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January 14, 2008



As a formerly married/newly single woman, this was an excellent piece of advice. I'm committed to remaining chaste until God brings someone for me ((if He does)) but it had never occurred to me to think of how "mere" kissing may play into that determination.

Thank you!


Excellent post! As a chastity educator, these are the same principles I try to convey to students. It's difficult, however, when young people don't think that sex is a big deal to communicate that kissing has great meaning as well. Of course, that doesn't mean we should stop trying to share this message. In fact, we need to try all the harder! Keep up the great work.

Paul Cat

Whenever I received the question "How far is too far?", I always ask them what it is that they are really asking. Usually it boils down to "Can I use the other person?" or "When do I stop loving and start using?"

But I do like rephrasing the question to "What's in a kiss?"


I would have to agree with most of this post. I waited to have sex AND waited to kiss until I was married...(okay fine, we had a practice peck the day before to reherse for the cermony kiss). I think it was totally worth it and although at the time it was hard, I think it almost was easier in a way to stop the ball from rolling at all, instead of starting to roll it down hill and then trying to stop it.
We have been married 6 years and had two kids and things seem to be working out okay. My mom would always say that we had the rest of our lives to make out so waiting an extra couple months wouldn't seem like anything looking back. once again i must say my mother was right.

Erin P


In such a fast-paced world where we're constantly being overstimulated (images on TV, music, internet), we're constantly consuming (devouring!) what's around us...and I think that includes intimacy. We just can't get enough affection and comfort from our relationships (in a physical way) when we're filled with material comforts on demand. We're an "on demand" society, no?

You pose such a great question! While my husband and I early on in our dating made prayer part of our relationship and agreed to saving sex for marriage, we definitely struggled with passionate kissing.

So from prior "field" experience I can tell you, just as your linked article, says, making out leads to great frustration (and guilt)! Arousal is inevitable and fixating. It becomes a great physical and spiritual struggle. The important thing is not to give up trying to rectify what leads you astray...with God's help and knowing your LCD (least common denominator for arousal as a couple) and respecting the other person enough not to go there. Because you understand in your heart how hard it is for them from that point on.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel has written a new book, The Virtue Driven Life - check it out. "The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions" (Catholic Catechism, 1768). He talks about how teenagers now aren't even exposed to Virtue - that vocabulary doesn't exist- and that discussion needs to be revived.

You know, it is "heroic self-sacrifice" to save sex for marriage in today's culture. It's funny though -- because saving sex for marriage is what's deeply in line with how we're made in the first place when you know sex is never just about you alone. Kisses aren't either:)


This is one of the most simple and sensible explanations I've ever heard of the topic.


My husband and I lead our church youth group, and this is something we've talked about with them. The human body doesn't have a stop button, just a go button. The reality is that God intends us to go, and not have to stop, and that is part of why He teaches to wait until marriage.

Also, even things like kisses with other people seem like a waste to us now. It was one fewer thing we had to give to the other person. It's not like we believe we were in serious sin, or that we dwell on it now, or let it bog down our relationship, but looking back on it, it seems so pointless.


“Kissing has been prostituted and has been degenerated to develop lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration. To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble."--President Spencer W. Kimball, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

There are endless debates among my age group in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about "how far can you go?" Clearly, our leaders have told us that passionate kissing before marriage is wrong. Sadly, many of my peers see nothing wrong with making out "because it's fun".

I have never had a boyfriend. I haven't had my first kiss yet. And I am saving my first kiss for the one I truly love and who truly loves me. And I am not having my first make-out session until I'm married; I think it'll be more satisfying that way ;)

Some people think I'm being overly romantic, but I don't care. My goal is to be married in the Temple, so I can be with my husband forever. In order to attain that goal, I plan to keep myself morally clean.

And by the way, my mom is the only girl my dad has ever kissed.


There are kisses for cheeks, lips, bruised knees, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, and also boyfriends. Not all kisses are passionate, not all kisses are passionless. Not wanting to marry a man with a passionless kiss is reasonable, so I am not inclined to embrace extremes or extremists.


I liked your post, too. What worries me sometimes is that I don't know where to find a guy who would commit to this idea as well. Some of the couples I know who are waiting do engage in a lot of foreplay, so I don't have a reference point couple to look towards as proof that it can work. I also live in New York City, where this kind of courtship may not be as common. Sometimes it gets a little daunting thinking about finding Mr. Right when he seems like such a needle in a haystack! Does anyone have any suggestions about fishing in the right pond or at least broaching the topics of kissing, chastity, etc. with the average guy? Thanks!



You're right, finding the right guy out there is really tough! And since modesty and religion go hand in hand, I suggest you find a local church to meet guys. No matter what your personal beliefs are, finding friends and guys who share your beliefs is a great start in finding Mr. Right.


