The Church has a lot to say about sex. Pope Paul VI, St. John Paul II, and Fulton Sheen have all spoken out on this issue. But what about making out? Almost everyone would agree that kissing your significant other before marriage is fine, but when it comes to making out, things begin to get a little hazy. Some people think there’s nothing wrong with it while others think it’s problematic. Who’s right? Is it okay to make out or not?
As we noted in the introduction, there is nothing inherently wrong about kissing. It’s a perfectly acceptable way of showing affection to a loved one. Families throughout the world use kissing, even on the lips, as an expression of love. When your grandma gives you a kiss you might think it’s gross, but there’s nothing inappropriate about this gesture. Your grandma loves you and wants you to know it. The object of this type of kiss is not to produce sexual pleasure, but to show affection. The same is true in the exchange of a simple kiss between a boyfriend and girlfriend.
In a dating relationship, couples use physical signs and gestures to show their love and affection. Holding hands and simple kisses are both genuine expressions of the reality of their relationship. In addition to expressing affection, these gestures also relate to other people the exclusiveness of the relationship. However, there is a distinct difference between a short kiss, which conveys love and affection, and making out.
What exactly is Making Out?
Making out is marked by prolonged kissing and excessive touching in the pursuit of sexual pleasure. The difference between making out and a simple kiss is not the expression of affection but the desire which drives the action. When two people make out they are compelled by the desire of lust.
“Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2351).
Making out is problematic, because it is nothing less than the pursuit of sexual pleasure for its own sake. Wandering hands and the passionate interlocking of lips are both expressions of a person’s desire to obtain sexual pleasure. These physical gestures convey affection but they also implore the use of the other person, thus rendering the affection mute and disordered. As John Paul II has noted, “A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.” Making out is marked by the use of another for sexual pleasure, and as the Catechism reminds us, sexual pleasure is ordered to the marital act. This is in juxtaposition to simple kisses, which have affection as their object and not sexual pleasure.
Following this logic we can definitively state that making out with your boyfriend or girlfriend is not okay. Making out can only be done in the context of marriage and the conjugal act.
In addition, making out can lead people to commit greater sins. The wandering hands that accompany prolonged kissing can lead to compromising situations that end in committing the sexual act. Therefore making out should be reserved for marriage alone where it finds its proper place.
How Can We Avoid Making Out?
1. Talk about Boundaries
At the beginning of a relationship you and your significant other should sit down and have an honest conversation about your physical expectations. If you don’t say it out loud you can’t assume that the other person will be on the same page as you. So be explicit. If you are currently dating someone, you can still have this talk. It’s never too late to set up boundaries.
If you currently find yourself in a relationship where you and your significant other are making out consider going to confession. We’re all sinners and the Lord still loves us. That’s why he’s given us this great sacrament. If you want to be healed, forgiven, and strengthened go to confession. Don’t be discouraged if you fall many times, the Lord will always forgive you. So don’t give up!
3. The Rosary
Our Mother Mary is the supreme model of purity. The Rosary is a great weapon to use against the temptation to lust and make out with your boyfriend or girlfriend. St. Josemaria Escriva has said, “Say the Holy Rosary. Blessed be that monotony of Hail Mary’s which purifies the monotony of your sins!” Breaking a habit can be difficult, but the Blessed Mother is here to help. If you struggle with lustful habits turn to her in your time of need. Ask her to give you a pure heart.
Making out with your boyfriend or girlfriend is not okay, because it employs the use of another person for the sake of sexual pleasure. Therefore, making out is only acceptable in the confines of the marital act. This does not mean that touching is off limits. You can still express love and affection for your significant other through appropriate gestures like simple kisses and handholding. These physical signs convey the reality of your relationship and keep you pure. Lust is usually rooted in a disordered desire for affection, and the cure for this disordered desire is rightly ordered affection.