What IS permissible before marriage?

The Bible is clear that having sex before marriage is a sin. (1 Corinthians 7 addresses this) But for many Christians who are unmarried but engaged in a romantic relationship, they want to know, what CAN Christian couples do before marriage? Where is the line? At what point have you crossed into the realm of sin?
Alright.
Let us begin with what is completely off limits before marriage. We’ll start with a really simple one: if it has sex in the name, don’t do it. When I was a teenager and attended youth group, I can remember many of my fellow students assuming they could do anything as long as it wasn’t vaginal intercourse. Please understand that oral sex, anal sex, cyber sex, and phone sex are all still sex. You can’t cheat the system. God doesn’t work that way. He can’t be fooled, folks.
Second, if it requires you to be naked, or even have a major wardrobe change, don’t do it. Your nakedness is for your spouse and your spouse alone (again, read 1 Corinthians 7). Showering together? Nope. Skinny dipping? Nope. Sending nude photos? Again, no. And even if you’re “just kissing”, if clothing is coming off or shifting around, you’re probably headed into dangerous territory.
Third, I’d also like to point out that 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to FLEE from sexual immorality. Fleeing doesn’t mean we get as close as we can without actually sinning. Here’s what it comes down to: any sort of sexual sin is extremely tempting, its very easy to succumb to that temptation. Sex is fun. God designed it that way. But, it was meant to stay between a husband and wife. Part of having faith in God is that we obey His commands even when we don’t understand it or like it. You don’t have to fully understand why you can’t have sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but that is the command God has given you. He is Sovereign. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows what is best for us. God wants sex between a husband and wife for a reason. Again, you don’t have to be happy about it, but you do have to be obedient.
Now, to switch this up a bit, more often than not, I think unmarried Christian couples are coming at this issue from the wrong place. Instead of asking “how much can I get away with?” ask, “How can we bring God glory through our relationship?”  I know I’ve quote 1 Corinthians quite a bit in this blog, but if we read 1 Cor. 10:31, we are told to do EVERYTHING to bring glory to God.
As Christians, our lives should look dramatically different from the lives of non-believers. Does your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend look different than those of non-believers? Not only does this show you are being obedient to God, there many even be an opportunity to share the Gospel. When our friends and family see that we live differently, they become intrigued. I’ve experienced this myself. When you exercise obedience and save sex for marriage, you may find those around you want to know why. You may have an opportunity then to share Christ.
To close, I can’t tell you exactly where the line is. I’m not going to sit here and say that your kisses need to be under 7 seconds. Or that you need to be able to fit a Bible between you and your boyfriend/girlfriend while you’re cuddled on the couch together. But, read everything that I’ve written. Pray about it. Pray with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Have a few friends to hold you accountable. Go on double dates to make it way less tempting to sin. Do things with your family. If you’re struggling, reach out to a pastor or leader in the church. And as always, we are always here to pray for you.
Much love and God bless you all

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