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The 3 Levels of Sexual Abstinence

November 20th, 2009 by

Note: Check out the complete Pyramid of Personal Sexual Philosophies

Level 1: No Dating (till marriage)

The Argument

God has somebody perfect in mind for you, and you will recognize that person when you meet them. Until God brings you that person, you’re not going to date at all. You’re just going to live for yourself and for God until you meet the person you recognize as your soulmate. Afterall, why date at all if you know they’re not the one for you? Why mess with it? Dating before meeting your soulmate will only tempt, distract, and dilute you. You can be friends with members of the opposite sex, but nothing more than that until you’re ready to marry somebody.

The People

People who choose this path are often extremely driven and deeply in touch with their faith. They don’t have a choice but to be driven and faithful, because their whole young life is just them and God. I’ve seen some stellar people choose this path. It’s also the most rare because it’s the hardest. It’s the biggest gamble. They are putting all of their chips on God, even moreso than others who are waiting till marriage but still allowing themselves to date.



Common Objections

  1. How are you supposed to know that you want to marry somebody if you don’t date them first?

Common Rebuttals

  1. Do you need to be physical with somebody to know that you love them entirely?

Example: The Christian rock band Barlow Girl is famous for embracing the “no dating” approach. Check out some of their interviews. Inspiring stuff.

Level 2: Holding Hands & Kissing Only

The Argument

It’s OK to date and be romantically interested in members of the opposite sex. And when you like somebody, it’s nice to be able to express that feeling with physical affection. This approach allows you to date, have steady boyfriends/girlfriends, and express your affection for them in sweet but safe (and Christian) ways. Anything beyond holding hands/kissing is going to be too tempting and violate your pact to be abstinent.

The People

Like those that choose the “No Dating” method, people in this category can be driven and deeply spiritual. They best of them can maintain a balance. They can keep one foot planted in their own personal goals and ambitions, while keeping up a pleasant romantic relationship and not wanting too much more. They keep up their faith and they keep their attention divided so that they don’t feel too frustrated about not being able to dive fully into their romantic relationship. They maintain their innocence and that helps them not cross the line.

“Holding Hands & Kissing Only” people can often find themselves conflicted about what is OK and what is not in their romantic relationships. For example, kissing is OK, but what about kissing that goes on so long that it starts becoming a make-out session? The name of the game for people in this group is avoiding situations that will tempt them (e.g., being alone with their boyfriend/girlfriend in their room).



Example: Many devoutly Christian girls (particularly younger girls) in churches and youth groups across America.

Level 3: The ”Everything But” method

The Argument

Everything but intercourse is allowed (oral sex, etc.). Creativity is encouraged to keep things fun and interesting over a long-term relationship without crossing the line (having sex). You can be waiting till marriage and still be sexual. The other methods (No Dating, Holding Hands/Kissing Only) are admirable and you applaud those that can maintain them, but they’re not for you. You’re not that hard-core. You need some physical intimacy in a relationship. This allows you to experience relatively full romantic relationships (complete with a decent amount of physical intimacy) while still saving that one big thing for the love of your life to share only with each other.

The People

Note: I’m excluding people who are actually in the Holding Hands/Kissing Only category but occassionally slip into the “everything but” category.

Those who use the “everything but” method to wait until marriage are often islands, meaning that they can survive on their own apart from Christian communities. Because some level of sexual activity is on the table, it opens them up to relationships with people who aren’t waiting till marriage but are willing to wait for them (since they still get sexual release it’s not as hard to exclude that one thing).

Being an island isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too, but sometimes that’s conflicting. People using this method often run into value conflicts with the people they get into relationships with. The only good match is another “everthing but” person, and that’s hard to find in the circles that these people typically run. Plus, being an island out their in the largely not-devoutly-faithful world can cause problems of it own…it can dilute your faith.



Examples: Most couples who wait-until-marriage and then get into a long-term relationship in their early-to-mid 20′s end up falling into this category out of shear desire for physical intimacy. I guess by you’re 20′s you’ve usually secured the willpower to not cross the line. Those relationships, though they can last years, don’t always go till marriage though…they can end, even after many years. Just FYI.

Author: Mike

Mike handles all of the programming and design work for WTM.org. Although he still writes the occasional article, he spends most of his time these days creating new site features and keeping everything organized. Mike is web software developer by day, and is in school to become an organizational psychologist. In his free time Mike enjoys running, biking, and movies.

63 Responses to “The 3 Levels of Sexual Abstinence”

  1. Tempest Desh says:

    While I’ve considered dipping into Category Three, I still can’t get over the feeling that I’d be ‘having my cake and eating it to’, since I’d be sharing sexual pleasure with someone I wouldn’t be married to. However, it does seem like it would make it easier in some respects…though I’m sure that eventually my gf would start pressuring/tempting me to go all the way, which would lead us to an unpleasant (to say the least) impasse. Besides, going ‘Category Three’ would allow me to get some sexual release (by a means other than masturbation) and thus probably help counteract any erectile dysfunction, etc. Hence my conflicting opinions on such things.

    See ya on the flipside,

    Tempest Desh

  2. Mike says:

    Hey TD!

    First off: Dude, I guarantee you that masturbation will counteract any shadow of “ED due to underuse” just as well as other forms of sexual release will. Do you have any real reason to be concerned about ED? Like, are you experiencing it? Or is it just a paranoia? If you keep freaking out about this much longer, I would definitely just ask a doctor so you can get a straight, definitive answer.

    As for the Level 3 dilemma: The fear that girls would pressuring you to go all the way isn’t entirely accurate: That would definitely happen with some girls, but not with all girls. Some girls would honor your boundaries and not push you on it because they care about you (forgiving the odd bubble of frustration). It’s a question of how much they respect your decision/how much the selflessly love you.

    As for whether you would be tempted…that’s on you. In my experience, it’s only tempting when I’m totally infatuated with a girl. If I’m not that into the relationship…then I don’t feel very tempted to go breaking my lifelong commitments…it’s a no-brainier to maintain my boundaries.

  3. Maria says:

    Well, I consider myself a person in the second category.
    I think dating It’s great, and it helps you not to fall into temptation, IMO. I enjoy kissing and hugging, also holding hands, but I think i prefer not to touch any of the sexual zones. No oral sex, and no masturbation with my partner. Just kissing, etc.
    I’m actually trying to understand the first category… is not like someone is going to say “HI, I’m waiting until marriage to have sex. I think we belong to each other, would you like to marry me?”
    Someone that shares this belief, please explain it to me, Im really curious.

