"Beautiful," "silly" and "amazing" are the adjectives New York City residents Daniel and Christina Jean use to describe the first time they ever had sex, which was on their wedding night in the summer of 2019.
The non-denominational Christian couple waited close to five years to have sex for the first time because they believed their romantic relationship and bodies belonged to Jesus. They wanted to surrender both to the Lord.
The Jeans, who are now 24 and 30 years old, recall during their season of celibacy achieving intimacy by kissing each other. They said that at the time, with every kiss they gave, the gestures would provide them with a glimpse into what exploring sexuality with one another might be like on their wedding night.
“I don’t think that kissing before marriage is sinful, and I don’t believe that kissing is always a sexual act because sometimes it can happen in a very pure way,” Christina Jean said. “Now that I’m married, Daniel and I kiss each other all the time, and most of the time, it’s not in a sexual way.”
With International Kissing Day falling this week on the National Today calendar, three Christian couples who either chose to remain abstinent from sex until marriage or are abstaining from sex until they get married say the act of kissing their partners is a blessing from God while waiting for their wedding days to arrive.
The married couples recall when kissing was their only form of physical intimacy with their partners and helped calm and satisfy their inner desires to experience deep physical connection with their significant others.
International Kissing Day is described as “a celebration of the simple, but powerful gesture of a kiss — from French kissing and a formal kiss on the cheek, to a kiss hello and a kiss goodbye.”
“I don’t think that kissing is inherently sexual. But it depends on the type of kissing. And I think that sex is something really powerful and special, and it does bond you to a person,” Daniel Jean told CP. “I’m happy that my wife and I have been each other’s only sexual partners. ... It was well worth the wait. ... Not everything went smoothly the first time we had sex or even the first few times. But there was such joy in figuring it all out together.”
The duo said waiting to have sex on their wedding day helped bring them closer to God.
“I personally felt like our love for each other was truly pure and that there weren’t any hindrances between us and God because we waited,” Christina Jean said. “It made me feel even more like God blessed our relationship and that we were pleasing Him, which is what we’ve always wanted to do with our relationship.”
Daniel Jean added that: “waiting took a lot of prayer, and conversations about our relationship and our boundaries.”
“Ultimately, I feel like it strengthened both of our faiths,” he concluded.
Similarly, New Yorkers Steven and Amy Lee, both in their early 30s, said kissing helped form a bond between them when sex was not an option for them before marriage.
“I think kissing is simply an act of endearment that we’ve perverted over the years. But for me and my wife, when we were waiting, we viewed kissing in the same way we viewed hand-holding,” Steven Lee said.
“I don’t think kissing is a sin, and some cultures kiss when they greet. But I just think it depends on what the individual finds comfortable to do in his or her relationship,” Amy Lee added.
The two met at their house of worship, Edge City Church in Mineola, New York, in 2015.
At the time, Steven Lee worked as a ministry and small group leader for the church, and Amy was a bi-vocational ministry leader. They dated and were abstinent from sex for two years before they married on Sept. 20, 2017.
“While sex is definitely a gift from God, we did not want to set it as the foundation for our relationship,” Steven Lee explained. “Sex too early would hinder our relational and emotional growth with one another.”
Amy Lee shared that she knew what it was like to engage in deep physical contact with her previous boyfriends.
“[I]t was harder for me to let go since it was like giving a part of myself away,” she said. “I then understood why pastors or disciplers would say to save sex for marriage with the person God has meant you to be with. I’m glad I waited with Steven.”
Although Christian, 21-year-olds Benjamin Leung and Idalia Borzone are not married yet, they are waiting until marriage to have sex. From the moment they started dating 17 months ago, they said they promised each other and God to refrain from sex until after their wedding day. The two continue to keep their covenant.
Borzone, a Pentecostal living in Rockville Centre, New York, said she grew up attending Full Gospel Church of Island Park. However, she said she began attending church with her boyfriend at Edge City Church’s Lynbrook location on Long Island when they started dating.
“We want to wait because we both believe that sex is something very sacred and very intimate. ... It is two people physically becoming one,” Borzone said.
“God teaches us that sex was designed as something to be enjoyed within marriage,” said Leung, a Bellerose, New York, resident. “It also makes sense for us to wait because it allows us to focus on other aspects of our relationship, which in turn has made it stronger.”
The two said that despite waiting for over 365 days, at times, they struggle with temptation.
“There are times where it can be difficult because we both value physical touch and love each other very much. But, we keep our goals and values in our mind. And that helps us avoid crossing any boundaries we have for ourselves,” Leung said.
“There are moments where it is hard because we love each other so much, and we would like to express it that way, but we want to honor each other and our promise and beliefs,” Borzone added.
The couple relies on friends to hold them accountable, and they spend most of their time surrounded by loved ones to keep from making sexual choices when alone together.
“The most difficult part is making sure that we don’t put ourselves in situations that can lead us down a slippery slope because you might not have the intention of going far, but it is easy to get carried away,” Leung admitted.
Borzone said that waiting has allowed the couple to view the relationships through a clear lens, not in a “sexual way.”
“Through this, I am able to love my boyfriend for who he is as a person rather than how he is sexually,” Borzone concluded.
Some pseudonyms were used to express names in this article for identity protection purposes.