Two Reasons Why You Should Say No to Physical Intimacy in Dating

Boundaries in DatingIf you have hung around the church for very long, you have probably heard that God wants people to reserve sex for marriage. If you haven’t and that is news to you, then we can understand the shock you might be feeling. For many people, both inside and outside of the church, it does not make sense. If sex feels so good, and is good for the relationship, and both people are consenting, then what is the problem?

Consider this viewpoint: When someone can say no to sex while dating, their behavior is a sign that he or she is capable of delaying gratification and exhibiting self-control, which are two prerequisites of the ability to love. If someone cannot delay gratification and control himself or herself in this area, what makes you think that they can delay their own gratification in other areas of sacrifice? What is going to curb the “I want what I want now” mentality in the rest of life? If someone is able to respect the limit of hearing no for sex, then that is a character sign of someone who can say no to their own desires and hungers in order to serve a higher purpose, or to love another person.

You fall in love with a person and think about making a real, committed relationship with him or her. Naturally, that is going to mean some sacrifice down the road. You are going to want to be with a person who can deny himself or herself for the sake of your relationship in many areas. Think of the areas of sacrifice that a relationship takes. There are sacrifices of time, when you might want to spend time on your favorite hobby, and yet the family needs you. There are sacrifices of money. One person may want to buy a new car, and yet the family needs money for the home. There are sacrifices of getting one’s way. One person may want to go to one place for dinner and the others want something different.

Most importantly, there is the sacrifice that it takes to work out conflict. One person is hurt and wants to strike back in anger or hurt, yet to reconcile, the ability to put one’s own desires aside for the sake of the relationship is necessary. If someone does not have self-control and delay of gratification in pleasure, can they delay the gratification of getting his or her own way in conflict?

Think about it. Wouldn’t you want to be with a person who can hear and respect the “no” of others? Having a boundary in sex while you are dating is a very important test to see if the person loves you. We have all heard people refer to the line “If you love me, you will.” In reality, you should say back, “If you love me, you won’t make demands that I do not feel comfortable with.” Love waits and respects, but lust must have what it wants now. Are you being loved, or are you an object of self-serving lust? Saying no is the only way to know.

We cannot overemphasize the value of dating a person who can delay their own gratification. If you are with someone who ultimately has to have what they want when they want it, you are in for a long time of misery. Choose someone who can delay gratification for the sake of you and the relationship. To the extent that he or she says, “I must have what I want now,” you are in trouble. Boundaries with sex are a sure-fire test to know if someone loves you for you.


Learn more about how healthy choices grow healthy relationships by reading Boundaries in Dating by New York Times bestselling authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

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  1. Karen says

    This hits home really hard. I chose not to say no to sex before marriage and have had to live with the guilt that resulted from that choice for a very long time. Even after we were married, the guilt still haunted me. But I thank God for His grace, mercy and forgiveness, which I received after confessing and repenting. And I can walk free from the guilt today.

    • Abel says

      I commend you Sister… It is so difficult in this age and time to just say NO and stay the course, when we are continuously being bombarded with all those commercials and ads, that keep telling us we can justify our sinful desires because we are feeling Love for one another. Not so!!!

      • Jay Russell says

        Repentance is best defined as: A change of mind that results in a change of action. While getting married means that they can’t have pre-marital sex anymore, there’s more to the sin of pre-marital sex than just the action itself. Participating in that before marriage denies the true power of the intimacy that is created. C.S. Lewis said it like this in his book, The Screwtape Letters:

        “The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured.”.

        You cannot escape this reality. The way to repent of pre-marital sex after getting married is to acknowledge the power of sex to create intimacy between a husband and wife, thus restoring the experience to The LORD’s original design. Sex, when done according to The LORD’s design is an act of worship – which is why we have the book Song of Solomon in the Bible.

        The change of mind here is to recognize the power of sex. The change of action is to see it – and want it – as something so much more than a source of pleasure; to see that it is the greatest source of intimacy that two people can experience, and it is also the closest we can get to understanding the Trinity. As Paul says in Ephesians 5:32: “The mystery of two becoming one is great.”. The Trinity is three separate beings who are perfectly united to one Will. Sex, when done as an act of worship to The LORD, unites husband and wife – two separate beings – to one will.

        I hope this has been helpful!

  2. Sue says

    Sex too soon can lead to a feeling of commitment before you get to know someone. You might then overlook some red flags and get involved with the wrong person.

  3. Walt says

    I have been married twice. Both times to someone I didn’t wait to have sex with. Neither women were virgins. Nor was I.

    During both marriages I was able to refrain from extramarital sex. Both ex wives “cheated” THEN divorced me when they got caught.

    According to the Biblical standard, shouldn’t I marry a virgin?

    Is it wrong for non virgins to have sex

    How does one know a partner is true? My mother told my dad she was a virgin…which was a lie. How can I trust a woman when my own mother lied about her sexual experience?

    I really enjoy sex. I have said no to sex outside of marriage and felt like I missed an opportunity.

    However, I had LOTS of sex with someone not my wife (technically still married in the Catholic Church’s eyes) and it was the most productive and healthy relationship I’ve ever experienced.

  4. Judy says

    I learnt a lot from reading boundaries of dating, I’m refrain from having sex and it is the most fulfilling thing i have decided. Though i get rejected by men because of that but it doesn’t bother i would lose them than miss out on discovering myself.

  5. Judy says

    I learnt a lot from reading boundaries of dating, I’m refraining from having sex ever since i got saved by grace its been years and it is the most fulfilling thing i have decided. Though i get rejected by men because of that but it doesn’t bother me i would rather lose them than miss out on discovering myself in God. As long as God doesn’t reject me…

  6. Sue says

    My husband and I lived together before we were married. Neither of us were Christians but we both are now. Putting aside all the biblical reasons for staying pure there is one thing I have painfully discovered that happens down the road. As a wife who was willing to have sex before marriage I gave the message that I was “easy.” What I mean by that is my husband did not have to work for me. Without realizing it is that set a precedent for our relationship. My husband does not feel that he has to work to have our relationship. He wants instant gratification regardless of his behavior. I am not valued, treasured or respected. We have been married almost 30 years and I am seriously considering divorce. Unfortunately there was nothing anyone could have said or done to change my mind. Even though I have made peace with God about my choices I still have to deal with the consequences years later.

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