Three Things To Tell Your Teen About Kissing

To kiss or not to kiss? That’s what moms ask me all the time as they’re preparing their tweens, teens, and college-bound young adults for dating. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s a good time to talk. Here are three things you need to tell your teen.

Tell them some things are worth waiting for, because they are. From the simple things we wait for each year like giving out your Valentine’s Day cards on the actual day or grandma’s famous heart shaped sugar cookies to big life landmarks like getting married or turning a pregnancy stick pink, it is the human experience to savor the process of waiting. Conversely, the process of taking something before it is time spoils it. I still remember sneaking under my parent’s bed to look at my Christmas gifts before Christmas in 6th grade. Talk about a total fail! (Sorry, Mom.)

Assuming you agree that the gift of sex is to be reserved for marriage, it’s a good idea to teach your kids that they don’t want to rev up the engine or they could risk receiving something before it is time. Ephesians 5:3 urges that there would not be a “hint” of sexual sin (or misuse outside of marriage) in us. Tell your kids how they might find themselves hinting at sexual sin—and revving up the engine—before marriage with a kiss. Here’s the science behind it.

  • Saliva contains testosterone, which increases sexual arousal. (What!? You didn’t think there was some purpose behind the kissing?)
  • 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.

In our family, we opened the conversation for our kids to wait for that first kiss. How long? Well, that takes me to the second thing to talk about with your kids.

Tell them not to jump on the “I kissed kissing goodbye” wagon too fast. I frequently spend time in the Dominican Republic where the Christian brothers and sisters kiss! I’m not talking about a romantic kiss. I’m talking about every time they greet each other, it’s with a kiss on the cheek. The first few times a pastor or other church leader moved in on me…well, I will tell you I was quite uncertain as to what to do? But then, I saw that the healthy Christian culture of modesty and purity in the Dominican Republic wasn’t laced with repression of or hyperawareness of sexuality that we sometimes experience in my neck of the woods. It was a natural, innocent, beautiful, and familial expression.

We have to be careful not to make standards that are even the tiniest bit contrary to the heart of scripture. And scripture encourages kissing! The Apostle Paul encourages us to greet each other with a holy kiss. He doesn’t leave us a user manual, so what kind of kiss is this that he practically commands? To be sure, this isn’t your searching-the-cavern-kind-of-kiss. It’s not even a tempting-kiss. It’s an innocent peck of greeting like you might get from your uncle or your dad. We don’t kiss much in American evangelical circles. I think that’s because we’ve reduced the kiss to an overtly sensual transaction in our culture and we’ve lost something. We’ve lost the sign of attachment that is meant by a sweet kiss. Every now and then I meet an older man or woman who has walked with God for so long that their lives exude love. They greet me with hugs and kisses no matter how well I know them. It feels like what I think Paul was talking about—a greeting by a family member. A deep love and affirmation that says “you belong.” I think that there’s a loss in defining all kisses as sensual. Let’s avoid that but telling our kids to avoid jumping on legalistic trends and adopting hyper-sexual dogma.

A healthy message of modesty and purity can allow—and in fact, encourage—appropriate tender kisses. After all, FIVE TIMES in the New Testament Christians are told to “greet each other with a holy kiss.”

Tell them what kind of kissing you think is OK and at what age. I have been silly and specific with my kids. That’s why I have this ridiculous quiz in my back pocket. Maybe you’ll love it. (And maybe you’ll write me hate mail.) Ask your teen or college-aged student, “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-A sweet kiss on the cheek. It’s fast and gentle. No lingering.

Planting Kiss-This one goes lip to lip, baby. It’s firm, but fast. No lingering.

Teaser Kiss-Start with a kiss on the forehead or neck. Linger slowly in each spot as you kiss your way to each other’s mouths.

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

Ask your kids what they think is OK. Then talk with them to see how it lines up with God’s word and your family standards. Where ever this conversation takes you, I hope you know there’s always a little room for some Mistletoe this time of year!

For more from Dannah Gresh for your teen daughter including Bible studies on purity, modesty, and true love, visit dannahgresh.com.

Dannah’s transparent and deep biblical teaching encourages women of all ages. For her teaching schedule click here.


You and your TWEEN (aged 8-12 year old) daughter are invited to The World’s Largest Valentween’s Day Party! (See what we did there?) We’ll open up God’s Word to go back to the Garden of Eden together in an experiential Bible study on the topic of finding true love. Your daughter will  never look at boy craziness the same way again.  Nor will you.

To register, click here.


Dannah Gresh’s Secret Keeper Girl Tour is a faith-based mother-daughter connecting experience. This 2 1/2 hour event features two fun fashion shows that demonstrate modesty and true beauty, deep Bible teaching, live worship, and stories that help girls aged 7-12 embrace true beauty and modesty. Incredible balloon sculptures, bouncing beach ball competitions, mother/daughter conversation time & colorful confetti cannons make the night unforgettable. Click the video below for a sneak peak.


Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh is the best-selling author, speaker , and creator of Secret Keeper Girl, America’s most popular tween stage show for moms and daughters. Dannah has authored 27 books, including And the Bride Wore White, and Lies Young Women Believe (with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth) and is considered one of the leading experts on the subjects of sexual purity, modesty, and true beauty. More than 350,000 people have attended her live events. She has been a guest on CNN, Fox News, and the 700 Club and is a frequent guest on Focus on the Family and Family Life. Her TEDTalk on tolerance for virginity offers thought-provoking look at why sexuality is enhanced by self-control. She lives in State College, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bob on a hobby farm with a menagerie of animals. The couple has four young adult children.

Joanna - February 7, 2017

Great insights. With the list of kiss types…I would encourage my teen to think about intent (as in the internet kiss for example) and environment. I tell my children to never be alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not their husband/wife or dad/mom/brother/sister. This advice applies even once they are married. Keeps them out of a whole lot of trouble. Even a light kiss goodnight could turn into an invitation or temptation for more when you are alone in a car (or wherever.) The same kiss on the doorstep with your best friend within a few feet is a lot less likely to turn into anything other than a tender good night. The other piece of advice…”Above all else guard your heart.” Just something to think about. Thanks for this great article!

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