I couldn't agree more with this article. If someone wants to save sex for marriage, they need to stop doing sexy things before marriage.


This is an interesting question, and one I had only considered abstractly until recently when I started dating/courting for the first time. In the abstract, when there was no actual person involved, it was easy for me to say no kissing, at all, ever. It was legalistic, and not terribly realistic.

Now that there's an actual person in the picture, I've attempted to find some balance between affection and passion. For me and my boyfriend, this means no lip-kissing. Kisses on the hand, cheek, forehead and hair are able to communicate affection and don't lead us to go any further.

I, of course, am lucky that I have a man who's happy to go along with the boudaries I have set for myself. It was a really tough topic to bring up, especially since it needed to be discussed very early in the relationship, before I felt entirely comfortable with bringing it up. In the long run, I opted for the coward's route and sent him an e-mail that said how much I cared about him, but defining my boundaries and why they are so important to me. Happily, he e-mailed back that he was glad I had thought about it ahead of time, and that I had told him, and that he would never want to do anything to make me uncomfortable or jeopardize our relationship by being overly physical. It was terrifying to me to bring it up, but I felt much more secure afterward, knowing that we were both on the same page.

As for where to look for guys who are willing to discuss modesty and chastity, and who love to protect these traits where they find them, I have to recommend churches and community activities. If you get involved in things you love and care about (without ulterior motives) you will find other likeminded people who will certainly be great friends, and maybe even Mr. Right!


My husband and I saved our first kiss for the altar. No regrets!


H, I'm told you can find ANYTHING in New York and I'm sure you will if you look :o)


I think that this "no kissing" trend is extreme. While it is important to define your boundaries up front, it may also be important to learn a little bit about self control while you are dating.

...and I just had this thought, which may seem strange...hookers don't kiss on the lips because it's too personal. Maybe, I just think that dating is personal enough to merit real kissing.


The advice I give my children is not to do anything they wouldn't feel comfortable doing in front of either us (parents) or the other person's parents. Imagining a scowling father's eyes boring into you cools the fire considerably.

Erin P


I used to live right outside NYC and spent a lot of time in the city, ahem, how should I say? Searching for Mr. Right...who ended up being in Boston. But that's another story. Are you Catholic? Either way, I may have some specific resources for you if you email me. Hope you get this!

Grace Leigh

Thank you for such a sensible, well-written post. Kissing may not be as intimate as sex, but it can and should be an act that conveys love, trust, and commitment just the same.

H, I am a single woman living in New York City as well, so I can certainly understand your frustration. Continue to pursue the activities that interest and are important to you, and you will most likely wind up meeting someone when you least expect it!


My friends (specifically, my male compadres) always hassle me because I haven't kissed my girlfriend (nor do I/we plan to until/if/when the marriage altar enters the equation), and they always ask me, "what's the big deal? a kiss doesn't mean anything!" now I can tell them why it's a big deal and what a kiss really means! thank you for writing this!


Unlike what the song says, a kiss just isn't a kiss. Its a symbol that can convey a much deeper meaning.

If I am ever blessed to find a godly handmaiden, I have no intentions of committing any acts that would lead toward impurity of mind or body.

As H said, however, where does one find such a person? St. John Chrysostom said that one should seek a young women with the traits of modesty, piety, and godliness. These things are increasingly rare today.

Melissa D. sC

Dear H.
One thing to remember is to pray to God that He brings the right man you desire across your path. You will not find the right man if you are doing the searching. The right men are in NYC and everywhere else....if you are seeking a man with the same yoke and belief's as yourself, you should be socializing with them in the same arena's....church an church youth, young adult groups. If your church does not have a young adult group or people your age, search for another church that does.

In the church that I go to right now there is a couple that has been dating for almost a whole year. No kissing, they don't hold hands.....it is wonderful to watch and we hope to hear there will be a wedding in the coming year. These are two of the most devoted people to Christ, they believe and hold true to the words about staying pure in mind and body.
My prayers are with you.
God Bless~~

Mary Catherine

I decided a few months ago that as long as I'm unmarried, plain kisses with no tongue involved are going to be it for me. As soon as there's tongue, it's way too easy to get too excited. Chaste kisses are beautiful ways of showing your affection, and make life a lot easier when you want to be secure in your expressions of affection without having to worry about whether you're going to have to go sit on opposite sides of the room to cool down.

Somebody mentioned not wanting to marry someone with a passionless kiss. Let me put the question this way: do you want to marry someone who only knows how to show his passion one way? There are so many ways to show how much you love someone, but it's so easy to forget about all those ways except one. Dating is an important time to find all the other ways to show your affection (giving flowers, writing sappy notes, going out on surprise adventures) before you start having sex and forget about everything except physical passion.


