All right. Let's talk about getting physical during dating relationships. This is such a tricky subject, isn't it? Everybody has an opinion, from "don't even make eye contact" to "you can do anything but have sex." How is a Christian teen supposed to know what to do? And what does the Bible say about it?
First things first though, if your parents have said that you are not allowed to date, then you must obey their rules. Proverbs 1:8 says, "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching..." Colossians 3:20 says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Are we cool on that? Okay, moving on...
The old cliché that "one thing leads to another" is really true when it comes to physical intimacy. First it's just kissing, then it's fondling, then hands are making their way under clothes, and before you know it, everybody wants more more more. It's hard to get enough once you get started.
Yeah, it may be an old stereotype, but it's no secret that, as a teenager especially, it is often really hard to control ourselves physically. Matthew 26:41 says that "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Why is it that our bodies rebel against our minds when it comes to sexual purity?
Simply put, God created sex to be pleasurable, that's why our bodies desire it and all the sensations that come with it. But sex was created to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage between a husband and wife. So the idea of avoiding all physical contact while dating is more of a preventative measure so that the couple isn't tempted to have sex before they're married. (See 1 Corinthians 6:9, 13 and 2 Timothy 2:22.)
If, somehow, a couple was able to maintain their physical purity while dating and still occasionally kiss, then I personally don't believe God would have a problem with that—especially if their intention was to get married soon.
If, however, they found that their kissing was beginning to cause a desire for further physical intimacy, then they should stop and abstain from physical closeness until they can be married. The apostle Paul says that it is "better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:9).
As Christians, our efforts should NOT be toward pursuing physical pleasure, but we should rather chase after godliness and all the other traits of a believer. Second Timothy 2:22 says, "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." Even when you're married, sex should never be the #1 priority in your relationship.
If you're already in deep in a dating relationship and you think maybe you've gone too far or already had sex, please do NOT beat yourself up with guilt. If you feel convicted that you have made a mistake, that's good, and it's not too late to stop and start over again. That's repentance (Acts 3:19).
With God's help, you CAN control yourself in the future. Here are a few ways to avoid putting you and your steady in a tempting situation...
God has promised that "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Look for those escapes; He's put them there for you! It is not impossible to remain a virgin or stay physically pure (Matthew 19:26). Many, many believers have had relationships and still stayed virgins until they were married.
If it's too late for keeping your virginity, you can still repent NOW and start over fresh. Your Heavenly Father will forgive you for your past—no matter how messy it is (1 John 1:9).
What this whole physical taboo thing really comes down to is avoiding temptation. Matthew 26:41 says that "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." That's why sexual purity is so difficult to maintain sometimes. God created sex to be pleasurable, but it is to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage. Avoiding all stimulating physical contact while dating is more of a preventative measure so that the couple isn't tempted to have sex before they're married (1 Corinthians 6:9, 13; 2 Timothy 2:22). See tips above for how to escape sexual tension.
Cat is the webmaster and editor of 412teens.org and regularly teaches local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, three socially awkward cats, and one curly-tailed dog.