Sexual Boundaries: Where Are They?

packhamby *Hannah Packham

Holding hands, kissing, sex, where do you draw your line? This is an important question that evenI tried to avoid answering. It’s just intimidating, right? How are you supposed to know where you draw your line?

A little over a year ago I started dating. I love it. Although, I’ve only dated one guy, that’s about all it takes to learn some of the most important lessons about relationships: everything from communication to kissing.

The boundaries of purity seemed simple to me before I started dating: don’t have sex until you’re married. Just don’t do it. Seems pretty easy; however, I found it is much more complicated than that.

There comes a time when you need to have a serious conversation, with yourself and your significant other. Of course, I don’t mean you have to literally talk to yourself – that would be strange. I do mean that you must seriously contemplate and establish your boundaries.

I had to have this talk too, and I probably did it a little late. About a month in to our relationship, I decided I really needed to talk to my guy. Finally, it came up. We were lingering beside my car and we discussed our thoughts on purity. We told each other our physical boundaries and the emotional connections to those choices.It was such a relief to have discussed something so vital; it brought us closer. It also lifted a huge weight for me. I finally knew that part of him. That doesn’t mean I knew everything about him; I knew his views on sex. Yet, that is a really important part of someone and it speaks volumes about who they are.

Before you ever have the boundaries conversation with your other half, you need to clearly define your own boundaries. Once you enter a relationship, well at least once I did, I realized there is a lot more physical interaction between kissing and sex. You have to decide where your “line” is before you are put into a compromising situation. The last thing you want is to not have thought about it and end up doing something you regret, simply because you didn’t think. Knowing your boundaries ahead of time will save so much unnecessary heartache.

Almost as important as purity itself, is the reason why. Why did you choose purity? Now, applying the Bible’s truth is great, and reason enough for anything, but you need to find out why you want to stay pure. There are the practical reasons like, avoiding STD’s and unplanned pregnancy, but I believe it is much more than that. For one thing you want to protect yourself emotionally, because unless married there is unfortunately always a lingering possibility of the relationship ending. By giving up such a gift, you risk intense pain if the guy decides he’s done. God wants you to have a unique bond with your husband. By saving sex for one person, you are essentially saying that you were committed long before the two of you were married. Purity will strengthen the marital emotional bond and commitment as well.

The Bible verse I believe best explains the reasons for purity is, 1 Corinthians 13:4. It says, “Love is Patient.” Although that is about as obvious as it gets, somehow I never understood it. Until one day last year when I thought, “Wow, love is patient. If we truly love someone we need to be patient with them physically until we are bonded by marriage.” Clearly we need to be patient with our men in other situations, and with other people; however, I find it so beautiful that this verse can apply to our purity. True love is patient. So, if you truly love this guy – you can wait. 1 Corinthians 13:4 is a great verse to meditate on if you are struggling with establishing your boundaries.

Personally, I have decided I am comfortable with holding hands and kissing. That is my line; my boundary. So, although I can’t tell you specifically where to you’re your line, I can tell you that it is necessary to contemplate your boundaries. I recommend having this conversation with your man before any opportunities for compromise arise. It can bring you closer when you both come to an understanding on boundaries; and if you disagree, it probably wasn’t meant to be! Also, remember I never said waiting would be easy. There will be times when you are tempted. You have to be strong, and you are. Pray about it, and share an understanding with your man so you don’t cross the line. You can, stay true to your convictions. Be true to yourself!

 We want your feedback:

What do you think of Hannah’s boundaries?

Where do you draw the line in your own relationships?

* Hannah Packham is the collge-aged daughter of Roxanne Packham, founder of  Inspired 31 Ministries.

Get ready for a special time of mother/daughter fellowship, as Inspired 31 hosts Dannah Gresh on February 3, 2013 in Camarillo, CA. Enjoy a elegant tea party, worship, and deep teachings by Dannah from her upcoming book “Get Lost”. This event is geared toward teenage girls and their mothers. Click here for tickets!

If you are interested in any other events, you may inquire with Simone at about our upcoming Pure Freedom and Secret Keeper Girl Tours in California during Fall 2013.



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  • Great article, Hannah. So proud of you. You’ve come a long way since that first Secret Keeper Girl event in Ojai, California. Praise the Lord for your strong convictions and what a testimony!

    • Wow I really enjoyed reading this article. I myself have strong convictions when it comes to my purity. I love how you brought light to 1 Cor. 13:4 and how it can be applied to purity. I am encoouraged by reading this and would like to see more from you.

      I came across this as I was searching for purity exercises for our Youth group as I am in need of ideas. Saving the website so that I can check back and see what else your ministry is up to.

      If ever you come to Houston I sure woulld love to attend your seminar/conference.

      Blessings to you and your walk in purity

      Shantel Bowie

  • I think it is so smart to set your own boundaries AND discuss them with your partner. I had always set my own boundary, but never discussed it with my boyfriend in high school, and sadly because of the lack of communication, I was able to allow myself to be easily swayed by him to go much farther than I had told myself I would go. When my young daughters are older and we are discussing things like dating, I will be sure to include this advice. Great piece!

  • Thank you for this beautiful, honest, godly article.
    I wonder where the boundaries are with kissing?? There are some kisses that can get people very ‘revved up’ so to speak and that is a very dangerous place to be.

