What Kind of Kiss Is The Wrong Kind?

How long should I save that first kiss? That’s the question I asked in my last blog and I may have ruffled a few feathers suggesting that saving it until marriage might not be the only choice. I argued that the problem with kissing before marriage isn’t when we kiss, but in defining what a kiss is. Wikipedia offers this nice photo of a pair of kissing prairie dogs along with this definition for kissing: “the act of pressing one’s lips against the lips or body parts of another person or object.” Certainly, we can do better. After all, pressing my lips against your dog is surely not sensual and would, therefore, require no self-control or internal guidelines. But there are those kisses that can be too much too soon. How do we define kisses so that we make God-honoring internalized decisions about when and what kind of kisses to give our special guy?

Let’s start by taking a quiz. Which of these five kinds of kisses do you think are OK outside of marriage?

The Virtual-You probably already know how this works, but this simple sign— :-* — sends a kiss across the Internet.

Brotherly Kiss-Let him gently place his lips on your head or your cheek. It’s fast and gentle. No lingering.

Planting Kiss-Contribute by meeting lip to lip with his. It’s firm, but fast. No lingering.

Teaser Kiss-Start by kissing his check or forehead softly. Linger slowly in each spot as you kiss your way to his mouth.

The Oh la la-The French variation is where you start to open your mouth for him, and he for you. You know how it works. It’s the stuff movies are made of.

What’d you decide? Maybe you could mentally draw a line where you’d decide to stop the kissing. Now, let’s see how it lines up with God’s word.

Assuming you agree that the gift of sex is to be reserved for marriage, it is also assumed that you don’t want to rev up the engine—either his or yours—in an effort to reserve the intimate act of becoming one for your marriage bed. (Ephesians 5:3 then urges that there would not be a “hint” of sexual sin (or misuse outside of marriage) in us.) Let me tell you how you might find yourself hinting at sexual sin—and revving up the engine—before marriage with a kiss. It’s simple science.

•Saliva contains testosterone, which increases sexual arousal.

•Researchers believe that a man can subconsciously measure estrogen levels, increasing his sexual desire.

•The body’s Autonomic Nervous System, the system that controls sexual response, is heightened by a kiss. This system is not controlled by your mental faculties, but by your physical experiences. Desire can begin to control you whether or not you would choose for it to.

Hopefully, you recognize that there’s no way you could enter into a kiss that’s open-mouthed without creating significant body changes so as to put your body’s desire rather than your internalized mental preferences in control of the situation. That takes out The Ohh La La for sure. But I think you can’t really do The Teaser Kiss either. In fact, I’d encourage you to stay as far away from a Planting Kiss as you can.

Our sexual desires are strong. You can get carried away in the current of it before you know it. Considering all that’s at stake, I’d stick to the Brotherly Kiss. It’s one the Apostle Paul would be proud of. (And, he might even appreciate a Virtual Kiss in this day and age.)

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  • Hi Dannah!
    Thanks for your candid and careful comments on this subject. I think we really need this kind of openness and richness of understanding in order to truly settle what we believe when it comes to where to draw the line. I will be using this when I counsel teen girls and young women…Thanks!

  • Hey Dannah! Im going to be starting a courtship next year and this is one of the issues that i have been praying about where to draw the line. And your view on it helped a lot! Thanks!

  • Honestly, I’m dissapointed that we have to ask, “What kind of kiss can we get away with before marriage?” The question should be, “How far can we possibly go to make sure there is not a hint of sexual impurity in my life?” Let’s stay far, far away from the line, not try to cozy up to it. Just my opinion.

    • Katie, I typically agree with this line of thinking. I have always liked to say that, “we should always ask ourselves ‘how can I most please God?’ rather than ‘how much can I get away with?'” But I’m not sure the question here is *necessarily* “what can I get away with”? It certainly *could* be. But I think it can also be a desire to clarify for ourselves what is biblical and what is cultural.

      Often, what our culture defines as good and acceptable is much “looser” than what God defines as good and acceptable. But that isn’t always the case. Consider the matter of children. Our culture defines children as “burdensome” and “inconvenient,” while GOD is much “freer” – calling them a blessing and encouraging fruitfulness and multiplication.

      Likewise, it seems to be a cultural issue that we associate kisses – ANY kisses – with sexuality. That just doesn’t make sense. I don’t know about you, but I kiss my mom, my dad, and my siblings. There is a clear differentiation between the kind of kisses I give them and some of the kisses I share with my husband! It is not a question of “how close I can get” to a line. It’s a question of how I define platonic vs. romantic. In other cultures – including the New Testament culture – it was/is very normal to kiss not only family but also friends you met. Hence Paul’s admonition to “greet one another with a holy kiss.”