  4. Mike says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your comment! Yeah, I share your curiosity about the No Dating level. I’ve only ever known of a few people that do that (BarlowGirl), and I always wondered how it was supposed to work. I mean, I get that sometimes you just “know” if it’s THE ONE. But how do you depend on that happening? I guess it would come down to having a really close guy friend, and just making the leap. Seems possible, but I’ll admit it’s foreign to me.

  5. Allie says:

    I think I fit into a between stage between the second and third part. I like to sum up this position into one phrase: Pants on. More than just kissing and holding hands, but more boundaries.

  6. E says:

    I’m a 24-year-old woman, and I have yet to get some. As a teen, I didn’t go to abstinence rallies, talk about it much, or wear promise rings. I just knew that if I started getting it on, it would affect my faith and it would also ruin my focus on everything I wanted to do in life. I’ve kept quiet about it, but I’m waiting.

    I’m somewhere between a category 1 and 2. Is there a 1.5? Because the category 1 is hard to live out and category 2 splits your focus too much, IMO.

    I think that when you meet someone and feel that spark of attraction, then you talk to them a lot and like their personalities and values, you can know if they could be “the one.” You don’t need to be actively dating or searching for them or dating multiple people and you COULD just meet the person you are supposed to be with while you are focusing on yourself and other things.

    But once you a) are ready for marriage and b) think you have met someone you want to marry, it makes sense to me to move into category two, but not move to cat 3 (and 4, haha) until marriage.

    As of now, I am not ready to get married. I’m focused on other things, I’m too young, and I haven’t met anyone yet. I tried dating, but I felt like I was wasting my time, because I don’t want to get married for a few years and no one I was dating was a candidate. I’m wondering if I should stay in category two for “practice” and to learn from relationships. But it just feels laborious if it isn’t going anywhere (since it can’t lead to either sex OR marriage). I don’t know.

    It’s important for people to realize that it might be best for them to NEVER marry and pour their energy into something else. The great thing about faith is that your hope is NOT in marriage, romance, and family. They are wonderful additions to life, but it’s not the main source of joy and your future anymore. You can pour yourself into other pursuits, and it’s all good. You don’t actually need God to find you “the one” to fill that hole. If he does, great. If he doesn’t, great. No matter if or when it happens, I’m still gonna have an awesome life.

    So yeah…1.5. I will date before marriage, but I won’t make out and hold hands until I think there’s a possible future.

  7. Claire says:

    You forgot a Category :) I’m waiting till Marriage to kiss anyone. My first kiss is going to be up on the alter. But I am very open to dating but by pledging to myself and God that I am going to be like that, I am weeding out the guys that might cause me to fall into temptation if we did Kiss or possibly go further because of that choice :) I know It’s DEFINETLY not for everyone but I am very determined and believe that it can work for people who are commited :)

  8. E says:

    I found this on cracked.com and it makes me think I should kiss before marriage:

    There’s a cluster of chromosomes present in the body called MHC (major histocompatibility complex) that controls part of your immune system. And when you’re out looking for someone to breed with, MHC is probably the most influential aspect of a partner that you didn’t know you were judging. MHC controls your ability to fight off infection, and if you breed with someone whose MHC is similar to your own, the pregnancy is less likely to take. Finding someone whose MHC is different means a more diverse immune system for the child.

    In fact, according to a report in Psychology Today, the scent of MHC might be the second-most-important factor in determining how attractive a woman finds a potential mate. While you might not realize you’re secretly judging someone you just met on how well your child would be able to fight off a cold, that’s what’s happening. Your body tries to instinctively make sure that each potential partner has the sexual compatibility seal of approval. Now how does it do that?

    MHC is present in both pheromones and saliva, meaning that to really detect whether a partner is suitable, one must be in close proximity (to smell the MHC), and there must be an exchange in saliva (to taste the MHC). Now, what usually happens when these two events are placed together? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen — the kiss is in fact a taste test. We’ve adapted the behavior to make sure we find someone with whom our chemicals match up.

    All it would take is the taste of that person’s saliva for that interest to go from “I want to make love to you right now! I don’t care if the kids I’m babysitting are watching” to “I like you, but more like a brother.”

  9. ajl says:

    @E.thanks for the comment. its just good to know im not a weirdo for being completely ok with staying single if thats the road God intends for me.this life is so temporary that i feel like id be silly to jeopardize my relationship w/Him in lieu of pursuing anything or anyone, that He hasnt stamped w/His official seal of approval.which is why,right now its been great just to enjoy this time period of my life strengthening my faith and becoming a more sound instrument for His Truth and His love.Stay strong yall,as encouragement, this is coming from the heart of a 32 yr old man from cali.whoa,if yall only knew,God really moves mountains!

  10. Sally says:

    Right now I fit into category 2. If I was serious with a guy, (I’m 21) I could easily see category 3 except I’d have some boundaries. Sorry to be graphic, but hj is okay but no bj. Idk but I don’t want a guy to do anything oral for me until marriage. But hj type at least helps create more physical intimacy since we’re as old/serious about a relationship as we are.

  11. Paige says:

    I fall into category 2 :) its been I hard, i have to admit, and there have been times when I just want to do something more, but then I realise how stupid that would be! I don’t believe that there is one guy out there for us, but I do believe that God has an almighty plan for our lives, and I don’t want to ruin the happiness that he has prepared for me! Why would I want to have an hour of pleasure and then live with years of regret. now i know that not everyone will have this regret – this is just what I know I would feel. So yeah, I’ve had boyfriends and we kiss and be intimate, and have huge conversations that get really personal, but we were both Christians and knew what God had set as boundaries for us. We were great together, but I realised that he wasn’t the one that I wanted to spend my life with – so that was all cool, and now we are real good mates, but we didn’t stuff it up by going any further.

    To those who fit into category 3, could I please encourage you to think about why you are waiting, What is it for? Is it for God? For yourself or your future husband or wife? Think about who you are trying to consider when you make your choices, and don’t get caught up in the world’s definitions (i.e. hj are okay, but bj are not). If you go too far, you can’t go back, and God forgives for sure, he is a Mighty and loving God after all, but I would regret it myself. So yeah, i would really encourage you to read your bible, and see what God thinks we should be doing to prepare ourselves for intimacy, and what his view is of marriage, and sex!

    God has an idea of sex, sex as a gift between husband and wife, and if you ask me, this sex involves anything that you know you shouldn’t be doing – even if you try to justify it by the worlds standards! :)

    good luck guys, and always keep praying for wisdom and strength!

