Now, in this article, we are not going to be discussing the “rightness” or “wrongness”, scriptural perceptions and convictions alone, but, we are going for a more holistic approach, digging into the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual truths and facts about sex before marriage.
From the onset, it is important to quickly point out that intimacy is something everyone desires. It is a natural part of our genetic and biological makeup and having sexual desires or “crave” for sexual intimacy is normal.
The topic of sex before marriage or “premarital sex” as some prefer to call it has been one of controversy with views intertwining morals and beliefs.
Several debates have surfaced over the years, and from the looks of it, this would continue to be a ‘hot’ topic due to its sensitivity.
Therefore, knowing that knowledge is power, we are going to be simplifying and explaining in-depth, certain truths and facts about sex before marriage, so that you can make more informed decisions. Enjoy!
The Reality of Sex Before Marriage
Sexual feelings or sexual urges have a starting point and that is DESIRES. Literally speaking, desires refers to “the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state.” Now, desires can lead to the discovery of new and better things, but can also cause problems and get us in trouble.
Let’s narrow this down to sexual desires. According to Wikipedia, sexual desire is a motivational state and an interest in sexual objects or activities, or as a wish, or drive to seek out sexual objects or to engage in sexual activities. This simply means that sexual desires are a completely normal aspect of our genetic makeup, and can vary significantly from one person to another.
But, what drives that often unstoppable freight train of sexual desire? Why is sexual drive so important and almost uncontrollable? Well, all your questions will be answered in a moment as we deal with the truth and facts about sex before marriage. Come with me!
Sexual desire is described as a biological need or craving that causes individuals to become receptive to sexual experiences and sexual pleasure. Biologically speaking, sexual drive is compared to other biological drives such as hunger.
Sexual desire is said to be fueled by androgens in men, and androgens and estrogens in women. There have been a lot of studies that associate the sex hormone, testosterone with sexual desire. Testosterone is majorly synthesized in the testes in men and in the ovaries in women.
Another hormone that is thought to influence sexual desire is oxytocin. In women, oxytocin levels are at their highest during sexual activity.
Sexual desire is not an urge; this may mean that people have more conscious control of their desires.
Also, a socio-cultural aspect exists where desire is affected by factors in a much larger context such as family, environment, neighborhood, friends, and culture. Some theorists even suggest that the concept of sexual desire may be socially constructed.
However, some argue that, despite the influence of socio-cultural factors in the experience of sexual desire, they don’t necessarily play a large role until after biological factors initiate desire.
In addition, according to researchers, women can become physically stimulated when shown erotic sexual images without experiencing psychological desire or arousal. But, men, on the other hand, are stimulated simply by an explicit picture or image.
11 Facts About Sex Before Marriage You Should Know
A lot of individuals have trouble deciding whether to or whether not to have sex before marriage. But, whatever your decision is, that’s totally up to you. Just like I’ve stated before, this is not to make a choice for you but to present the truth and facts about sex before marriage.
Wikipedia, in a publication on premarital sex, wrote that:
According to a 2001 UNICEF survey, in 10 out of 12 developed nations with available data, more than two-thirds of young people have had sexual intercourse while still in their teens.
In Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the proportion is over 80%.
In Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, approximately 25% of 15-year-olds and 50% of 17-year-olds have sex.
In a 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation study of US teenagers, 29% of teens reported feeling pressure to have sex, 33% of sexually active teens reported “being in a relationship where they felt things were moving too fast sexually”, and 24% had “done something sexual they didn’t really want to do”.
Several polls have indicated peer pressure as a factor in encouraging both girls and boys to have sex.
Now, according to a book written by Dr. Ray E. Short, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, he states that science had established 11 facts that are backed up by solid research in respect to the probable effect of premarital sex on your future marriage. Below is a list of his 11 facts about sex before marriage. Enjoy!
1. Premarital sex tends to break up couples.
2. Many men and women do not want to marry a person who has had intercourse with someone else.
3. Those who have premarital sex tend to have less happy marriages.
4. Those who have premarital sex are more likely to have their marriage end in divorce.
5. Persons and couples who have had premarital sex are more likely to have extramarital affairs as well.
6. Having premarital sex may fool you into marrying a person who is not right for you.
7. Persons and couples with premarital sex experience tend to achieve sexual satisfaction sooner after they are married. However… (this takes us to fact number 8.)
8. They are likely to be less satisfied overall with their sex life during marriage.
9. Poor premarital sexual habits can be carried over to spoil sex in marriage.
10. Guilt may push a couple into a bad marriage.
11. Premarital sex robs a couple of “sexual cement.”
Disadvantages Of Sex Before Marriage
Over time, the perception of premarital sex has changed a lot from the traditional view of ‘saving’ one’s self for marriage. A lot of people now engage in a long-term romantic relationship and regard getting married as a choice other than an accomplishment in life.