      Sometimes, by artificially imposing limitations that God did not set, we can actually OVER-focus on the mind on things it doesn’t need to be dwelling on.

      • Love these thoughts, friend! It is one reason why I don’t encourage girls to jump on the “no kissing until the wedding” band wagon!

  • I think the whole purity movement with asking young women to not engage in kissing before marriage is detrimental. It is important that young Christian women realize they are sexual beings and their sexuality was created by God and sex within marriage is a gift. However, KISSING before marriage, whether it be the Virtual kiss or the Oh la la kiss is not wrong or sinful. I think it’s important a Christian couple not repress their sexual desires, but explore them together within their own boundaries which they have set together. I think repressing kissing and not allowing it within a dating relationship is detrimental for a future marriage. How can a couple go from having the mentality that kissing is wrong, dirty and a stumbling block to thinking it is beautiful. It sounds ideal, but it’s not realistic. I encourage my girls to kiss and to ENJOY it. It’s important for a thriving relationship because that’s what sets a relationship apart from just a FRIENDSHIP. It is important couples know their boundaries and work to stay within them, but kissing is fun and a great way for a couple to be intimate safely. It’s also a good way for Christians to express their sexuality and to not feel dirty or shameful, which I think is what a lot of girls are being taught to believe, which is quite sad and I believe will lead to damaged sexuality and problems sexually within marriage because of the constant repression for their sexual desires.

    • I agree with Laura. Know your boundaries and stay within them. Kissing in and of itself is not wrong, it should reflect the level of commitment that a couple has for each other. It should be special so you shouldn’t kiss too soon or too many people. As long as you know where your sexual boundaries are and you can keep them strong, you should enjoy kissing someone special that you are building a relationship with.

      • But that’s just the problem. Who cares what YOUR boundaries are? If we are looking at things from a Scriptural point of view, my boundaries don’t mind. The question would be, what does Scripture say about sexual intimacy and kissing someone romantically?

        Think about it: It was written above, “It is important couples know their boundaries and work to stay within them, but kissing is fun and a great way for a couple to be intimate safely”

        What boundaries? Whose boundaries? Boundaries of God or of man? If they both agree that their boundary is sexual intercourse or oral sex, and that’s THEIR boundary, then they should be able to do that?

        When man sets their own boundary we have secularism….It’s God’s boundaries, not ours. From a Christian point of view, we really want people to express their sexual desires? Whenever they want? With whomever they want? Outside of marriage? What? Do we really want to say, “Dear teenager, please explore your sexual desire with your boyfriend/girlfriend. No big deal.” That’s not close to being Biblical.

        Explain, Biblically why a young couple should be “intimate,” if it’s not their spouse.

        And suggesting that kissing before marriage is “shameful” isn’t the point. You can actually be a “I’m going to wait until I get married before I kiss” man/woman and still uphold the awesomeness of kissing and intimacy.

        Any thought process that we set our boundaries flies in the face of Scripture which clearly has boundaries.

        • Hello “Me.” Unfortunately not everything is spelled out in scripture as right or wrong. God gives us his ten commandments and a lot of other specifics, but beyond that we have to determine his heart. Here is an example. No where does scripture specifically address the topic of masturbation. But masturbation is a solo act of sex and God created sex to be between one man and one woman. Yet, there is no interaction between another person, so does that mean masturbation is ok? That we should not have boundaries that keep us from compulsive sexual self-stimulation? No, we have to use the whole counsel of scripture to make a decision about masturbation. So, I think we still have to create boundaries and that boundaries are good.

          When it comes to kissing, we are never instructed not to kiss in the bible. However, we are instructed that we SHOULD “greet each other with a holy kiss.” So we learn from this that a kiss can be holy. And that we SHOULD greet one another with kisses. That brings us to the question of “what kind of kiss?” Because kisses can be unholy, too, based on lustful desires or kissing someone else sexually when you are not married to them but another person. That brings me back to suggesting that it’s totally reasonable to have a conversation about deciding what boundaries we should have about kissing! 🙂

    • I did find this article very helpful as a second opinion, while my boyfriend and I are trying to figure out and agree what our physical boundaries need to be. We both have already agreed that we’re not kissing (on the lips) until we get married, but obviously there is a lot in between no physical contact ever and kissing on the lips. I think honestly, anything past just kisses on the forehead/cheek is pretty sexual, and drawing the line there personally keeps me from really being in any danger of going any further than that with him before we’re married, which is good. It’s not that that kind of kissing is evil, and neither of us are under that impression in the slightest… but it is definitely a gateway sort of act that can very easily lead to other things if the two of you are alone, so I feel like it’s best to stay away from it altogether. Until marriage. And that doesn’t mean that if we do get married either of us will have a problem with kissing just because we didn’t try it. I think waiting will be well worth it, honestly, and not something we would ever have a reason to regret or anything that would damage our marriage.

