How to Set Boundaries for Godly Sexuality
God wired us for sex. He wired us to find pleasure in it! If you are human, you were created to find pleasure in sex.
Juxtaposed with pleasure, God established boundaries for the expression of sexual needs and desires within healthy relationships. Sex is to be between one man and one woman who enter into covenant relationship together. They are to live in faithfulness, devoting themselves to meet their partner’s needs.
Back in the day, it wasn’t easy for Joseph. Yet, he maintained godly sexuality because he had boundaries in place. He resisted the seductions of the beautiful wife of Potiphar because he knew who he was. And the day she caught him alone, he ran for his life!
Boundaries divide and proclaim ownership. In ancient days, stones were legal markers to designate the boundary of a person’s property and prevented the powerful from encroaching on the land of others.
So a boundary works like a fence around your home. It allows your pets and children to play safely within the fenced area; it also offers protection from dangers lying outside the fence.
The same is true of personal boundaries. Your boundaries bring clarity and give guidelines to discern when someone who appears nice or fun is actually encroaching on what isn’t theirs to touch. Most abuse that continues through adulthood is the result of an absence of boundaries. Once boundaries are established, it gives us permission to say no and not be coerced to yield our ground.
Healthy boundaries bring confidence and impact the ability to choose wisely. They help us stand strong in the time of adversity.
Take time to set boundaries!
things to remember and consider as you set boundaries:
- Intuition is your inner safety radar
The Holy Spirit speaks through your intuition to warn you of danger. Have you ever had that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach? That is your intuition. Be quick to listen! When you don’t, you override your intuition, often at great peril.
- Hormones don’t ask permission to be released
Both males and females experience the release of dopamine, which makes you feel good. Dopamine triggers the bonding hormone that makes you feel safe. As your blood is flooded with an oxytocin rush, you won’t be able to think with clarity, for your limbic brain believes whatever feelings you are experiencing. So your limbic brain interprets the flow of dopamine and oxytocin as proof the person who triggered the feelings genuinely cares for you and what you are experiencing is true love.
- Jesus prepared for temptation before temptation came.
Jesus dealt with His feelings in light of reality. He chose not to be driven by feelings. He knew who He was and where He was going. He accepted God’s boundaries as His own and knew why those boundaries were in place. He chose to respect His boundaries before He got into a situation where He was tempted.
Jesus took time to think, to hide the Word in His heart, and to spend time with His Heavenly Father, strengthening His inner core so in the time of temptation, He was able to stand boldly, without fear, refusing to compromise.
- What is the reason your boundary is in place?
G.K. Chesterton was known for saying, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”
This is wise counsel. What is the reason for the boundaries your parents or church or synagogue established for you? Before you casually remove them, ask yourself, “What is their significance? Boundaries are not established to ruin your fun or to limit you. To know why a boundary is in place will help protect you from unseen danger.
- Give yourself permission to say no!
You have the right to choose what you are comfortable doing. If your partner urges you to do something you disagree with or don’t feel comfortable doing, then honor yourself. Say NO!
No one has the right to shame you or coerce you into drinking alcohol, going somewhere you don’t want to go, or manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do. No one has the right over your body to dictate if or when you engage in sexual intimacy. They don’t even have the right to manipulate or force you into a kiss. You have the right to say NO!
Just because a man (or a youth) takes you on a date doesn’t give him the right to your body. Sexual intimacy is not owed to anyone. It is not to be payment. Nor is the way we say thank you.
Too many young people believe the lie that if money is spent on a girl, she owes him sex. NO!
- Sex is a gift.
It cannot be purchased – if sex is payment then you are being objectified, degraded and used as a victim of sex trafficking. God hates such abuse.
Sex is to be freely given to the person who has made a life commitment to honor you within the boundary of marriage. Until you both say I do, and are legally married, he or she has no right over your body.
