Is Not Going “All the Way” Still Going Too Far?

GoingtoofarteendatingDear Unlocking Femininity,

I need some help. My friends don’t understand why it is against God’s plan to do everything that isn’t sex that involves touching places that shouldn’t be touched outside of marriage.
“It’s not technically sex and there’s no consequences,” they say.
I know a lot of teenagers out there struggle with the same thing… so, can you please help with this??
~A teenager from Kentucky

This is definitely an issue that teenagers, college students, and many believers struggle with. I used to believe that if it “wasn’t all the way,” that it wasn’t really wrong.  Everyone, especially in the churches, just said “Don’t have sex because God says that’s wrong,” but no one ever explained that everything else is also against God’s plan for our lives. I understand how hard it is to say no to pressure, to feel like it’s right and be told by the world and my friends that what I wanted to do was ok, but now, I know the truth.  But just because you aren’t going all the way doesn’t mean you aren’t going too far.

1.    It Is Sexual

This might surprise you but the Bible doesn’t really talk much about having sex before marriage.  But, what it does talk about A LOT is sexual immorality. (Matt.15:19; Mk.7:21; Acts 15:19; 1 Cor.6:12-20;10:8; Gal.5:19; Eph.5:3; Col. 3:5) God chose to use sexual immorality because it covers everything: blow jobs, oral sex, hand jobs, fingering, intimate touching and intercourse. If someone is touching a part of you that you wouldn’t want exposed in public (or vice versa) and that guy isn’t your husband, then it’s sexual immorality.

Consider this for a moment: If your husband  were to do everything but have “technical sex” with someone other than his spouse, what would you think of that? Would you call it cheating or adultery? Would you consider them to have done something sexual outside of marriage? The same thing applies to what you do with your boyfriends; they aren’t your husbands so sexuality has no place in your relationship, it’s cheating on your future spouse. Even Jesus said that having sexual thoughts outside of marriage is considered sexual immorality and adultery. So, if having sexual thoughts about someone  is considered adultery, wouldn’t physically sexual acts be considered adultery as well? (Matt.5:28)

The Bible doesn’t just tell us that sex is wrong outside of marriage but everything else that is sexually intimate between a man and a woman is as well. Just because it’s not “technically sex,” doesn’t mean it’s not sexual. God knows what’s right and wrong, what’s good and bad for us and sexual immorality is something He says we’re supposed to flee from, abstain from…anything sexual outside of the union of marriage. Especially as believers, there isn’t to be even a hint of sexual immorality because it’s out of place in the life of someone redeemed by Christ. (Eph. 5:3-4) It hurts the reputation of the Gospel and it is damaging to our heart as well. There are no gray areas when it comes to sexual immorality; if it’s sexual in nature then God has made it off limits until marriage.

2.    It Hurts

Ask yourself or ask your friends, after they’ve been sexually intimate with a guy, how do they feel? In the moments leading up to and during, you feel great, you’re excited, you’re having fun and then it’s over. All the hormones and adrenaline wash away and what is left? Feelings of guilt? Shame? Regret?

I would always try to rationalize my actions and tell myself that what I had just done was ok because it wasn’t actually sex; but no matter how hard I tried, I still felt guilty and I knew why…because I was sinning. If sexual intimacy were ok for us outside of marriage then our conscious would be clear before God and we would have no feelings of hurt, regret, or guilt.

But, the same emotions that told you just had to, needed to, wanted to do _______ with your boyfriend are the same emotions that will tell you hours, days, weeks afterward that it was wrong. Your emotions are completely conflicting which is why they aren’t always reliable; but what isreliable is God’s Word.

He doesn’t tell you to flee from oral sex, hand-jobs, and fingering because He’s unfair, old-fashioned and trying to withhold fun from you; He’s saying it because sexually immorality causes hurtful and serious consequences for your heart and your life.  There may not be the consequence of pregnancy but there are still consequences of STI’s and thoughts and feelings of hurt, shame, betrayal.  Sin hurts you which is exactly why God asks you not to do it. God is trying to help you guard your heart and your body for your husband, for the time when love is ready to be awakened. (Sgs. 2:7;3:5; 8:4)

A bond is formed when sexuality becomes a part of a relationship and it’s a bond that makes the end of that relationship so much more painful. Odds are this current guy isn’t going to be your husband, but he will know a part of you that was only intended for your husband and you will know a part of him that was only intended for his wife. Breakups are hard enough as it is but when you add a sexual bond being broken, your heart ends up being hurt so much more than if sexuality hadn’t been involved. God is trying to help save you so much of the heartache that comes with this sin. Unlike Christ, sin never helps you or tries to protect you; it only desires to devour and destroy you. When sin has a foothold in your life, it is never satisfied until you go “all the way.” This is why God says to flee completely from everything sexual; to protect your heart.  Your heart will always regret doing too much but it will never regret doing too little.

3.    It Is Not God’s Plan For You

God designed you to enjoy being sexual which is why your emotions tell you that being intimate with your boyfriend feels right. But, God intended for those acts to be done between you and your husband. (1 Cor. 7:2) He wanted you to feel the joy of sexual intimacy in the bounds and safety of a life-long relationship, where the two become one before the Lord.  (1 Thess.4:3) From the beginning (Gen. 1-3), God made one man for one woman. He designed sex to be a beautiful union between a husband and wife and any intimacy outside of marriage is an ugly distortion of His plan.

