8 Practical Ways to Pursue Chastity while Dating

Seriously, I don’t want to write this post. I’ve been avoiding it for weeks. Just writing the wordchastity makes me feel lame. I wish we had a cooler word to convey the same concept, but any synonyms that I can think of sounds equally awkward. And every time I go to put my thoughts down on how to be chaste while dating I feel like an elderly prude who’s advising you to wear a chastity belt and preserve your special virtue. But my desire for you to be free from the baggage that comes with deviating from God’s plan for human sexuality outweighs my lack of desire to write about some very practical ways to stay the course. So let’s embrace the awkward together and move on because if you follow these eight chastity preservers for couples, I can almost guarantee that you and your sweetheart will remain pure… even without chastity belts.

1. Join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity.

This is probably the most important thing you can do to fight temptations. In a nutshell, joining the Confraternity means that you are committing to intentional prayer for a pure life. The Confraternity specifically calls on the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose family attempted to get him to change his vocational plans by locking him in a tower with a prostitute. He chased her off with a burning brand from the fireplace and was gifted with a life free from sexual temptation ever after. Take that Satan.

And if you do join the Confraternity you’ll be just like St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bl. Columba Rieti, and Bl. Stephana Quinzan who were all members.

2. Keep your feet on the floor.

Yep, just try getting intimate with four feet on the floor. (Don’t overthink this one.) Sounds extreme, but if you’re serious about this chastity thing, the “keep your feet on the floor” rule works.

3. Turn the lights on.

Getting caught up in the moment is way easier to do in the dark. Darkness hides things, but if you keep everything in the light, you’ll be able to see more clearly both in your head and in your heart.

4. Get out.

It’s easy to let your hangout default become something that involves snuggling while glaring at a screen. Too much of that and you’ll get super comfortable and then super bored. Bored and comfortable can lead to trouble. Get out and get active. Volunteer for a worthy cause, be adventures in the great outdoors, pick up a new hobby, play a sport, learn a new skill, whatever it is, your time discovering new things together will help you discover new things about each other. And while you’re at it, invite another couple, or your entire posse, to join you.

5. Put yourself in interruptible situations.

While this isn’t always possible, do your best to allow yourself to be interrupted. Something as simple as cracking the door to your dorm room ensures that you won’t let things go…

6. Be accountable.

If you’ve struggled with sexual purity in the past, find yourself an accountability partner who willask you how things are going. It will motivate you to know that you can give a good report when prompted.

7. Spare the details.

Having the “how far have you gone” conversation is mainly about idle curiosity and can stir up unnecessary images and desires. You don’t owe your boyfriend/girlfriend a detailed account of your sexual history. There may come a time when general information that will affect your relationship needs to be shared, but again, spare the details.

8. Give yourself a curfew.

The later it gets the longer you have to let things go too far. Set a definitive time to say goodnight and go your separate ways. Grandma is right: “Nothing good ever happens after 2 AM.” Or is it midnight? I guess it depends on who your grandma is. Either way, figure out what is reasonable for you and stick to it.

Striving for chastity isn’t easy, but with the above practical ways to do it, you’ll be well on your way to dating without unnecessary sexual baggage in tow. Blessings on your pursuit, I’ll be praying for you!

Be saints, it’s worth it!

(This blog post was originally published at FOCUS.)

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lisacotterLisa Cotter and her husband Kevin have been a FOCUS family for the past 5 years. Currently she serves as the Family Liaison, a position in which she strives to connect FOCUS’ over 100 wives across the country. She is a proud graduate of Benedictine College where she received degrees in Religious Studies and Youth Ministry and later served as a Resident Director while Kevin served as an on-campus missionary. She is a national speaker as well as a video presenter for YDisciple Leader. In reality, she spends most of her days playing with her young children and trying to avoid laundry. Lisa is not currently on Twitter and her Facebook account has been disabled. You can connect with her by telegraph or Pony Express.

13 Comments

  1. I like that 4 feet on the ground thing. Clever. Also I have found that spending time watching movies means pretty much automatic cuddling and that might get you more into the cuddling than the movie, or even the person.

    By matt | 3 years ago Reply
  2. Hi Lisa, great post! I just wanted to share what I thought about the introduction. The word chastity is understood by christians as a beautiful virtue.
    If you look in the Meriam Webster dictionary, chastity is “abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse.” Lame. Super lame. But the Cathecism says that chastity “appears as a school of the gift of the person,” “is a gift from God,” “a fruit of spiritual effort,” and that Chastity “means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” (2337-2350). Beautiful.

    Keep up the good you are doing. Thank you for helping us be saints through your writing. And again, great blog post.

    By Ailsa | 3 years ago Reply
  3. Such a good blog! I am totally sharing this on Facebook. I believe so many people can benefit from the information you have shared, especially about bad things being easier done in the dark. So true! Thank you so much! Also, chastity is such a beautiful thing. In my opinion, anything about chastity is beautiful and not boring.

