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Need Advice! How Far is Too Far, Physically?

I do need advice! I have a boyfriend and we’ve been dating for 8 months. I do believe that he’s a believer. So, my question is how far is too far physically? We both have agreed to no sex before marriage because we know that’s in the Bible, but I am pretty confused at where we should draw a line. The Bible says to stay away from sexual immorality, so what exactly does that mean?

Oh, girl! I gotta admit. I kinda cringed when I read your question. I mean, think about it. You’re basically asking me how far you can go before sinning. What’s the furthest I can go before I hit sin? Really? So, you’re willing to test the limits with God’s Word. You’ll stay within the boundaries, but you want to go out as far as you can. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but that’s your question. If you didn’t know how to swim, would you go out as far as you could before your tippy toes no longer touch the ground? Or would you stay where it’s safe?

I’m going to cut to the chase. If you’re talking about intimacy, then I think kissing on the lips is as far as you can go. Not kidding! And I’ll explain why.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 reads, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”

This verse uses words like, “sanctification,” “control your body,” “holiness” and “honor.” Now, I don’t know what you and your boyfriend have in mind, but can it be described using those words?

Often, we get into relationships and we set our guidelines to where we feel we can personally handle it. But, let’s be honest. In the heat of the moment, when our boyfriend’s gorgeous eyes are looking into ours and we’re feeling warm and fuzzy, we may be tempted to step over that line. We then set another guideline and pray that we don’t overstep that one. Of course, there are those who believe that they’re above temptation.

But no-one is above temptation, so why would we willingly put ourselves in a situation that tests? James 1:14-15 reads, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

The truth is that any act of intimacy can lead to the next level. Commonly, intimacy begins with touch, such as holding hands, then a kiss on the lips. This can easily turn into more passionate kissing, and let’s be honest, this leads to more inappropriate touching, and whoa!!!!!!!!! I’m gonna stop there! I’m pretty sure you know how it goes on from there, and how in the heat of the moment, things can escalate pretty quickly and we’re in a place where “sanctification,” “holiness” and “honor” have never been! So, do you want to take that chance?

Scripture says to refrain from sexual immorality. But it also talks about avoiding lust.

So, here’s what I think you should do:

  1. Read your Bible. Scripture is clear about how we as Christians should live our lives, including how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to morality.
  2. Understand the significance of purity and chastity, and why God reserves intimacy for those who are married. Unfortunately, our culture is so sexualized that a kiss is treated as trivial. Well, if it was so trivial, why do we want our first kiss to be so special? If it’s so special, shouldn’t we be saving it for the most special man in our lives?
  3. Pray. Scripture says that there is no form of temptation out there that no-one else has had to endure. And that God provides a way out of all temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). So if you’re finding yourself tempted to become more intimate with your boyfriend, know that God can help you overcome that. So, pray and ask Him for strength.

So, if you want to follow scripture, then you should be saving all those intimate moments for your husband. I hope that helps!

Good luck and God bless!

Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!

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24 Comments

  1. Freak4Jesus14

    Posted by Freak4Jesus14 on September 10, 2015 at 10:08

    I do have a question. There’s a guy I go to church with and we are serious about liking eachother, but being so young we know we should wait a few years to begin a relationship (we are 15 and 16). My question is, Is hugging him bad? I mean, we only hug when one of us is leaving, and that’s usually always at church. My dad has said to me,”Be careful hugging boy who like you,” but I don’t know if that’s saying “don’t do it!” Or what. So advice is welcome ☺️

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by faithopeandlove81316 on May 30, 2015 at 11:38

    great article! 🙂

  3. Amarah

    Posted by Amarah on May 30, 2015 at 08:47

    Christianity is not easy and sometimes it has to be harsh. Yes, it is clear that God’s desire for all of us is to remain sexually pure until we are joined to our husbands. If we truly love our Father, we will not even think ‘how far’ we may be able to go. We will want to please our Father and follow His ways. However, when temptations set it, it may cause one to stumble. A perfect person wouldnt need to set ‘boundaries’ in a relationship, since their first and strongest desire would be to please God. However since most of us aren’t perfect (lol) I think some boundaries are important for when we are tempted in relationships. I think absinence would be just so worth it in the long run. I do agree though that ifyou HAVE gone too far already, don’t lose hope or feel worthless. God has the power to do anything and He will make you pure if you truly want to follow Him- just ask. He can restore what was lost.