You are worthy of respect. So, begin by respecting yourself. Have healthy boundaries in place to cause the other person to respect you. You are worthy of being treated with honor and dignity. You are not an object!
- Plan ahead
When dating a stranger, resolve to always double date with a couple you trust, who will not leave you alone. Plan ahead so you know what to do if you ever feel unsafe or are in a dangerous situation.
On later dates with one you’ve known for a short time, make sure someone trustworthy knows where you are. Arrange to call them by a certain time so they know you arrived safely home.
Give yourself permission to walk away from a date if you don’t agree with something that is happening or even if you feel uneasy.
- Know what your boundaries look like
Have you decided never to be alone with a partner and to maintain an open-door policy where others can see you? Being with others or being in a public place will help protect you and your partner from feelings escaping healthy boundaries.
- Have an accountability partner
Do you have an accountability partner who holds you accountable? Someone who will ask, “Are you doing anything you wouldn’t be comfortable to do if Jesus was sitting beside youor your Mom was watching?” Or, “Are you keeping pure?”
Being accountable helps you be more aware of boundaries and enables you to go slower so you don’t engage in behavior that escalates into uncontrolled passion.
- Know yourself and Know your boundaries.
- Understand you have God-given sexual needs.
The enemy hates purity and is subtle in his attack to lead you to compromise your moral integrity, so he can take you captive into some form of sexual sin.
Jesus calls you to follow in His steps. He asks you to learn to wait and to exercise self-control in regard to your sexual needs and desires. He calls you to learn to know yourself, your needs, your vulnerabilities, and to honor healthy boundaries.
My dear friend, it does feel good when the hormones are pumping.
- But… Pause.
- Take a moment to quiet your heart.
- Take your eyes and attention off the moment and go inward to look at Jesus.
- Ask Jesus to be Lord of your feelings and emotions and to give you clarity.
- Shut the door to any activity that violates or moves you towards violating the boundary of sexual purity.
Jesus cares. He is there with you. He understands the passion you feel, for He created your body to experience pleasure. He doesn’t criticize you or look down at you, for He understands the temptation you face.
If you allow Him, He will enable you to live within the boundary of His love, rather than step outside the boundary to experience momentary stolen pleasures that will rob you of dignity and which you will regret for a lifetime.
But what if you fail? You have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ – who shed His blood to atone for your sin.Let Him cleanse you.
Choose life! Choose healthy boundaries. Choose to keep yourself pure. You will never regret it.
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Thank you for these words, Barbara, on a much needed topic. Your encouragement to set boundaries, and to remember that Jesus understands are both so important. I appreciate the hope you share in the following. “Jesus cares. He is there with you. He understands the passion you feel, for He created your body to experience pleasure. He doesn’t criticize you or look down at you, for He understands the temptation you face.” God’s ways are the best. Always.
Thank you so much Joy, for your encouragement.
When we try to smother those urges, it always backfires; almost like throwing fuel onto a fire.
There is something very wise about Amy Carmichael’s words, “In acceptance lieth peace.” When we begin to accept that part of us, we can learn how to set and remain within healthy boundaries where Christ Jesus is Lord. Too often we have felt shame and tried to crush that part of us, rather than celebrating how God has made us, and learning to let Him walk through any minefield – ahead of us. God is indeed good and makes no mistakes.
….:More relevant than ever… I thought when I got older it would get easier… But now nearly 69 years of age… And it’s still harder than ever… impossible???… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me… “
Thanks again barbara…
Hi Fred. Thank you for your comment.
It is true that age doesn’t make us immune to sexual desires. But oh how glorious when we learn to celebrate who God made us to be, allow Christ to be our Boundary, and actively walk in Galatians 2:20.
This is a topic where we could write reams because it is such a vital part of life and often is not addressed in Christian circles.
Blessings. I hope you are recovering from your surgery.
Great blog posting. It helped me
Thank you Tammyane. I pray the Lord encourages your heart and strengthens you to choose life.