Sex Before Marriage
by Dave Scheer
Ever since the late 1960s, when many societal norms were challenged, sex before marriage began to rise sharply in the United States. Unfortunately, so did drug abuse, wilder music, and lack of self-restraint among the young generation. Many of that generation did not have much of a chance to hear God’s voice on many issues. Few churches were preaching the gospel, and few Christians were Bible-savvy enough to be salt. Suddenly, there were many reasons to get high and have sex. “If it feels good, do it!” became the mantra of a wayward generation. Hallucinogenic drugs “helped the mind expand to see deeper truths about life,” and premarital intercourse “helped people discover if they were really meant for each other”—or so the mantras promised. Our nation was a sitting duck for major deception and is now wallowing deeper into it.
What was tragically missing in those days was rational discourse in favor of obeying God’s rules. For example, if God has a “shalt not” rule, it is there for our protection, not sadistic control. God is keenly aware of what happens in a fallen, sin-cursed world, and He always wants the best for us. Too many churches were lifeless, however, and were not feeding people what they needed spiritually. Few clergy and few believers knew how to lovingly and successfully defend the scriptures. Much of this has changed, but we are still scrambling to recover. Since Christians were not the salt they were called to be, our nation became vulnerable to sensuality. Proverbs 29:18 (NASB) has insight for us today: "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law."
Fortunately, God loves us so much that He sets up “fences” to protect people from being harmed. Premarital sex is wrong, and most believers have heard the reasons. But waiting until marriage to have sex has advantages few people have thought about—beyond obvious ones, such as avoiding unwanted pregnancy and disease. Many of the reasons touch on the non-physical aspects of human life, such as the emotional, social, and spiritual realms. People tend to fixate only on the physical dimension when it comes to health issues. But humans are not mere animals! Our differences go far beyond IQ measurements. We are made in God’s image—we have souls and spirits (1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12); we are the only life form on earth that knows it's going to die and can wonder about what happens after death; and we have moral concepts and a spiritual construct called “dignity.” Animals have none of these; so, therefore, we humans need God’s perspective.
There are advantages to abstaining from premarital sex. Not all in the list below will be true for everyone, but many will. If a person has already had premarital sex, their future marriage isn’t doomed, but the man or woman will have to conquer more hurdles to succeed as a husband or wife. Here are the advantages:
1. The assurance that your partner doesn't want you just for sex (freedom from being “used”). This is a huge advantage for females since young males are usually mostly interested in the pleasures (and bragging rights) of sex and are not emotionally mature yet to know how to selfl essly care for a girl during the teen years. The truth is, if a guy really loves a girl and she wants to wait until marriage to have sex, he will be willing to wait also. The Bible says that love is patient and kind, does not demand its own way, and bears all things (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). One sure way for a girl to know her boyfriend really loves her is to wait until after marriage to have sex. If he refuses and leaves the relationship, she needs to see that as good, rather than getting hurt more later.
2. Freedom from sex becoming the focus of the relationship. When people are young, sex becomes a major focus in a relationship, and real, lasting intimacy can be lost. Waiting forces an individual to focus on personality-meshing and learning how to become a mature man/woman. Premarital years should be viewed as “boot camp” for “war” (marriage, LOL). A lot of learning and practicing are necessary to become a successful husband or wife.
3. Freedom from deeper emotional hurt when the breakup occurs. Emotional hurt is the most common result of premarital sex—not pregnancy or disease. Because intercourse between two humans is more than just a physical act, emotions can be at high risk. When sex occurs, there is always a soul tie that takes place, and when this is ripped apart, the pain is greater.
4. Freedom from worrying about a tainted reputation (being “easy,” for example). Right or wrong, many young guys will think a girl will easily give them sex if she has done it before.
5. Freedom from distraction. There are many important things going on in a person’s life that can get sidetracked by sexual relationships, especially when still in high school or college.
6. Freedom from worrying about parents finding out. Practicing deceit separates relationships.
7. Freedom from "sexual satisfaction" comparisons. A husband or wife might compare their spouse with another person that they had sex with before marriage, and a spouse may wonder if they are better than their spouse’s past partner(s). The more partners involved, the more comparisons. This can sometimes lead to marital difficulties.
8. Tendency to trust future spouse more if they resisted sex with others before marriage. The earlier and more often a person has sex before marriage, the more they are apt to cheat on their spouse (Tavris and Sadd, The Redbook Report on Female Sexuality, 1977, and several other reports through the 1990s).
9. Sex tends to be more special if saved for that one person. Again, no other life form on earth can have this be true for them except humans who are made in God's image. We are NOT just smart apes!
10. Freedom to discover different ways of showing love. Young guys often pressure a girl to have sex by saying, “If you love me, prove it!” While love will be demonstrated, it should never be demanded to be demonstrated in a specific way. Can you imagine a relationship where one says to the other: “If you love me, take out the garbage right now!” That would be an abusive relationship, and if someone is giving in to demands for intercourse, they are being abused as well.
11. Saying no to sex can make convictions stronger. Many people have a mere belief in abstinence, but when situations change—i.e., they get older or an attractive person becomes interested in them—they give in. A conviction is a stronger belief because it has several rational reasons for the stand and can be defended under pressure.
12. Not yielding to temptation in one area may cross over to other areas. There are many wrong paths to take in life. Jesus said: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it” (Matthew 7:13, NASB). Good self-control can apply to other paths as well.
13. Lower risk of cervical cancer for females. Early sex for females increases cervical cancer risk. There may be multiple reasons for this, but one is that they have a greater chance to be exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is now the leading cause of this type of cancer.
Saying “no” these days is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes pressures come from the guy, and the girl needs to be ready to defend herself. It can be a battle of wits and words! If he degrades marriage by saying, “It’s just a piece of paper,” she can counter with: “If that is all it means to you now, that’s all it’ll mean to you later.” If he claims, “Everybody’s doing it,” she can challenge him by saying, “Then who are you doing it with?” This comeback is especially good because it gets him off his offensive position, and he must now fight from a defensive posture which will not favor him. If his rudeness persists, she must be willing to say, “Then you’ll have no trouble finding someone else.” If he is a real “Don Juan” and says “C'mon, it’s natural!” She can say, “So is poison ivy, but I don’t want it touching me!” (These great comeback ideas are from author/speaker Josh McDowell.)
“Secondary virginity” is when a person has had sex once or more but is now waiting for marriage. God cleanses us from all sin, and we become white as snow. We can begin again. It is extremely encouraging to know this! Some girls think that once they’ve lost their virginity, there’s no use in stopping. But yes, there is! Many of the above advantages can be theirs if they wait.
Kids need to be trained and ready for the real world. They need to be told why God has His rules. Sexual intercourse between humans is like fire. Obey the rules of safety, and it is a huge blessing. Disregard those rules, and it becomes a destructive force. We can turn to God to help us ward off temptation, and He always sends help: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB).