For Unmarried Jewish Couples, No Touching Allowed

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For Unmarried Jewish Couples, No Touching Allowed
For Orthodox Jews it's forbidden to even shake your boyfriends hand.

For couples who do choose to be Shomer Negiah before they marry, the choice is often easier said than done. For most people, being physical is an expression of how you feel. Not being able to express that can be somewhat frustrating, which is why I can't claim to follow the rules as carefully as I probably should.

Shomer Negiah is the reason why most Orthodox Jewish engagements are so short in comparison to the "secular" world. Couples normally date for less than six months before they get engaged, and the wedding is usually planned in less than six months from then. Couples who are not able to touch before they stand under the Chuppah—the Jewish wedding canopy under which the ceremony is held—yearn to be together in ways that other couples cannot understand.

But a little yearning isn’t such a bad thing. Not being physical with your partner in the early stages of dating is a way to ensure that you first connect emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Shomer Negiah helps you make sure you aren't confusing lust with love. And refraining from touch can also makes that first handhold that much more exciting. Maybe you should try working Shomer Negiah into your own love life, if it’s not too hard.