  4. USGIRL95

    Posted by USGIRL95 on March 14, 2015 at 21:42

    I “ve set boundaries myself with guys since I was twelve years old I was pretty young”‘ I made that commitment seven half years ago!.
    The world thinks i”m crazy saving myself for marrige I could care less what the world thinks of me why should I care anyway”‘ I “ve set boundaries for holding hands hugs head shoulder snuggles I “ll kiss my pets! Fur friends parents family I”m saving my 1st kiss for the engament ring from a goldy man few years away!. Titus 2:12.

    Verse 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldy lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

  5. aislinnc99

    Posted by aislinnc99 on December 29, 2014 at 10:02

    I knew what my boundaries were going to be even before I had a boyfriend: holding hands, hugging, resting on the shoulder, and that’s it. For me, anything more than that is too physical and can easily lead to more than you first had in mind. I have made the personal decision to not kiss until I am engaged. Honestly, it really helps when your boyfriend agrees with and respects your choices, but it’s even better if he has made those choices himself! Find someone to be accountable to with this. Let them know what your rules are, not so they can be the hawk on your shoulder, but so they can keep an eye on you and speak up if they see something questionable. Because even if you create boundaries for yourselves, feelings can get in the way of judgment. An accountability partner will help keep you and your boyfriend on track.

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by PurePatty on November 14, 2014 at 20:13

    STAY PURE IN ALL THINGS FOR ONLY THE PURE WILL SEE GOD.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by kaityloo123 on October 24, 2014 at 17:41

    Regina! That is what I plan to do. For me its actually kind of hard. I really want to stick with that. All I want to do physically is hold hands (maybe, when I’m ready) and hug. But its really hard when my friends tell me how awesome a kiss is then I am like, “I just want to know what its like!” It is really hard. But I am sticking to y plan and going to try my best with it. If a guy won’t respect my decisions he isn’t a good guy and it means he probably is is it for the physical stuff. I had a boyfriend once tell me I sucked because I wouldn’t hold his hand. I wasn’t ready. I have never kissed or been kissed by a boy yet and I haven’t held any boys hand either. I hope to keep it that way as long as possible.

    • Celeste

      Posted by Celeste on November 18, 2014 at 05:36

      I completely agree with you Kaitlyn. I’m 17 and I’ve never had a boyfriend, held hands with a boy or been kissed and I feel so blessed that I haven’t lost these precious experiences to just a random crush. I’ve heard that your first kiss is the one you’ll always remember. I want to remember it with someone I love and hopefully, if God willing, the only guy I’ll ever kiss is my husband.

  8. PeculiarMadmoiselle

    Posted by PeculiarMadmoiselle on October 7, 2014 at 14:11

    Too far is ANYTHING that will tempt you to do what you know is wrong. For different people, that can be different things. You have to know yourself and you have to know what exactly “turns you on” so that you can find ways to combat those feelings when they arrive at inappropriate times,which is to say, anytime before marriage. You have to know your personal boundaries because if you don’t have self control kisses can quickly become something deeper. You have to stay calm and you can’t get caught up in the moment. With sexuality, people can easily make wiggle room in God’s Word. God’s not outright saying “Girl, you really shouldn’t kissing that fine specimen of my creation” and so that is why you must have your own personal limitations in addition to God’s limitations. Just remember that if your limitations don’t start until you begin to commit an outright sin, thaaat isn’t so good. Be safe and don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want another girl doing to your future husband. Because one day, your boyfriend will be someone’s husband, and he might not be yours. Or don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do with your brother!

