How far is too far with making out? (Catholic dating)

My boyfriend and I have been dating a few months. We like to make out, but I was wondering what the church says on this subject. We never do anything inappropriate (he never touches my breasts and we don’t do anything below the waist.) He is the first person I have ever kissed and made out with. I never get “turned on” (I don’t know if this means that something is wrong with me, since it never happens), but I know that he sometimes gets excited. He respects me and we both feel that sex is best saved only for marriage. We do kiss a lot, but we don’t do anything that would harm either of us or our spiritual lives. We pray together afterwards. Is this all right?

Hi hellosunshine! The quick answer is ‘no’, it is not all right to make out, as this is part of foreplay that is meant to lead to intercourse, and is normal behavior for a married couple, but inappropriate for the unmarried. If you find that you are especially a physically-affectionate person, it may be hard to stop this habit, but should you end up marrying this man (or especially if not), you will be thankful. The following link should be able to help clear up a lot:

Thank you for having the courage to respond to your conscience by seeking counsel in this matter! May God bless your efforts!


hi, here’s a response I gave in another thread that might help you. I’m also a young adult (male) who is dating, so I understand where you’re coming from:

Originally Posted by NewCatholicUK
Is kissing with tongues OK?
Is kissing with lips OK?
How about touching?
Can someone give me some guidlines please?


Here is my reasoning: if dating is for discernment, discernment takes a rational mind. Now, there are ways of showing ones affection which do not preclude the use of rational judgment - a simple kiss for example. However, other acts which ignite one’s passions, which can be rightfully used within marriage, are wrong outside of it because it clouds the judgment. Because of the chemicals that are released by certain acts, the phenomenon of “head over heels in love” occurs. It sounds nice, but do you think you could discern while you’re in this condition?

There are many relationships today which are built around sexual encounters. If you took away the sex, they would crumble because they have nothing in common, no goals or beliefs.

So, in order to honor your task of finding a mate, try to avoid as much sexual contact as possible so that you choose a partner for their merits, and not because they fulfill your urges. I think this is especially important for males to keep in mind, because we particularly struggle in this way.

It all depends whether you get turned on. Since you said that it doesn’t turn you on, but it turns your boyfriend on, then stop making out for the sake of your boyfriend.

HelloSunshine, and hello controversy!

People have strong opinions about this (anything but intercourse or “Don’t even look at the other gender until marriage”) so be prepared NOT to get a straight answer.

My view-take everything here with a grain of salt…make that a large grain of salt! No one on these sites are theologians/moral philosophers.

I think scripture makes this very clear. If it causes either of you to lust after the other, and you choose to continue, it is sinful. Matthew 5:25

Mortal sin must meet these criteria:

  1. Its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter.

  2. It must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense (no one is considered ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are inborn as part of human knowledge, but these principles can be misunderstood in a particular context).

  3. It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent, enough for it to have been a personal decision to commit the sin.

^Taken from Wikipedia

I beg your pardon. There are many here who are well educated and more equipped than many priests (sadly) to articulate church teaching.

All of us, yourself included, are called to make judgments and engage on moral issues.

You are right that this issue tends to bring out some strong reactions. All of our strong feelings or squeamishness on this issue is exacerbated by the current cultural norms celebrating sleeping around and lots of experimentation.

“How far is too far” is always the wrong question for Christians to ask. The question you should be asking is, “How can I help this person I love flee from sin?”

So, when you look at the intimate kissing that is turning your boyfriend on, is that helping him flee from sin? No, it’s not. And that’s the main reason to stop it.

Another reason to stop is because when you’re kissing, you’re not talking. When you’re not talking, you’re not getting to know one another better and forging a good foundation for a permanent relationship. All that kissing is keeping your relationship in an immature, emotionally stunted place. Combine it with him getting turned on, and you have a recipe for disaster. The turn-on feels good to him, and it might get to the point where he just wants the feel-good part without bothering with all the personal interaction part (which is sometimes easy, but also sometimes hard), and then things will only get worse.

Need a third reason? You guys aren’t in love yet. Just feeling affection. So if you’re doing everything that’s acceptable before marriage at the “really, really like each other” stage, how are you going to celebrate your relationship moving into the next level? (Falling in love) What about the level after that? (Engagement). Save some acceptable demonstrations of love and intimacy for later!

Fourth reason - there is a disparity between your response and his. He’s turned on. You are not. True intimacy includes both parties experiencing the same level of desire. That might be a lot or a very little - it just should be closer to equal than what you have there.

