Christianity --Youth Issues/Do we go to far?

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Question
Hey. Thanks for taking the time to read my question. I've been dating a girl for a few months. We have been friends for 2 months before I asked her out. We are both christian and attend church regularly. We are very close to each other. Recently I was wondering. Is making out going to far? I'm fine with it and so is she. If she wasn't Ok with it she would tell me we have a very open relationship. Also is grabbing her butt to far? I enjoy it (as would any guy) and she likes it too. I've researched verses on sexual guide lines. But there to broad for me to understand. The only thing I was able to take from them is do not commit adultery do not lust do not have premarital sex. But I was looking for something more defined. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks -Luke

Answer
Luke

First of all, thank you for trusting me with your questions.  You should know that i get this question a lot, so I hope you don't mind if I share an essay I wrote with you - see it below.

Nobody said it was going to be easy resisting temptation, did they? The point is that God wants you to remain pure, and YOU have to decide what that means to you. I really, really, can't decide that for you. At age 16, making out is normal. And if you want my opinion, it's enough. When it gets past kissing and onto grsabbing your gf's butt, then I think you're going too far (assuming you're 16.) Are you going to be satisfied with that answer? I doubt it, because by your own admission, you're alreading asking for "permission" to perhaps go farther.  Most adults all too often will give you rules that we want you to follow, and too many teens think it's because we're mean and unreasonable. It's not. It's because we care about you, and think those rules will help you grow into responsible happy adults, as well as reamining pure for God.  And remember also that God is the one that gave you the desires in the first place.

Ask yourself why you might want to do more than make out? Because it feels good. Yup, it does. But after that feeling is over, then what do you do. Go home and read a book? Why not start out the evening finding something else to do? There are a lot of activities that are fun. I like playing games, surfing the web, watching TV, going to the movies. I've been married almost 44 years. I'm sure you don't think that we have sex every night. You've got the rest of your life to go farther than making out, and I guarantee it will be more fun exploring it for the first time with your spouse. If you are still a teenager, I doubt seriously that your current girlfriend will become your spouse. It's possible, but unlikely.

Luke, it's not easy. It's really difficult, just like most of life. If I had a better answer, I'd give it to you. But God, I think, was specifically vague in scripture - perhaps he wanted to trust you to come up with the right answer.  I could set a "line" for you, but I won't.   My best answer is the essay below - just keep on keepin' on and do the best you can. Set a goal, and stick to it. Get your girlffriend to set that goal with you. With both of you setting the same goal, chances are when things get too involved, one of you will stop.

Blessings,
Carl
Please take the time to give me some feedback.  I need to know if this has been relevant.



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How Far is Too Far?

By Carl Fuglein

Do you remember the first time you rode a roller coaster?  What emotions went through your mind?  Maybe fear and excitement.  As you got onto the ride, your heart started pumping faster and faster.  The seatbelt was fastened and the bar was lowered.  The ride started and you realized that you were committed to this experience.  As you went up the first hill, you became even more excited and more scared.  Maybe you screamed, "Let me off this ride!" because you lost your nerve. Too late.  You hit the top of the first hill and think, "Omigosh, I'm gonna die!”  Then you rush down that first hill and think, "Wow, what a rush!  That wasn't so bad; in fact, it was kind of fun."  There you go--up and down all the hills.

And when the ride’s over, you want to find a bigger, faster, scarier roller coaster.  Maybe even one that turns you upside down.  If you're like me, you just can't stop riding roller coasters.  You figure out that you're not going to die and that you like the feeling of exhilaration it gives you.  You will find that the first roller coaster just won’t feel the same, once you’re ridden on that bigger, faster, scarier coaster.  Having sex for the first time is a lot like riding a roller coaster—the anticipation, the fear, the expectations, and the feeling that you could die.  However, once you make it through the first time, you’re ready to do it again and again and again. You want bigger, higher, faster, and scarier sex just to get the adrenaline rush you felt the first time you gave your virginity away.  Except when you have sex, you give pieces of yourself away—some of your emotions, some of your heart, and some of the purity that God gave you.   

God gave us the beautiful gift of sex.  He intended it to be used for creating intimacy between a husband and wife as well as for procreation.  (See Gen. 2:21-23, 3:16, and 4:1)  Instead, humans have exploited sex by committing adultery, which includes pre-marital and extra-marital sex, (Exodus 20:14) and even thinking about committing adultery.  (Exodus 20:17)  But what constitutes sex?  This is the actual question that you are asking when you ask “How far is too far?”

There are many reasons why you may be asking this question.  One, you're looking for someone to give you a specific limit.  Two, you're looking for permission to do certain "things" without feeling guilt.  Third, you really don’t know what, in God's eyes, constitutes sex.  Look up these words in the dictionary:  sex; sexual intercourse; coitus.  Still not very clear, is it?  In my dictionary, sexual intercourse has two definitions - one is coitus, the other is "sexual union involving genital contact, but without penile penetration".  But human sexuality is not just physical; it’s also an intellectual, social, ethical and spiritual act with social consequences.