  12. Trying says:

    Hi guys/girls,

    Just wondering – is this site directed only at women? Most of the replies seem to suggest so but why would a site with a name so general on an issue that should be important to BOTH sexes be aimed only at women? I’m a guy from Ireland by the way, looking for a sound argument to use to back up my strongly held inner beliefs against people who do not share them. This page has been really interesting and helpful (I’m now aiming for category 2, after reading), but it seemed strange that all the headings are in pink, etc. xD
    Can someone point to the part of the site that says it’s just for women/girls?
    Otherwise, I’d like to point out the excluding feeling, anti-misogynistic tone, if you will, I got reading certain parts. Thanks

  13. Trying says:

    P.S. @ajl&E That is the ideal attitude anybody could want, and I admire you immensely. It isn’t about sex or marriage – life is about our relationship with God. Peace.

  14. Frustrated says:

    I fall in category 2 and I must admit that it has not been easy. I have not always abstained as I was only saved more than a year back. But when I met my now boyfriend we decided to wait until marriage to have sex, all we do is kiss n hold hands. Its not that fun, esp since we have been dating for more than a year now and know each other very well and yet cannot express this physically. It makes u want to marry quick, just to have sex and still honour God. Yet, who wants to rush to marry just to have sex? Then again waiting for too long Will lead one into temptation or even worse, sin.

  15. Evie says:

    I’m 17 and I fall somewhere between the 1st and 2nd category… I will concentrate on building a life for myself before I start dating (get a higher education, live alone for a bit, find a job, etc.). I just don’t see the point in being in a relashionship if you’re a) not gonna have sex until you’re married and b) not interested in marrying the person you’re dating. You could say that I’m waiting on someone I believe I will marry to date.

  16. Nom says:

    Wtf to level 3. Now I don’t mean to be close minded but things like oral sex and anal sex IS SEX. That’s not being abstinent, you’re just pretending.
    This just reminds me of the so-called 14 year old Christians I used to go to school with that always claimed they were virgins but were doing oral and anal yet judging people that were actually having sex.
    Sorry but that’s not abstinent. You’re either abstinent or not and level 3 isn’t.

  17. Spice says:

    I am in level one…it is very simple. You simply meet guys in group settings and get to know them on a friends level. If he has feelings for you, he goes to your father/mother/Pastor/spiritual leader and requests permission to talk to you on a more intimate level. This would include going out with other married couples in a public setting. While this may be difficult, it elevates the guy’s respect for the girl, believe it or not. If the girl responds with interest, they go out for a while with other people, until one day they decide to end it or get married. If they end it, things are not too awkward because he doesn’t know what your navel looks like to put it bluntly. I reclaimed my purity after becoming a Christian at twenty. I had just had a baby and came out of an abusive relationship and decided to do things in a way that honour God this time. Hope this helps those who want to understand this method better. It may seem boring but it is incredibly liberating and empowering. Trust me, I have done it all wrong before and purity works. :)

  18. Lyla says:

    I have been fingered and I give my bf hj’s. I guess I’m category 2.5, since I’ve never had oral/anal. My bf and I are both in this category. What do you think, Mike?

  19. Lyla says:

    Also, I think there should be at least a sub level between 2 and 3. I’m not “everything but” if I’ve never had oral/anal sex. I’m a virgin and so is my bf. we are more than kissing, but less than “everything but.”

  20. Sarah says:

    I think that the first category is just extreme. No dating? I hate to bring society into this, because I really do believe that you should not base your life on what society says, but, honestly, our society really does not allow people of today to find a spouse with out dating. And, no kissing or holding hands? That is really extreme to me. That is probably because I am now celibate, not abstinant. I really believe that category 2 is the overall best option. Yes, there will be temptation. But, no matter what you choose to do, there will ALWAYS be temptation, and you would not be doing anything wrong. And take it from me, all of you who are virgins on this website, don’t go with category 3. I wish I could go back in time and keep my virginity. Sure, you’d still be a virgin, but it honestly doesn’t feel too different, coming from someone who has had sex, if you have basically done everything else. My opinion: the second category. That is all that I have to say.

  21. Gamu Mikayla M says:

    Ok so im definately more than holding hands/kissing but less than evrything but.as the furthest i can go is kissing with mine and my partners top off and well maybe my dress or skirt off but never my undie..NO…and i dont go on anybody handing hjs,bjs and i dont get fingered no hands down there for me love no way……………i also dont rush into dating i take my time really weighing in my options its disappointing sometimes as i would really like the guy but if he doesnt get my beliefs then he has to go bark up another tree…………….and my method has so far been smooth havent had squirms about it yet..AND for those in 3..sex is sex dont matter if it is anal,murstarbation,or oral..thats why im always saying some girls or guys are are more virgin than others.

  22. Rarefirstname says:

    I’m 20, almost 21. Up until… well, a few days ago, I was in category 2. Right now I’m with this guy I’ve known for over 3 years and now that we’re official, we’ve slipped into category 3. He’s had sex before. I haven’t. He knows that I want to wait until marriage and he knows why, it’s a promise I made to God. It’s not about me. He has great self control and I know he’d never push me to have sex outside of marriage.

    I don’t know why I’m spilling all of this out except that I just would like someone to tell me that this is okay.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Well, “rarefirstname”, this is my story: I am a christian and I didn’t have a boyfriend while I was in High School because I figured I wanted to wait for someone who is worthwhile and I wanted it to be “right”. I went to University and I met a boy… And this boy was also a christian and totally on the same page as I was. We were each other’s first serious relationship, and he was my first kiss. We decided to be at Level 2. Just because we’re Christian doesn’t mean we can’t express our love in some ways, right? At first we were level headed, and then we fell madly and completley in love and share a friendship AND a passion that I’d only dreamt possible. 4 years later we’re both 22 and we’re at Level 3. It’s so difficult if you’re totally in love and older to stay at level 2. I feel like the world has made level 3 dirty, but if it comes from a place of love and wanting to share a little bit more of yourself, I think it can be amazingly special. We’re planning on getting married and all that… And I don’t regret anything because I actually cherish those moments we’ve shared. The thing is, I feel bad because I don’t feel bad. And why do I feel like I need to feel bad anyway? Why has the world made sexuality so wrong when it should be beautiful? Why can’t level 3 also be okay if it’s in a safe & loving context and you are able to control the urges to go further and ‘cross the line’??

  24. Karen says:

    Oh to be twenty-something again and know what I know now. You haven’t faced a real challenge until you find yourself 50 and WTM. Come talk to me then. Christian men willing to WTM in my age category are even more scarce. My comfort level and preference is Level Two; however, I’m trapped in Level One.

  25. Jacob says:

    About waiting until you meet the one to marry… If you have to ask if they’re the one, then they’re not. Romance begins in the heart without ever having touched. I don’t believe God meant for us to try out others and get hurt or hurt them. He says seek first the kingdom and He will add all these things to you. Do we trust Him?

