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The Hazards Of Dating

Dec 21, 2007
Two people who have discovered that they are in love want to do more than merely tell each other about it.

They want to manifest their love. This is natural.

But demonstrations of affection must be held within the bounds of the moral law and the accepted standards of social propriety.

True love tends toward union, a union of hearts, not necessarily of bodies, certainly not before marriage. All marriage counselors agree to this. They realize that a chaste courtship is necessary for happiness and success in marriage.

The non-Catholic director of the American Institute of Family Relations, Paul Popenoe, expresses this fact very strongly in his book, Modern Marriage: "Continence is not only important but absolutely necessary, during the years preceding marriage. ... It is not only a desirable but an indispensable means to an important end, namely, a successful marriage.

Sex attraction, therefore, is intended to lead to marriage, but only after marriage to its joys and privileges. God has made man, male and female. Each is possessed of a different nature. Those differences are both physical and psychological.

These two natures, each incomplete in itself, find their completion in that sacred fusion which is achieved in matrimony only. It is sufficient for young people to know this without seeking to explore the physical basis of these differences.

The physical element of sex has been limited by God to marriage only. Outside of marriage inordinate physical enjoyment is lust, not love.12 That is why young people in love have to be on their guard lest too much physical contact degenerate their love into sordid and selfish passion. Because of this, a clear understanding of the morality of lovemaking before marriage is essential to assure a chaste courtship and a happy marriage.

The Morality of Kissing

There are kisses and kisses, but the general rule of morality is this:

kissing or embracing is a serious sin against chastity for those unmarried to each other when it is done with the intention of stimulating or promoting the sexual appetite or sexual desire, or when one thereby is freely and knowingly exposed to the proximate danger of unlawful sexual activity or of consent to sexual pleasure.

This means that necking (prolonged and passionate kissing) and petting (allowing a person to place his hands upon the intimate parts of the body) are seriously sinful for those unmarried to each other.

They are deliberate assumptions of privileges and rights which have no place outside of marriage.

They are preludes to procreation. The same holds true for the "French kiss," or whatever name it goes by (it has several). Such actions are mortally sinful because of what they normally do to the passions of the persons involved.

Even in cases where there is no evil intention or no proximate danger of sin, kissing or embracing without a relatively sufficient reason would not be free from venial sin. In the beginning of courtship (dating) there might appear to be no danger at all in kissing or embracing because neither party has immodest intentions.

Nevertheless, the couple are emotionally thrilled just to be together, and this emotional state is heightened by caresses even when modest. In this heightened emotional state, physical passion is easily aroused.

Even modest signs of affection must be avoided if they are frequent, prolonged, and ardent, because these things invariably arouse physical passion and this cannot be the aim of unmarried people in expressing their affection.
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