I was raised in an Orthodox home and the idea of being physical with guys was discouraged until after marriage. Now I met a guy at school and I figure that some innocent hugging would probably be all right, I don't want to lose him. What should I do?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
On a practical level, many young people who thought they were "only hugging" wound up getting much more involved than that. That is the reality of hormones. Some women get into terrible situations which they never would be willing to get into but which somehow just "happen". By setting clear boundaries between yourself and your friend, you are insuring that you never end up in an uncomfortable situation which you will regret.
Besides this, pleasurable physical contact creates a bond between people: a physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual bond. This can cloud one's objectivity about who the other person really is, and from there bad decisions (e.g. "Let's get married!") are often made.
The more that you are involved in physicality now, the less meaningful these acts will be with your future husband.
There is a small but powerful book called, "The Magic Touch," by Gila Manolson, which discusses this topic in-depth. See excerpts online at: http://innernet.org.il/innerSearch.php?author=10
From the standpoint of Jewish law, Maimonides (in Mishneh Torah – Laws of Marriage) cites Deuteronomy 22:13 as a scriptural prohibition against any pleasurable contact between a man and woman (other than those who are married or close relatives). (see also Leviticus 18:6) It's what God wants and we get pleasure out of doing what God wants us to do even if we don't understand it.
Additionally, since single women do not immerse in the Mikveh, having pre-marital sex would involve another scriptural prohibition as discussed in Leviticus 18:19.
If you really think this is the guy, then you should get married sooner than later. Then you won't have the problem of having to control yourselves. And also, you won't have the problem of being 3-4 years down the road and he "changes his mind" about wanting to marry you. I can't tell you how many women give of themselves (emotionally and sexually), and wait for years, only to have the guy "gets bored" and move on to someone else.
So my advice is: Don’t be afraid of losing him. If he really likes you, he’ll understand and respect your position.