I Kissed Dating Goodbye

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I Kissed Dating Goodbye
I Kissed Dating Goodbye.jpg
Author Joshua Harris
Country United States
Language English
Subject Relationships
Genre Christian
Publisher Multnomah Books
Publication date
January 1, 1997
April 2, 2003
Pages 238 pages
ISBN 1-59052-135-8

I Kissed Dating Goodbye is a 1997 book by Joshua Harris. The book focuses on Harris' disenchantment with the contemporary secular dating scene, and offers ideas for improvement, alternative dating/courting practices, and a view that singleness need not be a burden nor characterized by what Harris describes as "selfishness".


Harris popularized the concept of "courting" as an alternative to regular secular dating, and in doing so has caused discussion regarding the appropriateness of his solutions to regular dating as well as the foundations on which he bases his reasoning.

In general, Harris believes that dating has become too inwardly focused. He feels that people date to find "their" mate according to their own principles, rules, and desires. In doing so, he argues, people put up a façade in an attempt to appear to be what the other person wants, and this hampers the "getting to know you" part of dating. He feels that it is more appropriate and more healthy in the long run to participate in "group dates" in order to truly understand the way a particular person interacts with others, since in a group setting in which some people know the person that person is less likely to be able to maintain a façade for the duration of the date. Harris proposes a system of courtship that involves the parents of both parties to a greater degree than conventional dating schemes. In an interview with Family Christian Stores, Joshua Harris indicated that "people have taken the message of 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye' and made it something legalistic -- a set of rules. That's something that's beyond my control and it's disappointing at times... ."[1]

On November 20, 2005 Harris gave a message to the church at which he is Senior Pastor, "Courtship, Schmourtship: What Really Matters in Relationships". In this message Harris acknowledged problems with how the singles related in his church. Harris indicated that there was a "lack of freeness between men and women in cultivating friendships". He also used the words "standoffish" and "tightness". In the message, Harris also indicated that it was "OK" for single men and women to go out for coffee by themselves, apparently correcting misconceptions some singles had in his church.[citation needed]


The book has been cited as an example of belief in 'benevolent sexism' and 'women as property'[2] and 'rape supportive messaging' [3], and of a 'sexual purity teachings' that emphasize a 'hierarchical father-daughter relationship' that reduces the agency of adolescent girls.[4] Other commentators have pointed to the book as an example of messaging addressed to conservative Christians that would make them less likely to engage in online dating [5] Yet others have suggested that the book promoted 'condemnation and shame' amongst young women in the True Love Waits movement. [6] The book has been characterised as portraying ideal young Christian women as 'sexually passive, emotional and patient'[7] and as discouraging young Christian men from forming relationships with women [8] Christian psychologists Henry Cloud and John Townsend suggest that avoiding dating in order to avoid suffering, as Harris advises, causes those who do so to forgo opportunities to mature, especially through learning how to create healthy boundaries.[9]

Partial retraction and apology by author[edit]

In 2016 Harris appeared to be reconsidering the claims that he had made in the book and apologized to several who publicly communicated how the book had influenced them to stay single had been used by adults to impose stringent rules on them.[10] In 2016 Harris began soliciting public narratives from people affected by his book,[11] but some critics reject the requirements that Harris imposes on the narratives.[12]


  1. ^ "Josh & Shannon Harris with Rebecca St. James Dating And Waiting". Retrieved December 23, 2007. 
  2. ^ Moon, Sarah, and Jo Reger. "“YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN:” RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, AND CONSENT IN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN DATING BOOKS." Journal of Integrated Social Sciences 4, no. 1 (2014): 55-74.
  3. ^ Klement, Kathryn R., and Brad J. Sagarin. "Nobody Wants to Date a Whore: Rape-Supportive Messages in Women-Directed Christian Dating Books." Sexuality & Culture 21, no. 1 (2017): 205-223.
  4. ^ Gish, Elizabeth. "Producing High Priests and Princesses: The Father-Daughter Relationship in the Christian Sexual Purity Movement." Religions 7, no. 3 (2016): 33.
  5. ^ Gurrentz, Benjamin Thomas. "The Effect of Religious Salience on Attempting Online Dating." (2013).
  6. ^ Sellers, Tina Schermer. "Beloved Sex." Sex, Gender, and Christianity (2012): 218.
  7. ^ Freitas, Donna. Sex and the Soul, Updated Edition: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses. Oxford University Press, 2015. 302
  8. ^ Kiesling, A. J. Where Have All the Good Men Gone?. Harvest House Publishers, 2008. 54,185
  9. ^ Cloud, Henry, and John Sims Townsend. Boundaries in Dating: Making Dating Work. Zondervan, 2000. 12-21
  10. ^ "Hullo Goodbye". Retrieved August 4, 2017. 
  11. ^ https://joshharris.com/feedback-list/
  12. ^ "Our Mission - Life After I Kissed Dating Goodbye". www.lifeafterikdg.com. Retrieved January 3, 2018. 

External links[edit]