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by PSALMS_27 on September 29, 2014 at 23:26

    I personally believe its okay to kiss as long as it is PG like I don’t think its a bad thing for the girls who didn’t wait till marriage to have their first kiss as long as they didn’t take it too far im not saying this to support myself cause yes I’ve had my first kiss but it hasn’t gone too far and even though it is really hard to keep it from going even to the line in this world with Gods love and strength we can do it I haven’t done anything too far thankfully and I don’t intend to and pray so much to put my relationships in Gods hands and to put the strength in me and my boyfriend to always remain in a strong Christian based relationship but if any girl reading this ever did anything crossing the line or even had there first kiss before marriage don’t let this make you feel bad inside and to those struggling after doing more than kissing in a relationship God heals and he forgives so I say look at this article as a future reverence and to see how you are living with Jesus and how straight your path is so you can fix it I always was told and not to scare anybody into straight up breaking up with their boyfriend but I heard that you should never do anything with your boyfriend/girlfriend that their future spouse (if its not you) would be ashamed of them doing 🙂 if you have its okay alright? pray about it 🙂 pray for them and pray for your future all in Gods good time I know a lot of girls feel like they have to do crazy things to keep it fresh and keep their partner interested but if he truly loves you then you wouldn’t have to do a thing extra and he wont try nothing to change your morals and standards and boundaries I don’t know how long to kiss either time isn’t a thing as much as what youre doing during that time which is when you need to have the strength to keep it PG so that’s why shorter kisses is a lot of times better because you don’t feel the constant pulling attraction even though I know once you pull away you want to kiss again but in time you will learn with Gods word and strength instilled in your mind just remember though it matters what youre doing during that time

  10. ByJuliette

    Posted by ByJuliette on September 18, 2014 at 21:46

    This is actually really helpful. Thank you so much. I am going to show this to my boyfriend. We have been struggling with this. Thank you again. Blessings!

  11. Regina

    Posted by Regina on September 17, 2014 at 12:21

    Well, I’ll tell you my own experience. Me and my husband stayed pure until marriage. We had our first kiss at the altar. It might seem crazy but it was so special and amazing. I do not regret it and so does he. He told me that he loves me very much and won’t kiss me until we fully belong to each. I agreed. I am so blessed and happy that we waited even with kissing! Great experience. We felt so amazingly awesome staying at the altar knowing that we are completely pure

  12. Project Inspired

    Posted by camosami on September 13, 2014 at 13:43

    I think the author is right, we should not be asking how far can we go til it’s sin. Along with the three things she suggests, I would also suggest communication. It is vital that both people in the relationship know what the boundaries are and make sure the other does not feel uncomfortable. That is another thing, if it makes you uncomfortable, obviously don’t do it and let you significant other know. I think the key, like the author says above, is to do nothing that could lead to something more. You do not want to be a stumbling block in your significant other’s faith. You should build each others faith. Like Proverbs says, two is better than one.

  13. Project Inspired

    Posted by Utsukushiidesu on September 12, 2014 at 16:11

    I love how all of the comments are encouraging, but I dislike how they assess that the author is too harsh or incorrect. Perhaps she did misunderstand the question, but this does not make her article incorrect.
    One comment says what the church does to women. Yes, some churches are oppressive to women. This is not Biblical. But this article is showing you, why you should stay away from intimacy with a guy. (Although I do believe a fault in the article is lack of Scripture references. Girls (and maybe even guys!) reading the article shouldn’t have to take the author’s word for it. Take God’s Word for it.)
    Staying away from intimacy isn’t for you to protect your reputation, or to please the church, it is to protect yourself, but much more importantly than that, it’s /to please God/. God created us, correct? So he knows how we’re wired. He knows that marriage would be tough because of how differently men and women are wired. So he designed a beautiful kind of intimacy, physical, emotional and spiritual, for husband and wife, /only/. If you have sex before marriage, or give your first kiss away to someone you won’t marry, it’s kind of like opening Christmas presents early. “Peeking”. When you open them on Christmas Day, you have to feign surprise because you already knew what the packages contained. If you cross boundaries God set for all His children to follow, you are rebelling against Him and telling Him that He doesn’t really know anything about the people He created.
    Some comments speak of self-control. Yes, it’s so wonderful for you girls who have this fruit of the Spirit! But the Bible also says, the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Perhaps you know your “limits”, but pushing them is not only unwise but it is disobeying God.
    God also says to flee from the appearance of evil, as another comment says. What if someone arbitrarily mentioned you cuddled with your boyfriend one night? Then the people who heard that will skew it when they retell that, and so on, until rumors are going around that you slept with him! How displeasing to God would it be if it were true, but it’s even sadder that now your testimony has been destroyed and those who once looked up to you no longer do.
    “No man liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself.” If you cross certain boundaries, especially ones that God specifically sets in His Word, people who look up to you and with whom you have influence, will then think, “Oh, well she did it. It’s okay if I do it too, right?”
    There are a good number of other reasons why abstaining from intimacy until marriage is important, but this is already really long. I understand different people will have different convictions, but there are many things that God sets specific guidelines for and it would be very unwise as His children to disobey them.

