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If you have a boyfriend and girlfriend, can you sleep together with no sex, for example by just cuddling?
Thank you for asking such a personal question. I am glad that you are taking these matters seriously and considering them.
At lookingforGod.com we aim to answer people's questions directly from the Bible. As Christians we believe that the word of God is true and helpful to guide us in all areas of life.
Firstly, there is no specific Bible verse that says a boyfriend and girlfriend can not sleep together and cuddle while not having sex. As you may be aware, and allude to in your question, it does say that sex before marriage is a sinful act. This is because God designed sex to be between married people. The Bible was also written at a time when the terms 'boyfriend and girlfriend' did not technically exist. Instead people would have either been involved in an arranged marriage, or gone straight from being single to married.
It also says that when people become married "‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:4-6). This does imply that a man literally leaves his parent's house and starts a new family home with his wife, and that they can have also enjoy sexual relationship as a married couple. It is often argued that this also means a man and woman should not live together before marriage or sleep together before marriage.
However secondly, though it may not technically be wrong, I would advise you not to do this as it is a slippery slope to temptation. I have known many friends who tried to sleep together (without sex) or even cuddle together lying down and did not intend to engage in any sexual activity, but being in that position does cause a great amount of temptation. Consider this Bible verse:
Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched (Proverbs 6:27-28)
This is saying that even if a man can carry fire and walk on coals it will probably not end well. This is also true in the context of sinful sexual relationships.
Thirdly this is also a bad witness to other people around you. If you sleep next to someone (and do not have sex) the usual theory for people looking on is that you have also had sex with them; this is a presumed action. Unless you tell everyone that you are not having sex, how are they to know? Even in saying so, would they believe you?
Ultimately I would advise you to not sleep together for the above reasons. Marriage is such a special thing that God has given to us as a gift. Singleness is also a wonderful gift from God to enjoy. I would encourage you to pursue God and seek him directly for help in your relationships.
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