When does it become fornication?

Last updated on October 9, 2020


I am 21 years old and I have a problem.  First and foremost, I come from a family where it’s kind of hard to talk to my parents about my social life. In my culture, most parents aren’t interested in talking about real-life issues with their children. A parent will only show interest in a child’s social life when he is 28 or 30 years old. This I have seen in my family and in other families. 

Having said a bit about my background, let me now go to the main issue that has been eating at my heart for a while. I don’t know whether it is wrong or not.  I have a girlfriend who is close to my age. In our relationship we strive to do what’s right and whenever correction comes to our aid, we accept it.  Now, sir, these are the things we do: we kiss and touch each other. After I said that, a word just came to my mind: “fornication.” This has troubled me a lot. Hence, do the things we do fall within the confines of fornication? How best would you advise us?

To be honest, I love my girlfriend and for that, I have promised to respect her in any way that would lift the name of the Lord.  How best can you help us?


I hope you don’t mind, but I need to be blunt to answer your question. Fornication is when a person has sex with someone to whom he is not married. Specifically, fornication would mean that you have put your penis into your girlfriend. It would include putting your penis in her vagina (vaginal intercourse), her bottom (anal sex), or her mouth (oral sex). It would also include mutual masturbation where she plays with your genitals until you ejaculate or if you played with her genitals to sexually stimulate her.

Let’s talk a minute about the touching. “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman” (I Corinthians 7:1). By “touching,” Paul is referring to sexual touching; that is, touches designed to stir up sexual desire in the other person. As a Christian, you should not be touching your girlfriend’s breasts or genitals. She should not be touching your genitals. These things stir up a passion for sex, which you cannot engage in until you are married. While sexual touching is not fornication, it will typically lead to fornication.

There is another sin that people often overlook, which is lewdness or sensuality. “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14). Sensuality is when a couple gets involved in passionate kissing, taking off of clothing, and full-body touching. Even though the penis does not yet enter the woman, the desire to do so is strongly there, and very little would stop it from progressing to fornication.

Along with each of these sins, there is the problem of lust. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Lust is when you spend time imagining having sex with your girlfriend and making excuses about why it would not be such a bad thing to do. Even when nothing is done, a person engaged in lust has already convinced himself that sin would be acceptable, and sin is always wrong.


Thank you, sir. Your words have been a help to me. Pray for me, as I pray for myself, to live a life acceptable before the Lord. Remember me in your prayers. Because of your words, I will pray to God to help us live in His ways.

Thank you.