    • Thank you laura! I’m a christian girl and there is a christian guy wanting to come to my parents to date me but he lives 22 hours away and can’t leave work till fall. But he still talks to my parents and we talk daily, This has been on my mind and everyone either says Don’t kiss till marriage or kiss as much as you want. I want boundaries before i start dating. I’ve never kissed a guy and I want to share my first kiss with my future husband but there’s no way I’m waiting till marriage. I can’t figure it out. Your comment helps a lot! I want to kiss a guy to show him I love him but its not going further than that but how long should you date before you kiss? I’ve known this guy awhile and we talk everyday and if we date it would be the same way as we are far apart but when he comes to visit and such how do you know how far to take a kiss? Or how far along in a relationship. Thanks

  • Hi, and thank you so much for posting that. Lately i’ve been wondering what kind of kisses and when you should kiss before marriage, and i think you just answered my questions. Also, i’ve been talking to my mom alot too about all this kind of stuff. I’m 15, i am still pure, but i’m trying to learn as much as i can and try and get all my questions answered, along with setting my standards so that i am ready for it when i do start dating (i’ve decided-myself-that i am not ready to date, and will not until i’m 17). But, i wanted to thank you. I’m reading some of your books, and when i’m finished those, i want to read And the Bride Wore White. Your books have helped me alot, especially Secret Keeper. I have the whole pak and updated book, read them all, and you have taught me alot about being pure, wanting to be pure, and how to act and dress purely. Thank you!
    But i feel that i’m not 100 percent pure, yes i do have thoughts, but when i was about 11, my friends and i were playing Truth or Dare, and my best friend dared me to kiss her younger brother (who was my age) on the cheek. I said “no” twice, and when i ran out of chickens, i gave in. I quickly kissed him on the cheek. I’m not saying i didnt enjoy kissing him (he was my crush), but i regret not pushing myself to tell her “no” again, and i wouldn’t have any problems. I know i should pray about it and ask God to forgive me, i haven’t talked to my mom about my guilt yet (she does know about the kiss), but, is there anything else i can do?

    P.S. Sorry i posted this in a comment, its the only way i could think of asking and thanking you.

    Thank you so much,


    • Hi Lizzy

      I think you should tell your mom. It’s not a big deal. But keeping it a secret is. I think the shame and isolation is bred by our secrecy. But healing and community is bred by our confessions.

      You should not feel overwhelmed with guilt for you what you did. It’s clear that you are feeling the conviction of God’s spirit telling you that this wasn’t a good choice. It was giving in to the pressure of your peers rather than sticking to your convictions. You let people and not God guide your behavior. But here’s the thing: we all do that. The key is to confess it to the Lord. (P.S. I don’t think kissing him was really a sin. The sin was not putting God foremost in your decision.) And then share the experience with your mom.

      Do that and get back to me. I’d like to know that you’re feeling better.


  • I really enjoyed all this but I think we should stick to the brotherly kiss cause does the best and it will also help us to flee from temptation

  • thanks….I’m reading this write up 4yrs after….but I must confess that it blessed me….I’m from Nigeria, I kissed my boyfriend and ever since then I lost this closeness with God, not because of guilt feeling alone but because lustful desire was awaken in me before time and I wished I waited ……..

    • Hi friend. Get some counsel on this. Wise counsel from an older, godly woman. I don’t think a kiss should distract you from your relationship with God unless the intention of hte kiss or kind of kiss is lustful. God created us to express love and for pleasure. I’m a little concerned with your post. Go seek out some wisdom.

  • It’s 2016, I can’t even believe we are still having this conversation. I have several Christian friends who subscribed to this philosophy back in the nineteen eighties. Every single one of those friends including myself has been divorced. Most of the women involved in these relationships came into the marriage with very serious sexual inhibitions. They did not understand nor were they willing to explore orgasm, and they could not understand how to be intimate. The argument could be made that a couple can work together to learn each other’s bodies. While this is true in an ideal situation, there is such a thing as lack of chemistry. It’s very important to understand what arouses your partner before you make a lifelong commitment to them. Kissing is a great way to do that. Some of you may feel that I am demon possessed, or liberal, or a backslider. I am none of these things. I have a degree from an acreddited Evangelical Seminary and I can assure you the bible is full of gray areas.

    God created sex. Just like breathing, it is a necessary function for the human body. When two people agree to enter into a sexual relationship, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this so long as both parties are in agreement and no one is taking advantage of their partner. Many young men get married with high expectations of getting laid all the time. If you don’t awaken that passion, how in the hell are you supposed to know if you like it or not. Some women simply don’t enjoy sex, the same can be said for something then. What happens if you enter into a marriage, what you supposed to be around, and you discover your partner does not like sex. I’ll tell you what happens, you get divorced. Again, I’m not speaking from personal experience, I am simply stating what I have been told by many many many men over the years.

