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I donít know how to talk to my boyfriend about purity or physical boundaries. Need advice.


I know that I donít want to have sex, but I donít know how to talk to my boyfriend about purity or physical boundaries.óNeed Advice, 16, HI

Shayna Answers:

Dear Need Advice,

Many people struggle with having this kind of conversation.  Talking about sex—and specifically why you don’t want to have it!—can be challenging.

First, plan out what you want to say. You might have a general idea about why abstinence is important, but be very specific about your reasons. Even if your boyfriend is a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, explain your feelings about purity the way you would to someone who has never heard about God, obedience, or respect for the body. If you have certain texts that are important to you, such as 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 or Matthew 5:27,* paraphrase them in a way that is most meaningful to you. For example, “I really try to honor God by the way that I act so that I can show people what it means to be a Christian. I also think that God gives us commandments to follow for our own benefit. When it comes to what I do with my body, there are certain things I don’t want to do because I want my relationship with God to come first.”     

Your boyfriend may question what you say or want to know why you take the Bible so seriously. Don’t get nervous if he wants to ask questions or get further explanation. This is how people learn to understand your beliefs and how the Holy Spirit opens doors to people’s hearts (1 Peter 3:15). More important, because lots of people struggle with being able to defend their beliefs, you may find that your boyfriend comes to respect you even more for standing up for what you believe.

After you explain your own convictions, ask your boyfriend what he thinks about the issue. If he is not in agreement with some of the boundaries you want to establish, you are going to have to talk about that.

For most disagreements I would suggest that you formulate some sort of compromise, but when it comes to physical boundaries, compromise just isn’t an option. If you are adamant, for example, that you will not have any kind of sexual contact before marriage, there really isn’t a halfway point at which to meet. As we have discussed in previous columns, the notion of purity encompasses not only what you do with your body, but also how you influence others—and even what you think about.

You may find that coming up with a solution that makes both of you comfortable is impossible. If you start feeling frustrated or uncertain, ask your youth pastor, your parents, or another trusted adult if they can talk to you both. They will likely know the situation better than I do and be able to provide more directed advice.

The challenges of dating can be very difficult. That’s why we at Insight recommend waiting until after high school before dating seriously.

You are doing the right thing by talking about the issue, and your honesty will only make this relationship, and future relationships, easier.  Being able to communicate openly and stand up for your convictions are both essential parts of healthy relationships!

*See also: Deuteronomy 5:18; 6:6-9; Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:2;  2 Corinthians 11:2; Galatians 5:19.

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