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Is it a Sin to Kiss Your Boyfriend?


Every day, without fail, women somewhere in the world search for “is it a sin to kiss my boyfriend?” Thanks to the post, Hey Girlfriend: Is it a Sin to Kiss Your Boyfriend?, this blog is the number one Google search result. I can’t remember the last time I looked at search logs and didn’t see a handful of visitors coming to this site to find out whether it is okay to swap spit with their boyfriends. I say female visitors, because I’ve never seen a male come to my site as a result of a “is it a sin to kiss my girlfriend” web search. It seems that women have a lot more angst about kissing their boyfriends than boyfriends do about kissing them. I’ve often wondered what it is that drives women to seek out anonymous Internet advice about boyfriend-kissing. Are these women being pressured by their boyfriends to be physically intimate? Probably. Kissing is very much a part of the human experience. Sadly, as with most things that are pleasurable, Evangelicals have deemed kissing between unmarried men and women to be a sin. Let me explain how Evangelicals come to this “Biblical” position.

First, Evangelicals believe that, thanks to Adam and Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden 6,024 years ago, the human race is, by nature, sinful. Born into sin, every human being is at variance with God. The Bible says that infants come forth from the womb speaking lies. We don’t become sinners, we are sinners. The Bible says human hearts are deceitful and wicked, so much so that none of us can truly know our hearts. Because of our fallen nature, we desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. At the top of the Evangelical lust list are a variety of sexual sins: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, masturbation, petting, spooning, and looking at a woman with lust in your heart. Believing that inappropriate physical contact with the opposite sex (there are no gays in the Evangelical church) is a gateway to serious sexual sins such as fornication and adultery, many Evangelical sects, churches, pastors, and families adopt strict rules governing physical intimacy between unmarrieds. For those not raised in Evangelical churches, they will likely find the remainder of this post beyond belief, but rest assured that what I share next can be found in countless Evangelical churches and homes.

I attended Midwestern Baptist College in the 1970s — the era of free love. While hippies were smoking marijuana, listening to rock music, and exploring their sexuality, the unmarried students at Midwestern were expected to maintain a six-inch distance from each other at all times. If you have not read the post, Thou Shalt Not Touch: The Six-Inch Rule, I encourage you to do so. It goes into great detail explaining how the puritanical leadership at Midwestern made sure students kept their distance from each other. Most of the students at Midwestern came from Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches that also had some sort of prohibition against physical contact. During my teenage years, I was a member of Trinity Baptist Church, Findlay, Ohio, and First Baptist Church, Bryan, Ohio. Both churches frowned on teenagers and young adults touching one another. Violating the no-touch policy resulted in scoldings and separation during church services from your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes, the pastors would spend time during their sermons rebuking sexually aware unmarrieds for their inappropriate touching. Time was also spent during youth group meetings drilling it into the heads of teenagers that God did not approve of them intimately touching each other. It should come as no surprise then that when unmarrieds were unable to abstain from acting on their normal, healthy sexual desires, they were often filled with guilt and fear. And I’m not talking about having sexual intercourse. More than a few teenagers found themselves ridden with guilt over holding hands with their girlfriend during church services or putting an arm around their boyfriend when no one was looking. Of course, there was certainly plenty of rounding-third and sliding-into-home sexual activity going on. In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of becoming reacquainted with several friends from my high school days. The stories they tell about their own sexual experiences during our youth group years are certainly different from mine. I’ve concluded that pretty much everybody in the youth group was sexually active except me. I was a good Baptist boy who played by the rules. While I certainly held hands with girls, put my arms around them, and kissed them, I (barely) maintained my virginity until my wedding day.

There are several verses in the Bible that Evangelical preachers use to justify their hands-off rules. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 states:

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

It is good for an unmarried man to NOT touch a woman, God says. Didn’t Jesus himself warn that just an inappropriate look at a woman can cause men to commit adultery in their hearts? From these verses, Evangelical preachers justified their no-touch rules; rules, by the way, that most of them didn’t keep when they were young unmarrieds.