  14. Project Inspired

    Posted by p_ontop on September 12, 2014 at 03:20

    After reading this article, I believe the author wasn’t trying to attack the girl. She was just stating the obvious. The question was how far is too far? That is obviously a question about boundaries. The bible days that you should guard your heart with all jealously for out of it are the issues of life. If you wanna be honest with yourself, while laying in a couch with a boy/man, are you saying that you have never thought of going a little bit further, of having sex? I think if we really wanna be honest about this we know what to do and what is right. The bible also says flee from every appearance of evil, not just from the evil but from its mere appearance. I know we live in a society that is super sexualized but that shouldn’t water down our standards because God’s words proves true from generation to generation. As far as drinking goes, I am an adult and can drink if I want to, but how does that portray on my christian witness to others. I may cause a fellow new christian to stumble. The message these days is being watered down and I pray the youths of today can’t use up and stand for God instead of hanging on the fence. Jesus said you cannot be lukewarm else He will spew you out of His mouth. Not trying to scare Y’all but I just want to lay the truth out there according to biblical principles. And yes, I’m also a youth and not an old school person (and one who wants to stand unapologetically for Jesus). So I hope whoever is reading this makes up his/her mind to FLEE from ALL APPEARANCES of evil. God bless!

    • gracegirl4God

      Posted by gracegirl4God on September 13, 2014 at 12:46

      Hey, I totally agree that people need to be very careful how far they go physically and mentally while dating. God calls us to be pure. But I would like to mention a kind of side topic. I disagree with something in your comment, and I would like to discuss it, not to tear you down or anything, but to build you up in Christ. The verse you were talking about when you said to avoid all appearance of evil is 1 Thessalonians 5:22. The specific version that says to avoid all APPEARANCE of evil is the King James Version. I believe that all verses have to be taken in context (the surrounding paragraph or more) or you don’t understand what the author was trying to say. The specific paragraph that this verse is coming from is talking about prophetic utterances in the church. It starts with the general exhortation (do not quench the spirit), then goes to specifics. It says not to despise prophetic utterances but to examine them all carefully. It then goes on to say to hold fast to that which is good (what to do with good prophecies after examining them) then to abstain from every form of evil (in other words, to abstain from every evil form of utterance. What we should do with evil prophetic utterances). I believe this is what this verse means in context. Even Jesus did things (such as associating with sinners) that had the appearance if evil by the standards of the religious people (Pharisees) of the day. This is a bit of an unrelated topic to the article being discussed, but I just think it’s important to keep verses in context and not give them meanings they don’t have. I’m NOT saying it’s okay to be impure with your boyfriend or anything like that or that we shouldn’t care about what people think about us. I believe our testimonies are very important. I’m just mentioning that it’s very important to take things in context. 🙂

  15. May All Your Bacon Burn

    Posted by May All Your Bacon Burn on September 11, 2014 at 22:57

    While this was a smidge on the harsh side, I also think it’s kind of necessary to get the point through. I’ve heard hundreds of abstinence talks from anywhere between christian conventions to my school’s 1-week class module that basically summed up as “if you use protection you can do what you want”, and I’ve found that the attitude used makes a huge difference on how someone hears it. To make a consistent base, I’ll refer to my youth group leader. Since we get new students every year, I’ve heard her chaste/intimacy discussion probably around four times. And the way my fellow youth took it really showed how effective it was. When she was really lenient about it, saying “you know your own limits, and you should use those to decide how far you should go”. A number of the girls in my group basically took that to heart, and it spiralled in a manner that was also described above (and when your younger, it can happen that way. Your brain is actually less developed in regions that allow you to make logical thoughts under pressure until you’re around 18-21, so it becomes much easier for situations to get out of hand). When she took the incredibly harsh approach (I don’t remember much of it, but she noted not even taking birth control because it represents a false idea of protection and deminishes the morality in sex altogether) no one really took her seriously. Heck, it was enough for me to forget what she was talking about, and I tried to remember everything we covered in youth group. Within the past few years, though, she’s been speaking in more a way that models Olivia. A bit harsh, but still understanding–making it obvious that she knows how it feels and how we need to go about it. This was enough, to be honest–it served to make it stick in a person’s head, but at the same time didn’t inadvertently destroy her intent altogether. It may seem excessive, but sometimes a bit of harshness is needed to make things hit home, y’know?

