What IS okay outside of marriage?

So I’m 21, new to religion, and in no way a virgin. I have a boyfriend who is NOT religious and he’s fine with waiting until we’re married to have sex again but he told as long as we don’t have vaginal sex I’ll be fine in God’s eyes. I have a lot of new friends in the church and a lot of them sleep with their boyfriends but most of them stick to oral/anal sex or hand jobs. There are also some that think even making out or 'heavy petting" is a sin so I’m a little stuck on what is/isn’t ok.

What do you think is considered a sin in God’s eyes?
What sexual activities did you engage in before marriage?
Do you feel bad about any of it?

What are your views on drinking or smoking cannabis? (In God’s eyes, not in your personal life…)

Thanks in Advance!

Your New Sister In Christ,

Regarding cannabis, in strictly moral terms, it’s down to prudential good judgement - i.e. asking yourself what is good for you and what isn’t, how much or how little of something is a good idea, etc.

Clearly in some areas of the world cannabis is no longer (or may never have been) illegal, whereas other areas criminalise it, sometimes substantially. You should, of course, observe the laws of wherever you live, but from a pure moral point of view, I’d say that cannabis has little to distinguish it from alcohol: both can cause you harm in excess.

There is an additional point though: cannabis affects your judgement (like alcohol does) therefore, if you you are in a situation where the outcome of your impaired judgement as a result of cannabis (or alcohol) use could be the commission of something sinful, then to expose yourself to it would be what we call a ‘near occasion of sin’ - i.e. deliberately putting yourself in temptation’s way knowing your capacity to resist the temptation would be reduced. In that case you’d be better to avoid it.

From the Catechism:

“2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.”

So, in practical terms, whenever you do something with the express intention of enjoying sexual pleasure (outside the proper context, which is marriage), you are committing the sin of lust, at the very least. Lust is grave matter. This means that all of the actions you listed would be seriously wrong, and are offenses against chastity. Only non-sexual displays of affection are permitted, and while we debate about where the line is, all the activities you listed are definitely on the wrong side of the line.

In addition, you will notice from the quote that the purpose of sex is both procreative and unitive- so even inside of marriage, it’s not OK to use oral or manual stimulation without using it as foreplay for vaginal sex. The act must finish in a way that is open to life.

I will decline to answer your second question in any detail, although I will say that I wish I had been more chaste. I am not married (I’m a minor).

Other than that, I would say DexUK’s explanation of cannabis is solid, especially the bolded. We must follow just laws, meaning it would be a sin to smoke it illegally. Other than that, use good judgement.

I recommend you read the rest of the Catechism section regarding chastity: vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P85.HTM

Hopefully other users here will be able to answer any additional questions you may have. :slight_smile:

The short answer is that anything in the nature of sexual foreplay is intended to end in marital sex, and thus is intended for marriage. It’s use outside of marriage is a serious sin. This includes all forms of direct genital stimulation as well as ‘heavy petting.’

As to cannabis, I’ll let others answer. It would seem to be in the category of drugs which can impair your functioning.

One question you could ask yourself is “what would I be comfortable with my future spouse doing with another person?”

When you consider it from this perspective, you can perhaps see that it ought to be very little physical intimacy indeed before marriage.

I would encourage you to read what the Church has to say about sex, perhaps starting with this section of the catechism:


It is most important to note that the Church is not anti-sex. Rather, the Church celebrates sex within its proper context. Sex is a gift from God to married couples, and finds its purpose within marriage only. Sex outside of marriage (including forms of sex other than strictly intercourse) is a missuse of this gift and will always fail to allow sex to be what it is meant to be.

Welcome :wave:

Anyway, as to your question. Your boyfriend may have been misinformed when he said as long as you didn’t have vaginal sex, it would be okay. We Catholics believe we are to abstain from heavy petting, masturbation, and such when we are dating. We consider ourselves temples of the Holy Spirit who are to be both modest and pure. We believe we were made in the image and likeness of God! For that reason, we adhere to some very high standards, but they have many advantages in practical ways, as well.

As to drinking and marijuana, see below. We use the Catechism of the Catholic Church often on matters of faith, because otherwise…one person will say…I think masturbation’s okay. Another will say, “I don’t”. So, if in doubt, open up a copy or go online and do a search. I already did it for you this time, so here it is, below:

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to** avoid every kind of excess**: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

What a good idea you had to come to the forum with questions on faith. I wish I would have thought to do something like that when I have had questions. Ask any time! Good luck, and God bless! :slight_smile:

No sexual activity at all is permitted outside marriage.

Rule of thumb - don’t do anything you would not do in front of your parents!!

100% correct and supurb advice.
As for cannabis, don’t fall prey to those who advise moral ambiguity about. In Catholicism, anything that you ingest that intoxicates you or alters your senses is sinful.
The argument that it is not as bad as alcohol is nonsense. One is able to ingest alcohol without intoxication or altering ones senses. It is entirely possible to ingest it for its flavor alone, as do millions of people who have wine with their meals every day.
On the other hand, it is not possible to smoke cannabis or otherwise ingest it without becoming intoxicated.

