Every human life has value.

A few years ago I wrote about the intimacy of a kiss, inspired by two very devoted Christian actors who not only decided to forgo “sex scenes” in in their movie roles, but also vowed to do no more on-screen lip-locks (unless that person they’re kissing is their wife). Some may wonder why just kissing someone is such a big deal, especially if its only acting. My explanation:

The body has a language and we must speak it truthfully. Even “just a kiss” is an extremely intimate act, especially between a man and a woman, meant to express affection, love and devotion.

Recently Anthony Buono, president of Ave Maria Singles and regular TOB columnist at Catholic Exchange, discussed the subject non-marital kissing in response to a young lady who wants to keep her virginity before marriage, but wonders “what is considered appropriate as far as kissing goes?” Said Buono:

How we conduct ourselves is a reflection of our interior life. Therefore, the way we speak, the way we dress, the way we behave, etc., all bear witness to what is in our mind, heart, and spiritual life.

Kissing is not just something we do. It is an expression of the interior. Let’s be clear that it is a good thing. But there are different types of kissing, and each have their place. The most common three are the peck on the cheek, the pressing of lips, and the more passionate expression of kissing that is known as “French kissing,” where the tongue is involved.

Though he finds nothing wrong with cheek kisses, Buono does think that a relaxed attitude about the intimacy of even the closed mouth pressing of the lips has is related or can lead to a more relaxed attitude about the intimacy of the sexual union. A valid point, I think. Read the rest of his response (disclaimer: while I agree that men are typically more physical and women more emotional when it comes to sexual activity, I do not agree with his overly callous view of the male sex, especially regarding their response to the ending of a relationship. I’ve known many men to be heartbroken after parting ways with a significant other)

For those who really have to ask the question “how far can I go without crossing the line?”, here is my general rule of thumb: Sex and, therefore, sexual arousal (not to be confused with mere sexual attraction), are meant only for marriage. Any place or action that you have even the slightest feeling will or could potentially lead to either prior to marriage should probably be avoided if possible (yes, sometimes even french-kissing). You and your kiss are worth the wait; a worthy suitor/suitette(?) will respect this. The key is to always desire to love and please God above all else and uphold both your own dignity and the dignity of your partner. Regular time for prayer both alone and together as a couple will help with this.

November 30th, 2010 at 11:30 pm
One Response to “TOB Tuesday: To Kiss or Not to Kiss?”
  1. 1
    bmmg39 Says:

    …so much I need to say here. I wish everybody gave as much thought to these matters as you do, Chelsea. I have my own views, which greatly coincide with yours. Of the three types of kisses you’ve mentioned (1. cheek 2. pressing lips 3. French), I’ve done a fair amount of (1.), and not (2.) and (3.) at all. I’m involved in community theater, and there have been two times in which some production suffered a sudden absence in the cast, and my name was mentioned both times as someone to fill in. Both times I said I’d read through the play first to see if there were any deal-breakers (I didn’t use that word at the time), and, indeed, in both cases I’d have to do (2.). And so…I had to decline, respectfully. It isn’t as though it’s a moral crusade; it’s just that when you don’t do something considered that common in real life, you don’t want to do it in a stage production, and that includes the “merely pantomimed” kind.

    I wish people would place more importance on (1.), and stop treating it like it’s some meaningless act, or the “let’s just be friends” signal, as so many treat it. You can kiss your aunt on the cheek and kiss your significant other (if you have one) on the cheek, and it can mean something different each time (just as some people kiss their pets on the lips and it means something different from when they kiss their spouses there). And I think Buono is guilty of dismissing (1.) when he suggests that people shouldn’t do (2.) or (3.) if they’re not married, but can do (1.), since that’s “harmless.”

    I have written a much longer explanation of how I feel about all this (and why it’s one reason I’ve found myself alone throughout life) on THIS message board:

    http://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?351314-My-Turn-(I-Suppose)-for-a-Story-(37-Years-Old…)&s=7c92553807e5e67dc600123d9d3d7b2e

    C.Z.: “disclaimer: while I agree that men are typically more physical and women more emotional when it comes to sexual activity, I do not agree with his overly callous view of the male sex, especially regarding their response to the ending of a relationship. I’ve known many men to be heartbroken after parting ways with a significant other)”

    Thank you thank you thank you. You and I have differed a bit in the past on the question of whether the genders are different, but I’m relieved to find that you don’t write men and boys off as a gender as this man does. I was infuriated when I read him dismiss everyone with testes in this way. And it bothers me further when people like Buono blame God for their own formulated stereotypes. Those who do that are essentially drawing a line in the sand (“If you still disagree with me, you’re attacking my religion!”) and I really resent that — just like I do when a person defending (e.g.) corporal punishment will bring his parents into it: “Hey, that’s just the way I was raised,” so you’re now “attacking his parents” if you still disagree. Nonsense.