At Eikon Church we’ve been doing a series called “XOXO – Friends, Flings, & Relationship Things.” We’ve been spending the past few weeks talking about everything from marriage to dating to sex, and last week we took your questions. As I prepared I realized really quickly that we wouldn’t quite have the time to answer all the questions, so we decided to take to the blog to field a few more of the questions here. If you missed any of the weeks, make sure to go back and watch what you missed here.
How far is too far? Is a relationship still pure if the couple is having oral sex? If not… define purity.
I’m so glad that someone had the guts to ask this question, because I don’t think I know a single person that’s probably wondered this in one way or another. If we as Christians can’t or won’t talk about it, people will get their answers elsewhere.
Can I make a quick side note to parents out there. If you think this may be inappropriate for a church or pastor to be blogging about, but let me assure you… we NEED to be talking to our children, youth, and young adults about this!!!
Maybe you remember the days of going home from that date and being nervous about that fateful “goodnight kiss.” Well, times they are a changing. A shocking and comprehensive study was released by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics in 2005. It found that more than half of all teens 15 to 19 years old have engaged in oral sex. In fact, this study sparked a documentary and book entitled, “Oral Sex Is the New Goodnight Kiss.”
Allow me to answer the first part of this question… How far is too far in a dating relationship? Let me answer this question 2 ways, first with a general principle and then I’ll get more specific.
I want you to look up from your computer or phone or tablet or whatever you’re reading this blog from and find the nearest wall that has ample space in front of it. Now that you’ve found it, I want you to run as fast as you physically can straight at that wall and then stop just a couple inches short of slamming that beautiful face of yours into said wall. What’s that? You don’t think that sounds like a good idea? Why? Newton’s first law says that a body in motion stays in motion. Well, the same could be said of our sexual desires. A body IN MOTION, wants to stay IN MOTION.
If you tell yourself that the “line” physically is intercourse and you go ahead and do everything up to that point, then trust me… you’ll end up having intercourse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration understands this principle. That’s why on dangerous corners, on cliffs, and places that you need to stay away from the ledge they set up guardrails. I think this is important in a dating relationship too. You need to set up your guardrails far enough away from the ledge that they protect you from going over. If you hit that guardrail and maybe even slam into it, is it far enough away from the ledge that you don’t go over?
Now, let me answer this more specifically… the Bible actually does give us a clue on where this line should be, but it uses a word we don’t use much, so it’s easy to miss. Paul talks to the church in Galatia about certain things that lead us away from Jesus and in chapter 5 he lists something that is interpreted in some Bibles as “lasciviousness.” The best way to define this work Paul uses in the Greek is “to arouse sexual desire.” So my question to you for your girlfriend or boyfriend is, “at what point physically do you begin to arouse sexual desire?” Paul says, wherever that is… that’s the line. So the next question is… then where does your guardrail need to be? Allow me to be just a little blunt and direct: I don’t know many people that could make out for any extended amount of time without sexual desire beginning to arise. I could get more direct and blunt, but I’ll leave it there.
One final thought on this topic. I love what Pastor Andy Stanley calls “the best question ever” and I think it’s appropriate here. Here it is: “In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?” For some of you, because of your past, your line might need to be a little further from the edge. Because ultimately, the point isn’t to ask, “What can I get away with?” but “What is the wisest thing?”
Now to answer the last part of that question… Is a relationship still pure if the couple is having oral sex? In short… no. Purity is defined almost every time with the word “freedom.” Freedom from immorality, freedom from contamination, etc. Paul says to a sex charged culture in the city of Corinth “Flee from sexual immorality.” The Greek words used here are saying to not just avoid it, but to run from it, to keep FAR away. And what of that vague “sexual immorality” word? It means sexual immorality in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written.
So do we think that Jesus or Paul would say, “Yeah, you shouldn’t have intercourse, but oral sex is cool.” Sorry, that’s what culture screams, but I think Jesus would stand on the other side of this issue.