The Bible celebrates sex and touching breasts within the context of marriage. Outside of marriage, the Bible says touching breasts could lead down a slippery slope toward sex.
In this article we’ll look at what the Bible has to say about sex inside and outside of marriage, and we’ll look at some other considerations when it comes to heavy petting.
When someone asks what the Bible says about touching breasts, the question most are really asking is this: “How far is too far before sex?” They’re also likely considering oral sex or anal sex.
Let’s dive in.
The Bible Celebrates Sex and Intimacy
Our culture is absolutely inundated with sex. It fascinates us. It’s everywhere.
Why are we fascinated by it? Because God created sex as an incredible gift. It’s a powerful form of intimacy. But our world has taken a good thing and abused it.
The Bible is crystal clear that sex is good. It is the most intimate one person can possibly be with another. It’s beautiful, and we were created for it.
“From the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female’” (Genesis 1:27, Mark 10:6-8 ESV)
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Mark 10:6-8, Genesis 2:24)
Listen to this prose from Song of Solomon 7:
How beautiful and pleasant you are, O loved one, with all your delights! Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, and the scent of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. It goes down smoothly for my beloved, gliding over lips and teeth. I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. (Song of Solomon 7:6-13)
Sex is good. Kissing is good. Touching breasts and heavy petting are good when done in an honoring way.
But when sin entered the world, man’s desire was to abuse the gift of sex by enjoying it outside the confines God intended it.
Written By: Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
If you're a guy struggling with or have questions about anything related to sex or your sexuality – this is the book for you. Full of good theology on sex coupled with practical advice – it's a great resource for any man.
Mentions of Touching Breasts and Heavy Petting in the Bible
There are only a few explicit mentions of touching breasts in the Bible. We already mentioned Song of Solomon 7, a very intimate chapter of the scriptures.
Another mention comes from Proverbs 5:
“May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the breasts of a prostitute?”
Breasts often refer to sexual and romantic intimacy in the Bible, and this is a great example. “Embracing the breasts” of a woman likely means much more than simply petting. The reference is to sexual intimacy.
But that doesn’t mean that touching breasts outside of marriage is okay. Let’s get to the question you’re likely really asking.
How Far is Too Far Outside of Marriage?
“Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Jesus makes it clear that sex is about far more than the act itself. Looking at a woman and thinking through some fantasy where you get into bed with her or take off her clothes is not supposed to happen. Jesus equates thinking about sex with sex – in regard to the heart.
You are supposed to gouge out your eye rather than let that happen because that is meant for marriage.
Sexual touching is designed by God and experienced by most healthy people as prelude to sex. That is what it is for. It is extremely frustrating to start touching sexually and have to break it off as the passions become strong. Those touchings and that passion is meant to take you all the way. God designed it that way. It is called foreplay for a reason.
So we believe the Bible is pretty clear that touching breasts should be reserved for marriage for two primary reasons:
- Jesus says that even thinking about sex with anyone other than your spouse is sinful.
- Touching breasts and heavy petting leads to sex – something we can all agree on is most certainly reserved for marriage in the Bible.
While on this topic, if you’re living with your partner without being married, rest assured you will likely wind up going too far. Be wise.
What the Bible Says About Touching Breasts
The Bible ordains sex only in the context of marriage. Touching breasts and heavy petting can be a beautiful thing between a bride and groom. But only there is it a good and righteous thing.
If you aren’t yet married (and especially if you’re dating), here are some parting thoughts when it comes to sexual temptation prior to marriage:
1. Wait in faith.
A lot of the Christian faith is about waiting. We wait for Christ’s return. Unmarried believers await the blessings and promises of marriage. Faith in God’s Word will help you say “no” sin’s promises. Keep waiting for God’s Word to renew your mind and continue to wait in faith.
2. Guys, you gotta lead.
Both partners are responsible before God. However, it is the man who must set the tone for purity. Too often, women are made to draw lines and say “no” when they don’t want to. This is cowardice and wrong. The man has the responsibility of leading his future wife away from sin, darkness and the pain and evil. If he does not set the right example, he will be digging for years and may never recover the ground he lost without God’s grace. Women, help them out. Wear modest clothing and don’t seduce.
3. Involve others in every step of the process.
Your relationship should be examined by godly Christians. You should both have a godly couple, or group of faithful friends, who will hold you responsible. Ask tough questions and provide honest answers. Don’t be afraid to talk about the nitty gritty – including wet dreams. Lean into community, and definitely seek out a local church if you aren’t already involved in one.
4. Lean into the Gospel.
John, the apostle, wrote: “My dear children. I write this to make sure you don’t sin.” If anyone does sin, there is one who can speak to the Father for us–Jesus Christ the Righteous One ( 2:1-2 ). Run to the cross if you are guilty of sin. Run to the empty tomb. Turn to your Advocate and confess your sins. This kind of posture is blessed by God (Prov. 28:13). You don’t have to commit sexual sin in your marriage, engagement, or courting relationship.
God is a merciful God and delights in restoring sin’s destruction ( Joel 2:15-27). However, he will not bless continued disobedience or presumption upon his grace. Today is the time to ask for mercy and to turn to Christ in faith if you have committed sexual sin – even if it was just “touching breasts.”
We ask for mercy from God to seek purity for His glory and our benefit.