With under a minute left I watched my 9-year-old basketball teams 3-point league disappear. What was so frustrating is that for two plays in a row, my team dribbled the ball the wrong way and scored twice in a row in the wrong hoop! We scored. But we scored in the wrong hoop. So we lost. If you don't have the right standards, you will score in the wrong goal.
Courtship is about finding a lifelong companion. How you conduct yourself before marriage will have an effect for the rest of your relationship. Honor before is leading to honor during. Trust before will lead to trust during. Self-control before will lead to self-control after. When you begin to have a romantic interest in someone and they are interested in you, have a mature conversation. Draw some lines in the sand. “I am a Christian and I do not want to have sex before I get married. Therefore, we need to set some standards about what we are going to do and what we are not going to do.” This can be awkward but it sets up the relationship for respect and takes the pressure out.
I would encourage some specific language. “I will not touch your privates and you will not touch mine. We are not going to be alone in your apartment or in my room with the door closed.” Tell the other person you are very attracted to them and want to live honorably.
If your romance is not to be, you will be glad you did not go further physically. If you do get married, you will have plenty of time for physical romance. Just because you score doesn't mean you’re winning.