What is “dry humping?”

I’m a pretty naive Mormon girl, raised in a super conservative environment. I have a boyfriend and I’m just discovering kissing, but since I know next to nothing about sex and physicality, I don’t really know if I’ve done anything wrong. For instance, I just found out what dry humping is and I’m worried I’ve done it, but I still don’t know what it is and what it means. Can you help me?

Navigating sexuality prior to marriage and in your youth can be a challenging and often confusing process – especially within the realm of a religious community offering you traditional expectations juxtaposed within a larger culture with much looser ideas of what your sexual exploration should be about. I’m glad you are comfortable enough to reach out in this type of venue to ask questions and get information that I hope will be useful.

First of all, I posted your question on Mormon Matters to see what other members had to say:
Sexual naivete- pros and cons?
Check it out. You will notice that there are many different ideas of how premarital sexuality should or could be handled. In fact, this is one of my concerns for you: that you will trust others opinions and “shoulds” rather than trusting your own inner instinct. In fact, be prepared to get comments on this post that you may need to be wary of. Just because I allow comments to be posted does not mean I always agree with them. Due to anxiety regarding sexual sin, people can sometimes come across as over-judgmental or overly shaming, even if their intentions are meant to be for your benefit.

Here are some things I’d like for you to consider:

  • What are the reasons that resonate for you regarding the law of chastity and how it is presented within your religious construct? For example, staying chaste before marriage may protect you in the realms of sexually transmitted disease (STD), unwanted pregnancy, and emotional immaturity for sharing yourself at this level.
  • What are the reasons that do not resonate for you regarding things related to the law of chastity? For example, issues related to shame, rigidity, seeing sex as bad or dirty, etc.
  • Understand that the fact that you are a sexual being and experience sexual arousal is normal and healthy. This is how you were created by your Heavenly Father and it has purpose. Three purposes in particular: procreation, bonding with the one you choose to share your life with and the ability to experience pure pleasure.
  • How you want to manage sexual arousal in your years before marriage is something you want to look at from the lens of self-protection and long-term goals. Make the law of chastity work for you: not the other way around. It is there FOR you – not AGAINST you.
  • Having appropriate education regarding sexuality, anatomy, and female issues at large will be an important part of your “growing up.” Make sure you search for and get accurate information.

Here are some of my interpretations about appropriate sexual exploration before marriage in relation to the guidance and expectations the church gives: please take note that these are mine – not yours. Take them or leave them. Develop your own!

  • Kissing is great!
  • Stroking or touching of any areas that do not include the female breasts and/or genital areas is great!
  • Oral sex (where you kiss each others genitalia – vulva or penis) is not considered appropriate outside of marriage. Many unmarrieds justify this behavior because oral sex does not take away your virginity. However oral sex is as, or even more, of an intimate act than traditional intercourse and I consider it sexual activity. You also need to know that there are some STD’s that you can get from oral sex.
  • “Dry humping” is where you rub up against someone or something else, stimulating your clitoris to the point that you can achieve orgasm (if you don’t know what or where your clitoris is, write me back). In a sense, it is a form of masturbation, but without the manual stimulation. Men can do this as well. If anything, this is the safest type of “sex” you can have, since usually people are completely clothed and no fluids are shared (therefore, no STDs and no pregnancy). But again, it is not something the church standards are going to approve of.
  • Although masturbation is discouraged by the church, it is a normal developmental act that most children and teens have participated in at some point. This is not something worth spending a lot of guilt or shame on (unless it has become compulsive in some way – meaning several times a day, it’s connected to pornography use, etc.). If you want to curb masturbatory practices because of your religious beliefs – then that is a personal decision/goal and can be done in a healthy approach.  You should have good reasons as to why you want to do this other than just “the church says I shouldn’t”. What is not healthy is inappropriate guilt or shame.

I hope this information is useful to you and can at least get you headed in the right direction. I hope you can embrace your sexuality as an integral part of your identity as a woman. I hope you can enjoy your dating years by feeling comfortable with yourself, by being able to create boundaries you want and believe in, and by getting to know a variety of young men with their varying sets of qualities. With that in mind, I also hope that you can take the teachings of the church regarding sexuality and use them to bring meaning and purpose to this amazing power that lies within you. And please, please, please remember that the underlying teaching that takes precedence (or at least should) over all others is that of the atonement. Therefore, if you feel like you’ve made a mistake or have ventured farther than comfortable – you have this incredible gift at your disposal. This gift is not meant to make you feel bad about yourself – it is meant to liberate you and allow you to move forward in the ongoing progression called life. Good luck and have fun!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for hitting on the whole "because the Church says I shouldn't" aspect, Natasha! That was, I believe, part of the reason that I gave into premarital temptations-because I didn't believe in the law of chastity for my self; i believed in it because thats what the church said i should do. Since I had no personal stake in the matter, I was more likely to break the rule.In order to fully live the gospel and all of its principles, we must first understand them, and second decide for ourselves how it's application will look in our lives. Thats the crucial key to ensuring our obedience. :)

