How to Guard Yourself from Sexual Immorality

In today's sexualized culture, we are constantly bombarded with media messages that define dating in terms of sexuality instead of interpersonal relationships. As such, it has become increasingly more important to guard oneself from sexual immorality.


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    Figure out how you define "sexual immorality" for yourself. This may depend upon your own religion and philosophy and will be unique for each person. For example, many branches of Christianity define sexual immorality as copulation before marriage, but there also may be many steps before that to think about. Some people consider kissing before marriage to be wrong and others consider undressing in front of each other before marriage okay as long as you don't have sex. What you define "sex" to be will differ from what others define it as. Maybe you feel that only certain types of sex are immoral. You can't find specific guidelines through your religious text, although your religion and spiritual beliefs can guide you. Think about your ideal relationship and decide where you stand on the issues that are most important to you. Abstaining from immorality isn't just a religious idea either, and those without religious beliefs can feel that this is important as well.
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    Talk to your partner (if you have one) about their personal beliefs about sexual immorality. Remember that what they think is okay might be slightly different than what you think is okay. You also might find out that you have different sexual histories, but what matters most is what you believe and are willing to do (or, rather, abstain from doing) currently, not what happened in the past.
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    Set a list of sexual boundaries you both agree on. Be very specific. You may need to compromise if you have slightly different views. The most important thing is to communicate clearly and be consistent in enforcing the boundaries, holding each other accountable with the common goal of avoiding sexual immorality. These boundaries will not work unless you both are serious about sticking to them, so do not set boundaries you do not plan to actually follow.
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    Communicate clearly. If one or both parties crosses a boundary, this should be talked about openly as soon as possible. Be encouraging rather than accusatory, having a common goal of avoiding sexual immorality. Make sure you both still agree on the boundaries. Strategize for how you will avoid the situation in the future. For example, you may try to avoid being home alone together after midnight. Set a new boundary and stick to it.
    • Religious people may want to pray or read your holy text together.
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    Have respect. Make sure you and/or your partner both respect the boundaries you have set for yourselves. If your partner consistently does not respect your boundaries, this may be a sign that they do not respect you as a person. Similarly, thinking of the people too much in sexual terms and not caring about getting to know them better may be a sign that you do not respect them. Mutual respect is very important in a relationship, but even outside of a relationship it is important to have respect and avoid objectifying people. Many instances of sexual immorality can be avoided simply by having respect for others.
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    If you are still having problems avoiding sexual immorality, maybe it's because you're in love. That's great! Still stick by your beliefs, but understand that having a desire for someone you love is not wrong, it's natural and good. If you have agreed to wait until marriage to have sex, you should still honor your agreement. It may become difficult, but you can do it. Don't give up. But if you are having significant difficulty with the issue of sexual immorality and it is interfering with your relationships, family, work, or daily life in a negative way, talking to a counselor would be a good option. There are many good counselors out there who specialize in sexual issues.


  • Thinking about the issue of sexual immorality through self-reflection, meditation, journal writing, and, if religious, prayer can be very helpful for finding clarity about such a personal issue.
  • Whether in a relationship or in a religious community, encourage sexual purity with positive words rather than negative ones.
  • Some people find it helpful to avoid highly sexualized media messages, like rated R movies. It is also a good idea to avoid risk-taking behaviors like drinking and drugs, which can impair judgment.


  • Remember that although there are many religious teachings regarding sexual immorality, sex is still a personal issue that is unique to each relationship. Just as each person is different, each relationship is different as well.
  • Although boundaries and rules can be helpful, try to avoid thinking legalistically and think more about motives of the heart.
  • Avoid thinking of sex as a commodity and more as an act of love between two consenting adults. "Consent" means voluntary affirmation of both parties and can be retracted at any time, even when you're married or have previously consented.

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Categories: Faith and Belief | Love and Romance