With this, the desire to get sexually intimate with one’s partner or spouse has become more acceptable.
However, there are certain dangers involved that you need to know about. This is because being aware of the disadvantages of sex before marriage can help you make a more informed choice and avoid certain pitfalls in your relationship.
• Loss of interest in your significant other
One of the dangers of premarital relationships is taking the risk of your partner eventually losing interest in you.
Sex before marriage or premarital sex as some may choose to call it refers to having physical intimacy with a partner that you’re not married to. This intimacy offers you both an opportunity to explore your sexual desires in almost every possible way.
If you’ve had previous sexual encounters, there is a good chance that what you experience with your present partner may be very different from your expectations and increase the chances of you losing interest in your partner and vice-versa.
• You go into your marriage with a lot of emotional baggage
Let’s make this difference and get this right at this point. Intimacy is not just sex, and sex is not just an act between two people. It is an engagement of the mind, both conscious and subconscious too.
If that relationship does not work out, you move on and get married to someone else. But, the emotional baggage of anger, resentment, betrayal, or even residual love from your previous sexual relationship can mess up your mind and affect your ability to start a new relationship and make progress in it.
• Disruptions in your mental health
Premarital sexual relationships can be a trigger for stress. The guilt of having to keep secrets from your family, friends, and recent partner, the constant fear of unwanted pregnancies, and the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease(STI) can result in the accumulation of stress.
Research suggests that emotional stress due to a breakup in a relationship where both partners were sexually intimate can be a cause for depression. This is because we tend to feel a lot closer to someone with whom we’ve been physically intimate.
• An unwanted pregnancy
Unwanted pregnancies can result in very devastating outcomes. If the partner involved refuses to offer you support during this difficult period, you are left to cater for yourself and your unborn child at a time when you may not have the necessary emotional and financial prowess to handle the situation.
Even if you consider abortion, it can result in physical and psychological impressions that may last you a lifetime.
In addition, having unprotected premarital sex and taking emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) afterward can also result in some side effects such as bleeding, menstrual irregularities, and a host of others.
• It may lead to infidelity
Take this scenario for instance. Let’s say you and your partner go your separate ways, and both of you move on with another person. Then, sometime later, you cross paths with this old flame.
This is when the negative consequences of premarital sex start to take their course. You feel comfortable around them rather than feeling wrong, because of what you’ve had together in the past and this increases the chances of you cheating on your present partner.
• High risk of STDs
With raging hormones, numerous butterflies fluttering in the stomach, and very intense emotions at play, an almost insatiable lust is born, and at that moment, all you see and can think of are the benefits of premarital sex and all that we have said so far won’t even cross your mind; and probably, not even the thought of using protection.
Also, if you engage with multiple partners or you’re having sex with someone whose sexual history you have no clue about, you are exposing yourself to the danger of contracting sexually transmitted diseases(STDs). Some of these STDs may cause your reproductive health to become severely compromised. It could be something less threatening such as itching, burning, rashes on your genitals, or something really serious such as herpes or HIV.
• Having sex causes changes in your body
There are certain physical and psychological changes that may happen when you begin to have sex.
Though not common to all, your breasts may swell up, for some girls; hips get wider, and may suddenly experience sexual urges. Also, your perspective on almost everything changes. All of these can be difficult to process, especially if you start having sex and become sexually active at a tender age.
• Your self-esteem is at stake
The risks and dangers associated with premarital sex are numerous. If things didn’t work out between you and your partner, you might end up feeling really guilty and that may cause your self-esteem to plummet. Struggling with how you view yourself, body image problems, and being in doubt about one’s self-worth and competence are just the beginning.
Also, there could be gossip or judgments from people around you if word gets out. This could lead to mental issues especially if you’re not strong enough to deal with the backlash.
• It can affect your outlook towards love
This can be the case when sexual intimacy ends in a breakup especially if you were physically and emotionally into the other person.
Maybe, you were young and naïve and hoped it would become of those fairytale romance movies where you’d live happily ever after, but then, your partner breaks it up and moves on pretty fast with his/her life. This can cause you to change your outlook towards love and end up making you suspicious of everyone.
Due to this, you may even ignore a genuine person and find it difficult to have a meaningful relationship again.
• Your partner tends to take you for granted
A lot of times, the moment you become intimate with your partner, it is almost as if they become too secure about the future and stops putting in as much effort as before into the relationship. This can lead to constant quarrels, misunderstandings, and fights.