  • Anonymous

    As always, Natasha, your answers are the most sane, reasonable and rational explanations about topics that cause most to blush and about which most can't express themselves. If only more were exposed to what you share here, so many more could be helped and lifted! I invite any who want to carry on the conversation and to chat with others in real time, to join us on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on Freenode.net in this channel: #mormon_therapist. If you need help finding it, please ask me at nephi12@hotmail.com.

  • nephi12@hotmail.com

    ChurchSaysIShouldn't: Great observation! It's incumbent upon every member to understand and make each commitment to obeying the rules, because they are personally commited, never out of blind obedience. You hit the nail on the head!

  • Anonymous

    I think knowing terminology is a very helpful thing for teens to know. Because kids can get into trouble by doing things that are not necessarily called… petting, dry humping, masturbating, sex and so on. There's so much slang thrown around our teens now. Such as I just heard that Mormon kids are "soaking" which is SEX. But they are not using the term so it's "OK"! Kids need to know the definitions of things just as you have lined out in your bullet points so they are not naive about moral issues!

  • Anonymous

    Great post. One thing that I though I would comment on: Kissing is great, but… I have never, in my years of counseling young adults in the Church, had someone confess a moral transgression, such as petting, OS or intercourse, where it didn't start with passionate kissing. To me, this is the beginning of the slippery slope. There are some that can kiss til the cows come home and can do it without going further. But, for many, the passion becomes too much and they find themselves going where they thought that they would never go.

  • Anonymous

    Great Post, however I think this is something that each person has to determine for themselves. Just because "The Church" says you shouldn't do something doesn't mean that it is wrong. An example of such is wearing of the "garments", "The Church" says you must never take them off unless you are bathing, meaning that one has to give up activities, such as swimming, and various articles of clothing because of the "garments." I feel that Sex of any type is great as long as it is between two consenting adults. If two consenting adults want to start out with heavy kissing then work up to sex whether it be oral sex or 'regular' sex that is fine; even though "The Church" says it is not okay.

  • Anonymous

    Anon 3:08The Church doesn't say that you can't take your garments off for swimming, or other activities, which are not conducive for wearing of the garment. Where did you get that from?You tell Natasha that she had a great post, then go 180 degrees from her advice?

  • Anonymous

    Anon 3:08 pm: To echo Anon 4:27's comment, President Kimball once commented that we should "Dress for the occasion", meaning, if you swim, wear a swim suit, if you play basketball, wear athletic shorts and a t-shirt WITHOUT your garments. Thinking and logic are still allowed here. Come to #mormon_therapist on irc.freenode.net and discuss it with others. nephi12@hotmail.com

  • Anonymous

    @ November 1, 2010 1:08 PMI have unfortunately experienced a few cases in which moral transgression (dry-humping and light petting) happened not only without passionate kissing, but firmly believe it wouldn't have happened had their instead be kissing.there is a difference between a passionate kiss and a sexual kiss.

  • Anonymous

    Nov3-6:47pm So are you saying kissing is good or bad, wicked and evil or passionate and wonderful? I think it depends on each person, what the kiss means to them. nephi12@hotmail.com

  • Anonymous

    Anon 3:08 pm: – Every time I have talked with a church leader about when it is and is not appropriate to take off the 'garments' I have been told/'counseled' that it is never appropriate to take 'them' (the garments) off for anything except when you are bathing and that as soon as you are toweled off (not dry) you are to put 'them' (the garments) back on. I have also been told that I have to adjust my lifestyle and activities to the 'garments' and not the other way around. I have even asked apostles about this subject and every time I am told that what my 'local' leaders have said is correct and that i can not for any reason other than bathing take 'them (the garments) off. So I have specifically asked if it is okay to take them off to go swimming, and I was counseled that if any activity requires you to remove the 'garments' is inappropriate and is frowned upon by the 'Lord.' I also asked if it was appropriate to remove them for any intimacy purposes and I was again counseled that it was in appropriate to remove the 'garments' for anything other than bathing.

