Last updated on November 2, 2020
I am a baptized member of the church of Christ, and I’m 21. My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year now and during this period we have engaged in sexual activities (not sexual intercourse). I’m a virgin, and I intend to remain one until marriage. I talk to my boyfriend about how guilty and shameful I feel anytime we do that, and he makes me feel bad about it. He’s a Christian, too, but he’s always saying it’s not too much to ask for some passion from his girlfriend. We intend to get married someday. We are both at university. Sometimes I want to call the whole thing off, but I’m afraid I might be making a mistake because he’s a good boy. He won’t lie or cheat, and he’s very supportive. I love him, and I also want to live for Christ. I’ve tried talking to him about it many times, but it would either end up in an argument, or he would break down and this hurts me. I don’t know what to do.
“Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14).
Sexual intercourse is not the only sexual sin that Christians are to avoid.
Lewdness refers to shameless behavior, particularly in regard to sex. It is behavior that is involved in pure self-enjoyment or behavior characteristic of an animal. This would include foreplay, mutual masturbation, and fornication. “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (I Peter 4:3).
Touching particularly in the sense of holding on. Thus, it doesn’t refer to an accidental brushing against someone, but a purposeful touch or grab. “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1). In the context of I Corinthians 7:1, it is talking about the sexual touching between a man and woman, such as what goes on in foreplay, but it would also include the touching of genitals that takes place in mutual masturbation or hand jobs. “So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 6:29).
“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness!” (Habakkuk 2:15). Here we are talking about the exposure of the genitals for viewing. Being naked is supposed to be embarrassing and to be avoided.
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:3-5).
“Uncleanness” can refer to the unclean animals and behaviors mentioned in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament in some contexts, such as here in Ephesians 5:3-5, it is broadened to mean morally impure behavior, particularly of a sexual nature. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:24). Examples are given in Ephesians 5:4. “Filthiness” is what we commonly call dirty talk today. It is talking about sex or sexual practices for the purpose of getting another person sexually aroused. “Foolish talk” is treating what should be a serious matter as if it was a joke. “Coarse jesting” is telling jokes where sex is involved in the punch line. All of these would be examples of uncleanness because they are morally impure behavior. Particularly telling in Ephesians 5:3 is that Paul talks about “fornication and all uncleanness;” thus, those sexual acts that are considered fornication and all the related morally impure sexual acts.
Lust refers to strong desires or cravings, particularly for things that are not lawful. Sexually we are talking about imagining and attempting to justify sinful sexual behaviors because you want them so badly.
I listed out these examples because you are not being honest with yourself. You tell me that both you and your boyfriend are Christians, but then proceed to tell me that you are heavily involved in sin; yet, somehow this isn’t so bad because he hasn’t managed to get his penis into you yet. You tell me he is a “good boy” because he doesn’t do some sins, but you indicate that he is involved in and pushing for other types of sins. How does that make a person “good?” “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:10-11). You also excuse some of this behavior by telling me that you intend to get married, but this justifies nothing. Intentions don’t make something true. In fact, we are warned that we don’t control tomorrow. “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).
Love is not passion. See: Love is Different. Your boyfriend is not displaying love, he is proving that he is focused on his own lusts.
I can’t tell you whether you should dump him or not, that is your decision. However, if you want to make it to heaven, start following Christ fully — immediately. No more talk. It is past time for action. If doing so leads to a break-up, then he isn’t the Christian he pretends to be, nor the man you should marry.