  16. his98child

    Posted by his98child on September 11, 2014 at 14:16

    Hi Olivia, after reading her question and then the first three sentences of your reply, I have to say that maybe you were a bit harsh. I don’t think the girl asking the question was trying to see how far she could lean over the boat without falling out of it. I think she was just wondering what is considered sexual immorality and what is not. In a world today that has many ideas about what is within boundaries and what is not, she was likely more confused. To me the question was interpreted that way. Whoever asked the question will be reading this, and I hope you have answered her question but have not hurt her feelings.

  17. mkay77

    Posted by mkay77 on September 10, 2014 at 20:56

    I’ve read this thing on the Internet (can’t remember where; it’s been at least two years ago), but there was this grown woman who compared the whole abstinence purity thingy with drinking. As we all know, drinking too much isn’t such a good thing. However, a single drink isn’t really bad. If you know your limits on how much you can drink and can stop yourself, then you can drink (though I would, as a teenage girl who knows nothing about drinks, advise you to still stay off the roads). But if after even half a glass of wine you know “AGH MUST. DRINK. MORE. MUST. EXPLOIT. POWER,” then you might wanna steer clear of alcohol.

    Once again, I have no knowledge on alcoholic beverages, but I found this analogy helpful.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by PSALMS_27 on September 29, 2014 at 23:21

      This reply really helped me I love it hahahaha it was lighthearted and really true ^_^

  18. AllisonGrace

    Posted by AllisonGrace on September 10, 2014 at 17:10

    Hmmm. While I can appreciate the focus on prayer and scripture, I disagree with parts of this. It’s amazing what the church can do to women. I grew up with this guilt complex. If I go past a little kissing, I’m trapped in guilt and I feel like a “whore”. “Don’t lay on a couch with a boy! You might not be able to control yourself!” I am 20 years old. I’ve seriously dated 3 men. I’ve set all the boundaries in the world. I’ve never had any form of sex.
    However, recently I’m finding that I DO have self control. It is a concious choice to take your clothes off. I’m not an animal. Laying on a couch and cuddling with boy does not lead to sex. Lack of self control does. There are certain boundaries that I believe girls should find out for themselves. Mine is I do not take off my clothes. I feel that I could not control myself past that point.
    Be wise, but don’t set expectations that will leave you drowning in guilt. Christian women can sometimes be so oppressed by the church. Suppressing yourself can be as dangerous as throwing yourself everywhere.

    • projectinspiredmegz

      Posted by projectinspiredmegz on September 14, 2014 at 14:33

      I completely agree! I think Christian women shouldn’t have to feel any so called “guilt factor” or shame if they’re simply curious about the physical boundaries of dating a guy they love. As long as you set limits for yourself and have enough self control to know what feels wrong and what feels right, you’ll be fine.

    • Unencumbered97

      Posted by Unencumbered97 on September 11, 2014 at 20:02

      I agree with you. In the church, women feel obligated to be modest because of what others say about the Bible which forces women to only value themselves through the eyes of others, instead of realizing the value God has given them as His daughters. When you value celibacy, you don’t need to think in terms of how far can I go before I’m sinning, you will ask yourself, Am I beginning to feel uncomfortable because of my relationship with Christ? Before you enter a romantic relationship of any nature, you should have a strong relationship with Christ. If you don’t have a strong relationship with Him, you won’t feel uncomfortable. This relates to Philippians 3:8. “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” The world values premarital sex, but in this verse Paul explains that nothing in the world is worth anything because knowing Jesus as our personal savior is much greater. Having a personal savior is a gift and when you become closer to Jesus, you don’t want to disappoint Him, you want to live on fire for God and flee from sin. Premarital sex is a sin and because of free will you create your own boundaries and decide how you value celibacy. Reading the Bible and praying are the two ways one should go about deciding boundaries and values.

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by Allyours9009 on September 18, 2014 at 00:42

        Would you rather nknow then not know. I think sharing truth is very very important.