Making out

Got a quick question -
Is passionate kissing before marriage a sin? French kissing and necking? I have heard a lot of different opinions about this and it seems like the Church leaves it to the people involved. Is there a black and white line?

French kissing, necking, making out - these are all names for foreplay.

Foreplay is designed for one reason, to arouse the genitals to ready them for intercourse.

Foreplay is for people who are married to each other.

Flirting, pecks, eye contact, visual contact, et al. can arouse the genitals and make them ready for intercourse. Are these foreplay?

Yes, they can be. The key thing is they must precede intercourse. Likewise, french kissing, necking, and making out can precede intercourse and thus be foreplay . . . or they can stop there, and not be foreplay.

The only reason to engage in an explicitly sexual act is for the consummation of marriage. Hence, explicitly sexual acts like foreplay would be pointless and immoral apart from intercourse. However, why is making out necessarily an explicitly sexual act?

Answer, it’s not. It’s kissing, and like all interactions between members of the opposite sex, its nature as an explicitly sexual act varies by context.

The answer to your question is… it’s different for everyone. When it comes to sins of the sexual nature, I think its best to think of it like alcohol. Some people can drink more than others and not be drunk. Being drunk is a serious sin. The goal is not to find out how close you can get to “the line” and not cross it. Your heart would clearly not be in the right place if this is the goal. You should strive to love honor and respect the person you are dating.

This being said, I think for many people those things are near occasions of sin, which are to be avoided. You should take it up in prayer. Be sure to stay as far away from lust as possible. Also, this rule does not change after you get married. Its not ok for a man to lust after his wife.

You should look into theology of the body by Christopher West. There is a lot of good info there.

15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
-1 Thessalonians 5:15-22

one test for questions like this:
If you were married and witnessed your spouse kissing, embracing or doing whatever with another person, would you feel hurt, insulted, violated, upset etc? If the activity is something a married person should not be doing with a third party, then it is something not permitted to anyone outside marriage, before, after or during.

I sometimes do with my friend, and we are no more than friends. It’s just enjoyable. I really see no harm.

Yes, it leads to arousal for intercourse.

Seriously, anyone who denies to themselves that french kissing, neck kissing, kissing anywhere under the waist line…which are all to prep for intercourse, are lying to themselves. Trust me, I know.

You need to keep kissing to not intense passionate kissing because if you keep doing that, you’ll just hit a wall of frustration because no sex will happen, until marriage. So don’t rev the engine unless you’re going to take it out on the track. :thumbsup:

There simply is no Church teaching on the appropriateness of this specific act; it is up to your exercise of prudence to decide. I would like to add three points, though:

  • Remember that your goal here is to run with all your strength towards virtue and towards God. Now, that does not (of course) mean fleeing as fast as you can from physical affection, as though physical affection and chastity are at opposite ends of the same continuum. But never forget that your goal here, which infinitely supercedes all other goals, is to follow Christ.
  • As a very general baseline rule, any act between unmarried people that leads to the psychological and physical sexual arousal of one or both people is inappropriate, lustful, and sinful.
  • As a young man myself, I cannot imagine french kissing a girl I liked and not thereby making myself sexual aroused, and so, sinning in lust.

Now I remember why I don’t chill in the Morality subforum anymore. The scrupulosity returns…

French-kissing make-out session seems to fall on the immoral side of things. But I can’t see the occasional kiss to the neck as a mortal sin. And while seeing as my boyfriend is on the other side of the Atlantic, we’re pretty good with the not going too far, this type of conversation leads me to overthink.

It brings to mind the scenario that while dating, you can do no more than lightly kiss or it’s foreplay. And when married, anything more than a light kiss is still foreplay- so you need to have sex in the near future of else it’s a sin.

Yet in the family life forum, there’s a discussion revolving on if foreplay alone without lust is alright, and many people seem fine with that. :shrug:

Could you link to that thread, please, Pro-Life_Teen?

If I saw someone I was married kissing another woman, I would deem that inappropriate. But if someone not married kissed a girl I don’t see how that is sinful so your logic doesn’t really follow through…it seems like you are taking the action out of context and circumstance.

Seriously, anyone who denies to themselves that french kissing, neck kissing, kissing anywhere under the waist line…which are all to prep for intercourse, are lying to themselves. Trust me, I know.

But how do you know?

The Church is often accused of being too legalist, even though it is not and that is why we have these questions.

Our very own Karl Keating had a good synopsis of the issue. Here is the link: How far is too far with a girl? Specifically

Ultimately, the answer will not satisfy us who are seeking absolute boundaries. While there are many absolutes (we’re really not supposed to ‘touch what we don’t have’ because my understanding is that such would be in itself pretty serious), there are elements that no one can completely instruct on.

A lot depends on motivation and what we are thinking. In all likelihood, when we think of something like French kissing, our mind is not filled with pure thoughts.

On the other hand, I think that there is the problem of going too far the other way. My Priest said that things are so bad now, that there is the potential for a reaction in the complete opposite direction akin to Saudi Arabia or a situation where showing ankle is forbidden.

Sometimes we get too caught up on ‘what can I do, what can’t I do’ and lose sight of the why, which is purity and closeness with God. And I accuse myself of this first.

I can personally see passionate kissing possibly being okay given the right circumstances (e.g., engaged, lot of self control, etc.). Similarly, I could see watching a movie together on a couch sitting close being pretty natural and just an expression of companionship.

But… for a lot of us, I think we want to believe ‘oh I will just keep it there.’ Then hands slip. Our flesh starts to kick in. And then we’re all up a gum tree.

We have to do the best we can to avoid sin and that means avoiding the occassion for sin. This means different things for different people.

He writes:

*I’d recommend no passionate kissing, kissing below the chin, or lying down together. That may seem extreme to some, but the more you become sensual and physical in a relationship, the more the relationship begins to revolve around that.

Yeah - While it begins with saying it’s not moral, the conversation begins to shift and then nothing is really resolved. “What is ok for one couple may not be for another” and the like.


So would you advise against holding hands or a kiss on the cheek? I think most people would have a problem seeing their spouse do that with a third party. That is really extreme.

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I would not feel comfortable with my spouse holding hands with a third party. By your definition, this is not permitted to anyone outside marriage.

No offense, but this is a terrible response. I can think of a hundred things that are not morally wrong in any way before marriage that would be 100% unacceptable within marriage with a third party.

Holding hands? One Kiss? Go on a date? I mean seriously, that standard is just bad…

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Happily married now for two decades. I hold hands with people other than my spouse, it is a sign of friendship and affection. I kiss goodbye and hello, and I to dinner or to a lecture with friends of the opposite sex.

I do not kiss passionately, open mouthed to someone who is not my spouse, I do not touch them in the “private areas”, I do not lie down with them…

Until you are married, don’t do what you would not do in front of your entire Church congregation next Sunday.

to each his own, but I don’t think most monogamous Catholics are comfortable holding hands for an extended period with a member of the opposite sex whom they aren’t married to. And if you’re an American born and raised, a kiss on the lips with someone other than your spouse is not common. My parents have been married happily 25 years and I’ve never seen either one kiss another man or woman (besides their parents) anywhere, face, hand, anywhere.

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