How did keeping shomer negiah become a choice?

How did it happen that keeping the laws of shomer negiah became that one thing that many frum people like to brag about picking and choosing. Frum people don’t brag about eating treife, breaking shabbos or torturing their pets, yet when it comes to touching the opposite sex it has become acceptable to be lax in that aspect of halacha.

Think about it for a moment. No frum person is going to tell you they speak lashon harah purposefully, drive to shul on shabbos or keep treife. They may say they have their moments of weaknesses, or that they are trying to change, but shomer negiah seems to be exactly the opposite. It’s halacha yet everyone needs to pipe in if they are shomer or not and if you think about, it’s kind of disturbing in a non-disturbing way.

I was talking to someone about shidduchim recently and she said she wasn’t shomer. I didn’t think twice about it. It’s normal to pick and choose being shomer. Yet, if she had said she doesn’t keep kosher I would have had no one in mind for her. How did we become like this?

I think part of it has to do with the nature of negiah. Refraining from premarital physical contact with the opposite sex is super hard, no pun intended. It’s one of those things that may not be easy to justify. How can you justify needing to go against halacha and be intimate with someone prior to marriage – it doesn’t seem possible unless you go for the “taking the test drive” route. It is rarely just a test drive. Breaking shomer negiah is more of a lease agreement.