As a teenage boy, I would talk about how far I got with a girl with the terms, first base (kissing), second base (touching above the waist), third base (touching below the waist), and home run (sex). Even as I got married I considered this the four stages of intimacy.
Boy was I wrong.
Desmond Morris discovered twelve stages of intimacy. Couples who followed these stages developed a deeper bond by spending time at each stage. Couples who rushed through or even skipped stages didn’t have as strong a bond and were more likely to divorce.
Deep down teens want a meaningful marriage that doesn’t end in divorce. We can help them by teaching them the Twelve Stages of Intimacy and the importance of spending time at each step.
1. Eye to body. You notice the person. You are interested.
2. Eye to eye. Your eyes meet. You notice each other. You are interested in each other.
3. Voice to voice. You talk. You call. You text. You email. This should be a pretty long stage. You start emotionally bonding.
4. Hand to hand. You hold hands. It may be accidental touch that is kept in contact or deliberate. You are special.
5. Hand to shoulder. You put your arm around their shoulder. This publicizes your relationship.
6. Hand to waist. Your arms around each other’s waist. You know this person about as well as you know your best friend, and you like what you know.
7. Face to face. You hug and kiss. You start physically bonding which is an extension of the emotional bond you have taken time to establish.
8. Hand to head. You run your fingers through their hair. They cradle your face. You stroke their face. This shows a deepening trust.
The following steps are best saved for marriage.
9. Hand to body. This is what I called second base as teen. For obvious reasons, the following steps progress rapidly once started.
10. Mouth to body.
11. Touching below the waist. Third base.
12. Intercourse. Home run especially if you have taken the time bond at the previous 11 steps.
Morris, D. (1971). Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy. New York: Kodansha America, Inc.