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Monday, October 1, 2007

Kissing and Touch

Photo by Chance Agrella

Having not been raised in the church it sometimes gives me some interesting perspectives on things. I am very comfortable with touch and recognize that there are many types of touch. Only one type of touch is sexual. One is sensual. One is friendly. One is nurturing/comforting. One is abusive. The list goes on.

As single adults, we are very limited in what we can do physically (and sexually) as we get to know others, assess them as potential mates, and build relationships. There are some great general guidelines which absolutely should be adhered to.

Some try to debate it, but it has been clearly stated that certain things are to be reserved for marriage: "French" (tongue) kissing is one of those things. In church guidelines it is covered under the 'passionate kissing' umbrella which also covers 'making out' or any type, length, or form of kissing which unleashes passionate feelings and drive.

In matters of affection and bonding, you can absolutely share kisses that are pleasing, sensual, affectionate, and wonderful without crossing that line.

This applies also to touch. We are not to touch private parts under or above clothing of ourselves or others (this refers to stimulation, not cleansing or medical purposes). One suggested guideline has been 'The Swimsuit Rule'. This rule is that any area covered by a modest swimsuit is not to be touched, kissed, fondled, caressed, etc. A more stringent rule is 'The Garment Rule' which is that any area which would be covered by the sacred garment (worn by worthy members), it is not to be touched, kissed, fondled, etc. Which rule is used, it is my understanding, is left up to the individuals involved. The basic thing is to be sure that private parts are left alone and that nothing is done of a sexual nature or which would create arousal.

Now, for some this would seem 'boring'. To them I say, first, there are still plenty of ways to have 'fun' and be 'safe'; and second, I would much rather have some 'boring' than a confessional discussion with my Bishop (clergy) any day of the week! I mean seriously. . . how many people want to sit in front of their clergy and detail their love/sex life in the context of how they allowed their passions to get the better of them. . .which includes explaining what the exact transgression is? NOT I!!!

So back to 'fun' and 'safe' kissing and touch. I have found there seems to be this weird idea set in our religious culture that either all touch bad or that all touch is sexual. Neither is true.

In dating, I run into men, frequently, who seem to think any allowed touch on my part is a sign that I am loose. They then proceed to either freak out and think I am going to molest and seduce them, or they think they then have license to attempt to molest and seduce me.

Is there not a happy medium in there anywhere?

So, here is my Dani version of LDS Sex Ed 101

1-Hand-holding does not mean there will be sex (or making out).

2-A man's arm around a woman does not mean there will be sex (or making out).

3-One sweet kiss does not constitute making out, nor does it mean there will be making out (or sex).

4-Hugging, snuggling, and cuddling are all innocent forms of physical touch. They can mean nurturing, comfort, friendship or affection. They do not mean there will be making out or sex.

5-Stop reading sex and making out into every look, phrase, gesture, touch, and kiss. If clothes start coming off or the offer is made, THEN you can start to think maybe sex is on their mind. Until then, just take it for what it is: a simple touch or kiss.

6-If you get instant arousal from someone touching you in the most innocent way in a totally appropriate place, I would say them seducing you is not the problem you should be worrying about.

7-Learn to enjoy innocent touch and simple sweet kisses. Learn to focus on affection rather than arousal. It makes the whole abstinence before marriage issue much easier to live with when you are an active dater. Trust me on this. Continually reading sex and making out into everything will make you crazy, insult your dates, and make you come across like a total prude, a total freak, or a total pervy: none of which is what I think you want.

Innocent Touch: A Few Examples

A hug; holding hands; walking arm in arm; an arm around the other person; a hand massage; a foot rub; a kiss on the forehead; a kiss on the cheek; a kiss on the tip of the nose; a kiss on the back of the hand; a kiss on the palm of the hand; a kiss on the wrist; a scalp massage; a temple massage; lotion rubbed on elbows, feet, and hands; gently touching/caressing the other person's face/cheek; a shoulder and neck massage (clothed); and butterfly kisses (fluttering your eyelashes on the other person's face/cheek).

Kissing Styles

There is more than two types of kissing. The two I run into the most are the closed-lip pucker (the kind of kiss you give your sweet grandmother); and the fully-opened mouth, tongue down the throat, face being sucked off.

Ya know, there is a LOT to be said for lips. Lips are good. Reserve that tongue for marriage and save those puckers for Granny. If you are going to take the risk of being rejected or slapped, make it a good kiss. Make it a nice kiss. Make it memorable. Make it mean something.

Slightly parted lips, gently but firmly exploring and teasing the other person's lips is a good thing. You can have sweet exploratory kisses that don't get out of control. You can kiss as a means of showing affection and not have it be sexual or turn into a make out session. Seriously. I speak from experience.

Even hot-blooded passionate people can master these concepts. Again, I speak from experience.

I hope this has helped edu-ma-cate and enlighten my fellow LDS Singles on how to enjoy our limits without getting into trouble.

Happy Dating!

~Dani, Dating Diva Extraordinaire (not really, but it sounded good! lol)

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