  26. mo says:

    personally, i was a category two until i met my number one. i was only interested in making out until i really felt in love. the problem is, love can be deceptive. i thought i was in love once and let thing get about 2.5. poor decision that i regret… now, i’m engaged and i’m a category threr but only because i’m engaged. we have both made 2.5 mistakes and have apologized to each other. i’m glad i’ve saved sex til marraige but wished i had saved over category 2 for my fiance too… i am so in love and sexually attracted to my fiance that we cannot wait for everything until we are married. we decided that because we are committed to each other forever, it is okay to enjoy each other and get a preview. haha. i cannot wait for that long awaited wedding night, though!

  27. AlexeiZ says:

    That clears it up for me. Thanks, Mike! I used to be in the “everything but” category, but my and my gf agreed to take a step back to only kissing/holding hands (hugging too :p)

  28. Laura M says:

    I think that being in category 3, if you’re waiting for religious reasons, is crazy. Not only is there too much temptation but it is wrong to think that the only thing God cares about is penetration but that he’ll be ok with anything else regarding your genitalia.

  29. Cameron says:

    Why does sex distance or faith?

  30. Frustrated.. says:

    My boyfriend and I are in level 3, but I want to wait until marriage because I don’t want to get pregnant and I made that promise to myself when I was very young. He’s willing to wait for me, but the problem is though, the urge to give your total self to this person you’re completely head over heels in love with is so frustrating and overwhelming because you want to, but you’re scared and don’t want to break that promise… I seriously need advice.

  31. Adriana Ruiz says:

    I am category three with my boyfriend, but I don’t regret it. As someone said before, I feel bad because I DON’T feel bad for living this way. My boyfriend and I truly love each other, and I feel like our relationship has grown and matured over time. We share trust, we can talk, we can be friends, lovers, and everything in between We respect each other so much, and we both agreed in our boundaries. We will wait until marriage, but loving someone so much…it is hard to stay in category 1 or 2. With love also comes a physical attraction, and I feel that indulging in that with RESTRAINT is actually positive.

  32. Anon... says:

    :S really confused about this issue too!! my bf and I have been going out for 2 years and we’re really in love. We met when we were 18 though, and i hadn’t really decided where I drew the line except that I wanted to wait until marriage… But we’re able to make each other climax through level 2 type things and, clothes petting… so while it technically doesn’t seem that bad because we haven’t seen each other naked or anything, I do feel a little like it’s technically cheating because we can physically satify each other.

    But also we’re both in uni and can’t really marry for at least 3 years… but i want to be with him and live with him and these desires seem perfectly natural and good and its frustrating and extremly upsetting that we can’t give in to them.

  33. wow says:

    wow good page
    makes you think

  34. Wish says:

    My goal was to be a virgin in every sense of the word sexually until I married. My life didn’t turn out that way. At 55 my heart of glass was shattered. My boyfriend whom I was in love with cheated on me and I had to see it to make matters worse. I met a man whom I had immediate attraction for. I thought that sex was what you did when you wanted him to be your boyfriend. This man shocked me and woke me up to a whole new world. Immediately afterwards he freaked out saying: ” I didn’t know you were so sexual!!!!” I never saw him after that. Now, I knew! Sex let alone great sex will not win or even keep a man. That and the shattered heart changed my life. I’ll be 59 in a couple of months. I didn’t know anyone ever who wasn’t having sex. I only knew the word celibate because I was brought up Catholic. So I decided I never want another broken heart. That was not my 1st broken heart. It was my 6th broken heart but I wanted it to be my last. I told myself if I don’t have sex with any man then no more broken hearts. Then after a blood test physical my PCP sent me to an Oncologist….would die soon…prayed to God for His will to be done. Now I wanted to have a pure heart which added a bigger reason to no more sex. Then I was well. No more dying. But, I don’t want any sex until after marriage. I went out with one man 2 times but by the 3rd he wanted sex. I said I was celibate….he said something so nasty…I can’t recall…and immediately left. Oh, and he needed sex for his bad back he had told me. I told myself…no man is going to put up with no sex until marriage. But why would I want a man to be my husband if he didn’t love me enough to abstain and pray with me? I have never been so clean and healthy since I was as a virgin! No more STD fears! And today I googled to see if there is a dating site for single people abstaining. I’m not alone! All these male and female even famous people who abstained prior to marriage and most are Christian! There’s hope I won’t be alone and grow old alone. Maybe God has a husband for me! If not, my highest prayer request is for God to keep me filled with His peace within me till He brings home to heaven. It’s lonely out here for me. I’ll probably try one of the single abstaining till marriage dating sites. Any suggestions of which one? Thanks for listening.

  35. Allen says:

    The 3rd category is tricky how sure can one be that one thing won’t lead to another and you both end up actually having sex?i personally have kisses and held hands in a relation before but i discovered that it was not easy to kiss passionately and not think about sex. I decided not to kiss or do any other intimate thing with a man until we are married. Holding hands,hugging is okay but there has to be boundaries on some things.Also there must be some understanding from both sides.

  36. Allen says:

    @ WISH try http://www.youandiabstain.com
    Good luck dear

  37. John says:

    I set up a three level thing like this, except it was a bit different. I set it up to where it was in three zones:

    Green: Gave you virginity to your wife after you two were married. (of course)

    Yellow: Gave you virginity to your girlfriend who you ended up marrying. (still a sin)

    Red: Gave your virginity to someone that was merely a temperary GF and never married her. (sin of course)

    That is what I put myself on. I, of course, want to stay in the GREEN area of this at all times (until I’m married to the right girl God has in store for me), but then I thought of these three levels for some reason.

    Anyway, I would deffinitly be on level 2 of your scale because I believe you should date to meet your spouse because if you NEVER date, then really – how will you meet them? You’re not exactly going to bump into them, know that’s who God has for you and then your hitched the next week (unless you want an unsuccesful marriage). Also, I think you should really get to know your GF by that because dating is something romantic as well, but there are things that are restricted for marriage. I would highly advise against level 3 because let’s face it, all of those “substitutes for sex” are sex in a nutshell wether you like it or not, and will only bring up more temptation. Plus, it also takes away from the experience on your honeymoon.

    Because on your honeymoon, don’t you want that night to be exciting? That first time you get to see your new spouse undress right before should be special, and it won’t be as special if you have already seen their genitals in that way before.

