[Editor’s note: Today’s post is an excerpt from Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex by Craig Gross and Mike Foster. For more info on this easy-to-read, informative book, check out the XXXchurch store.]

Question: How far is “too far” sexually when you are not married?

Well, this is the big question for many young people, so it’s probably a good starting point. The simple fact is that God does not map out word for word in the Bible what is and is not okay. It sure would be nice if he did.

But the Bible does give us a lot of guidance regarding the age-old question of “How far is too far?” Repeatedly the Bible says not to be sexually immoral. The Bible does not say just to avoid the act of sexual intercourse outside of marriage, but to avoid sexual immorality. In other words, God wants us to be sexually pure.

Question: So sex is more than just intercourse?

The definition of sex needs to be widened to consider more than just intercourse. There are many sexual acts that are not intercourse. Is the action done to cause arousal? If so, it’s sexual.

It is hard to be sexually pure in mind and body if you are constantly pushing the limits of what is, or is not, okay. When you push the physical or sexual boundaries when you’re dating, it can be like a drug. What was exciting at first starts to seem less exciting–so you move on to the next level because you want to feel the next “high…”

Sexual intimacy binds people together physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Each of these three elements is distinct from the others, yet they are dependent on one another at the same time. Sex is a beautiful mystery and a blessing when it is handled appropriately, and it is completely destructive when it is not.