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  • Writer's pictureBeverly H.

The Anatomy Rule: A Provocative Approach to Abstinence

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

I am gonna blow your mind. What I’m suggesting sounds undesirable, impossible, even stupid. It is different from what most Christians believe and what barely any Christian actually lives. Frankly, it might go beyond what the Bible requires. But I promise you, this will be worth it. Consider The Anatomy Rule for dating.

The Anatomy Rule is quite simply this:

If it’s anatomically different, it’s off limits.

This means you don’t touch her breasts and nobody is touching genitalia. Not over or under clothes. At all. The end.

What kind of loser are you?!

Yes, I know. This is a complete buzz kill. You’re probably ROFLing and have typecast me as a fugly, delusional Bible thumper who couldn’t get a date if she tried. I get it. That makes it easier to write me off. I dated plenty. I am a cute, socially normal, charismatic, nondenominational Christian. In college, I enjoyed stereotypical parties and was a leader in my (co-ed) fraternity. Later in my 20s, I got married, earned an advanced degree, and developed a guilty pleasure for couture handbags. So don’t write me off just yet.

When I started dating during my junior year of high school, I was compelled to stay pure because the church said to. A staunch rule follower, that wasn’t too hard for me. I bought

into the whole hellfire and brimstone thing and couldn’t imagine how anyone could make such horrible choices, much less yearn for them.

But, Ohhhh

Then I went to college. My world changed completely. My time shifted from sports, band, and church to dorm rooms and dance clubs. I was still mentally driven to abstain from sex, but my desires blurred through a fog of passion and opportunity. Though I yearned (and sometimes moaned) to give in to temptation, my mind still shouted a different boundary, one that honored God. My body is a gift, one that I don’t believe God intended for me to share with anyone other than my husband. Yes, I made out with guys. Yes, I spent the night with guys (wrestling with my consciousness and safety in the process). I even fell in love. Years later, in my mid-twenties, I met my husband and fell in love again. Through it all, I used The Anatomy Rule as a compass for what I believe God intended for me.

Who doesn’t like bad boys?

Believe it or not, all of my boyfriends respected The Anatomy Rule. It seemed like they respected me more as a person because of it. I know what you’re thinking. That’s easy when you’re dating churchy dweebs with polished shoes and mini Bibles in their pockets, ready to testify. Ha. I dated guys from school, work, parties, a club, the internet… I had a thing for bad guys. Wrong guys. Guys who I would never in a million years marry. All but one had a sexual portfolio. It wasn’t until a couple of years after college that I started dating church guys, and guess what? They’re just as horny as the rest of them. Saying yes to Jesus doesn’t short circuit anyone’s sexual drive.

Why Bother?

Here’s what I found: Sticking to The Anatomy Rule made all the difference for me. I avoided the countless pitfalls and consequences that my friends endured. I had better clarity for evaluating the quality/viability of each relationship. Chemistry, or the lack of it, was easier to recognize. I was better at reading someone’s character. I knew my boyfriends liked me for me.

I have always felt spiritually convicted that my private anatomy was and is only for my husband. I respect that you might not believe the Bible requires purity to this extent. My own husband didn’t. But I do guarantee that this shackle of a boundary will do more for the health of your dating life than you can imagine. Stick with this blog, and I’ll unpack how The Anatomy Rule will blow your mind in a way that sex never could.

Answers from other Christians:


violet storm
violet storm
Apr 20

as someone who’s now 30 and single, I relate to this HARD. but my question is how/when do you bring this up with a potential someone to gauge if they’d be a good person to be in a relationship with? I feel like probably sooner rather than later (but not too soon?), because I can only imagine it’d harder for both parties once more involved and (for me, even though maybe it’d say more about the other person and their expectations) I worry someone feeling like I’m leading them on if I wait too long.

Beverly H.
Beverly H.
Apr 21
Replying to

Hi violet storm, this is a great question. It was never a first date conversation for me. Sometimes there's not a second date, so why bring it up? As for the timing after that... well, that's a personal call. One thing to consider is your own drive. Someone who goes 0-60 with just a kiss might want to have the conversation pretty soon. The second thing is to to consider the other person. You're right to be considerate of them. It's good to remember what you and that person are heading toward. Is their end goal a future or sex? If he's into you, violet storm, and a potential future with you then he won't likely cut and run because of the abstinence…

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