Sex, Love, and Marriage- Dating and Petting
And now, a few words about dating and petting. By "dating", I mean a boy and a girl meeting together privately and going out by themselves; and by "petting", I mean their indulging in physical contact (apart from sexual intercourse).
In my own judgment, If a Christian wishes to retain his testimony and be useful to God, he should not date a person of the opposite sex even when marriage is intended. He should also as far as possible avoid going out anywhere alone with a member of the opposite sex. A Christian should be careful not to give any cause for scandal.
The Bible does not encourage or discourage anyone to date. It is totally silent on the subject.
And although “dating” is not found in the Bible, we are given some principles that Christians are to go by during the time before marriage. One of those principles is that we must separate from the world's view on dating because God's way contradicts the world's (2 Peter 2:20). While the world’s view may be to date around as much as we want for the fun of it, the ultimate goal of a relationship between those of the opposite sex is finding a life partner. And not only are we looking for a life partner, but we are looking for one who is of like faith, one who not only is Catholic, but one who shares the same desire toward Christ-likeness (Philippians 2:5). The Bible tells us that, as Christians, we should not marry an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) because this would weaken our relationship with Christ, and compromise our morals and standards.
So where the Word of God and man's traditions clash, we must certainly obey the Word of God. But in all other cases, we should ensure that our freedom does not become mere opportunity for our lower nature (Galatians 5:13). We are to be governed in such cases by the rule given us in Romans 14:16: “Let not then our good be evil spoken of.”
Those who continue dating will find it extremely difficult to refrain from physical contact - beginning with holding hands and going on to kissing and caressing. The urge for physical contact will be stronger in the boy than in the girl, for sexual passion is always greater in the male. Men are easily aroused sexually, and once passions are thus stimulated it will be extremely difficult to get them under control.
Once a couple start petting, it will be virtually impossible to stop.
One step will lead to another, and each time you are together, you will desire more excitement than on the previous occasion. Each time too, you will get less and less satisfaction out of it.
Sexual experiences like petting penetrate to the depths of a person's being. They cannot be indulged in without serious consequences. Petting is the natural prelude to the intimacies of married life, and so it is sinful as well as unwise to indulge in it prior to marriage. Petting cheapens and degrades sex and can lead to emotional conflicts, frustrations and nervous tensions which may ultimately cause resentment and hatred where love existed once. It can very easily lead to sexual intercourse - which is its only logical end; and when a couple constantly stop short of such total union, it can lead later on to difficulties in the sexual relationship after marriage. Feelings of guilt and regret can also remain in the mind even after, as a result of petting.
Many friendships between a guy and a girl break up after a while, and if petting has been indulged in, the girl feels more like a sex object rather then someone special who is loved and cherished. The girl must therefore apply the breaks when she finds her boyfriend inclined towards physical contact.
Based on what has been said in this post, it will be obvious that dating invariably leads to petting and that petting can in turn cause manifold problems. And so I believe dating, in the context of the first paragraph, should be considered totally out of the question for anyone who is seeking to glorify God in his life. Others around us may be indulging in this, but we should not be governed by their example. There is no need to envy them either, for their latter end is always regret and frustration. If you honour God and obey the principles laid down in His Word, you can be assured of a life and an eternity that are free from all regret.