I liked the article. Actually I took this approach when I had a boyfriend, but my mother advised me otherwise so I took her advice... wish I hadn't...

I thought Annika's comment was sensible too, about a kiss on the cheek, hair, hand or forehead being sufficient to communicate affection.

Dr. Paleo Ph.D.


My name is Spencer. I found this via LAF. Fantastic post; amazing all the way through. I agree with everything you said!



Cassandra: I think about this issue sometimes and I agree that a preventative approach is worth it, because like you say it's difficult to draw a clear line on this one—not just on kissing but also on holding hands.

I find it interesting how some people reason that simple/non-passionate kisses are OK before marriage since they're not sexual. Right as I'm typing this, there was a TV show on in the background where a couple did an eskimo kiss, and then one or two quick, simple kisses on the lips.

Some of the commenters would say these activities are OK before marriage because they're not sexual. I agree with Anita's comment that there are kisses for aunts, grandparents etc, but if I saw two men walking down the street, holding hands, eskimo kissing and then doing simple kissing, I'd say they were homosexuals and the reason I say that is because they're doing a sexual activity. I suppose I'm saying there is more to sex than just genitals.

Some of the commenters seem more permissive when it comes to boyfriends and girlfriends kissing, so I suppose I would put it like this: if it's OK for a guy to hold hands with and simple kiss his girlfriend (since it's not sexual) then it would also be OK for a guy to hold hands with and simple kiss another guy (since it's not sexual)—but everyone would say that's (homo)sexual.

Having said all that...

Anna: I'm interested in trying the no-kissing courtship, but I wondered about how to prepare for that first kiss at the wedding—it didn't occur to me to do a practice kiss the day before. That sounds like a novel way of dealing with it, in spite of what I've just said to Cassandra.

Overall, what a thought-provoking and challenging post. This made me think quite a bit!


The Jewish laws of family purity forbid sexual relations between a husband while the wife is a "Niddah"- which is during her menstruation and seven subsequent days. Only upon immersioin in a "Mikveh" (ritualariam) is the wife permissible to her husband. It is interesting to note that aside from sex, any physical contact (kissing included) between husband and wife is forbidden, in order to prevent things from going too far.
Why? Because Jewish law recognizes the strong love that can (and hopefully should) exist between husband and wife. While casually touching a stranger may not be arousing, any contact between two individuals who share such a tight bond can potentially cause one thing to lead to the next.
I have witnessed this personally. While I am forbidden to be with my husband, if we ever accidentally touch each other (like when we both reached for the ketchup at the same time), sends chills through my body. You may argue and say that this is only because it was "forbidden waters". I agree. But by abstaining from all physical contact during my "Niddah" period, all subsequent intimacy becomes even more meaningful.
And if this is true for casual physical contact, then 1000 times more for intimate contact such as kissing.

Marcia Wilwerding

Thank you so much for this post! My Dearly Beloved and I waited until the marriage altar to experience our first kiss. Twenty-plus years later, we have no regrets. In fact, his kisses just get sweeter all the time! I encourage you to save your first kiss for the altar. It will make your special day even that much more priceless.

VL Fitz, WI

Kissing is intimate and personal and it should not be given away freely. It is not something you can take back once it's given away. I hope and pray that my 3 girls save if for the alter. That is what we are teaching and we pray for victory in that area. My husband and I were not eachothers' "firsts" and we regret that there were others. We have a wonderful and loving relationship of which Christ is the center; but we so wish that the alter would have been the first time.


This is a wonderful article. My husband and I save our first kiss for our wedding day. And we took it a step or two farther than many others do: we never held hands until a few days before our wedding day. He did put the engagement ring on my finger and we shared one very brief hug. We saved EVERYTHING for our wedding day, and it was wonderful. I do not regret it for one moment. Some may think that what we did was extreme, but we did nothing we would ever regret. And I will not say that is wasn't difficult. But we knew that there were people counting on us, and so many need to know that you really can stay pure before you get married.
And it is a wonderful thing to know that my husband has never kissed another woman, and he never has to worry about any other man who can lay claim to any part of my heart.

Jason Ganzer

Whenever I am tempted I just remember this song:

A kiss is not a contract
but it's very nice
yes it's very nice

Just because you've been exploring my mouth
Doesn't mean you get to take an expedition to the south

A kiss is not a contract
but it's very nice
yes it's very very nice

Just because we've been playing tonsil hockey
Doesn't mean you get to score the goal in my jockeys
Just because I'm in an acoustic folk band,
It doesn't mean I only want poon-tang
I can't go around loving everyone
I just wouldn't get anything done
Oh because...