Sexual activity of any kind is to wait until marriage. Any thing that can result in sexual pleasure outside of marriage is viewed as sinful. Besides you are leaning in a direction that could result in “giving into temptation.”

I suppose that God would view it somewhat like alcohol use. It seems advised against since we are admonished to avoid “strong drink.” (Can’t remember the scripture.) Also, unless cannabis is used medically I would see no reason to use it. Like smoking you risk the chance of lung cancer, and it is shown to cause mental health decline. We are to treat our bodies as the temple of God. So, we should go out of our way to avoid things like this to the best of our ability. I am not opposed to medical use of the drug.

I think you should read the catechism if you want to know the answers. Too many young people are either poorly catechized or for some reason don’t think the rules regarding chastity apply to them. No sex outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage. Dating is a period of discernment. You’ll have plenty of time for this after you’re married (Christian marriage is for life!)

Sexual acts were designed to bond husband and wife… they cloud judgment (chemical and emotional bonds) and make people overlook red flags. Not a good idea during discernment period (dating and engagement).

I am “liberal” and my past is not the cleanest one, but I will answer your question anyway. Sex is sex and if you try to convince yourself by thinking it is OK what you do because your friends from The Church do it is not a very good excuse. What they do is not your business, but you don’t have to follow them, so try to explain to your BF that he have a wrong picture about what is right, what is wrong. And cannabis, absolutely no!!! Cannabis is a drug that people think they “can handle” but alas, very often lead you to heavier stuff and I don’t think you want that? But, all in all, talk to your BF and confess what you have done. And even if “good” girls go to Heaven and “bad” girls go anywhere I think you rather want to be a “good” girl. God bless you.

Like others have said Sasha. You should read and come to understand the catechism. But the best advice I ever recieve was that a kiss goodnight was OK.

Alcohol, and cannibis? Moderation if at all.


I have found that rule of thumb to be of limited use. Different parents are permissive of different levels of intimacy just as different individuals have different opinions on what level of intimacy is appropriate for a public audience. For instance some couples would have no problem with a fully blown make-out session right in front of their parents whereas others would refrain from even giving each other a peck on the lips or holding hands.

Whether or not this is correct depends on what you mean by “sexual pleasure” It is not intrinsically wrong for couples to engage in behavior that may result in their sexual arousal. What is always wrong and immoral is anything that involves direct sexual stimulation (so heavy-petting, b or h job etc). However it is also important that couples not engage in activities in order to achieve arousal or, if arousal occurs unintentionally they should not dwell on it or focus on it. They should not engage in anything that seriously tempts them or their partner to sin via any of the above-mentioned methods.

However, all of this is merely listing things by “do-nots” its not getting to the heart of the matter, and so is unlikely to convince the OP.

OP, I suggest you read up on what the Church believes about sexuality by reading Theology of the Body or Love and Responsibility, both by Blessed John Paul II, and that you take your time to do so, reading with an open heart and taking plenty of time to digest what is said and to spend time in prayer about this. Don’t just post one thread on a Catholic forum and then become discouraged by the replies you find, look into this more deeply, even if you never come to agree with it, you can come to recognize the beauty of the Church’s teaching with time by studying it with an open heart. God Bless and good luck on your journey. :thumbsup:

I wasn’t talking about your experience. I was just giving a general rule which makes sense.
If there are couples who don’t care about what they do in front of their parents and parents who allow it then they have a real problem. I would think they would be in a very small minority. That does negate my rule of thumb.

The limited use goes both ways. You don’t want to make people scrupulous about perfectly legitimate and good forms of affection. But, yes, some people find this rule of thumb helpful and it leads them to a correct understanding of the morality of various acts. The problem I have with giving it out to random people on the internet as though it should be their guide is that you don’t have any idea of whether you will be misleading them or not, which is why I brought up its limitations. Yes, it has uses, but they are limited. :shrug:

I don’t see how that is limited or misleading. The meaning is totally clear. No sexual activity of any kind/no touching of private parts outside marriage or anything that clearly would lead to sin if done in private.

I think “no sexual activity of any kind/touching of private parts outside of marriage” is a better way to say it for this OP. :slight_smile:

We don’t know what her parents would be OK with (I hope they wouldn’t be OK with watching the activities she listed, but you never know). And, on the other hand, you could give it out to someone who isn’t even comfortable talking to her parents, and she might conclude that any physicality at all is sinful.

The Bible condemns mind altering drugs as sorcery, in Galatians. Even if it was legal, smoking pot would still be sinful, because it opens people’s minds up to the demonic spirit world.

Any kind of sexual activity before marriage is sinful.

Stick to kisses and hugs avoid gray areas

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