Should Christian Teenagers Regard Kissing as a Sin?

Young couple moving in for a kiss in a convertible
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Most devout Christians believe that the Bible discourages sex before marriage, but what about other forms of physical affection before marriage? Does the Bible say that romantic kissing is a sin outside the boundaries of marriage? And if so, under what circumstances? This question can be especially problematic for Christian teenagers as they struggle to balance the requirements of their faith with societal norms and peer pressure.

Like many issues today, there is no black-and-white answer. Instead, the counsel of many Christian advisers is to ask God for guidance to show the direction to follow.

Is Kissing a Sin? Not Always

First, some types of kisses are acceptable and even expected. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ kissed his disciples, for example. And we kiss our family members as a normal expression of affection. In many cultures and countries, kissing is a common form of greeting among friends. So clearly, kissing is not always a sin. Of course, as everyone understands, these forms of kissing are a different matter than romantic kissing.

For teenagers and other unmarried Christians, the question is whether romantic kissing before marriage should be regarded as a sin. 

When Does Kissing Become Sinful?

For devout Christians, the answer boils down to what is in your heart at the time. The Bible clearly tells us that lust is a sin: 

"For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you" (Mark 7:21-23, NLT).

The devout Christian should ask if lust is in the heart when kissing. Is the kiss making you want to do more with that person? Is it leading you into temptation? Is it in any way an act of coercion? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then such kissing may have become sinful for you.

This doesn't mean that we should regard all kisses with a dating partner or with someone we love as sinful. Mutual affection between loving partners is not considered sinful by most Christian denominations. It does mean, however, that we should be careful about what is in our hearts and to make sure we maintain self-control when kissing.

To Kiss or Not to Kiss?

How you answer this question is up to you and may depend on your interpretation of the precepts of your faith or the teachings of your particular church. Some people choose not to kiss until they get married; they see kissing as leading to sin, or they believe romantic kissing is a sin. Others feel that as long as they can resist temptation and control their thoughts and actions, kissing is acceptable. The key is to do what is right for you and what is most honoring to God. First Corinthians 10:23 says,

"Everything is permissible–but not everything is beneficial.
Everything is permissible–but not everything is constructive."  (NIV)

Christian teenagers and unmarried singles are advised to spend time in prayer and think through what they are doing and to remember that just because an action is permissible and common doesn't mean it is beneficial or constructive. You may have the freedom to kiss, but if it leads you to lust, coercion, and other areas of sin, it is not a constructive way to spend your time.

For Christians, prayer is the essential means for allowing God to guide you toward what is most beneficial for your life.

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Mahoney, Kelli. "Should Christian Teenagers Regard Kissing as a Sin?" Learn Religions, Feb. 8, 2021, Mahoney, Kelli. (2021, February 8). Should Christian Teenagers Regard Kissing as a Sin? Retrieved from Mahoney, Kelli. "Should Christian Teenagers Regard Kissing as a Sin?" Learn Religions. (accessed June 10, 2023).