Hugging, Kissing & Making Out: How much is too much?

All right. Let's talk about getting physical during dating relationships. This is such a tricky subject, isn't it? Everybody has an opinion, from "don't even make eye contact" to "you can do anything but have sex." How is a Christian teen supposed to know what to do? And what does the Bible say about it?

First things first though, if your parents have said that you are not allowed to date, then you must obey their rules. Proverbs 1:8 says, "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching..." Colossians 3:20 says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Are we cool on that? Okay, moving on...

What this whole physical taboo thing really comes down to is this: avoiding temptation.

The old cliché that "one thing leads to another" is really true when it comes to physical intimacy. First it's just kissing, then it's fondling, then hands are making their way under clothes, and before you know it, everybody wants more more more. It's hard to get enough once you get started.

Yeah, it may be an old stereotype, but it's no secret that, as a teenager especially, it is often really hard to control ourselves physically. Matthew 26:41 says that "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Why is it that our bodies rebel against our minds when it comes to sexual purity?

Simply put, God created sex to be pleasurable, that's why our bodies desire it and all the sensations that come with it. But sex was created to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage between a husband and wife. So the idea of avoiding all physical contact while dating is more of a preventative measure so that the couple isn't tempted to have sex before they're married. (See 1 Corinthians 6:9, 13 and 2 Timothy 2:22.)

If, somehow, a couple was able to maintain their physical purity while dating and still occasionally kiss, then I personally don't believe God would have a problem with that—especially if their intention was to get married soon.

If, however, they found that their kissing was beginning to cause a desire for further physical intimacy, then they should stop and abstain from physical closeness until they can be married. The apostle Paul says that it is "better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:9).

As Christians, our efforts should NOT be toward pursuing physical pleasure, but we should rather chase after godliness and all the other traits of a believer. Second Timothy 2:22 says, "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." Even when you're married, sex should never be the #1 priority in your relationship.

If you're already in deep in a dating relationship and you think maybe you've gone too far or already had sex, please do NOT beat yourself up with guilt. If you feel convicted that you have made a mistake, that's good, and it's not too late to stop and start over again. That's repentance (Acts 3:19).

With God's help, you CAN control yourself in the future. Here are a few ways to avoid putting you and your steady in a tempting situation...

5 Ways to Smack Sexual Tension in the Face

  1. PRAY TOGETHER. Hopefully your boyfriend or girlfriend is a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) or is at least willing to support your faith. If that's the case, praying together before your dates is a great idea. Ask God to help keep your physical desires in check and to bless your conversations and relationship.

    Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." It certainly wouldn't hurt to pray for each other before you get together either.

  2. DON'T KISS ON THE COUCH. Or the bed. Or anywhere you might end up in a sexually-tempting position. That might seem kind of silly, but if you keep those doors shut, then you are less likely to go through them.

  3. BE OPEN WITH YOUR PARENTS. I know that sounds horrifying, but hear me out. If your parents have said you can date, then they're showing you that they trust you. By keeping them in the loop and allowing your parents to keep you accountable with curfews, physical intimacy, etc., then you're showing them that they made the right decision in trusting you.

  4. BE SEXUALLY PURE WHEN YOU'RE ALONE TOO. Watching porn or masturbating to relieve sexual tension is NOT going to be helpful in your relationship. In fact, it's more likely to be harmful. Whether or not you are dating, having a sexually-pure mind and body is still vitally important.

    First Thessalonians 4:3-5 says, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God..."

  5. RUN AWAY. When things get too hot and heavy, call it a day or night or whatever and just put some physical distance between the two of you. First Corinthians 6:18-20 says to "flee from sexual immorality." Say goodnight or "see you tomorrow" and get yourself into a cold shower.

God has promised that "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Look for those escapes; He's put them there for you! It is not impossible to remain a virgin or stay physically pure (Matthew 19:26). Many, many believers have had relationships and still stayed virgins until they were married.

If it's too late for keeping your virginity, you can still repent NOW and start over fresh. Your Heavenly Father will forgive you for your past—no matter how messy it is (1 John 1:9).


What this whole physical taboo thing really comes down to is avoiding temptation. Matthew 26:41 says that "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." That's why sexual purity is so difficult to maintain sometimes. God created sex to be pleasurable, but it is to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage. Avoiding all stimulating physical contact while dating is more of a preventative measure so that the couple isn't tempted to have sex before they're married (1 Corinthians 6:9, 13; 2 Timothy 2:22). See tips above for how to escape sexual tension.

Writer/Editor: Catiana (Cat)

Cat is the web producer and editor of She is known as "412teens" on the 412teens Discord. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not cooking, gardening, or practicing creativity, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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