Preachers also used what I call the kitchen-sink verses to prop up their preaching against sexual sin:

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:15,16)

Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

Those raised in Evangelical churches know that these verses (and others) were often used by preachers to label virtually anything and everything “sin.” (Please read The Official Independent Baptist Rulebook and An Independent Baptist Hate List.)

Young women in particular were psychologically abused by Evangelical preachers who felt it was their duty to make sure that the women were virgins on their wedding day. Preachers shared horror stories about women who engaged in premarital sex. Virtually all the preaching was directed towards women. After all, they were the gatekeepers. It was up to them to keep their legs closed when horn-dog young men came sniffing around. Men are weak, the thinking goes, so it is up to Susie to make sure that both Johnny and Susie are virgins on their wedding day. And the best way to do this is to not have physical contact with each other before marriage. Just remember, the preacher says. No girl has ever gotten pregnant without holding hands or kissing a boy first! I kid you not, handholding was viewed as some sort of gateway, a gate which, once unmarrieds walked through, would lead directly to them being given over to fornication. I know this sounds crazy, but this line of thinking is still quite prominent today. This is why so many unmarried women do Google searches for “is it a sin to kiss my boyfriend?” They likely attend churches that prohibit physical contact between unmarrieds. Yet, when they are away from the prying eyes of their pastors and parents, these sexually aware young adults engage in various forms of sexual intimacy. Fear and guilt follow, so they seek out “help” for dealing with their “lustful” desires.

Here’s my advice to those who are psychologically and spiritually troubled over holding hands with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Your feelings and desires are normal. Sexually aware people naturally desire physical intimacy. The key is to embrace your sexuality and act responsibly. This means you will have to ignore what your windbag preacher is telling you. It’s highly unlikely that any of the adults who are telling you that physical contact is a sin practiced what they preach. These hypocrites should spend their time teaching unmarrieds sexual responsibility. Most young adults will have sexual intercourse before they are married. While your church may consider this a sin, those outside of the Evangelical church view sexual intimacy as a normal part of the human experience. Educate yourself about sex and make sure you always use birth control. I realize your preacher likely has said that using birth control is you preparing to sin, but I think we would all agree that unwanted pregnancies are a bad idea, and the only way to avoid them is to use birth control. Don’t allow the puritanical sexual standards of others to dictate what you will do. It’s your body, your life. And as far as kissing your boyfriend is concerned? Kiss away. A kiss is just a kiss. It can lead to more intimate behavior, but it also can be just that — a kiss. Remember, you — not your church, parents, or preacher — are in control of what you do sexually. Those who demand that you maintain your distance from the opposite sex are stunting your development.

Part of growing up is the exploration of our sexuality. This includes masturbation. Anyone who tells you that masturbation is a sin is someone you need to stop listening to. Much like the desire for physical interaction with the opposite sex, masturbation is normal, healthy behavior. I guarantee you that most of the married adults in your church masturbated before they were married. And I think I would be safe in saying that many of them still do. Masturbation is a great way to release sexual tension, especially when one is not ready to have sexual intercourse. What I’m saying here is that it is all good. Sexual want, need, and desire are very much a part of the human experience. I encourage you to embrace your sexuality and enjoy all the pleasure that comes from doing so.

Please see Hey Girlfriend: Is it a Sin to Kiss Your Boyfriend?

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    More torture porn from James/Tom/I love 🍆🍆🍆

    What a disgusting human being.

    Fergie and Ann went and had sex under the bleachers after the ballgame fri.

    sadly they didn’t make it home…..

    they awoke in a dark room…… an ol growly monster grabbed them and said “ The devil is waiting”.

    they cried “NOOOO”. The monster said,
    ”You two had your fun now pay for it”.

    the lesson here.

    no fornicator will enter the kingdom of heaven.

    and don’t be pinching the one eyed snake either [but you have, so you are headed for Hell too]

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      The Bible says if you lust after a woman you have committed adultery with her in your heart. The Bible says no fornicators/adulterers will inherit the Kingdom of God. Have you ever lusted James? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Of course you have. Thus according to the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, you are going to 🔥 in Hell forever too. You will be there right with all the people you viciously condemn and assault on this site. You, James, are a sociopath.