You expressed some concern that there might be something wrong with you because you’re not turned on. Nope. Most likely, the issue is that your body hasn’t finished maturing yet…and I don’t know how old you are, but if you’re in your teens, your body might not respond readily to sexual stimulation until your early or mid-twenties (varies by woman). Which brings me to a fifth reason: you might be inadvertently training your body not to expect any response while your partner has one. And that could lead to problems with your ability to experience sexual pleasure later.

You’re smart to get (name removed by moderator)ut on this. I hope I’ve given you some good things to think about.

I think this depends on a lot of things. The issue I would like to discuss with you is time. While you are not turned on yet but making out with your boyfriend, if through time you stay together, as you grow to love, trust, and depend on him, things will change. It’s easier to not get in over your head now than to stop once you’re in over your head. I know this from experience! [And I’m young, too, 20, and unmarried but in an *extremely serious relationship for over three years].

While making out may be fine now, there may be a point where it isn’t. Or where it isn’t so exciting anymore…so you move on. And then all of the sudden you get to where a is okay but b isn’t. Then all of the sudden b is okay and c isn’t. And so on and so forth…So, set good boundaries now and do NOT cross them under any circumstances. It’s easier said that done.

My relationship with my boyfriend was almost completely nonphysical in the beginning…a bit of cuddling, hugs, and perhaps holding hands. We didn’t even hold hands for a whole month. He didn’t kiss me for nine. Now we have issues with all things chastity related. We know we’re wrong. But we’ve pushed it so far that it’s hard to stop. Stop now, while you’re ahead.

This is a very good question and you are getting a lot of varied responses.

Intimacy that comes from passionate kissing is part of marriage. That said, it is tough to resist. I think a better question to ask yourself is this the man I will marry?

How do you feel about this man? Is he someone you would marry? Have you talked about your beliefs? What are his goals?

I always ask my daughter how will this boy provide for you and your children? Will he be able to protect you if your house is demolished by a tornado? Will he give up to stay together?

If you think that you are working to marriage, then I would ask why isn’t there a chemical reaction and why are you not excited? This could be a problem when married. Perhaps this is a biological clue that you are not meant to be married to him.

My husband kissed me on the lips the night we met, and it was thrilling. One of the reasons I wanted to go out with him again.

Good luck.

Thats okay. You don’t need to beg my pardon. It’s given to you.

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Research it yourself, be skeptical, and contact proper church authorities to find out the answer. The internet is a good start though.

Actually, I was called to not to be a judgemental, “holier than thou” self righetous person. Not claiming that anyone is, it’s just a slippery slope.

You can make judgements all you want. Knock youself out. I just would prefer not to.

The OP asked for advice regarding sexual contact with someone you are dating. How is providing advice wrongly judgmental? As the poster you responded to mentioned, we are called to “make judgments and engage on moral issues”.

And there is a big difference between proper judgment and hypocritical, self-righteous judgment, but often the two are conflated and the baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

I think there is some room for difference of opinion here because not everyone is lead to lustful thoughts by the same behavior.

If a girlfriend were to lean into me while sitting on a couch, and if I were to put my arm around her, that kind of physical contact wouldn’t be lustful at all for me. But someone else might feel totally differently.

Of course there are some things that are lustful for all or at leas the vast majority, like kissing/touching the known erogenous areas.

If all the other answers to the OP’s question disappeared, this one could stand on its own and do the job.


Then explain Christ telling us to judge not by appearances but to judge justly. Making judgments does not necessarily make you a “holier than thou” person. That’s an either/or fallacy.

Like TheRealJuliane, I too noticed that you have quite a few threads going, all sort of related. I think that you are young and as this is your first boyfriend, you might need to do some catching up in the chastity education department. Please, check out the chastity link at the top of the page. Jason Evert is an amazing speaker with a great story to tell and will explain it all to you in a way that makes sense. May God bless you and guide you.

Thank you so much, Sparki! You have given me much to think about. Just one more thing, though. I have already made out with him on many occasions (no touching of breasts or anything below the waist, but still passionate enough that we were horizontal in the car with our bodies top of each other. I’m going to tell him today that we’re going to stop getting so passionate. I feel really really guilty about it too. Is it possible for my body to still mature in terms of arousal so that I’ll be able to feel pleasure in the future should I choose to marry this man (which I hope I do.) I’m 20, by the way. Thank you all for your help! Much appreciated!

Doesn’t Christ also say “Judge not, because you will be judged?”