  38. nema says:

    i dont think ‘no dating’ means no dating at all. it just means no serial dating. like u dont go on a date with just anybody who asks u out ‘no dating’… unless there is a possible future with the person. so ‘category 1.5′(no dating unless u see a future and when u date kiss and hold hands) is the best option. although, the ‘no dating’ at all should work for teens and those who don’t want to get married soon cos why put urself in temptation? i saw my friends go in and out of meaningless relationships in high school and collage and i told myself that it wasnt for me. i was in category 1 until 6 months ago (25 now). im dating my best friend of 3 years and now we’r in category 2

  39. ........... says:

    I fall into category 4, which means I have lots of awesome sex.

  40. Lana says:

    Nice breakdown. I think waiters should experience dating not just to know preference but to get dating experience. There is a certain level of comfort and etiquette that should be present in relationships and this is learned behavior. You will also need to know how to deal with certain situations and possibly drama that can come along with dating, just because you waited till marriage does not mean you partner will be perfect so I think it’s good to experience dating to get a better feel of how the opposite sex operates. Thanks for the post once again!

  41. rea says:

    Guess I’m a category 4 who wishes it had been category 3. (My assumption – category 4 is no intercourse until you’re serious about someone, guess by extension category 5 is someone who’ll have intercourse early in a relationship).

    Partly why I was having a look at your website, but also thinking in terms of how I answer questions from our Sunday School … which we ended up running as no-one else would, and they’ve grown up with us and are now just getting into their teens (we’ve new ‘little ones’ too), and the odd question or too from the older ones about relationships has started me thinking about how we will answer as the questions get deeper (or more specific).

    Did have some sexual contact with my wife on our first date in 1984. I think that took us both by surprise, not something either of us had done before. I sometimes think we should (and could) have waited on the intercourse front though – she decided to a few months later, but then afterwards felt bad about it, after which we went through quite a period of doing or not doing, which was an emotional strain on both of us. Advice to anyone in that situation is that ‘the next step’ doesn’t HAVE to be taken.

    We ‘lived together’ for 3 years before marriage too, funnily enough people assumed that was for sex. It was more that she wouldn’t marry because she didn’t think we’d ‘work’ as a couple (if you knew how untidy I can be, you might understand this!). Thinking back, when we were ‘living together’ I’d have been perfectly comfortable with other contact and no intercourse too, frankly it just didn’t occur to us as an option (we were using double contraception though). Managed to stay at my parents on holidays and obey their rule that we could sleep in the same bed but not ‘do anything’ (friends said that meant ‘do it quietly’ but we were happy to stick to what we’d been asked to do – or rather, not do) so if we had the willpower for that, probably could have been very happy category 3s!

    I do doubt that our relationship and subsequent marriage would have worked if we’d been category 2. The people we know who have ended up divorced all seem to be either category 2s who were incompatible sexually but had no chance to find that out beforehand, or category 5s where at least 1 couldn’t stick to a partner and strayed. So – don’t be a category 5, and if you’re category 2 – talk about what your expectations of sex are before you get married. If she’s expecting once a week with the lights out, and he’s fantasizing about lots of sex and her prancing around in sexy clothing, you might have a problem. Or he is horrified because his ‘perfect wife’ comes out with ‘colourful’ language during sex. (Should there be a category 2.5 where there’s no contact but you watch each other self pleasuring?)

    An aside – we do have strange conversations at church sometimes, as people assume we didn’t have sex before marriage. We do come over as quite conservative, I think just because we’re polite, reliable etc. Don’t assume that about people in your churches please!

    Sorry the above is over-long, but hope someone finds something useful or thought-provoking in it. Blassings to everyone and their relationships.

  42. rb says:

    or how about going off of what the Bible says?

  43. Priscilla says:

    Firstly, I came across this site after an extensive conversation with my boyfriend, so skimming through has reassured me that I’m not alone on this journey.

    To make a long story short, I’m somewhat religious but my beliefs don’t define why I’m waiting until marriage. It’s more on committing myself to that one person and in turn, having that full intimacy with them. I’m level 3 and I’ve dated people who respected my decision but parted ways due to other issues. Whenever me and another person get to the point of being in a relationship, I tell them I’m WTM and I’d say at least 3 guys made it clear that it was going to be an issue. I’m currently dating someone and it’s going great until he brought up on how much of an issue it has been weighing on him for the past month now. I was angry at him a few days ago because he ended up falling asleep even though I came over after work just to see him. He said that he would rather fall asleep than be “dissapointed” for not being as satisfied as he would like to. He is not pressuring me, and said that it’s soley my decision on sex and he won’t persuade me. He wants us to work out and “it’s an issue but it isn’t an issue that can’t be fixed”. Pretty much my imagination is going well, it was nice while it lasted, too bad it won’t work out. I know sex for some is a big deal and for others it isn’t. I’m halfway where I get that it’s a big deal but 99% of my friends do it so it’s become part of our culture. So my conflict is with my desires and the normalcy of it in society while wanting to just wait for that one person and try to stick to my guns. And it’s really discouraging to just break down my relationship right now to, well here again, sex is the main issue on why things didn’t work out…

  44. Shirley says:

    Priscilla, it sounds like maybe it’s not going great. When he says that he would rather fall asleep than stay awake and be disappointed by you… that IS pressuring you. When he says “it isn’t an issue that can’t be fixed”… by “fixed” he means one of you can change, and it won’t be him. What’s good about him? What are your religious beliefs?

    Adriana, that probably makes you feel like you have a lot of will power, but training your brain to associate intimacy with fear and restraint probably isn’t going to be good for you and yours, in the long run.

    Elizabeth, the world hasn’t made level 3 seem dirty, it has made levels 2 and and 3 seem normal, which you mistake for not-wrong/not-dirty. If you plan to marry this guy (why haven’t you already?) then he, of all people, is not someone to whom you should demonstrate that you believe it is perfectly acceptable for people to hold hands with, kiss, etc., people they’re not married to.

  45. Kiki says:

    I know where people are going with this but I dont recall the Bible ever saying that people aren’t allowed to hold hands, or kiss…These are mad made ideals of purity, And AS a 23 year old very Christian virgin myself, I can tell u Purity doesnt come from sex or abstaining from it alone. Because many people on here sound QUITE judgmental as if you CHOOSING to not date or only hold hands is somehow putting yourself above someone that may not be ready to go all the way but still crave intimacy. Its not fake or Phony virginity its doing whats right for YOU and YOU alone! It doesnt help how people view virgins from the outside in when we continually give people a reason to think down ON us with this holier than thou mentality many hold, when all u did was make a personal decision for yourself.

