A reader sent me a link to this excellent article, which I strongly recommend to all unmarried ladies and mothers of teenage or young adult unmarried daughters. It talks about the role of physical touch in relationships, looking for a spouse, creating intimacy and preparing for marriage – from a Jewish perspective; however, I'm certain that non-Jews can enjoy it and benefit from it as well.
The bottom line is something I strongly believe in: touch plays a very important part in enhancing intimacy in marriage. However, touch can also act like superglue, creating a powerful emotional connection between two people who are incompatible and would never decide to start a relationship if they hadn't given in to physical attraction and lust.
Besides creating a deceptive bond of illusionary and premature intimacy, touch can also interfere with building a real connection of minds and hearts, which is so crucial to making a wise decision about whom you are going to marry. When the physical side enters a relationship prematurely, it often distracts you from thinking rationally about your degree of compatibility. It can create a euphoria that will prevent you from finding out truly important details about your potential spouse.
That's why it's so important to avoid premature touch and reserve physical intimacy for the right person only. And how do we know it's not premature? When do we know for sure we have, indeed, met the right person? In my opinion, the answer is obvious: only after you are married. Not a second before you have a ring on your finger.
"...Before you let the physical side enter, develop a relationship that stands on its own two feet -- a true soul-to-soul connection. Once that relationship is truly solid -- after marriage -- the physical side will be a beautiful and powerful expression of what you have. There's a big difference between letting sexuality determine an illusory connection and letting it express a real one. Before you give someone the opportunity to appreciate your body, let him or her have the chance to appreciate you for who you truly are. That's the kind of bond that lasts."
Of course, there's a common objection – how will we know if sex will be good if we don't try it out first? Human beings are not cars, though. We don't need a test drive.
"...In essence, when you have a healthy attitude toward sexual expression, love each other, are committed to each other, and want to bring each other pleasure, you have nothing to worry about."
"...It is crucial to maintain your objectivity, avoid emotional scarring, and build a genuine spiritual bond with your partner. Refraining from getting physical accomplishes this. It helps you find the right person and leaves you whole and able to create a deep, trusting, and loving relationship that will last a lifetime."