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How long should I save that first kiss? That’s the question I asked in my last blog and I may have ruffled a few feathers suggesting that saving it until marriage might not be the only choice. I argued that the problem with kissing before marriage isn’t when we kiss, but in defining what a kiss is. Wikipedia offers this nice photo of a pair of kissing prairie dogs along with this definition for kissing: “the act of pressing one’s lips against the lips or body parts of another person or object.” Certainly, we can do better. After all, pressing my lips against your dog is surely not sensual and would therefore require no self-control or internal guidelines. But there are those kisses that can be too much too soon. How do we define kisses so that we make God-honoring internalized decisions about when and what kind of kisses to give our special guy.

Let’s start by taking a quiz. Which of these five kinds of kisses do you think are OK outside of marriage?

The Virtual-You probably already know how this works, but this simple sign— :-* — sends a kiss across the Internet.

Brotherly Kiss-Let him gently place his lips on your head or your cheek. It’s fast and gentle. No lingering.

Planting Kiss-Contribute by meeting lip to lip with his. It’s firm, but fast. No lingering.

Teaser Kiss-Start by kissing his check or forehead softly. Linger slowly in each spot as you kiss your way to his mouth.

The Oh la la-The French variation is where you start to open your mouth for him, and he for you. You know how it works. It’s the stuff movies are made of.

What’d you decide? Maybe you could mentally draw a line where you’d decide to stop the kissing. Now, let’s see how it lines up with God’s word.

Assuming you agree that the gift of sex is to be reserved for marriage, it is also assumed that you don’t want to rev up the engine—either his or yours—in an effort to reserve the intimate act of becoming one for your marriage bed. (Ephesians 5:3 then urges that there would not be a “hint” of sexual sin (or misuse outside of marriage) in us.) Let me tell you how you might find yourself hinting at sexual sin—and revving up the engine—before marriage with a kiss. It’s simple science.

•Saliva contains testosterone, which increases sexual arousal.

•Researchers believe that a man can subconsciously measure estrogen levels, increasing his sexual desire.

•The body’s Autonomic Nervous System, the system that controls sexual response, is heightened by a kiss. This system is not controlled by your mental faculties, but by your physical experiences. Desire can begin to control you whether or not you would chose for it to.

Hopefully, you recognize that there’s no way you could enter in to a kiss that’s open-mouthed without creating significant body changes so as to put your body’s desire rather than your internalized mental preferences in control of the situation. That takes out The Ohh La La for sure. But I think you can’t really do The Teaser Kiss either. In fact, I’d encourage you to stay as far away from a Planting Kiss as you can.

Our sexual desires are strong. You can get carried away in the current of it before you know it. Considering all that’s at stake, I’d stick to

the Brotherly Kiss. It’s one the Apostle Paul would be proud of. (And, he might even appreciate a Virtual Kiss in this day and age.)