Friday, February 13, 2015

The Kissing Question

by Dina Sleiman

Hi friends. I had planned to use my February post to share a little about my upcoming Valiant Hearts Series, but I didn't realize it would fall so close to Valentine's Day. So I decided to share about a romantic element of the series, which is releasing soon. Enjoy and Happy Valentines Day!

While writing my YA medieval/adventure romance novels, I faced a bit of a moral conundrum. Should I include kissing in books geared toward Christian teens? I don’t think that kissing should be done recreationally or taken lightly. Therefore, in today’s culture, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that sixteen and seventeen-year-olds jump on the kissing bandwagon, and I certainly wouldn’t want younger teenage readers to think that I’m encouraging them to experiment with kissing.

On the other hand, I’m not sure that the “purity” and “courtship” fanatics have gotten this issue right either. Song of Solomon recommends that young women not “awake love before it pleases.” This is smart. Before a young innocent woman becomes awakened sexually, it is pretty easy to stay pure. Once that awakening process has begun, usually through kisses and embraces, it becomes more challenging to maintain godly morals. 

However, I don’t think the honeymoon night is the right time to BEGIN that awakening process either. For one thing, it’s just too late and too much pressure on a bride. In addition, I think that before you make a permanent decision like marriage (among other more important issues) you should at least take into consideration the level of physical attraction. While it is wise to base a relationship on a strong friendship, there also needs to be that reasonable spark of attraction or else marital intimacy could be very awkward. If there is no physical contact (i.e. kissing), that can be hard to assess. So I would say that once you start seriously dating with an eye towards marriage, perhaps in your late teens or early twenties, and once the friendship is on solid ground, kissing is fine. (Okay, let's fact it, kissing is great!)

Which brings me back to my medieval series. The medieval culture was different from our culture today. Girls typically married during their teen years, and my heroines are clearly headed in that direction. So my final decision was that they needed to experience some kisses with their potential mates, and that it would be appropriate to include a bit of kissing in my books. 

Besides, everyone loves a good kiss!

P.S. For a good balanced perspective on the concerns surrounding kissing, check out this article. I especially like the way they continually encourage you to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. 

What are your views on kissing? Have you been exposed to any of the anti-kissing or courtship hype? How did you feel about it?
Dauntless by Dina Sleiman 
Officially releases March 3
Print Version Available on Amazon Now!

Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

Read a sample of Dauntless
Pre-order at Christianbook
Pre-order at Amazon



  1. Great post and an important topic for Christian families. My daughter was in a group that read a very successful book on purity that promoted the idea of courtship. While I appreciated many things the book had to say, I felt this particular author's plan for young women took any responsibility away from the young woman and placed it on the young man and her father. If she wasn't interested in the young man or had a problem with him during the courtship, Daddy dealt with it for her. Personally, I want my daughter to be able to learn how to handle interpersonal issues and learn to trust her thoughts and instincts--with me and my husband here to help her, not handle life for her.

    Timely post for me, for sure! Thanks, Dina! Can't wait for Dauntless!

  2. I agree!!! A girl has to be her own strong independent person before she gets married, or else she will be vulnerable to co-dependency issues. It's lovely for any young man or woman to include their parents in their marriage decision, but it needs to be the individual's decision.

    I read "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" with my daughter. Most of it was fine, and it stirred up good conversation. But there was a subtle insinuation that feeling sexually turned on was a sin. I disagree, and I think that's way too much baggage to put on a person. It will create a lot of shame that will be hard to shake once a person is married and needs to feel that God-given sensation.

  3. A very balanced approach to a sensitive topic! I try not to be too hard on Christians who kiss during dating or Christians who wait for their first kiss until the wedding day. I waited until engagement to kiss, because I wasn't to make sure it was "real," but yes, there is something to be said for kissing to make sure the attraction is there! One thing I'll ask friends, after they tell me that a guy they like is kind and friendly and has a strong faith, is if they think he's "hot." Not in the sense of objectifying him, but just asking if they find him physically attractive! Yes, those things can grow, but why not consider that from the start? And it's funny how Christian girls have to be reminded of this. I've spoken to my husband about whether or not he thought I was attractive when he first met me and he said something to the effect of "of course, that was one of the reasons I asked you out! Why would I ask out a girl I wasn't attracted to?" Interesting double standard.

    1. I think it's just easier for girls to ignore that aspect, especially if they are very innocent.

  4. Great article, Dina. I like your cautious approach toward the young people reading your series. It's not something I really thought about until just now. I would definitely have thought about not taking the relationship further than that, but the kissing aspect isn't one I would have thought of. Thank you for making me think. ;)

    1. Well, this series is actually listed on some sites as being for ages 12 and up. Which means probably some ten and eleven year olds will read it. That's definitely something for me to keep in mind. In fact, I just deleted a few grittier lines from Chivalrous because I noticed some of my early reviewers sound very young. My eleven year old niece can't wait to read them! I was teasing her and saying she couldn't read them until her birthday in August. LOL.

  5. Fascinating subject, Dina, and like Suzie, one that I hadn't really thought much about when it comes to writing since I don't write for the younger crowd.

    Although I never thought of it as a sexual awakening, I explained to my kids that the problem with kissing is that once you start, you want more and although it might seem innocent, one thing leads to another.

    But I also told them about an experience I had... I was 18 yrs old and I'd had a few nice dates with a guy who was easy on the eyes and easy-going. I can still remember standing there holding his warm hands and sharing a brief innocent kiss. That was it. No more, thank you. It felt like someone had turned my switch off because his lips were as cold as ice. The memory still gives me the shivers.

    1. :) Interesting memory. I had both good and bad experiences with kissing. But I do clearly remember the first time a "serious" kiss felt good to me. Before that I thought it was kind of weird.


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