What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?
Let’s Explore the Answer
Sexuality is a part of the human experience. The desire for deep connection to others through sex is built into our DNA by design; it keeps every population on earth growing through multiplication. Sex is natural and some might even call it a gift from God.
However, sometimes it feels like we live in a sex-obsessed culture. Beautiful models sell us tires and life insurance. Tabloids keep us updated on which stars are dating. TV shows and music videos make it feel like having lots of sex is the primary purpose of life. This view is only complicated by a growing number of apps dedicated to “hooking up” with no relational connection. It’s no wonder those who question culture’s commonly held views on sex seem so out of the ordinary.
On top of this confusion, people are taught different things about sex when growing up. Some have grown up in strict religious settings where sex was shameful and secret. Others may have grown up in a home where sexuality was something to be explored and enjoyed. Many wonder what the Bible says about sex. Is it ok to have sex before marriage? Atheists, skeptics, and believers will each view this very personal topic differently.
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What Skeptics & Atheists Say
The question of whether or not it’s appropriate to have sex before marriage begins with an individual’s understanding of both marriage and sex. While many people still walk down the aisle and say “I do”, marriage rates have continued to drop since the 1980’s. Since that time, the rate of individuals living alone or with a partner who’s not their spouse has increased. If a person doesn’t believe that marriage is the ultimate goal for a romantic relationship, then talking about waiting to have sex until marriage doesn’t make sense.
A person who doesn’t consider marriage a clear relational end-goal might view their romance in stages of commitment and connection. Sex is merely a step in the process of getting to know a person. This process might lead to moving in together and maybe eventually to marriage. As the cost of marriage ceremonies/receptions continues to rise making marriage somewhat cost-prohibitive, while the ability to have everything marriage offers – without marriage – it becomes clear why fewer people are getting married today than ever before.
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What The Bible Says
As a person considers God’s plan for sex and marriage it’s important to remember that sex was God’s idea. He made human bodies and created the pleasure that accompanies sex. In fact, one whole book of the Bible is dedicated to a couple’s desire for each other. However, sex was always meant to be enjoyed through the lifelong commitment of marriage. The Bible says, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). In this view, sex is great, but it forms a special bond between two people akin to marriage.
A person may argue that if it’s good and God made it, then shouldn’t we enjoy it as we’re able? The challenge with this view is that God made many things enjoyable to humans that are meant to be enjoyed within certain boundaries. Pizza and bacon may be delicious, but eating them every day will create negative consequences in our bodies. Tanning in the sun may be fun, but the sun’s rays will have long-term effects on our skin. Others may enjoy driving fast, but societal boundaries created by law protect drivers from driving in a way that would endanger their lives or those around them. It’s the same with sex.
God created sex as a wonderful gift for marriage. But there are consequences to sex outside of marriage. These include unnecessary hurt. Married couples sometimes struggle with memories of their past and the choices they made when they were younger. Multiple sexual partners also increase a person’s chance to contract sexually-transmitted diseases. These are the kinds of hurts God’s plan keeps a person from experiencing.
Sex is an amazing gift from God. And sex inside marriage is a wonderful way to continually connect with your spouse as you experience life together. This is God’s great plan for healthy human relationships. Maybe you’re reading this because you wonder if God’s plan for your sexuality is worth the wait? Or maybe you’ve made mistakes in your past and are struggling to move forward. Wherever you are, it’s important to understand that God is the designer of all things on earth. God’s design is good as He wants good things for you. Yes, you can go your own way, but what if God’s way really was best? Would you be willing to give His way a chance?
What would happen if you embraced the possibility that the God of the Bible really did create the world and really does care for you?
In the seventeenth century, a famous philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, encouraged people to make a wager when it came to belief in God. If a person chose to believe in God and God did exist, that person would gain everything (eternal life). If a person chose to believe in God and God did not exist, that person would lose nothing. On the other hand, if a person chose not to believe in God and he was right, he would lose nothing. But if that person did not believe in God and he was wrong- he would lose everything (lose eternal life).
This wager can be said another way:
Based on this logic, Pascal suggested the rational person would choose to believe in God as believing offers a person everything (eternal life) while losing nothing. Wherever you are in your faith journey, would you consider taking Pascal’s wager? If the good God of the Bible exists, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in Him today.
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