  • Rob

    Anon 9:25. The instructions related to garment wearing in the temple recommend books clearly allow exceptions for activities such as exercising where garments can't be worn. I need to go to the church tonight so I can probably dig out the specific language.Regarding intimacy, that was a very old convention. Just looking around, I found a reference to a first presidency letter of 1968(!) to temple presidents, telling them to stop instructing members that they must keep their garments on during sex. I'd be interested in seeing the letter itself, but I think you're hearing very, very dated counsel. It'll be interesting to see if the new Handbook of Instructions coming out this week addresses these topics.

  • Anonymous

    If you read the October Ensign, which was all about temples, you will find the following quotes about the garment, from Elder Nelson:"The First Presidency prepared a letter to the Church on this subject. They wrote:"“Practices frequently observed among the members of the Church suggest that some members do not fully understand the covenant they make in the temple to wear the garment in accordance with the spirit of the holy endowment.“Church members who have been clothed with the garment in the temple have made a covenant to wear it throughout their lives. This has been interpreted to mean that it is worn as underclothing both day and night. The promise of protection and blessings is conditioned upon worthiness and faithfulness in keeping the covenant.“The fundamental principle ought to be to wear the garment and not to find occasions to remove it. Thus, members should not remove either all or part of the garment to work in the yard or to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. Nor should they remove it to participate in recreational activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath regular clothing. When the garment must be removed, such as for swimming, it should be restored as soon as possible.“The principles of modesty and keeping the body appropriately covered are implicit in the covenant and should govern the nature of all clothing worn. Endowed members of the Church wear the garment as a reminder of the sacred covenants they have made with the Lord and also as a protection against temptation and evil. How it is worn is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior."This same counsel is supposed to be read to every member when they go in to get their recommend renewed. As a recently released Bishop, I can't imagine any Bishop, Stake President or GA giving the counsel that was mentioned above by anon 9:25. This post sounds like it is coming from someone that is trying to make endowed members, and the Church, look extreme and weird.

  • Rob

    Thanks Anon 1:04! I pulled similar language from the handbook tonight to quote but you saved me some time! Looking over the course of this thread, I tend to agree with your take on his or her motives.

  • Anonymous

    As have grown up around various bishops, stake presidents, and GA's and am currently neighbors to one as well. I asked the same questions and I received a very long lecture about how the 'garments' are NEVER to be removed unless u are bathing. The GA said that not even the 'prophet' removes his garments for anything but bathing and that I would be wise to do the same. I was also instructed that I must repent of my sins of removing the 'garment' for any purpose other than bathing including intimacy with my spouse and must confess these sins to my bishop. I was told that I could loose the 'priesthood' for these sins especially if I do not confess and repent. I was also read a letter from the 'prophet' himself regarding the garments saying that they "must NEVER be removed for anything including intimacy with your spouse." This is contrary to what was said in the Ensign where the garment must be restored asap when removed for what ever reason.

  • Anonymous

    What the ??? When our bedroom door closes, the Holy Ghost and everyone else can stay outside. I mean, I guess if they want to come in and WATCH they can, but they've likely seen it all a million times before. President Kimball has said that we Dress for the occasion. Honestly, if someone is an athlete they don't flaunt their garments, hanging out from the clothing they and everyone normally wears for their particular sport. BYU has a huge ballroom dance department and I have never seen any of the ladies dancing in those groups, showing off their garments. BYU doesn't seem to have a problem with their endowed female dancers wearing dance close appropriate for dancing. We have a brain and we are commanded to use it, not to be blind sheep. Hello?? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me.. Is there anyone at home?nephi12@hotmail.com

  • Anonymous

    Anon 9:10I really don't know if you are just trying to pull our chains, or what. If you are serious, ask your neighbor/Bishop to read to you the letter that is required to be read prior to all temple recommend interviews. Ask him to justify his beliefs with the words of Elder Nelson, one of the 12 Apostles, from the Ensign article. What you are saying is too bizar and hard to believe that you are getting that information from not only one Bishop, but other Bishops or Stake Presidents. I would like to read that letter that you claim you read, by the Prophet, where he says that you are only to remove the garment for bathing, but not for anything else, including sex. I know that this is false, because President Monson has shared stories, many times, about when he would go to the old Deseret Gym and swim. Here is one such quote from Pres. Monson:"Late one afternoon I was swimming at Deseret Gym, gazing at the ceiling while backstroking width after width. Silently, but ever so clearly, there came to my mind the thought, “Here you swim almost effortlessly, while your friend Stan is unable to move.” I felt the prompting, “Get to the hospital and give him a blessing.”Here is the link: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale;=0&sourceId;=2f3a57b60090c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid;=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

  • Rob

    Anon 9:10 – I'm surprised by your remarkable ability to find all kinds of church leaders willing to speak contrary to black and white church instruction that have been out there for decades. Unless those conversations took place in the 1920s or you're intentionally skewing the questions and answers, I tend to believe they're simply fabrications. How about a little verifiable information, like the name of the General Authority?