    By Chrissy | 3 years ago Reply
  4. Alternate words to use for purity if that makes you squeamish – maintain your commitment, your dignity, your promise, your honor, your integrity – this from a Dad of 3 daughters. There are many ways to express sublime intentions – but the highest is to do it – it is a sign of your integrity and dignity – a higher commitment – it is sublime and rare in today’s world and culture – be proud of the stand you take!

    By Paul Joseph | 3 years ago Reply
  5. Very timely post for me–I’m giving a talk on chastity to a college group in a few days! I’ve been a member of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity for a few years now. It has radically changed my life for the better! A couple of beautiful quotes:

    “Chastity is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.”
    – Pope John Paul II

    “Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love.”
    – Pope John Paul II

    By Batrice Adcock | 3 years ago Reply
  6. I am so glad attractive, healthy, Christian young people are encouraging chaste lifestyles. I am getting elderly, but I’m not a prude and I was young once, too, with the same hormones every teenager and folks in their twenties, thirties, and more have experienced. Continue your good work, and don’t compromise your morals. The 10 commandments are your best guide.

    By Karen | 3 years ago Reply
  7. Y’all don’t know how much I needed this…Please, if anyone has great ideas for dating please let me know…It’s not an easy thing to do. As a guy, especially in the radical feministic society, I feel pressured to be a sex symbol…to be something I’m not, and I’m really feeling the weight. That’s not what I desire for my life…I’ve been down that road. Yes, we feel the burden just as much as women…Oftentimes I feel as though I’m not seen as WHO I AM…made in God’s image…Any feedback is greatly appreciated. God love you.

    By Bobby | 3 years ago Reply
    • Hey Bobby! I think I know where you’re coming from. What I’d say is remember that chastity helps couples to love each other for WHO they are, not what their bodies can do. That distinction makes waiting for sex so worth it! Otherwise, relationships just become a game of seduction. And although that’s fun for a while, it is never fulfilling. Keep striving for something more than that, keep striving for chastity! It really is worth it!

      By Katie | 3 years ago Reply
  8. In recent years, I have felt so alone in my choice to live a life of chastity for God and my future husband, but blogs like this and complete strangers sharing their struggles, which sound all too familiar really lifts my spirits! I’m so happy to know that other people of my generation still care about being pure and chaste and faithful to God and their future spouse.

    By Veronica | 3 years ago Reply
  9. Hi ! Thanks for that. I just wanted to add : dont drink too much (or at all) and talk about it !

    By Trisha | 3 years ago Reply
  10. Great tips! My husband and I struggled with this before marriage, and it so helps now when we need to abstain at times in marriage. I completely understand the difficulty of feeling alone in this! Particularly while my husband and I were going through college. A few tips that helped us: go to confession. Weekly if possible. And to the same confessor. It helps immensely, and provides another part of that accountability piece you mentioned. Another tip is from a priest I received. He said think of that elderly couple on a bench, holding hands. Cute image, yes? He said to strive for that level of love and commitment, and to remember that chastity was upholding my (future) spouse’s dignity, and honoring him as the (future) father of my children. Vice versa for the husband as well! Final tip- if you do get caught up in a moment, start praying to the blessed mother for intercession. Mary and Joseph are the epitome of a chaste marriage! Keep up the good fight!

    By Amanda | 3 years ago Reply
  11. Question for Jason and Crystalina: what are your thoughts on cohabitation without premarital sex? I am moving to the same town as my boyfriend next year when I graduate college, where I don’t know anyone, and would have no one to live with. I either have to live alone (which would be financially impossible), with strangers, or with my boyfriend. We are both committed to chastity and are remaining abstinent until marriage, but it just seems financially practical to share an apartment to save money. Is this sinful? Does the Church have specified teachings on this? I understand avoiding the near occasion of sin and whatnot, but it just seems to me like the most practical option if we are both truly committed to chastity. Thoughts?

    By Caroline | 3 years ago Reply
    • I have heard that they other reason is that in this society, scandal can be an issue.
      So even if one is not indulging. The fact that one would be perceived to be commending this action it would be sinful. Similar to the notion of “woe to who sins but more so to he who led them to sin”
      But at the same time it seems like the measure of being physically unable to support two living spaces could give credence to it. And I’ve pondered that many times. When looking for more personal (as opposed to the scandal idea) reasons to avoid this situation, I’m only met by stats, which tend to be the least effective way of proving a point.
      So I share in this question, yet I do not believe my Church to be wrong. But seeking truth is what we must do. So if we avoid actually having intercourse. What reason could be given? However impractical it may be to leave the door open for temptation, it doesn’t seem to have any other credence than the aforementioned ideas.
      Please help if you can.

      By N | 3 years ago Reply

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