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Compatibility 101: Physical Boundaries

with

Kait Tomlin

Physical boundaries and sexual past: when do you bring it up, and how do you do it?

     The sad reality is that lots of Christians these days grow up with a lot of rules surrounding sexuality and sexual purity, but don’t actually understand those rules. It’s all just ‘do this, don’t do that’, without any explanation as to why. And because of that, there’s a lot of confusion, slipups, and judgment surrounding this area. This is a loaded topic, but I want to help you get super clear on it, so get ready and read on!

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Are you rooted in power or in fear?

     A lot of people say they want to abstain from sex before marriage because they don’t want to get too attached during the dating faze. Or they don’t want to be with someone who only wants them for sex. Or they just don’t want to disobey God.

     While some of these reasons are valid, they are more rooted in fear rather than being empowered. But it’s important to come from a position of power so that you feel confident in your decisions and are excited about the outcome, which is to share the intimacy ultimately in the covenant of marriage. So with all this being said, there will be a time when you’ll be on a date and interested in where this relationship will go, but at one point you’ll need to share your sexual boundaries, ethics, and past, as well as hear from your partner.

So how do you bring up sexual boundaries and history?

Here are four things I recommend you do:

  1. Look at yourself first.

     First and foremost, before you start analyzing the person you’re talking to, you need to look internally. What is your relationship with sex and sexual desire?Do you know what your sexual ethic is? Do you know why your sexual ethic is the way that it is? Have you struggled with boundaries before?If you have, why has it been a struggle? Do you have a lot of wounding in the area of sexuality and intimacy?

It’s really important to know yourself and know why you believe what you do, as well as know your triggers and what is best for you.

  1. Be honest.

     Let me clarify something: being honest doesn't mean you have to tell your date all of your sexual history right away. Not at all. I discourage this actually! What I’m saying is to be honest about your boundaries. For example, if you don’t want to kiss that person on a first date, you don’t have to. Be empowered to share with them what you don’t want to do.It’s important to be candid about our sexual ethics and boundaries pretty early in dating, especially as the relationship progresses and becomes more physical.This is not a time to be cool, but to be clear. Don’t assume that they are on the same page as you.

  1. Get on the same page + get curious

     This is where it’s most important, and where compatibility often comes into play.To put this in perspective, let’s say you have a boundaries conversation and reveal that you are on page two, but the person you’re dating is on page three. So where do you draw the line if your physical boundaries are different?

     First, instead of judging them and writing them off, I would encourage you to get curious about why that person is on page three. Outside of that, you should share why you’re on page two and why that’s important for you based on your convictions, history, and relationship with God. Ask them if they will be willing to honor your convictions and get on the same page as you, because if you’re on different pages, you’ll likely struggle with boundaries and cave into the one with the looser conviction.

     And don’t be scared of this conversation, because if you’re with the right person, they will honor you and not pressure you.

  1. Keep accountable.

     This is obvious, and everyone talks about it, but you need to get accountable. And I’m not just talking about telling your friends. You need to get with someone who freaks you out a bit. Someone who will ask you the hard questions, that will actually check in with you, someone that you respect that is older and wise, and someone that’s already done this right. It can’t be someone who’s always failed with their physical boundaries.

So what do you do if your date has a sexual past?

     Now, this is seriously critical, and I really want to hone in on this. Is it a deal breaker if your partner is not a virgin, and you are? Or if they have a recent sexual past? Let me lead by saying this: I see a lot of judgment and self-righteousness in regards to sexual past.

So here’s what we need to get right: your sexual past is not the most important thing about you, nor is it the most important thing about somebody else.

     Oftentimes as Christians, we narrowly want to focus in on sexuality and sexual purity. And although it is a good factor for a thriving marriage, it is by no means the only important factor. So if you have struggled or think you might struggle with someone else’s past,

here is my advice: our sexual past is a symptom of who we were, and not necessarily a reflection of who we are.

     There are tons of people who sadly won’t even consider dating someone who is not a virgin, and maybe that’s even you reading this! And honestly, we need to change this. Saying that you wouldn’t consider dating someone who’s not a virgin is not the way of Jesus. As Christians, we bow before a God of grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. Our God takes us from brokenness into healing and holiness. So if the person you’re dating today is truly in a deep and thriving relationship with Jesus, that’s what matters, not their sexual past. So before you write someone off based on their past, I want to encourage you to take a look at the fruit of their life and who they are right now. Those are the more important defining factors in all this. Now, if you’re someone who is struggling big time with their partner's sexual past, I hate to break it to you but I have to be blunt here: this has more to do with a potential pride issue in you than it has to do with any issues in the other person. Pride separates us from grace, and if you are so stuck on your partner's past, it could be that you’re having issues accepting the true abounding grace and love that God has to offer you. Though you may have a different past than the person you’re dating,

God's grace is sufficient for both of you.

Want a free guide on boundaries overall?!

Click HERE for your FREE GUIDE on Boundaries in Dating

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Kait Tomlin

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Kait Tomlin is a best-selling author, speaker, popular relationship coach, and the founder of Heart of Dating. She helps thousands of men and women on their journeys through the conversations on the Heart of Dating Podcast, which launched in 2018.

Through her ministry, Kait’s mission is to empower both men and women to have the courage to own their story, walk in victory, thrive with purpose, and discover clarity and vision in their life and relationships. In her new book, Thank You for Rejecting Me: Transform Pain into Purpose and Learn to Fight for Yourself, Kait vulnerably shares how she grew through her deepest, darkest rejections and offers readers the tools to heal from the past, take back their power, and walk in strength, victory, and love into their future. Kait currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband JJ and their pups Lovey and Teddy. She loves sunshine, walks, Jesus, and lip syncing to Celine Dion.

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