Well, I certainly enjoyed writing that title. Wait a sec while I get even more caffeine.
By the way, this is going to be one of Auntie's franker mornings. You can warn your own teenage or generally more sensitive readers. Boys should probably avert their eyes, especially if they go to Mass with me, not that they EVER read this girly blog.
Snogging, first of all, is what the British call what the teenaged I called "making out" and what my American grandmother (born 1904) called "necking." It features in Archie Comics and films about the 1950s, and therefore the teenaged I thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with unmarried people snogging like mad in corners at parties or dances or in front of the television.
Of course, me and my fellow snoggers used to worry a lot about where we should draw the line and what was okay and what was not. Dear me. How we studied the chastity manuals for an answer. There was no point telling us that chastity was a point of view because we weren't interested in the point of view, we were interested in where the invisible line had been drawn, so we could stay on the right side of it and not have to make egregiously embarrassing confessions.
But nowhere did the chastity manuals of the 1980s point out that snogging is what human beings do to begin the gradually accelerating process of [hem-hem]*. I got an email the other day from a perfectly nice girl who snogs her perfectly nice boyfriend a bit every weekend, and they have discovered that their sexual temptations are getting worse. And of course they are. It's the snogging. Snogging goes straight to that part of the brain that doesn't read Theology of the Body or even think that much, to be honest. It just registers snog and says, "Yay! Human reproduction time! Let's get cracking!"
However, it is so easy to justify snogging when you're Single, that it is often not until you are engaged or married that you face up to just how potent snogging is. Because even though snogging a non-fiance or non-spouse did not seem to be such a big deal, morally speaking, it certainly seems to be a big deal morally speaking now. And why is this, eh? It is because there is nothing like having a lot to lose to sharpen up your moral vision. Oh, and love sharpens it up a lot, too.
One interesting thing about snogging is that you don't have to be in love with the person to do it. You don't even have to like him. You just have to be attracted to him. And I suppose one of the higher impulses that prevents women from just snogging just every man we find attractive is the notion that it is not kind to exploit men in this way. So, ironically, what prevents a lot of snogging is fraternal--or should I say sororal?--love.
This is (or should be) particularly true of believing Christians, especially those of us who have what has become a counter-cultural code of sexual ethics. Love, real love, is desiring the good of the other. And the ultimate good of the other is, of course, God. So when we make moral choices, we don't just think "Will this bring me closer to or further away from God?", we also think "Will this choice of mine bring my neighbour closer to or further away from God?"
I find this interesting in light of the locker room philosophies of my all-girls high school. I remember a variety, from the declaration that So-and-so had acted like a putana by giving Such-and-such "the kind of kiss you only give your husband" to the arch-liberal "it's okay to do 'It' as long as you really love the person."
But even then I mentally countered that if you loved the person, you wouldn't do 'It' if you loved them--unless you were married to them--because if you really loved them, you cared for their immortal soul more than anything else, including the promptings of your reptile brain.
And now, although I am more in favour of the other-centered, wholistic, philosophical, what-does-it-mean-to-be-chaste approach to sexual ethics, I will draw the "how-far-can-you-go" line. I think Single girls should take as their cue of how affectionate to be with non-husbands from the attractive and sociable married women of their culture. In artsy circles in Edinburgh it's light arm clasp and cheek kiss (or cheek kiss, cheek kiss if you've been influenced by Europeans/French Canadians). And that, mes amies, is it. Why? It's because we are married, and we know we can't afford to play with fire. Can you?
*Sorry, but otherwise people doing creepy word searches will turn up. You'd be amazed at what word combinations call up my blog.