    And just as a side note, I for the life of me cant understand how u can choose not to even date until your find a husband or wife?? Makes no sense because at the end of the day u HAVE to date that person in order to decide if they are perfect for marriage?! And What happens if u think this impeccable connection that u DO have for someone still ends up being nothing…then u wasted YEARS of time for no good reason. Im a believer in Soul mates and that God has created a particular person for everyone, but to think that you’ll just HAPPEN to come across a Husband/Wife one day and BAM!! Instant Marriage/Spouse…Unrealistic… Even MORE unrealistic if ur over 20! Its cool to stay a virgin U dont have to have sex to have a mate…Honestly those people just seem like they’re more afraid of being hurt heartbroken or letting their guard down…U cant know unless u open up to the possibilities!! Thats irrational thinking to me… Its my opinion though so let it be…

  46. ShouldBeConflicted says:

    I am so thankful to have found this site, first of all. Nice to not feel crazy/alone in all the confusion!

    I think this chart definitely skips a step between 2 and 3. I mean there is a whooollleee lot of gray area between only kissing and holding hands and saying that anything and everything is ok before sex. For this reason, I guess I’m a 2.5ish. I mean I am not for the removal of clothing/getting down to undies type thing, but if I’m being honest, then yeah there have been times when making out with someone that “dry sex” has happened. What’s really weird is that I am a Christian who is very convicted of remaining a virgin until marriage, but don’t really feel convicted of what I’ve done thus far. I mean we haven’t grabbed each other’s genitals or anything like that, but still there’s a lot of people who would say that’s wrong, so it’s really more outside opinion that leaves me feeling conflicted.

    Here’s what it comes down to. I want to keep something extra special stored up for my future husband, but also have to have some sort of outlet. I’m 24, am not currently dating anyone and want to keep my standards high for who I will and won’t date (where are all the Christian 20-somethings????), and feel like I need some sort of way to even acknowledge my own sexuality. It’s like it gets drilled into your head so much that you are supposed to steer away that you feel ashamed for even wondering what kinds of things you want one day sexually. So while I’m not ashamed of where I am now and of having maintained my standards and boundaries to this point, I feel like a bad Christian for not being ashamed.

    Has anyone else had this issue?

  47. Princina says:

    Oh, I am def level 1. I was there up until this summer then went to level 2. Going back to level 1. It was so much easier and left my brain more free to focus on more important things.

  48. Christable says:

    I was on level 1 b4 2012 nd then 2 level 2 and later progresed 2 level 3,i just want 2 stop anything sex.

  49. Chris says:

    Pressures to have sex come from the past of our species when the primal urge was to carry our genes to the next generation. Since our lives were much shorter on average 25 to 30 years intercourse/pregnancy occurred during teenage years. Modern man lives a lot longer but we are still essentially an evolved ape. Religions such as Christianity , Islam have become involved in arguments on sexuality , tying it up with morals to essentially exert control. It is of course much more complex than this and it goes with out saying that all individuals must have their own free choice. On this topic though there are hidden agendas. There are many rational alternate views and with the Internet individuals are free to seek out multiple viewpoints. I expect my comment to be deleted. We”ll see.

  50. Jegsy Scarr says:

    @Chris: No, your comment won’t be deleted. As you said, it’s the internet, and you’re free to have a different viewpoint.

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Why would you think that religions are “exerting control” over people just because they teach that you should wait till marriage? Nowadays, of course, the secular world promotes the exact opposite. Young women are taught that sex is no big deal, and if they want to wait and give their virginity to their husband, they’ll often find that the whole of society is against their decision. I’m Catholic, and my religion is the only place I’ll find my decision to wait respected. The rest of the world ridicules me for it, telling me that I’m not worth waiting for.

    You said yourself that everyone should have a free choice about sex. I choose to wait for my husband.


  51. Tommy, the boyfriend says:

    Hey! What about a category for me and my girlfriend:

    I think sex is more than intercourse. If you’re having oral sex or stimulating eachother, I don’t see the point with waiting. My girlfriend and I make out and enjoy it a lot. We also pray and study the Bible together every day, almost even more often than we kiss, cause it’s equally important! Spiritual fellowship and physical intimacy should both be in the core of your relationship. <3<3

    And we think oral sex and everything involving the genitals is sex. So we're waiting till marriage with seeing each other naked, and having sex. Maybe it's about personality, but I don't have any problems at all with not taking my clothes off or keeping my hands away from her certain body parts, while we're kissing. And neither does she. Making out, to us, does not have to lead to any type of sex, and I'm getting kind of tired of all the preachers out there, who are making boys afraid of themselves, by saying that making out will release a sexual monster inside them. Making out is not dangerous. To us it's an essential preparation for our future sexual relationship. :)

    So yeah, I hope you're all finding and setting physical limits together, actively. Never stop considering whether you're comfortable with what you're sharing or not. :) and also, try to pray together every day! It's a real blessing to be able to share that with your partner!

    I just felt kind of urged to say this, as the third category to me isn't really waiting with sex. Do any of you agree? Thanks for the article.

    Tl;dr version:
    Making out is great and doesn't have to lead to sex or any genital stimulation. Pray together and talk about physical stuff all the time. Making out isn't dangerous, it should be important experience to build a foundation for your sexual relationship / marriage. Spiritual fellowship + physical intimacy = awesome.

    Make out with your clothes on, pray together and talk about/set rules actively.

  52. Tommy, still the boyfriend says:

    Haha, reading the other comments I see a lot of people were thinking the same as me, almost.
    So sorry for being a bit preachy! C; God blessssssss


  53. A.D says:

    Im muslim and my boyfriend is Christian. I want to wait until marriage but because my Boyfriend has already had sex and is abit older then me which is really hard for me. Ive told him I want to wait til marriage and he respects that but he always ends up talking about sex like we are going to do it soon. I really care about him and we are on level 2 (if it wasnt for me, we would be on 3.5 or something) but I honestly dont think he has any genuine Christian beliefs has he makes out because he keeps saying one thing and doing the other.

    We are really attracted to each other but I dont think its going to work out even though he keeps talking about marriage and babies. He is getting too involved with my family and is currently looking after a family members house which has put me in an awkward situation. So when hes
    finished, our relationship will maybe have to end.

    Its true when people say they can just know because I never completely felt he was the one but with him being my first relationship its been hard letting go. But I honestly think level 2 is the best option.

  54. Jada says:

    I know that i have a sex with you yes or no.

