Think about fire for a second. Fire is both useful and enjoyable when kept in its proper place. We count on and use fire to light, cook, fuel, heat and protect. Inside a fireplace or within certain boundaries, fire is helpful and can also evoke a pleasurable, emotional response. Outside the protective boundary of the fireplace, it is damaging, destructive and frightening. Fire, is really just like sex.

Sex, similarly, inside the boundaries of a caring, committed relationship of marriage is both useful and pleasurable. Sex is a means to procreate, bond a couple together in a unique way, and bring pleasure to the couple involved. Outside of marriage, where there is no established respect, trust or commitment, sex is also damaging and destructive. Beyond the physical consequences of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection or disease, there are equally destructive emotional, social, mental and ethical costs. Low self-image, guilt, shame, regret, embarrassment, humiliation, heartbreak, tarnished reputation, loss of relationships, loss of trust, and fear are some of the very real issues regularly associated with sexual activity outside of marriage. Just like the fire needs boundaries to contain it, we also should protect ourselves and our sexuality by carefully and holistically placing protective boundaries to guard every aspect of our sexuality.

Holistic means encompassing all of something, or the whole, not just a part. Clarity uses the whole person circle (shown to the right), a holistic understanding, to explain the five components by which we exist:


  • Physical – our material existence
  • Mental – our ability to reason and think
  • Emotional – our ability to empathize and sympathize
  • Social – our ability to relate and establish connections with others
  • Ethical – our value system of faith, or understanding of right and wrong

As humans, we are more than just physical bodies. There are four other parts to our whole self that need to be guarded just as much.

When we discuss holistic boundaries, we are referring to a set of limitations to protect ourselves in every aspect of our being. When sex affects every part of our being, we need to be protective of each of those parts, not just the physical part. The use of birth control, such as condoms, spermicides, pills and shots, is only able to provide limited physical protection from unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection and disease. Because we are more than physical people, we need more than physical protection. In fact, if you look at the diagram above, the limited physical protection that birth control provides will only protect one fifth of a whole person.

So what can you do to protect the other four-fifths of yourself? Set boundaries. YOU are worth protecting and respecting.