Is fondling wrong if it doesn’t lead to other sexual acts?

Last updated on August 20, 2020


I have a question. I read the article, but it left me even more confused. I understand that it says that fondling is wrong because it could lead to further stages of sexual acts, but I was just wondering if it is wrong to do it if it stops there? I did fondle my girlfriend once or twice, and it just stopped there. Afterward, there was no masturbation, any intercourse, or any further sexual acts involved; it just ended there. When I stopped, I was not thinking about any lustful desires. It was just something that just happened. I was just wondering if, under these circumstances, it is still wrong?

Please reply as soon as possible because it is something that I have been thinking about for a long time.


Before getting into answering your question, let me give a small disclaimer. You speak of fondling your girlfriend, but I’ve learned over the years that people use widely differing definitions for sexual acts. I am going to assume that you mean you put your hands on your girlfriend’s breasts and private areas but both of you remained clothed and you did not put your hands under her clothes.

While reading your note, I wonder if you are being fully honest with yourself. You state that while you were fondling your girlfriend you did not think about any lustful desires. Yet, you have been thinking about what you did for a long time. The two ideas don’t go together. Something about what happened must have bothered you enough to keep it on your mind and to write to a preacher to ask whether you did something wrong.

You also attempt to minimize what you did by saying it was only something that just happened, as if you had tripped and accidentally put your hands on her private areas. Yet fondling isn’t a brief, accidental touch. I might grant that because of the passion of the moment you fondled your girlfriend, but that you had not started out with that intention. By calling it “something that happened” it tells me that you did feel sexually aroused, even though it didn’t go so far as to cause your body to start preparing for sex, but you don’t want to face that fact. If there wasn’t some sexual pleasure in the action, it leaves me wondering why you did something that you claim had no impact on you but you did it multiple times and kept thinking and worrying about.

Would you grant me that all touches are not alike? Some touches have a sexual connotation. It is those touches that Paul warns about: “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1). Paul doesn’t have casual touching, such as holding hands in mind because the next verse he advises, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (I Corinthians 7:2). Sexual touching only belongs between a husband and wife because such touching typically leads to sexual intercourse and that only belongs in marriage.

This isn’t the only place where sexual touching is mentioned and condemned. Solomon warned against adultery and stated: “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 6:27-29). Solomon’s warning is that a man cannot claim innocence when he touches another man’s wife because when you start something, it naturally leads consequences just as holding a lump of hot coal against your chest is going to burn your clothing.

Look at it this way: Imagine that it is ten years from now and you are married to this girl. You walk in to your home one day and see a man touching her as you have done, would you have just cause to be upset? Would you accept the man’s explanation that he wasn’t thinking any lustful thoughts so no sin had taken place? If you reject these actions because she is married, why do you want to excuse them when they are done between two unmarried people?

Certain areas of your body and her body stimulate a sexual response. God designed it this way for the pleasure of husbands and wives within marriage. “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love” (Proverbs 5:18-19).

Even if you put your hands on her private areas just to be doing and you did not get aroused from doing it, can you say that it had no impact on her? Are you certain that you did not arouse sexual desire in her? Is it proper to cause lust in another person?

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).


Yeah, I guess you’re right. I was thinking the same thing. If I’m thinking about it this much then maybe it is wrong.

Thank you so much for your advice. I really needed to hear this because I never found anyone who gave me a straight answer, so I couldn’t push myself to stop.