I am a few months engaged to my fiancee, after dating her for over two years, and will be married in another nine months. Her and I are both devout Catholics, and have had a chaste and healthy relationship. Her and I both tend to lean toward the conservative end of things when it comes to our physical relationship, both of us taking our chastity and virginity very seriously. However, in the past few weeks a couple moral questions have arisen in our physical relationship.
The reason, as I understand it, that the Church so wisely teaches that sex must be within the context of marriage is because one of the two purposes of sex is intimate union (the other being procreation). This intimate union must be within a committed, loving, lifelong, monogamous, and faithful relationship, otherwise the unifying sexual act acts hypocritically. Simply put, sex must wait until there is the commitment of marriage. The level of commitment runs parallel to the level of physical intimacy.
This brings me back to my questions. In the context of a committed engagement relationship, what is the proper level of physical intimacy? Is it the same as a dating relationship? Is it more? Is it less? And just for clarification, I am excluding all physical intimacy that is intrinsically immoral for an unmarried couple.
My second question is about cuddling, kissing, etc. Are these acts immoral in an unmarried relationship if the couple does them knowing that they are arousing to their companion and themselves? Is intentional sexual arousal improper in an unmarried relationship if there are no intrinsically immoral acts taking place?