  • Hannah-
    Thank you for your thoughtful, prayerful, insight on boundaries. I will share this with my daughter .
    It is very encouraging to know there are young women out there who think about this and desire to follow God’s desire for them.
    I would enjoy hearing more from you and hope to attend one of the fellowship for mother daughters soon.

    Jamie King

  • This was a great article. I like how Hannah reminds us to clearly define our boundries. I know when I was her age my boundries were so poor. I didn’t have a right relationship with my Heavenly Father and made so many mistakes. I am excited that there are such great role models for my daughters and son. It is so encouraging. Thank you very much.

  • It definitely is not easy to set and stick to our boundaries. My husband and I agreed to only hold hands while courting. When we got engaged, we could only kiss each other on the cheek. We wanted to wait til our wedding day to kiss on the lips. We lasted not kissing on the lips until just a few weeks before our wedding day. It made me so glad we set the boundaries we did. Once we crossed the line of kissing on the lips, it made it harder and harder to not go farther than that esp. when we were alone together.

  • Loved Hannah’s thoughts because they come from one who is in the throws of this challenge right now. Thanks, Hannah, for being vulnerable and honest, Biblical and grace-filled. You paint the picture of what girls can expect and need to consider. I’ll be sharing your post with the girls I mentor and at the More to Be Facebook page! THANKS!

  • My oldest daughter (22) married last June….they chose to wait to kiss til their wedding day . They had drawn up boundaries for themselves that they had us parents read and keep them accountable to all along their dating journey. Our second daughter (19) is getting married in a 7 months…they also have chosen to wait until their wedding day to kiss and only hold hands, put arm around…but no hugging (except goodbye or hello after long absence) . I am proud of them for defining the boundaries for themselves….we have taught our girls the importance of waiting for marriage to have sex, and saving themselves by not giving them selves away…even in small ways.. to other guys. Once you so something in a dating relationship…it is REALLY hard to go back…..and passionate kissing usually escalates to more.

  • in every relationship, in my opinion, we are to draw a line and this is our way of protecting ourself. Even in the bible it teaches us “to guard our hearts” however, our strength to avoid temptations is dependent on our level of intimacy with the Lord..

  • I just happened to come across this article today. 🙂 I think it must have been a God thing, because I’ve been thinking about purity a lot lately. I’ve been so tempted to just give in to the outside pressures saying I need a guy in my life to complete me. It’s not the first time just today that I’ve been given hope that others out there are waiting too. 🙂

    One thing about these boundaries that I was wondering about….when I was in 6th grade or something, I was reading a book. In that book, one of the characters had saved her first kiss for her wedding day. Reading that, I thought something like, “Oh cool, I will do that too.” I take things like this very seriously. So to this day, I have held that promise. I’m only a sophomore, and I don’t want to rush into these things, but I feel so bound by that “promise” I made in an instant that day. I don’t want to betray that promise, but I’m not sure what I want. In all honesty, I would save that kiss not just because I am waiting for my future husband (though that plays a part in this), but for the sake of that promise. I am so dedicated to promises I make, and now I’m not sure if this is one that I’m happy with. I don’t know if I’m honoring God with it, or if I’m just holding on to that promise. I don’t want to get caught up in legalism, but I’m not sure what’s right.

    I guess my question can basically be summed up in this: How can I determine if I should hold to this promise or not? Should I subject myself to it because this is a promise I made, or is it alright to now redefine my values? I don’t want to mess up things, and I just want to take it slowly…but I am not sure how to determine where my line is!


    Love in Christ,

    Rachel 🙂

    • It’s hard to say Rachel. Some are really called to this standard. Others do it out of a trend or legalism. The key is…what does God tell you is his plan for you in this area? I’d take some time to ask a mentor out to talk it out over coffee!

  • Thank you for letting me read this. I really enjoyed it. i need to rethink how i want my man to repect and treat me. like you said “love is patient”. your TRUE love will wait and understand your boundaries. i just now to find my reaso why behind my boundaries. thank you (:

  • i found this article so helpful. i have compromised a lot more than i care to admit and am not a virgin. I am finding it very hard to navigate this area of my life because I’ve met SO many men who claim to be christians-maybe some are but they don’t behave this way when it comes to protecting my purity…this makes it extra hard for me when i struggle with keeping the boundaries in place myself. I guess I am curious of any advice you may have. I think that now, because I have experienced more than i should that my boundary needs to be holding hands and very little kissing. Also I am curious if you have any guidance as to how does a christian know if they are called to be single?

    • Susan, it is a very good idea to navigate the question of singleness in community. Not alone. Each situation is unique to each individual and you need to rest in the Lord AND good mentoring. Find someone a little older and wiser than you to go over your life call, purpose, history, etc to find peace as you navigate that question.

  • It is a great article and I applaud her for her stance. I do wonder though and didn’t see any comments questioning this. Depending on a lot of situations of course but does Hannah think her significant other is going to be faithful? There is a shot clock ticking and God bless you for setting your boundaries but keep an eye on him Hannah.

    • Scott, my name is Dannah not Hannah. His name is Bob. Faithfulness is a very rare commodity these days. He and are working hard to create unity and oneness that draws us towards one another so we can succeed in that noble goal! Thanks for your concern (I think), or was there something else intended in by your comment?

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