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The great compromise of contemporary evangelical sexual ethics is that we have justified foreplay as a legitimate part of pre-marital relationships.
We go into this in more detail in the book, but the crucial observation here is that .
In the context of these admonitions, sexual love does not desire to be awakened when it has no opportunity for consummation.
Since sexual activity must still be reserved for marriage, it is incumbent that an engaged couple exercise wisdom regarding the extent to which they “fan into flame” sexual desire through physical touch, spending time alone, discussing sexual intimacy, etc.
Even within marriage there will be times when sex will not be possible for certain seasons, and such times are not made easier by fixating on sexual intimacy; to the surprise of many singles, continence will be required even in marriage!
So I don’t recommend engaged couples, still months from their wedding, spending too much time thinking or talking about sexual intimacy, or even allowing their thoughts to wander in that direction for too long.
And this doesn’t mean only abstinence from sexual intercourse, but abstinence from all sexual activity. The problem with viewing a dating relationship as its own distinct category of relationship is that—being a modern invention—it lacks any explicit scriptural boundary regarding sexual relations.