    • Avatar

      After reading this comment, I am thankful all over again that I’m an atheist. I’m also thankful that so many people are escaping the emotionally unhealthy system that is evangelicalism.

      • Avatar

        How amusing, Revival Fire – do you actually think for one moment that you’re safe from hell? I posit that over the course of eternity, literally everyone in heaven would eventually do something or other to annoy “the boss” and get sent down to the dungeon for their turn in the flames.

        It also does your god no honour whatsoever to credit it with the creation and maintenance of an eternal torture chamber. At least have the courage to say “No, the Bible must be wrong — A truly loving god wouldn’t send anyone to hell.”

  2. Avatar

    And it’s always the girl’s fault = Exactly why my brother who sexually abused me blamed me for what he did.

    But me consensually holding hands with my fiancé makes me just as vile as a child molester.

    • Avatar

      So sorry for your experience. Christian Purity Culture is so toxic to young people’s views on sex & healthy sexuality. It’s damaging to one’s sexual thoughts & behaviors.
      Sin is a religious construct; only relevant to the religious.
      Holding hands with those we love is normal & healthy. Sex before marriage is good stewardship for picking a mate. Not many people looking to marry a virgin (except the religious).

  3. Avatar

    I remember so much fear-mongering and indoctrination from church and family about sexual activity. Things I learned:

    All sex outside heterosexual married sex is wrong.
    If one engages in sex outside the heterosexual married paradigm, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN and they’ll be YOUR FAULT (pregnancy which will be forced to carry to term, diseases, wrong attachment to the sex partner, falling out of favor with God, messing up your future relationship with your intended spouse, etc).
    Girls/women are the gatekeepers and are ultimately responsible for “sexual purity”. Even if you’re raped, 99.9% sure you did something to provoke the rape.
    You’re worthless and branded for life if you engage in extramarital sex. (You can get forgiveness but you are forever tainted).
    All boys/men want to use you for sex – only the One Ordained by God to be your husband is ok because he is following God’s rules, so you have to be careful who you date.
    It’s your fault if a boy/man lusts after you – always.

    I remember when the new music minister came to our church. He brought his fiancée, and they met with the youth group constantly to reinforce waiting until marriage to have sex. After they actually got married, they said that they waited because even having sex a week before marriage would have been a sin.

    Same message from.our youth pastor. He had started dating his fiancée when he was an intern youth minister at the previous church – she was 17 and a youth group member – they got married when she was 19 or 20….. no one faulted him for that kind of abuse of power. I remember figuring it out (I was in high school, and I was in his office looking at their pictures and realized some of the pictures were from when she was in high school so I asked…..). He was a good looking guy, man of God, a lot of girls in our youth group had a crush on him, and his fiancée was super cute, close to our age, taught us in Sunday school….they were to our eyes The Perfect Couple, Church Approved. Now I feel like it was just icky……

    • Avatar

      What is it about youth ministers & Sunday school teachers that give off the cringe vibe? The YD at my old church was what we called a ‘blood of Jesus’ preacher. He was loud & ‘preached the blood’ & its powers. Everyone loved him but he gave me the cringeys. He & his wife were so cute together & she was always by his side.
      A year or so after I left that horrible church, I found out he was having an affair with a young choir member and was divorcing his wife. He was forced to leave the church. I don’t trust pastors, preachers, or any clergy.

  4. Avatar
    J W

    This has always confused me. The whole ritual of courtship, engagement and a “wedding night” implies that the couple desires sex with each other. Isn’t all sexual desire for someone you are not married to lust? If lust is just as bad as bona fide non-spousal intercourse, then even those chaste engaged couples are wallowing in sexual sin no matter how “good” they behave. Are Christian couples granted a lust exemption for a spouse-to-be? (…checking my Bible, maybe it’s somewhere in the back…..)

    Are we supposed to believe there is a form of love/attraction between two people that is so pure it leads to marriage without even a hint of sexual anticipation? That definitely was not my experience. Are we supposed to go back to arranged marriages where the bride and groom meet for the first time at the ceremony?

    • Avatar

      It’s lies. All lies to keep people from “sexual sin” and to prevent them from “hell”. Those things don’t exist.

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Bruce Gerencser