No Kissing Before Marriage?

According to FoxNews, Showtime has a new documentary called “Virgin Tales” showing an evangelical subculture that doesn’t believe in kissing before marriage:

The documentary, slated to air on Showtime later this month, follows the Wilson family, American Evangelical Christians who believe not only in waiting until their wedding night to have sex, but even to share their first kiss. “Virgin Tales” focuses on two years in the lives of the Wilson parents, founders of the Purity Ball, as they prepare their seven children for their vision of romance and marriage.

“It’s interesting not just with the physical aspect but also a psychological and certainly these days there is a political aspect to it,” director Mirjam von Arx told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I was astonished to learn how many people there are that are sharing their beliefs, and not only in America, but there is a movement gaining strength even aboard like in Europe. A lot of parents say their kids are a lot more conservative than when they were young.”

Writer E. Stephen Burnett, however, does not think this is a good thing:

For some Christians, those beliefs are one and the same. But are biblical commands to walk by the Spirit in light of the Gospel, treat spiritual family with purity, and repent of sexual sins, no longer enough? Do we also need (Talmud-like?) rules about not even kissing before marriage, human fathers acting as family “priests,” and women refusing to attend college?

He  goes on to express further concerns and dubs this movement the “Romance Prosperity Gospel:”

  • Why do many abstinence promotions focus only on women’s purity? Why do others emphasize fathers helping daughters, an emphasis simply foreign to Scripture?
  • Why make “documentaries” to push beliefs that are at best extra-biblical? (See also: Divided, which accuses youth ministry of not simply being a bad idea but of ruining families and churches.)
  • How does showcasing one’s virginity — encouraging others to think about a particular woman having or not having sex! — fit with biblical truths about humility and modesty?

Interesting points.  However, culture is always obsessed with sex — even of the supposedly non-existent kind (for example, Preachers’ Daughters on Lifetime).  In other words, I’m sure this documentary will generate much conversation amongst liberals who scoff at the idea of maintaining sexual purity.

Maybe, it will also cause those of us who value Biblical principles to have some soul searching conversations as well.

See the trailer for “Virgin Tales” here:

This article first appeared on National Review here.

About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • neverbeenkissed

    I had my first kiss on my wedding day. It wasn’t my husband’s first kiss, but it was our first kiss as a couple. This was a choice I made as a teenager, after seeing so many of my friends dive into relationships to fast and too deep that at our age we were not ready for emotionally. It was a personal choice, not forced on me by my parents, who did raise me in a very conservative Christian home. I do no expect my own children to follow in my footsteps, but I do believe my choice was right for me.

    • Nancy French

      Interesting! I know there are many different approaches to this subject. I am now a parent of a teenager, so I’m thinking about these issues anew! Thanks for the comment.

    • diane

      I was just going to say- this is more about legislating morality for our children, never letting them choose for themselves. You put it quite well neverbeenkissed- Personal Choice- made by you. I am a firm believer in teaching, educating and sharing our faith with our children, but at some point they need to be responsible for their own actions. They need to start learning to choose for themselves and be able to trust their parents or other role models for advice.Just imagine if God created us with ONLY the ability to do what he says, not free to choose.

      • Robyn

        Life would be so much easier “if God had created us with ONLY the ability to do what he says”. I, for one, wouldn’t have screwed things up like I did! :)

  • hillplus

    My husband and I were both virgins, but we had kissed each other and others.I don’t think there is a problem with kissing before marriage, but have raised my children to understand that kissing is a big deal and that they should not give their kisses away frivolously. Kissing leads to other things which would make it more difficult to remain chaste. I have suggested to my kids that they remain as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible. My son is now engaged and he and his future bride have both saved themselves for marriage.What a wonderful gift they will be giving each other.

  • CricketBug

    This article comes off as quite judgmental. I see nothing wrong with raising your children to believe in no kissing before marriage. When they’re adults, they’ll make their own choices, just like my friend who was raised to be a virgin until marriage made her choice to have sex with her fiance before their wedding. I had no such moral guidance, though I wish I had. Choosing to remain a virgin for marriage was never even a consideration for me. Now that I’m a Christian, I regret my past ignorance and the choices I made as a result. The thing is, the parents’ job is to equip their children for their lives. But it’s up to the child to choose in the end.

  • ahermit

    I was raised Mennonite. We were taught never to have sex standing up as that might lead to dancing…

    • D Lowrey

      Reminds me of the old joke about why Baptists don’t make love standing up.

  • Jakeithus

    I think my father-in-law summed it up best when we were discussing this issue. If dating and engagement is a process where people determine if they have what it takes to make the commitment to marriage (and I think it is), then it makes sense to include the physical aspects of a relationship into this process as well. To go from a situation where basically nothing is permitted (depending on strictness; no hands holding, no cuddling, no kissing) to a situation where basically everything is permitted on their wedding night, is pretty jarring and might not be the best way to go through the process.

    Of course, this is not meant to be a put down of those people who have made it their choice to abstain from any physical intimacy before marriage and have created a healthy relationship out of that. I see less problem with that as a personal choice, than when it gets held up as some sort of extra-biblical ideal that all Christians should strive for.

  • kenhowes

    This is all very well, but the danger of being like those who tithed mint and cumin is real. I think it’s a reaction, and an overreaction, to the “anything goes” culture.

  • gene

    It isn’t just about morality any more. It’s wise advice for the non Christians teen as well in view of the “popularity” of oral sex, the epidemic of STD’s and AIDS, Many Church Kids are sexually active, so the smart thing to do is limit any kissing to the cheek or forehead.
    Church youth groups should encourage “group dating” where a “date” is a hodge podge mixture of girls and boyd who pile into one or two cars. They will have a lot of fun without the dangers and heartbreak of pairing up too sonn.

  • CSmith

    No kissing before marriage (or at least until engagement if the engagement is going to be short term) is a good way to live. However, if this is something we are going to teach our children, we need to teach why it is a good decision. No kissing can’t be just another rule among many that are laid down for right living. Teach our children the sacredness of the marriage covenant, the beauty of marital relations, the progressive nature of intimacy (both physical and emotional) and no kissing before marriage makes much more sense.
    I want my daughter (if she marries) to enjoy marital relations without regrets or guilt feelings to mar what God intends to be a marvelous bonding and life affirming part of marriage. That is my motivation in teaching the value of purity before marriage and faithfulness ever after.

  • Christine

    this article reminds me of those that still ask about home education and socialization that think one must experience sex and drugs to know about it. NO you don’t. I lived a very unpure life before I was saved. My husband listened to a sermon by Tony Evans many years ago where Pastor Evans stated something to the effect that if you kiss before you’re married your kissing another man’s wife…that stuck with him, he was pure and we were pure with each other before we married. We did not have our first REAL kiss until we were husband and wife. Having experienced both ways, I would MUCH prefer the way my husband and I did it! And I happen to think it’s the most Biblical way as well. However, just as with other things, I don’t force that opinion on people, but if they ask I certainly will tell.

  • D Lowrey

    My jaw just hit the floor when the lady mentioned she always wanted to be a wife/mother and couldn’t see spending thousands on going to college she would never use. Wonder what kind of a life she and her children will have when her husband gets tired of her…divorces her and has nothing to do with his old family? What’s the choice of his ex now…supporting her big family (no birth control being used because that would put them on par with their god) by working at McDonald’s or some other minimum wage job?