How Far is too Far?
As an intelligent person, you know that there is a lot you can do (physically), without actually having intercourse, right? So, how far is too far to go, physically, with a member of the opposite sex? To answer this question, we’d like to invite you to consider this question from a father’s perspective:
As I describe to you my relationship with my daughter, I’d like you to pretend that you’re me.
Before she was even born, I loved my little girl. Through the miracle of ultrasound, I could see her, present in my wife’s womb. We chose her name before she was born. Many nights of the pregnancy, before I went to sleep, I laid my hand upon my wife’s womb and prayed for my little girl, by name, imploring God’s protection upon her.
I had the privilege of being there when she was born, holding her in my arms within seconds of when she entered this world. There were times when she was an infant (as there are times now) when she would cry — and simply being held by me was enough to dry her tears and calm her down. I watched her grow up, as she took her first steps, made her first sounds, and said her first words.
When she cried, my words brought her comfort. I loved holding her in my arms. I watched her go to preschool, where she would often create drawings that she’d proudly bring home to me; others would consider them scribbles, but to me they are treasures far greater than the Mona Lisa. I watched her grow up and perform in her first dance recital, start kindergarten, receive her First Holy Communion, and move on from grade school to high school.
She will certainly become increasingly more attractive to members of the opposite sex. There will be guys who begin to think that my little girl is ‘hot’; and that will make me very nervous. We will probably allow her to go out on group dates in junior high and early high school, but she will have to wait until she turns 16 to be able to finally go out on a ‘real’ date — alone, with a guy, in his vehicle…
Before I know it, she will be a sophomore in high school, 16 years old, and I will probably be more nervous than she is about her first date. Pacing the living room floor, I will await his arrival (coincidentally, I will be cleaning my deer rifle on this particular evening – because I want this young man to know that I own one). As I pace the living room, waiting for this guy to show up, my daughter comes up to me and says, “Oh, Daddy, by the way, the guy who’s taking me out tonight is also a sophomore… in college.”
And before I can say or do anything or even know how to react (because I have slow processing), I look out the picture window of our house and see that the guy who is taking my daughter out on her first date has arrived. And he’s driving a van. And it’s not a mini-van, either — it’s one of those full-sized vans with a seat in the back that folds out into a bed… onto the side of which, he has airbrushed “The Shaggin’ Wagon.”
Now, pretending that you are me, answer a question as honestly as you can from my perspective: how far is too far? How far do you really think that I want my little girl to go, on this date, with this young man, in this van? If you’re honest with yourself, from my perspective, I think that’s an excellent perspective on how far is too far for you.
Why? Well, the reason that I don’t want her to go too far at all is not because I hate her guts. It’s not because I want to ruin her life. It’s not that I want to keep her from having fun, or impose my morality upon her. And it’s not that I want to ruin the evening of the young man taking her out.
The reason that I don’t want her going very far at all is because I love her. She’s my little girl. And I only want what’s best for her.
Ladies: I hope that you have a good relationship with your father here on Earth. If you don’t, I’m really sorry about that. But please trust me when I say that from the perspective of your Father in Heaven, you are Daddy’s little girl. And He only wants what is best for you — and for every person you ever date, who is also His little boy.
Young men, two things: First of all, you’re daddy’s little boy. There is no double standard on this issue – I feel the same way about my sons as I feel about my daughter. You, too, deserve to be treated with nothing nothing but respect. And I hope you know that.
But also, some of you men went there. You were pretending that you were me, and felt some of my feelings toward my little girl on her first date; you wanted to protect her from any harm. And that’s awesome because that desire to protect is how God feels. He is a protector. And we should strive to protect all of the beautiful women God has placed in our lives. As St. Pope John Paul II said, “It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.” Our world has far too many men in it who aren’t protectors, but predators. God is calling you to so much more.
So, just to reiterate: If you are ever in a situation where you are curious as to how far is too far, just pretend that you’re me!
(for more concrete and practical examples as to how far is too far, you’ll definitely want to read this post: “If Not Sex, What Can I Do?“