If you turn each of these points around, you’ll have the 10 reasons to wait until marriage before engaging in sex.
How To Avoid Sex Before Marriage
If your decision is to abstain and become committed to waiting until after getting married to have sex, that’s awesome! However, you’re going to need to have a proper plan on how you’re going to go about it and be ready to do some work.
Making promises is a good start, but, you may need to come up with practical ways to change some of your behaviors and how to have self-control sexually, so that you don’t fall into temptation.
Below are practical tips on how to avoid sex before marriage, or how to stop having sex before marriage. I wish you all the best!
• First, avoid doing anything that would make others assume that you are having sex with your partner. Things like staying over in the same house or room, taking overnight trips together without other people present.
• Identify the triggers. When it comes to resisting the temptation of sex, it is best to avoid putting one’s self in a compromising situation. Identify the triggers that make you feel vulnerable and stay away from them. You might even have to stop watching certain romantic films or TV shows together.
• Set a curfew for yourselves. Staying out late especially in a place where there aren’t people around can present a tricky situation. Set a curfew and stick to it.
• Keep physical touch minimal. It’s generally advisable to avoid touching the skin below the neck and above the knee. I want to believe you understand that restriction?
• Be open about your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to help each other.
• Be accountable. Find friends and mentors who share similar beliefs and live by them. When you surround yourself with people of like minds, it is easier to encourage each other to resist and overcome temptation.
• If you’re mature enough, get married as quickly as possible. Why wait for years if you know you want to be together? Seek advice from your parents, pastors, and friends who can help you work this out.
• Read the Bible, pray and read books. There are several books out there that tackle this topic. Get some of them and go through them.
With these points laid out, I hope you’d be able to make an informed decision and avoid mistakes.
What Does The Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?
We’ve addressed the biological, psychological, and emotional aspects of sex. Now, let’s address what the bible says about sex before marriage.
So, can Christians have sex before marriage?
From the bible, the answer is No, Christians cannot have sex before marriage. The Bible teaches that God created sex to be practiced and enjoyed within the confines of one man and one woman in marriage.
Most people when searching through the bible on premarital sex usually look for statements such as “thou shall not”, but the bible doesn’t always express the mind of God exactly how we want it. Nonetheless, the scripture remains clear that sex belongs in marriage.
Let’s start at the beginning.
From the Bible, we understand that God created initiated the institution of marriage and sex. The bible is the book of Genesis (NKJV) says;
1Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”
1 Genesis 2: 24-25 “…Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
The book of Songs of Solomon is replete with verses on the topic of sex.
That being said, let’s continue.
In the first letter written to the Corinthians, chapter 7 and verse 2, it says “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”
In the verse above, Apostle Paul states that marriage is the “remedy” for sexual immorality. What he is saying in essence is that, since people find it difficult to control themselves and a lot of them are having sex outside of marriage, they should go ahead and get married, so that they can fulfill their passions in a way that pleases God.
Sex is a mystery. It creates a powerful bonding that shapes and influences the relationship between a man and a woman in a way that nothing else can.
This is the reason why the Bible usually compares the sin of idolatry to that of fornication (sexual relations between two people who are not married) or adultery (sexual relations between two people when one or both of them are married to someone else).
Colossians 3:5 NKJV
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”
Furthermore, there are several verses in the Bible that give stern warnings against premarital sex and sex outside of marriage.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NKJV
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which is God’s”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7 NKJV
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God…For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness”
You can also read through the following scriptures for more understanding; Acts 15:20, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, 10:8, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5, and Jude 7.
In addition, marriage represents a picture of Christ and the Church. The love between a man and a woman is to reflect to others the love with which Christ loves the Church. And that is why it says in Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”
Therefore, the Church, the Bride of Christ, should keep herself pure from the world and prepare herself for the coming of her Groom.
If the Bible’s precepts on sex before marriage were obeyed, there would be fewer recorded cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), fewer unwanted pregnancies and abortions, far fewer unmarried mothers, and the number of children growing up without having both parents around would be reduced.
God’s only policy regarding premarital sex or sex before marriage is abstinence.
Lots of people think that sex before marriage is not a sin, but that’s not true. In a clear term, biblically, sex before marriage is a sin. Therefore, if you’re a Christian who wants to obey the will of God concerning sex, you must say “no sex before marriage”, mean it and stick with it.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “I had sex before marriage, will God forgive me?”. Yes, God will forgive you. In 1st John 1:9, the Bible says “But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” (CEV). You simply have to confess your sins to God in prayer and repent from the act by following the above ways to stop having sex before marriage and rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to maintain sexual purity.