How do you keep a dating relationship 100% pure? We've always been told "Don't have sex" and that's the standard but still is it wrong to go up to the line or find other ways to somewhat satisfy sexually and release that sexual tension without actually having sex. How do you determine how far is too far or what's pure innocent affection and what is not? Should dating couples just not be physically affectionate at all? And how, when we are created as sexual beings, do you just not think about or desire sex before you get married?
The Word of God speaks frequently to sexual desire and sex. The thing that is abundantly clear from Scripture is that sex is only for the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman (1 Cor 7:1-5; Heb. 13:4). In marriage, the Bible teaches, the man and woman should give each other sexual satisfaction (1 Cor. 7:3-4). However, outside of marriage, there is no such place. When Paul is speaking spiritually of the Corinthians, he says he desires to “present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2). Though he is speaking of his ministry, it is clear that at a literal level, this should be our desire as well. We should not want to get close to any compromise on this. A good rule of thumb is not to be affectionate in any other way than is standard in a family. Timothy is told to treat young women in his church “as sisters, with all purity” (1 Tim. 5:2). Whether in a relationship or in singleness, be accountable to a solid and strong Christian. And remember: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
The culture around us tells us through media, literature, movies and more that we are entitled to sexual satisfaction whoever we are, and however and whenever we wish for it. Our hearts by nature don’t need much convincing. We need to “flee also youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22) and “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). The will of God is “your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God” (1 Thess. 4:3-5). If you have fallen into sin, repent, and turn to the Lord for pardon, believing His faithful promise. If you are in a relationship and you have fallen into sexual immorality, repent. Confess your sin, seek God as the first in your life, put away idols. Also seek spiritual help from those who can truly help you. Either have a spiritually focused, faithful and pure relationship, or none, but do not return like a dog to its vomit (Prov. 26:11).
Sexual purity is not just a matter of actions and words, but thoughts, as Christ makes abundantly clear (Matt. 5:28). Are you giving safe haven to sinful thoughts and patterns of thoughts? Then you are making your mind and heart a den of vipers. We should watch and pray: “Cleanse thou me from secrets faults” (Ps. 19:12). Have nothing ever to do with pornography. “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end” (1 Pet. 1:13). It’s not just about staying away from sin in relationships. Stay close to good things: study the Scriptures, serve other people in love, be devoted to Christ and the gospel in whatever relationship you are in. Don’t be unhealthily obsessed with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Together serve others. Keep close to the Savior and cry to the Spirit for faith, strength, courage, and discernment. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Heed these words: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Ps. 119:9). Run to the Savior and stay close to Him in everything. Realize how vulnerable you are. With the world, the devil and your own flesh trying to destroy you, it is easier to fall than to stand. Live close to the ground in prayer and watchfulness.