This week I was going to feature some words on the joys of petting, but I have had a sudden change of heart. My selection comes from a chapter entitled “Dangers of Petting” found in a book called Secrets of Love and Marriage.
1939: Practical Aspects of Chastity
[T]here is another matter to consider, since we are frankly and openly dealing with the practical reasons why the moral way is the best way ~ and that is simply this ~ the physical part of marriage is an art that cannot be practiced in haste, in furtive meetings, and in an atmosphere of worry, dread, and fear.
No, the art of love requires freedom from those very things which I have mentioned. Love cannot bloom and expand in an air of secret fear, but instead requires a sense of confidence, of mutual admiration and respect, and complete privacy.
How can young unmarried lovers hope to learn the rich, full flavored values of love and the delights of the senses in such adverse conditions? Their ideas of sex would be distorted, ugly, and wholly unsatisfactory, from a spiritual point of view. The feeling that they are committing sin makes the later legalized marriage relation seem like sin. Truly, the tasting of forbidden fruit by reckless lovers carried away by dangerous petting is bound to exact its tragic penalties.
The girl gambles a momentary thrill against a life-time of happiness and health. Such a gamble isn’t worth it.
In a practical age, young women demand practical answers, and I have given them straight from the shoulder in this chapter.
I have not touched upon the moral reasons why young women should be on guard against lowering the sex barriers before marriage, because those reasons can be more eloquently advanced by others.
When a man marries he wants a woman who is morally clean and strong. He wants a woman whom he can trust. Life, as young men know, is not all petting, and the girl whom he chooses as a life companion must be able to offer more than petting. She must be a girl with whom he can work and plan and build.
If a girl is “easy,” he may take what she offers and then forget her. It is particularly dangerous for a girl to start petting with a man the first few times she goes out with him. She should make sure that he is clean, honest, and worth while. She makes herself cheap by offering easily won kisses. And no man wants a bargain counter wife who has been soiled and manhandled.
Marriage requires a strong spiritual balance to succeed. If it is merely physical it is doomed to failure. That means the young man and woman should possess a deep sense of the spiritual quality of sex, obtaining from their married relations an exaltation of the soul as well as ecstasy of the flesh.
The dangers of petting are very real, and very serious. A girl does well to think twice before she encourages the sort of petting that may lead to disastrous results.
Source: Hendry, James Parker and E. Podolsky, ed. Secrets of Love and Marriage. New York: Herald Publishing Company, 1939.
~ pp. 99-100 ~