in God’s Word on a regular basis: this is where your strength will come from—without it, your tank will eventually run dry.
Regardless of when (or if) you marry, God expects you to maintain your sexual purity. It is not impossible to draw a boundary that is pleasing to God and stick with it. No, it will not be easy. Yes, some of you may slip up along the way, but this does not mean you grow callous to sexual sin and continue in that sin. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
Written by: Vicki Courtney
B&H Publishing Group grants permission to use this excerpt as originally printed in the book Teen Virtue Confidential c. 2007.