This is a great question on a couple different levels and it could land a few ways. The first way it landed for me was “Oh my goodness, find a new boyfriend!” After a few moments I sat back and thought, “Wow…this could be a topic that leaves both parties empowered.”
On one level, you may be able to really hear the concern and basic respect your boyfriend has towards you for saying up front that he needs your help in creating the boundaries. Children thrive on boundaries (even though they try to say they don’t), and as children of the Most High, so do boyfriends and girlfriends. On another level, this is a great place to really look at where your relationship is at, where you want it to go (individually and collectively – are you both on the same path?), and also without hormones involved and in the moment, what are you comfortable with being your boundaries.
I can’t say I have ever had a guy that I have dated tell me that it’s my responsibility to stop things, but I have always thought it better to be proactive rather than reactive. One of my younger cousins stayed with me at times during her teen years. I recall a conversation with her where she asked me, “How far is too far?” My response to her was, “If you even have to ask, you’ve likely already gone too far.” It opened up a really great discussion on how to date, what the purpose of that was and what it can look like from a teen perspective. I would invite her on some of my dates (even just platonic dates with my friends) so that we could model what this looked like and I would go with her on some of hers. I am a firm believer in chaperoning dates of young people. Not because I don’t trust them, but because I love them and it is an extra accountability. There may be something to examine from an adult perspective, also.
To answer the question, here are a few things that I suggest:
1 – Get really clear on what your boundaries are and do not put yourself in situations where you may be tempted further than you can resist.
I read a great book by Lisa Bevere called Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry. In the opening of her book, she is getting ready to go speak to a group of girls about purity. She prays to God for answers for the questions she will receive about what they should not do. The response God gave her was along the lines of it isn’t about what they can’t do, as they don’t need rules. Rather, they need something that stems from [a healthy] relationship that empowers them. The next part has stuck with me since I read the book – “Tell them they can go as far with their boyfriends as they are comfortable doing in front of their fathers. For fathers are the protector and guardian of the virtue for daughters.” (Bevere, pg. 5)
2 – Dress the part. To help drive the point a little further, dress for what you say you are committed to. Our presentation (how we dress) is one way we communicate. It lets others know what we are up to. If you are gardening, you are likely to wear clothes you can easily move in and don’t mind getting dirty in. If you’re going to your prom, you are likely to wear a stunning formalwear. If you say you want to save sex for marriage and you want to get to know each other on a mental and spiritual level, dress for that. There is a difference between flattering and flaunting.
3 – Create accountability. This could look many ways. It could look like (and definitely should) informing your boyfriend what you are comfortable with, what your deal breakers are and having an open conversation about what he’s comfortable with also. It could even look like not being alone when you’re together (i.e., going to sporting events, movies, dinner with friends, etc.). When you are both involved in the making of decisions, you are left empowered and present to what is possible.