Separation of the Sexes: Does it leave you vulnerable to control?

One discussion topic about courtship/dating that recently occurred on SGM Survivors ( was about the affects of socially isolating single men and women. One person put it this way:

It left these young people (and some not-so-young people) with immature and underdeveloped abilities…which in turn, of course, leave them more vulnerable to being led and controlled, even as they are pumped full of themselves and their own maturity for “doing it right.”

It has been reported that in some courtship circles including Sovereign Grace Ministries there is a lot of social “segregation” of the single men and. That is the pastors and parents don’t allow single men and women in their teens and older to interact much (with those of the opposite sex). This includes limiting this interaction even in group settings.

It was discussed what are some of the effects of this “segregation.” One clear affect of this “isolation” is that it doesn’t allow these single men and women to develop social interaction skills with those of the opposite sex. In other words, it leaves these young people with immature and underdeveloped social skills with those of the opposite sex. This would include the young men having problems approaching and talking to a single women and single women being shy and “unapproachable.” Put another way the singles become afraid of any interaction with the opposite sex.

When singles don’t have these social skills it makes them more dependent and easily controlled by their parents. Without having the opportunity to develop the interacting skills needed to meet a mate, they can become dependent on their parents and others in finding a mate. I value the opinions and input of others on finding a mate but seriously question if parents should be the ones deciding who you should marry.

I am not one to say that there doesn’t need to be some controls in place especially when singles are younger but what I hear reported seems to be going to quite an extreme.  This is another example of how courtship and “kissing dating goodbye” may have started with the best of intentions morphs into something that is more about control than its original intent.


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9 Responses to “Separation of the Sexes: Does it leave you vulnerable to control?”

  1. SavvyD Says:

    It’s worse than that. Then when we finally do have to opportunity to be with a person, I think we are more likely to fall into sin because we are so hungry for attention from the opposite sex. But then, I wrote about that recently on my blog–Can’t Get No Satisfaction

  2. steve240 Says:


    My thoughts on this are similar to what you are saying. What I would say is that if interaction between single men and women is so limited that they don’t have a chance to learn how to do it properly. Then when suddenly in a situation with a person of the opposite sex they are more prone to sin since they never were afforded an opportunity learn how to interact in a holy manner with the opposite sex.

  3. kinderkase Says:

    Additionally, men and women need to learn to interact with those of the opposite sex in multiple contexts—that is, it is healthy to learn to interact with someone as a PERSON and not merely as a potential (sex) partner (not to imply that that is all marriage is about, of course, but just to illustrate my point). I see this happen with young Christian men a lot…sometimes I feel more objectified by Christian men than I do by men in the world….to me this is a scary phenomenon. I would hope someone would be able to view women as sisters—someone intelligent who is worht having a conversation with, even if you wouldn’t want to have sex with her. I suppose that about sums up what I am trying to say.

  4. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  5. amom Says:

    I am a mother of a homeschooled 17-year-old daughter. We are experiencing the ill-effects of Mr. Harris’s book already. In our homeschooling group, if a girl and boy have a conversation in a room full of people (parents included!) they are labeled “flirts” and the gossip begins. If a young lady attends a homeschool basketball game – even with her family – and has no brother on the team, it is assumed she is “checking out the boys”. This is setting these young people up for a very rough few years leading up to marriage. We have taught our daughter since she was 5 what she needs to look for in a husband. She will not be attracted to a man who does not fit her biblical standard. I can trust her to make wise choices about who she will spend time with and to guard her purity. She knows the cost of sexual sin (loss of fellowship with her Lord) and is unwilling to pay that cost. I am seriously concerned about the next few years she will face among people who are so petty and legalistic. This is the group of young men we would like for her to choose a mate from, but I don’t know if that is possible with the mindset of the parents (interestingly enough – the MOTHERS).

    Thank you for posting the other opinion. I believe Mr. Harris’s book, while well-intentioned, has taken us too far to the other extreme.

    • steve240 Says:


      Welcome to my blog. I am sure that Josh Harris was well intentioned. Unfortunately the book can have the affect you describe. Unfortunately these affects seem almost always happen when “kissing dating goodbye” it taught.

    • Teenage Girl Says:

      I agree completely. I am a teenager who has been taught the “Kissed Dating Goodbye” method my whole life, and I believe has suffered for it. I am not saying I do not like the book, I think it is well-written and is well-intended. It is the people reading it that take it too far to the extremes. I was homeschooled for 4 years, and was experiencing the same sort of segregation and gossip described above. I was afraid to talk to boys and was under the impression that you shouldn’t even have close guy-friends because it was “bad.” Now that I’m in public school and away from a homeschool “bubble,” I see that the views I had been taught were very uncommon and it has only made me want to have a boyfriend MORE. I believe that if i wasn’t so restricted as a early and mid-teenager, I wouldn’t now be struggling so much with feelings of lust and loneliness. But, like I said, the method itself isn’t the problem, its the application people have adapted from it.

      • steve240 Says:

        Teenage Girl

        Welcome to my blog and thanks for the comment.

        I think we are close in thinking on this. I feel “kissing dating goodbye” was designed for teenagers that you indicate you are and its application seems to always be worse than maybe what its intent was.

  6. JustCurious Says:

    While the book may be well-intentioned, it is being used by controlling parents (many times, oddly, controlling mothers, from what I’ve read and heard) to manipulate children and to perpetuate social dependence on the family of origin.

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