  • Anonymous

    Packer

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07962090551197040509 Bonez

    Lies! Damned Lies! and Statistics! One can likely piece together support for almost any idea with enough time, to cut and paste and find the right speech with general authorities saying the right combinations of words. Ultimately, one's salvation depends on each person thinking and evaluating the options and then making reasonable, measured and educated decisions based on all available data. If I like white bread and you think it's evil, so what? I won't share my white bread with you, and I won't steal a bite of your veggie burger. Think! We have a brain and the freedom to choose and to chart our own course, each of us. That is the whole purpose of our existence, even with issues of sexuality and how we understand and then choose to obey the rules as we see them. nephi12@hotmail.com

  • Anonymous

    If they are all lies then why does the 'Church' teach blind obedience? Isn't that not using your brain and thinking for yourself? If we are supposed to think for ourselves then we is anyone who opposes anything to do with the 'Church' immediate excommunicated if they are members and labeled a heretic? If they are not members they are called Devil worshipers and are trying to destroy the 'Church'?

  • Anonymous

    The Church does not teach blind obedience. They teach how every member is to receive their own revelation, and confirmation. There are many, many members that may have differing views on various Church doctrine issues, and they have not been excommunicated! I don't know where you are getting your skewed opinions about the Church. FYI, the new Church Handbook #2 has just been released and it is now available for everyone to see. The question about when it is proper to "remove the garment" is in Book 2, for all to see. Any opinions that may have been expressed to you previously about "it never being proper to remove the garment, except for bathing", should be put to rest via the "official" statements by the Church.

  • Anonymous

    The 'church' does teach blind obedience! It only mouths the words 'personal revelation' to keep its 'holy' image intact! I have seen the new 'handbook' and it does not clarify anything, all that it is another cover up by the 'church'! All I hear is the 'church' says this, the 'church' says that, so therefore I must follow what the 'church' says or I am going to Hell!

  • Anonymous

    12:15It sounds like you are hurting, and it is obviously that you have strong feelings against the Church. So, why are you here, on an LDS Church site? Trying to convince everyone else that we are all wrong for believing what we believe? I have served as a Bishop, Ward Clerk, Bishop's Counelor (twice) and I haven't seen or experienced any of what you are preaching. I am not a "blind obedience" person. I will question things that I don't feel are quite right and will have to resolve those issues with my leaders. But, when we do have the Handbook to turn to, ANY leader that preaches something which contradicts that policy is out of line. I have seen it, on occassion, but usually when challenged, tactfully, and pointing out the Handbook references, the person will correct themselves.So, please, don't lump the "Church" in with a few bad experiences you might have had. If you really, honestly, seek out the Church's stance on "personal revelation" you will realize that they don't just "mouth the words", it is honest doctrine.Please explain, what about the wording in the Handbook, about the garments, hasn't been clarified to you. Does it say that you should only remove the garments for bathing? No… help me/us out here. What isn't clear?

  • Anonymous

    There is a difference between 'blind obedience' and following a commandment that you may not fully understand but have had the Spirit confirm that it is true. Adam gave sacrifice without understanding why he was doing it other than that he had been commanded to do it. However, Adam had a personal testimony of and relationship with Heavenly Father and so he trusted Him and followed Him. We may not always understand why we do something but we are entitled to receive personal revelation that what we are doing is in-line with God's will for us and therefore for our eternal benefit.In regard to the original post I steadily dated before I was sixteen and I was involved in numerous physically intimate relationships during high school that included just about everything but intercourse. After repenting and returning home from a mission the Spirit distinctly told me not to marry right away. I was prompted that I had not learned how to have an appropriate relationship with a woman and that I needed to learn how to respect women so I was charged dating the way I should have in high school. After some time the feeling faded and eventually I married. It was a difficult time because I felt as if I were wired to be sexual. I had strong sexual urges as I remembered those feelings I had aroused in myself as a teen. Even today I still have to fight some memories and strong urges. Should I have listened to the prophet's counsel I would have avoided a lot of heartache and pain, and I feel I would be further progressed in understanding true love thus making me a better husband to my wife.

  • Kobe bryant

    Is dry humping okay if you stop before either of you orgasm? But dude this is the most useful website I have found about the dos and donts of the lds church. Peace

  • Destinie

    Let me just say, me and my boyfriend just “dry humped” last night, and I can promise you, it feels amazing. Just imagine what the real thing will feel like! (:


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