SEX - How Far Is Too Far?

Principles for Setting Sexual Boundaries

Jody asked: Sex how far is too far in a dating relationship? My conscience has been bothering me. With that being said, I'd encourage you to not take dating (or even taking girls on special event dates like the prom) so seriously that it prevents you from having a good time and getting to know people from the opposite sex. There is a lot of fun to be had by just social dating...meaning, you're not dating strictly one person, but just having good social times with different girls. It's important to be clear about what you're doing when you're socially dating, and not trying to convince each girl she is the only one! Spending one on one time with someone of the opposite sex will be very helpful for you to learn what kind of woman you'd eventually like to marry and will help you learn better how to treat the women in your life. Each date you go on could be a valuable experience for you, and for the other person, if you allow it to be. But keep in mind you have to guard your heart.

DAWSON: Your conscience is a really good indicator to let you know when you are, or someone else is, crossing your own personal boundaries and deep value system. You can have a healthy dating life that is not being trashed by violated standards. It does, however, require you to set and follow clear standards for how far you will go on a date. Here are a few principles you may want to apply to your own dating relationships:

You can have a healthy dating life that is not being trashed by violated standards.

  1. The Selfish Touch Principle refers to touching someone in a way that arouses both their sexual and their deep emotional desires. If a guy (or it could just as easily be a girl toward a guy) touches a woman in a way that arouses her passion, he has acted selfishly and has gone too far.
  2. The Sex Controls the Date Principle Our lives should not be controlled or anything. If the physical or sexual part of your relationship is controlling or dominating your time together, then you've gone too far. The question to ask yourself is this: If you took all physical activity out of your relationship would there be enough left of that relationship to continue?
  3. The Sex Controls My Thoughts Principle  Our minds should not be constantly dwelling on passion and sex. If what you do on a date causes you or your partner to constantly fantasize about sex, you have gone too far.
  4. The Does It Cause Me to Mislead Principle  Any kind of sexual activity can lead your dating partner to believe you are more committed to him/her than you really are. If your sexual activity on a date has misled your partner concerning your true feelings and commitment, you have gone too far.
  5. The Ten Year Later Principle  Anything you do today will have an effect for years to come. Will you be able to look your partner in the eye, or perhaps your current partner's future spouse, ten years from now and be proud of how you treated him/her today? Your goal should be to leave the person you're dating today with great memories that build them up, not tear them down.

Your goal should be to leave the person you're dating today with great memories that build them up, not tear them down.

Is it O.K. to date "Just for Fun" and not think about the future?

Michael asked: What is the thinking of those who are either dating or just going to the prom? It is my way of thinking if someone is dating, they should be considering getting married sometime in their future, and the same for the prom. Is it just a cool social thing to do, or a really serious time of considering your future?

DAWSON: Michael, you're blowing my mind. You obviously are a serious thinker who has come to some radical, but amazing conclusions. Most guys don't put that much thought or consideration into what they are doing when they take out a girl. Yes, dating can be a very serious matter. It can be serious stuff because when two people start sharing their lives together in an intimate way, feelings and emotions get intensified, making it easier for people to get hurt. But dating can also be a very meaningful and fun and a great way to learn about yourself.

The biggest danger I see in dating is most people do not guard their heart. By heart I mean, the very core of their emotions...the place where they really live. They're not careful of who they date, or what they do, as long as they feel like they are in love, or someone cares about them. People who don't guard their hearts are easily used by manipulators and their own emotions that spin out of control. Most people who don't guard their heart end up in fast, emotional, destructive relationships. I have talked to so many people whose lives have been scarred, or permanently altered because of irresponsible dating. Dating is not a game; it is an activity where people can grow in personal relationships or get themselves really hurt. I can't say it enough, Michael, everyone needs to guard their heart, so we don't have any more emotional victims all around us.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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