Boundaries in dating book review

Clearly some physical activities (like shaking hands, a kiss on the cheek) are not inherently sexual. A great way to judge the sexual nature of a physical activity is to consider the activity against the backdrop of the nuclear family.

And other physical activities (oral sex, fondling) are clearly sexual. We call it the “family test”: if I wouldn’t engage in x activity with a biological relative because it would be sexually inappropriate to do so, then that activity is, by definition, a sexual activity. There’s more to sexual purity than this, but framing things in this way provides a good deal of clarity regarding appropriate sexual boundaries.

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible.

Pastors and parents have, I think, dropped the ball here.

We’ve tended to push the burden of this dilemma back onto teens and singles.

The Levitical sexual codes (Leviticus 18) clearly prohibit sexual relationships between blood relatives.

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The implications in this passage are clear: sexual activity is to be reserved for the marriage relationship. But how do we determine which physical activities are sexual?Our typical line goes something like this: “The Bible doesn’t really speak about sexual boundaries in dating relationships, so you’ll have to prayerfully develop your own standard.” But this has been a disaster in our Christian sub-culture.Telling teens and singles to develop their own sexual ethic is not pastorally responsible.In either case, the legitimization of dating relationships as a distinct category of male-female relationship has introduced an enormous amount of subjectivity into Christian pre-marital relationships.A main problem with contemporary dating relationships is that they tend to grant license to sexual activity that we would otherwise intuitively deem inappropriate. In our book, we argue that a dating relationship is really just a subset of the neighbor relationship, and thus must be governed by its sexual guidelines.

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