  55. linda says:

    I think everyone has different tolerance levels and also needs to consider what the Bible says and how the Holy Spirit is leading, before
    getting involved, then implementing into the relationship what you as an
    individual know about yourself, not what someone else wants. For me in my heart I don’t care about categories, I care about my conscience.
    Seeing nakedness, touching private areas in any way is sex. If you’re
    truly waiting for marriage and honest with yourself, anything sexual
    is sex, not just penetration. Holding hands and kissing is a sign of
    affection, if its not heating up to passion, then that’s OK. I do understand category 1 if its thought about and not reacted to. If you
    have been abstinent, you have a pretty good grasp and insight into when
    someone comes along that you feel God is pairing you up with. Look at the great pairings in the Bible. They liked each other, married and then
    did it. Issac/Rebekah for example. If you’re that hot and heavy for
    each other just get married. The Bible says it’s better to marry than
    burn. One last note-if you’re a Chrisitan you have the Holy Spirit in you and whatever you’re doing you’re dragging Him into it-so make sure He wants to participate also.

  56. linda says:

    forgot to mention this: I said if you’re hot and heavy for each other
    just get married, this is of course if what you’re experiencing is love
    and not lust-how come no one has brought up lust? You know that thing
    that causes you to be obsessed about something?

  57. Holt says:

    I am mainly in category 2 I have gone beyond that a little In the past but not to much. Still I am not proud of what I did do. I personally believe that anything more than kissing especially passionate kissing will get you into trouble. Not only does it cause trouble in your relationship with Jesus but it also has the opportunity to taint your relationships ith your gf/bf. The bible calls us to be pure in what we do and how we treat the Holy Spirits temple, so I try to follow that. Personally I have come to find that if you guard your thoughts and don’t let your mind wander when tempted you don’t really need a sexual release like some talk about. The urges will subside and things between Jesus and you are usually smoother. I plan on being very strictly 2 in my next relationship. I think that is a good place to be in and a place where God can bless your relationship with him and possibly your potential spouse. Has anyone else found that if thoughts are actively kept from wandering that they need no sexual release? Whether by your self or a partner?

  58. Julieta says:

    Is someone who masturbates with no penetration(no matter if man or woman)still a virgin?

  59. Mark says:

    OK, I believe in WTM but this pyramid is wrong, and I think it could actually hurt your chances of waiting until marriage.

    Level 1 is impractical in Western society. It CAN work in societies that still have arranged marriages, and where there is a cultural norm that protects those marriages from divorce.

    In Western society, we have a lot of freedom that our ancestors didn’t have, and that freedom is the devil’s playground. Satan loves to play on our emotions and insecurities, and the more freedom we’re given, the more he can play with. If you’re a Christian, it’s important to remember that Jesus experienced the greatest temptation of all, because being God gave Him more freedom than anyone. No normal human could fight that kind of temptation by themselves.

    So the freedom we have today is actually a great burden, but I don’t think Christians are supposed to run from that burden and hide in a hole. That is what Level 1 sounds like. Dating has a whole lot of pitfalls, and you can get hurt in the process, and it can also cause you to sin. Why? Because we are all sinners to begin with! But God still loves us!

    But let’s say you meet someone and you quickly marry to avoid having sex before marriage. No dating, no problem, right? Well…not until you end up getting divorced. Better to never marry at all, than to get married and later divorced. And remember that while it takes 2 people to agree to marry, it takes only 1 to initiate a divorce…

    If you have very strong faith in God, maybe you are confident that God will protect you from divorce. But I think that God, as loving as He is, also wants us to make wise decisions for ourselves. And in today’s society, marrying blindly is about the dumbest thing you can do.

    The other important thing to remember is that there’s a subtle distinction between the civil institution of marriage and holy matrimony. I don’t think God really cares about a man made legal document. He cares about what is in our hearts and the commitment we’re making in front of Him.

    The problem in society is that we’re making fake half-hearted commitments, both in and out of “legal marriage”. We have so much divorce, because we’ve devalued what marriage is supposed to be. We treat it like a commodity. Marriage is just another relationship in a sea of never-ending relationships that never seem to last. We live only in the moment.

    Having sex before marriage is one (but not the only way) we’ve devalued what God intended marriage to be.

    But scientifically, why is sex before marriage wrong in today’s society? Here are two reasons I think:

    1. Men and women perceive sex very differently, because the hormonal reactions to sex are different in men and women. Both can be horny, but for different reasons. So even though sex feels intimate, it doesn’t actually increase understanding in a relationship.

    2. The hormones generated by sex create a bond in a relationship. Sex should make it harder for you to break-up.

    Sex is a drug. The effect it has on our brains is actually more powerful than heroin. Is it a good drug or a bad drug? Well, that depends how you use it. If you’re taking it while your married, then you can think of it like a medicine that helps you smooth out the rough patches in your marriage and actually promotes fidelity.

    But if you’re not married, then sex could actually keep you in a relationship that is not good for you. I have a non-Christian friend who has for several years been in a very bad relationship with a girl who is obviously no good for him, but he keeps going back to her and he has even been suicidal without her. He lost his virginity to this girl, and he has tried to have sex with other girls to get over her, but failed.

    So he thinks he is in love with her, but I am suspicious that his hormones are playing a big role in how he feels. His addiction to her definitely has a physical component. The two of them even tried to get married, but that was long after they had sex. But regardless, the two of them make each other miserable. They are both very manipulative to each other, and I can’t imagine there being any true intimacy between them. Because intimacy should be based on trust, not hormones.

    Not having sex before marriage will not entirely prevent you from entering painful relationships like the one my friend is in, but it will help. Sex can blind you to what’s really going on in a relationship, and until you are married, you want to see things as clearly as possible.

    What you want to focus on when you’re dating, before you get married is building trust and intimacy. Particularly trust. Keep your eyes as wide open as possible during the process. It’s hard to do, and you’ll get lost at times because you’re not perfect, but I don’t think God will fault you if you’re trying.

    When it comes to developing intimacy, it’s a double-edged sword. If you start feeling too intimate too soon in a relationship, it may blind you just like sex. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with developing intimacy before marriage. In fact, I think it’s unavoidable, so you just have to try to be intelligent about it. And brave, because you always have to keep in mind that until you marry, there is a reason you’re not married.

    Intimacy can be both emotional and physical. It also has a hormone associated with it, called oxytocin. Sex can also produce this hormone, but it produces a lot of other hormones as well, and is different in men and women, which in my opinion makes it less intimate (unless you already have strong intimacy in the relationship).

    So the reason I don’t like that pyramid is because it does not distinguish between oxytocin-driven physical intimacy and sex. They are not on the same scale.

    Kissing and holding hands (the Level 2) are expressions of physical intimacy that can generate oxytocin. But you can also get a surge of oxytocin going to your head when someone smiles at you. Hugging can also generate oxytocin. And cuddling is also usually oxytocin-driven.

    So unless you consider smiling to be a crime, most forms of physical intimacy, including but not limited to the Level 2, are relatively harmless from a hormone perspective. The litmus test for whether something is sexual is whether it can lead to an orgasm or not. If it can’t possibly lead to an orgasm, then it should just be considered physical intimacy and not sex.