When my husband and I decided to get married, I finally understand the gravity of every sexually immoral thing I had done in my past.  God’s plan for me was to marry Alex, meaning that my sexuality belonged only with him, and I went outside of God’s plan. I had let guys experience part of me that was only intended for my husband. I felt as though I had betrayed my husband and I had sinned against the God who had lovingly warned me against sin that caused so much pain. I regretted everything that wasn’t “technically sex” because it was still what God had told me not to do and it was a sin against my marriage. Sin isn’t God’s plan for your life and that includes any sexual intimacy that’s outside marriage.

Everything but all the way is still too much; it’s still sin. It hurts you, it hurts your future spouse, and it hurts your relationship with God.  He loves you and only wants the best for you which is staying away from anything that goes against His plan for your life, even “not going all the way.”

So, please sisters, protect yourself and protect your future marriage by listening to God and fleeing from sexual immorality. There are never regrets when you choose purity for your life.

3 thoughts on “Is Not Going “All the Way” Still Going Too Far?

  1. Diane –

    The thing that annoys me so much about most evangelical writing on this topic, is that the author rarely does not employ circular reasoning: It’s sin because it hurts you. It hurts you because it’s sin. I practically never see any deeply honest, detailed personal stories about this topic. Usually it’s just this same judgmental logical fallacy, which is really unhelpful when talking with teenagers about all of this. :P

    I am glad you are talking about it though, and yours is among the better articles in this category I’ve come across. :) The cheating analogy answered the girl’s question, but as to the rest of it, it would’ve been nice to see further explanation of the psychological benefits the decision to carefully chose a single sexual partner in life can bring. Dr. Gordon Neufeld, who has done a lot of work on attachment theory, is an excellent resource for this. His book on peer attachment offers, in my opinion, a really convincing explanation for the increasingly prevalent early sexual activity of adolescents in our society. We need more than warnings. We need healthy relationships to fill the attachment void that young people lack.

    Anyway, I would like to ask… You say sexual immorality hurt you and you regret it. But HOW did it hurt you? :P

    Everyone –

    Once upon a time, there was this guy who kind of sexually harassed me. I was really naive at the time, and didn’t fully understand what he was doing. He was pretty nice to me for the most part, and I was a really lonely because I had practically no friends, besides stuffy Christian girls I barely saw, with whom I couldn’t talk openly for fear of offending them. I craved the attention this guy was willing to give me, and fell in love with him, because I enjoyed talking with him and we had many of the same interests (I also thought he was funny and cute, duh). And then, he started picking up girls in clubs, and telling me about it. If you’ve ever been in love, this is the most devastating thing on planet Earth. To hear that the guy you thought liked you, in a special way, is out having sex with random women he doesn’t even know, let alone love.

    Now this guy really isn’t a bad person. He was just lonely like me, and a little careless. What I want to highlight is, that sex is never just about you. What you do affects others.

    Whether or not he had had sex with other girls, my heart still would’ve been broken, because I loved him and he didn’t feel the same about me. I would not think of blaming him for breaking it, because obviously I was the one who fell for him (not something either of us could control). That said, if he had been more aware of his actions, hadn’t flirted with me, hadn’t crossed the line sexually to any degree, I think I would’ve had a slightly easier time of it all.

    Girls can hurt boys like this, too. It’s not your fault if a guy falls in love with you. But if you flirt with a guy who is in love with you, and you take advantage of his emotions by doing sexual things with him even though you don’t love him, or have any intention of staying with him, you are going to hurt him. He is going to think you reciprocate his feelings, unless you tell him you don’t.

    So anyway, the point of my story is: be careful with one another. Be gentle and kind, and think about what your friends might be feeling.

    Oh right and if you make mistakes, just recognize it and chose better next time. Or even better, ask yourself WHY you made them. It’s very unlikely you were just going out looking for sin. XD Personally, I was lonely. I’ve made quite a few friends since that time, and that has helped me a lot. :) I’m in a real relationship now also, and my boyfriend is really kind and respectful. Having other people show us how valuable and loved we are as human beings, and not as sex objects, can be healing, too.

    The End

  2. My husband’s and I’s first kiss together was at the altar. (He had kissed other women before.) Would I have that boundary again? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!

    While there is forgiveness for past sexual sin, there is great benefits when not sinning in the first place. For us, not even kissing was wonderful! It allowed us to develop other parts of our relationship. But the major benefit is that I never had to confess sexual sin to God. My sexual experiences have never, not once, been something that has been blocking my relationship to God.

    The answer isn’t “just don’t have sex” (as you say), but to live a pure and holy life. Each believer needs to determine what that means for them, as they understand God’s Word. It’s so important!

  3. Diane, very good, very good perspective, I concur 100%. You have rightly identified the issue(s). Kait, is right about the attachment and it is no longer theory. There are two MD’s in Jackson, MS, UMC that have written a book, “Exposed”, about and dating this very subject. I highly recommend it to you.

    A few years ago I was talking to a mom who was having trouble with her son and his girlfriend and thier physical relationship. I had been doing to thinking about how to better explain the subject of sex/sexuality to teenagers. What I told this mom and have been telling others since them is that “anything that a husband and a wife would do that leads them to sexual intercourse is sex–that includes holding hands, kissing, hugging passionately, etc. If it can and is part of the foreplay for sex, it is sex.

    Thanks for sharing.

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