Joshua Harris in "I Survived Kissing Dating Goodbye."
Exploration Films
  • Joshua Harris, a prominent leader of the American Evangelical purity movement, has changed his mind about the messaging in his 1997 book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye."
  • Harris has asked his publisher to stop printing the book, after realising many of its messages were harmful to the body image, sexuality, and relationships of its readers.

Joshua Harris, one of the most prominent leaders of the evangelical purity movement, has changed his mind on the topic, and asked his publisher to stop printing his 1997 book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye."

Harris also filmed a documentary in which he confronts the people whose sexuality, body image, and relationships were negatively affected by his book.

"I Kissed Dating Goodbye" was a best-seller that Joshua Harris wrote when he was 21 years old. The book encouraged people, especially teenagers, to skip dating and instead seek one partner for marriage. It also encouraged people to save any physical affection, including kissing, until marriage.

Over the past 20 years, Harris, who is still a Christian, has changed his mind on the topic he once preached. Thanks to some perspective in his adult life and seeing how his message affected the lives of his readers, Harris realised that while his intentions were good, he encouraged a movement that was damaging to people's sexuality, body image, and ultimately, their relationships as adults.

Harris in 1997.
Exploration Films/YouTube

In a blog post, Harris wrote that he has asked his publisher to stop printing "I Kissed Dating Goodbye."

"In light of the flaws I now see in 'I Kissed Dating Goodbye,' I think it's best to discontinue its publication, as well other supplemental resources tied to it (this includes the two books I wrote after it whose content is similar). My publisher, whose encouragement in this process has been deeply meaningful to me, supports this decision and will not reprint the books after the current copies in their inventory are sold."

A new documentary about Harris called "I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye," explores the consequences of the purity movement and his 1997 book.

In the documentary, Harris talks with readers from across the world about how the purity movement negatively affected them in their adult lives. Harris sets up Skype calls people to hear their concerns and and then he goes around North America to talk to people who were damaged by his book and have spoken against its message.

"You can have good intentions, and think you're making good decisions, but the effect in people's lives can be very different than you'd planned," Harris told NPR. "And that's the first time that I started thinking, 'Maybe there are problems with my book.'"

"I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye" is available to stream now on Amazon Prime. Watch the trailer below:

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