Sex Before Marriage In The 21st Century
Posted on: August 7, 2008
A while ago I started writing a blog on sex before marriage following a comment I head from someone (Christian) who suggested that it is ridiculous to encourage young people to abstain from sex until marriage in today’s society…this was in the week leading up to a Doodles on ‘Sex and relationships’ which never happened and so as a result this blog joined the list of ‘Draft Posts’ on my blog.
The problem is that sex before marriage is a massive topic…and I’m not sure many Christians would argue the biblical basis for waiting for sex until your married and if I’m honest I think God does say to us that waiting to have sex before marriage is the best idea and I think perhaps humans have proved that when we look at the amount of problems people have because of being sexually promiscuous.
One thing I’ve become more aware of recently, particually in younger Christians (or rather my age) is that the things society seems to say is definately okay Christians seem to have bought into, the idea that it’s okay to get drunk (particually on birthdays), the idea that perhaps fooling around with the opposite sex is fine and perhaps even swearing becomes something compromised…I don’t know!
The problem with this is that we begin to separate Christianity and the importance of the bible, if we believe that the bible is God’s word and that God never changes his mind then surely sex before marriage doesn’t need to be questioned?
The thing is that we interpret this is different ways, and the problem with sexually related ‘naughties’ is that often it’s easy to twist our interpretation to fit what we want, so I believe that when we form our views on ‘how far is too far?’ or have that ‘boundaries’ conversation we need to be thinking if we genuinely believe what we’re saying or if we think we’re fiddling God’s word to suit ourselves.
I’ve often heard people say ‘it’s okay to have sex…we’re gonna get married’, the problem with this is that it’s naive, you never know what could happen in a relationship whether you’re close and everything’s cool or not and also if sex is meant to be a wedding gift from God as I’ve often heard preached then surely it’s the same as a child opening all his gifts on Christmas eve?
I’ve also heard people say that in God’s eyes once you’ve had sex you’re married…the problem with this is that it misses several points. Firstly if (as Christians) we’re meant to respect the laws of our country then whether we think sex = marriage or not the fact is we’re not married in the eyes of our country.
The second problem with that view is that actually in the bible we read ‘for this reason a man will leave his Father and Mother and be united as one with his wife’…in the sex = marriage situation I’m not convinced that there’s any leaving of mum’s and dad’s 9 times out of 10. The other problem is that actually this is (in my opinion) the wrong interpretation of marriage in the bible.
Often in biblical times before a man could marry his fiance he would have to build an extension on his parents house for them to live in (this is similar to what Jesus talks about when he discusses there being many rooms in his Father house), in other biblical times the marriage was official after sex but there was ceremonies before that (often followed by the bridge and groom going into a tent to ‘do it’ with their guests waiting outside).
Finally I think the ‘sex = marriage’ approach loses value of marriage, I do not believe that God intends sex to be the only significant different in marriage, I believe that God intends marriage to be 2 people giving themselves completely to each other, two people committing to love each other through the good and the bad times and the easy and the hard times.
However we clearly live in a society that says sex is okay, a society that pressures us to lose virginity (perhaps the film American Pie sums this view up) so is it realistic of us to expect young people to save themselves for their future missus (or mister)?
Perhaps there are more pressures around today to have sex than there has ever been but I think there are two things we need to make clear to young people on the matter of ‘sex before marriage’
Firstly we need to make it clear that it is entirely possible with God’s help – We need to help young people realise that it’s not a daunting, impossible target but something you can manage with God’s help, by being mature about boundaries with boyfriends/girlfriends and also (much life with alcohol) knowing your limits…if after kissing a girl you have an undesirable urge to have sex with her (and probably will then is that a good idea? The same goes for everything up to sex from ‘hand sex’ to ‘oral sex’.
Secondly we need to make clear the idea of God’s forgivenesss, too often young people feel guilt when they’ve made mistakes in the sexual area, and often I think the church causes that guilt without meaning too, we need to remember (particually youth workers) that we are there to not just show young people that God can help them save themselves but at the same time help young people realise that ultimately they have a loving God who will forgive them not a God who’ll turn his back on them for a mistake.
i believe that today our message of waiting for sex until marriage is no different regardless of what society says, and I believe that we need to help young people realise that, that we need to challenge societies views at the same time showing the world a loving, forgiving God.