    You do have to be careful about temptation, because certain forms of physical intimacy (like if you are both naked) may increase your temptation to have sex (or that of your partner). But the reverse can also be true.

    For instance, I’ve found that at least half of the time when I’m cuddling, I feel less sexual tension than I would otherwise. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but at least for me, cuddling is something that I feel makes you feel comfortable being close to someone without feeling you need to have sex with them.

    God didn’t intend us to be so ashamed of our bodies that we completely avoid physical contact. We live in a society that objectifies the human body to the point where we feel that anything we do with those bodies is dirty. That’s the real problem. This objectification is so pervasive in society, that everyone is influenced by it to an extent.

    Our bodies are not dirty, and learning to become intimate without sex is a way to break the mental patterns that lead to sexual objectification. That’s what I feel. Physical intimacy can be a good thing, if the goal of that intimacy is to develop control over your bodies rather than to lose it. Of course, in trying to do so, you take a risk.

    So these are what the different levels should be:

    Level 1: Completely avoid physical intimacy.

    Level 2: Accept all physical intimacy that does not overly tempt you to have sex.

    Level 3: Accept all physical intimacy that can’t lead to an orgasm.

    Level 4: Allow sexual contact that could lead to an orgasm, but stop short of reaching orgasm.

    Level 5: Allow sexual stimulation with orgasm, but for only one person at a time. For instance, you help them masturbate but don’t let them masturbate you.

    Level 6: Mutual sexual stimulation, but without intercourse.

    Level 7: Fully sexual relation, with intercourse.

    When you start dating someone, you should start off at Level 1, because that’s the safest for someone you don’t know very well. As you start to develop a mutual understanding, and learn what your sexual values are and what kind of temptations you each have, you can start to move to Level 2.

    You don’t have to feel like you’re completely in love with someone to go Level 2, but you should feel that this is someone you trust enough to respect your values. Be particularly careful if you’re dating someone who is secular and has had sex before (although you shouldn’t let your guard down just because someone says they’re Christian).

    As your relationship starts to develop, you will end up on a climb between Level 2 and Level 3. You could just stay at Level 2 and not risk the climb, but I think it’s beneficial to be in a relationship where you can try to overcome your fears of temptation together. In my mind, Level 3 is kind of the ideal place to be right before you decide to get married.

    Of course, reaching that point is risky, because if you accidentally end up at Level 4, you’ll find yourself on a slippery slope quickly going downhill. The shame of feeling you’re no longer pure is also likely to cause you to plummet more quickly.

    I’ve been on the slippery slope, so I know. Instead of focusing on the shame, you need to focus on the fact that the real danger in this hormonal drug dependency. There is a real difference between Levels 4,5 and 6, because each of those levels is physically different in terms of the risk you have developing that dependency. The difference between 6 and 7 on the other hand, is more symbolic.

  60. Kate says:

    I would just like to point out that most people married in the bible were married off at 13 or 14 but certainly not until mid to late 20′s. Even Paul said to get married if avoiding sexual immorality became too great a task. Obviously this is not the purpose or only reason for marriage but he was stressing the fact that sexual immorality was what people needed to avoid.

    God focuses on the full commitment to each other. He makes it clear when he mentions how a man leaves his father and mother to unite with his wife. I have searched the bible and the idea of commitment is always stressed. The whole concept it to rely on God in all of your decisions and what he needs you to do. While Jesus recognized the laws of Moses he also indicates many times how humans have twisted them to mean something different from what they were created for.

    It is important to understand first what commitment means in a marriage. Could you move to another part of the world leaving everything you know and love for your spouse? If something unfortunate happened and one of you became sick with cancer would you remain commited even then? Most importantly however, are you reading and studying the bible and understanding what your role in a marriage should be and how to best fulfill that with God?
    I myself am not married but I recently moved in with my boyfriend of 2 years. We are family and we understand that and trust in it. We are in our mid 20′s and both in school trying to get our careers together after this crazy economy set us back like many others. While it may not be a perfect set up we are very much in love and deeply devoted to the other. I read the bible and pray attend bible study and church and study it like a subject in school. I truly want to be a better servant to God and although I’m not perfect Jesus loves me and is working with me through it. I read how to be a good wife for my husband and we pray for each other and our relationship.

    The bottom line is that I love my Lord and just like Jesus told the men who were going to stone the adulterous woman to death (in paraphrase) anyone who has never committed a sin can throw a stone. And of course everyone left because we are ALL sinners.

    It is not our job to judge each other but to gently correct each other in our errors. Many people in our country are getting married, having huge ceremonies and then getting a divorce the next year which is having tremendous financial implications on the economy. So who is worse? Neither. To God they’re all the same, the point is to look to him in all things and not yourself. We live in a world filled with sin everywhere you turn and gods laws are designed to guide you and protect you through his love.

    I know who my spouse is and he knows me and we are fully committed to eachother forever. We both understand and are dedicated to further understanding what that means and applying it. We do not try and justify our sins to God but rather admit them and ask him to help us get better. In many ways living together has helped our relationship and it’s created new struggles. When we hit a struggle together or alone we come to God with it and ask for his guidance.

    If you only believe in marriage only by what the bible tells you to do then you’re missing it. Everything you do must be motivated by your love and gracefulness to Christ. You understand this through the bible, prayer, Godly counselors and any other recourse He might bring your way that is true and Glorfies Him. As you can see my story is not perfect but I trust that god will help me and show me how to make it perfect. Even if I had a ceremony and was legally married I would still have to do the same thing.

    But seek him for these matter and not just these forums online. Because everyone is in a different situation in their lives and in their walk with Him and you must take care to choose your advice wisely. He should be directing you on where to look for answers and you may be surprised about some of the topics he brings to your attention. Many of which you’ll wonder how they have anything to do with what you asked in the first place! But that’s why He is the answer to a question like this including the way you can solve it. He can direct you to prayer a church in your community, a new friend or group of friends with the Holy Spirit or His word through the bible.

    Good luck on your journey and your walk with Christ and may He give you the peace which surpasses all understanding in every decision you make with Him.

  61. Kate says:

    I forgot to mention (after all of that haha) – we do plan on having a ceremony and legalizing our marriage but it is not in the cards financially for us yet for a number of reasons right now. So we are committed to fulfilling that in the in the (near) future.

  62. C says:

    I fit into category 3. My girlfriend and i talk about sex very often, but stay away from the act, although I would like to have Sex with her, were willing to wait for each other. Maybe there is another category, because we both want sex, and if the timing is right, with the right person, there seems to be no harm in that, may the lord strengthen us all!

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