I'm only one man

Paul Clutterbuck

I recently read John Gray's book, Mars and Venus on a Date, and there was something in it that appalled me. As part of his discussion on the "four bases of physical intimacy," he describes some things as first base, including kissing, that I would reserve for marriage. Then he talks about second and third bases involving heavy petting and foreplay, first "fully clothed, then with less clothing on, and finally with nothing on." While this section of his book may have been intended to help people define their boundaries, the implication is that anything up to full intercourse is OK for anyone in a consenting relationship.

The problem with this for anyone coming from a Judeo-Christian perspective is that our relationships should not only be consensual, but carried out "in sanctification and honour" (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12). In other words, everything we do is in the sight of God, not just ourselves and whomever we may be with. If an action doesn't measure by this standard, it's wrong whatever we may feel about it.

I haven't kissed anyone for over 27 years. It's not that I haven't wanted to--I feel as strongly as any woman the sentiment expressed in Canticles 8:1. But when I think about what could go wrong if I were to kiss a girl, it scares me out of my wits. If a girl ever indicates that she wants a kiss, I have to deny her--not because I don't love her, but because I love her enough not to compromise both her and myself.

When it comes to sexual expression, less is definitely more. I'm sure that was the point of A Return to Modesty. In his book, Boy Meets Girl, Josh Harris points out that what we deny ourselves before marriage becomes a source of pleasure within marriage. Men and women who marry without first engaging in sexual activity generally find that when physical intimacy does happen, it explodes in a fireball and melts their hearts together like nothing else!


I've been married to my first love for almost four weeks. My husband and I didn't kiss until our wedding. In fact, we didn't even hold hands or touch each other until my father escorted me to the front of the church and put my hand in my bridegroom's hand.
It was beautiful, and very tingly, too :^P talk about sparks flying, lol!
Anyway, now that we're married, we have total physical freedom. We went from "no" to "anything goes" in a snap. and now that we've experienced intimacy, weare so glad that we waited to touch until the wedding, because we're rather passionately in love, and our bodies are rather attracted to each other, and I don't really know how we could have stopped at some line (where would you put a line, anyway? Head on shoulder, hand on knee, hand on thigh? how far would be too far?)
Now, whenever we hold hands or kiss, we have complete freedom in it, because my body is his, and his is mine, and we are one flesh and we trust each other completely. my husband never used my body to gratify himself when we were courting or when we were engaged, and so I trust him completely with my body now. *sigh* it's beautiful, I wouldn't have it any other way; I am so glad that we waited.


I couldn't agree more with this article. If someone wants to save sex for marriage, they need to stop doing sexy things before marriage.

Posted by: Tessa | January 15, 2008 at 02:08 PM

Is this a joke? This has got to be the most ridiculous topic/post I have ever heard of! Come on people, try not being so "modest" and close-minded and open up your life to something other than the same set of rules that have been set by your ancestors!

I hope someone will read this and think about the limitations they are putting on their own life...


I was married for 20yrs. Now I am starting a new life as a divorced parent and where to start or where to begin to find a mate has been pretty scary. I have had a few firsts dates and a few that I considered dating but because it didn't feel right or sex was the next step. It would be easy to fall into that but I don't want to just give the in-most part of me away without knowing the person would honor that part of himself as well.


I'm not christian, and I'm not heterosexual. As such, i think i will differ from the majority if these posts.

Still, sometimes a different voice can be nice.

Sometimes I stuggle with what is appropriate outside of a commited relationship (let's not get into what different spiritual denominations allow for my context)

All that said, I think this presentation is very valid. The closing paragraph, which said, "If sex and sexual intimacy are important to you, don’t you want to protect yourself and that special someone from a difficult and tempting situation... Ironically, it’s actually the more loving thing to do."

This really hit home.

From a person that often feels judged or pressured to change from the other field as far as basic orientation allows, I still relate to this perspective, and found it helped me at this moment in time.

Thank you for that.


My friends all think I'm crazy for wanting to save my first kiss for the alter, but I believe that by restraining myself I can show my husband truly how much I love him. I want to be able to say that I saved everything for him and that he is the only one I've ever felt so strongly for.

Also, I'm terrified of going too far after my sister got pregnant outside of marriage. I feel that by not kissing anyone but my husband I will also ensure that this won't ever happen to me.


W-O-W I think when a guy kisses his girlfriend hand is sooo sweet--it reminds you of days gone by--I wonder if girls would bring back white gloves for going out......along with dress--i'm tired of the 'commie' wear of jeans and t-shirt (45+ years is long enough)---I heard it was started by socialists so men and women would be the same

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