Human sexuality is complex.  It’s been said that women have sex to get love while men give love to get sex.  A commodity traded between two individuals who are using each other as a means to an end.  Women are turned on by emotional intimacy, while men are more aroused by a woman’s appearance.   Does that mean a woman should refrain from intimacy on all levels?  Should a man never look at a woman? It's all part of the human sexuality "dance" leading to sexual union. Humans do all sorts of strange things prior to having sex. When you're older and in a committed marriage relationship, merely "talking" and "cuddling" can constitute sex or at the least, foreplay.

So, we come back to the question again, what is sex?  A couple’s physical relationship might go like this.

1. He sees a pretty girl or she sees a cute guy.  She smiles at him, he smiles at her.
2. They talk, nervously. They both laugh.
3. She tells a friend to tell a friend to tell him that she likes him.
4. He tells a friend to tell a friend to tell her that he likes her back.
5. They talk some more.
6. They go to the library to "study".
7. On the way home, they hold hands.
8. They go out on their first "date".
9. They hold hands, and at the door when he drops her off, he gives her a hug, and maybe even kisses her, once, quickly.
10. They go out again, and maybe kiss twice or nibble on one another’s ear.
11. After they've been going out for a while, they “experiment”, and French kiss.
12. Wow, that was fun, what's next?  Lying down on a couch perhaps, but "just kissing".
13. While still fully clothed, but lying on a bed, he touches her and she touches him.
14. Step 14 is the same as 13, only with buttons unbuttoned and zippers unzipped.
15. Ditto, only maybe without some clothes
16. Ditto again, only with no clothes.  
17. Mutual masturbation. (this might start occurring in step 13)
18. Oral sex. (Could happen as early as step 15)
19.  Protected sexual intercourse.
20.  Unprotected sexual intercourse and perhaps “kinky” sex.

So, at which step is a sin committed?  What is the definition of sex?  Where does being friends end and “friends with benefits” or “sex” begin?  The difference between 1 and 2 is tiny.  The difference between steps 9 and 10 is tiny.  The difference between steps 17 and 18 is tiny.  The difference between steps 1 and 20 is huge.  A couple must consider the step that they together think is a sin, and agree upon it. Pretend that step is a cliff.  If you go that far, you're going to fall off the cliff. Every step after that one will be tiny; but hey, it doesn't matter, because you already fell off the cliff.   

Where should a couple place their cliff?  That's pretty much up to them based on their experience and their morals.  Ninety percent of adults, if they're honest, will tell you that sex is downright fun.  But there is a LOT more to sex than just the physical part.  Sex inside marriage is guilt free.  Outside marriage, it's guilt laden.  Remember that everything you do, along with everyone you do it with, will be in your mind on your wedding night.  If you truly love your bride or groom, wouldn't you want to wait to give it all to them instead of only part of you?  Going all the way will give you emotional baggage that will be extremely hard to empty when you get married, especially if one partner is a virgin, and the other isn't.

Unfortunately, the Bible does not directly mention French kissing; it doesn't mention oral sex (except in an obscure passage in Song of Solomon), it doesn’t mention masturbation.  Any genital contact, even with clothes on is sex.  Most clinical definitions of sex are just that – any genital contact constitutes sex.  Anything that could lead to the act of making a baby outside of marriage could be a sin. Let me explain, if a step would prepare your body for the act of intercourse, (specifically, causing the male to have an erection and/or the female’s vagina to become wet) it probably should be considered a sin.  For most people, that point would be step 11, French kissing.  For some, it might not happen until step 12 or 13, for others it might start as early as 9 or 10.  Once you get to that point, i.e., real sexual arousal, any labels become meaningless and it becomes more and more difficult to stop – remember those raging hormones.  Your body will be saying “More, More”, and your brain will be saying, “Stop, stop!”  

If you've already stepped off the cliff, don't despair.  There is grace - God loves you and will forgive you.  But you must try very hard not to go there again.  Trust me, there is so much more to marriage than sex.  Sure, sex is great, but being married to your best friend, even without sex, is better.

Finally, consider this.  Pledge to not have sex until marriage.  Write it down.  Sign it. Something like this on an index card:   

“On __________, 2013, I made a pledge to myself and before God to not have sex until my wedding night.  Here’s my signature to prove it.  This card is my wedding gift to you.”

Put that card in your wallet and carry it with you.  Let it get crumpled and bent and worn out.  And on your wedding night, pull it out of your wallet and hand it to your husband or wife.  It’ll be the best present you will ever give your spouse up to that point.  What comes next will be THE best.  

Christianity --Youth Issues

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Carl F.

Expertise

I can answer questions from teens & young adults concerning their faith walk and on social issues which affect their lives. I can answer questions on sex, homosexuality, or drugs, and anything else that might be troubling you. After 30 years in youth ministry, nothing shocks me, and I promise to give straight answers to any and all questions. I can also answer questions from youth workers on problems they`re having with programming or with their groups.

Experience

I have been involved in youth and young adult ministries as a volunteer for over 35 years. I am currently a volunteer youth minister in a suburban UM church - I have a small group of 7th and 8th graders.

Organizations
United Methodist Church, Chrysalis, Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo

Education/Credentials
Several training seminars, 9 years at National Youth Workers Convention, 1 year at Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry

Awards and Honors
Certified lay speaker for UM Church

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