QUESTION: “My boyfriend and I are 20 and 22 respectively and we have both already had sex with other people. We’ve always been Christians through our upbringing, but didn’t take the sex notion seriously. Since our previous relationships (6 months to a year ago) we’ve dedicated our hearts to the Lord! We are wondering if we should wait until marriage to have sex; we just started dating so marriage hasn’t been on the table, but neither of us has had a relationship without sex, and we want to do it right this time. I know premarital sex is a sin in the Bible, but is there a biblical reason we shouldn’t wait if we’ve already committed that sin?”
Our answer: The question you ask is: Is there a Biblical reason we SHOULDN’T wait till after marriage to have sex? The simple answer is: No. Nowhere in the Bible will you find a reason to have full intercourse outside a committed marriage relationship.
But the other question is, do you understand why sex outside marriage is ‘a sin’ according to the Bible? It is because, however enjoyable it might be at the time, in the end it is destructive rather than constructive.
This is because – as the Bible also tells us – full intercourse is special and unites two people in ways nothing else can; involves us sharing the deepest and most precious parts of ourselves; and works best against the background of a reliable long-term relationship. In God’s view, the only person who deserves to ‘know’ us in the way full intercourse allows them to is someone who loves us and is committed to us for life.
Sex before marriage can have these consequences:
- If the relationship ends, separation is that much more painful and difficult, with soul ties needing to be broken.
- The more different sexual partners we have the more of ourself we give away to people who don’t deserve us. So the more self-respect we give away, and the more people (through our memory) encroach into our ultimate marriage bed.
- If you have had full sexual intercourse with people other than your eventual husband or wife, you diminish the extent to which you have something special to give to them.
There are two final practical considerations:
- There is always the possibility of a pregnancy, and thus a child that will have to be brought up with a single parent.
- Sex with someone other than our long-term partner will always necessitate some cleansing and healing. This can be accomplished by God’s Spirit, but we can never be returned to the same pure and innocent state that we were in before.
It sounds as if you have now gone a long way in this self-healing process. What a shame it would be compound the damage (that is, the part of it that cannot be erased) and to have to start all over again with the process of healing what can be healed.
The longer you abstain from full intercourse the more your self-respect, purity, and wholeness will grow, and the more special this will be in your ultimate marriage, and the less second-hand will be the gift of yourself to your future husband or wife.
The more you abstain, the more also you can concentrate undistracted on the most important part of a relationship – that of becoming friends and discovering whether you are compatible as people. Sexual activity clouds our judgment in other areas of a relationship.
Lastly, the Bible tells us that any sexual contact you have with someone who is not your husband or wife, the more you steal from their ultimate husband or wife. (1 Thess 4:6) A useful guideline is to ask yourself this: if I were now watching my true, ultimate lifetime partner, the one I would someday come to adore, what would I be happy to see them doing, or how far would I be happy to see them going, with someone else before they met me?