    • What a hollow, selfish argument that a woman who is struggling to feel safe and treasured and woed into bed would be a good reason or the cause of divorce. That is not why men get divorced. That is not why women get divorced. You’re looking at the cause and effect backwards. The greatest indicator of sexual satisfaction in both men and women is the quality of friendship between lovers. The most orgasmic women in the United States are religiously active evangelical women who were not sexually active prior to one life-time sexual partner. This is research out of the University of Chicago at Illinois with no religious agenda. The article I have written is about protecting a sexual life with self-control so that a woman CAN have that experience. Yes, the Bible has a lot of gray areas when it comes to sex. It also has many that are not gray. Waiting until marriage is one of them. And taking care how you arouse yourself is a wise standard for anyone who wants to honor God and themselves with that healthy boundary.

  • Okay, so- I’m pretty young. Not scarily young of course, but I guess younger then most. I met a boy about a year ago and fell absolutely in love with him. And of course I’m sure that’s cheesy, and I always was hesitant because I didn’t want to be that “silly teenager.” But I did love him, and he loved me. One day, we both talked about it, and we kissed. I mean, I feel guilt because my parents wouldn’t like it- and I’ve prayed about that and it’s okay now, but I don’t really feel guilt about kissing him. Of course, no girl likes anyone to tell her that she’s done something wrong- but reading these, it makes me feel like I’ve ruined my life, even though I know I haven’t. And, I don’t want to make up excuses when the Scripture is right there. So I don’t know what I think. Like, it is very possible to kiss someone you love on the lips and not have sex. And I know the science behind it too- as you explained. The act of being tempted is not sin, however, acting upon it is. So if you can control yourself (which most people do.) while you’re dating, and you are wise and holy about it, AND it is accepted in the family, then would that be okay?

    • Anonymous…you most certainly have not ruined your life! A kiss is a kiss. It’s not sex. (And you wouldn’t have ruined your life if you had sex either, though that wouldn’t be ideal and you’d have some hurt.) The Bible says nothing about saving your first kiss until you are a certain age or married… But, as the article states, there are certain kisses that create the temptation to take things too far. You sound conflicted over your decision to kiss the boy. Here’s what I’d do. Bring it into the light with an older, wiser, godly woman and talk it out. Things in the secret can create a lot of undo guilt. But dragging things into the light usually dispels the darkness of guilt. The wise counsel will be a blessing. Trust me. Go for it!

  • I have kissed many times just for the fun of it with different guys I have dated and I have never felt guilty about it and usually when I sin I feel really really guilty
    it rarely makes me want to do more its mostly just for doing sake
    pls I need to know if I need help or if its normal

    • Well, guilt is not necessarily a given evidence of sin. Some of us sin without knowing it. Sin is defined as anything that is not what God designed as his best. The Hebrew word for sin in the Old Testament was CHATTA. It meant “to miss the mark.” It was a marksmen’s term and of course that marksmen wanted to hit the bullseye with his bow and arrow. The bullseye is God’s intended plan or His Best! When it comes to sex and marriage and love, God intended for one woman to share her life, heart, and body with one man. When we seek out many men for sexual pleasure, we are missing his mark. That said, I don’t know the depth of the relationships you had with these different guys and I am certainly not saying that kissing is a sin. It’s not. At least not always. But it can be. Search God’s heart, dear Someone. And if you still don’t feel clear about this, seek out an older, wiser godly woman to counsel you.

  • Me and my boyfriend have been dating for 2 months now. We’ve only recently started kissing but we’ve been doing, as you described, the “oh la la” kiss. Is this a sin? I fell like it is but I still want to show him that affection. Please help? I want to honor God but still want to have my boyfriend and the same time.

    • Anna, talk to an older wiser woman. I’m not ever going to say that kissing is a sin. I will tell you that you can easily progress into more than a kiss if you’re arousing desires that should not be until marriage. So, find someone you can talk to about your situation in a personal way.

  • Thanks very much for your concelings it really of great help to me and I believe I need more help. Am a Christian and what made me do research on this is because I realised that I always feel guilty and do condemn and judge myself each time I kissed a guy am in a relationship with. And what hurts me must it’s because they are never swing anything wrong with it. So it’s always like am the one always the one on the wrong. And I really want to serve the lord wholeheartedly but I always see myself falling back just as Paul cried and said what I don’t want to do, is what I find myself doing….. Please I really fill dried up thanks. But to conclude from my own point of view, I believe brotherly kiss is preferable for the Bible says we should flee away from fumigation and you fleeing it’s avoid any action that will actually result to it. So the best way is avoiding anything that will result to it. Thanks son much😇😇

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