Monday, September 9, 2013

Premarital Sex: Yum or Dumb?

We live in a world inundated with sexual stimuli. A deodorant advertisement portrays a handsome man attracting more women than the other handsome hunks who are in the fray. A condom advertisement promotes sex under the guise of safe sex. Here are some more facts and stats:

1. Earlier, the average age of a person being exposed to pornography was fifteen, now it is five.

2. 80% of Americans indulge in premarital sex.1

3. Used condoms choked the New Delhi Commonwealth games village toilets in 2010.2

4. Sex was rampant at the 2012 London Olympics. Hope Solo, a football goalkeeper, said 'There's a lot of sex going on at the Olympics.”3 150,000 condoms were handed out at that Olympics!

It is a well-documented fact that sex before marriage (premarital or safe sex) is rampant in today’s world. Let’s ask a simple question: Is premarital sex right or wrong?

Huffington Post recently published an article justifying sex before marriage, “Here are five reasons to get rid of that purity pledge and do the dirty before you say "I do."” 4 A few reasons affirming premarital sex are:

(1) Exploring Compatibility: Partners want to know their sexual compatibility.

(2) Proclaiming Morality: There is nothing wrong with premarital sex!

(3) Circumstantial: One thing led to another and we made love.

(4) Succumbing to Temptations: Unable to resist raging hormones, so we made love.

(5) Peer Pressure: My friend’s doing it, so I did it.

(6) Celebrity Role Models: The idol I adore does it, so why shouldn’t I?
The list could extend.

        Whenever we seek advice on any topic, there should be an objective point of reference. In the court of law, the law book is the objective point of reference. If a thief is brought before the judge for theft and even if that thief happens to be the judge’s relative, the judge cannot set him free by accommodating his personal preference. If theft by law is a crime, and the thief proved of theft, the judge must punish the thief (his relative) according to the law of the land. Personal preference is nonexistent in the court of law (let us not consider corruption). Conduct of man in a society is always governed by an objective point of reference. If the individual does not desire to abide by the objective point of reference, then he subscribes to his personal preferences. This leads to multiple problems. 

        If an individual subscribes to personal preference, the entailment is two-fold. First and generally, personal preference could work if it does not affect another person directly i.e. I can go to a restaurant or a movie of my preference. Second, when the task involves another person, then consensus is preferred. If I decide to go for a movie with my friend, we need to agree, especially when our choices differ. Often we may need to sacrifice our desires to give way to the other or to what is right. We can hold to our choice if the other’s choice is unacceptable for the right reasons. So, as long as I am by myself, I can more often do whatever I want (even this has limitations when the divine comes into picture). But when I live in a community, my personal preferences ought to subscribe to a consensus or to the rules laid by the community for the common or the greater good.

        In Christianity, the Bible is the objective point of reference. So a Christian is required to adhere to the biblical mandate. But what about individuals who subscribe to personal preferences in premarital sex? What if both desire the momentary pleasure of sex? Can premarital sex be justified on the basis of consensual sex?

Much can be justified if there are no potential dangers (physical or moral) to an act. If two individuals desire premarital sex, there are definite dangers associated with this act. The dangers are medical (e.g. sexually transmitted diseases), moral (e.g. abortion), emotional (e.g. getting dumped for unsatisfactory sex) etc. When there are dangers associated with an act, it is wise not to practice that act. Therefore, because there are dangers associated with premarital sex, it is wise to abstain from it.

If an individual offers himself the sexual freedom, and if that sexual freedom is morally right, then it is only logical that he offer the same freedom to those around him, even his children. In other words, if an individual indulges in premarital sex, he needs to think if he would offer that freedom to his children as well? If he wouldn’t offer that freedom to his children for the right reasons, then his decision to indulge in premarital sex is wrong.

The other extreme is to be totally unconscious to our children’s morality, but this too can be deemed as an irresponsible and inconsistent behavior. The individual who remains unconscious to his and his children’s sexuality would never remain unconscious with his wealth. If an individual lives any which way he wants to, by the same token, he should allow the thief to plunder his wealth i.e. this individual should allow the thief to live the way he wants to. But the individual guards his wealth with his life! On one hand the individual guards his wealth but on the other hand he wouldn’t guard his body (sexuality/morality). His actions imply that his wealth is more important than his sexuality/morality. But what has greater significance, losing a million dollars or his daughter suffering a rape? The overwhelming response will ascribe greater significance to ‘daughter’s protection’ over ‘wealth.’ In other words, life gains preeminence over materials. But if the world converges to demean life and its sanctity over momentary pleasure, it exhibits insanity. This is the world we live in – inconsistent, corrupt and morally bankrupt.

Let us now examine the reasons offered by those advocating sex before marriage. For a Christian, the Bible is the objective point of reference, so anything that opposes the Bible should be discarded. The Bible states that lust and sexual immorality is a sin, so a believer is mandated to restrict sexual expression to the confines of a marriage (Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4 et al.). Thus it’s rather straightforward to determine that premarital sex is a strict no-no according to the Bible.

The challenge is to reason out with our non-Christian friend without the Bible as a moral framework. Those who propose safe sex should be aware of the following:

(1) Man should live a disciplined life, and this discipline extends to sex as well. If man lives a sexually undisciplined life, it likens him to animals for which sex is qualitatively different. Man’s been given the ability to think, reason, and be disciplined. Indiscipline in sex leads to chaos (teen pregnancies, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases etc.) within the individual and the society, leading to their downfall. Hence, premarital sex should be avoided.

(2) A condom does not offer safe sex. The failure rate of many types of condoms is growing.5 If anyone disagrees, then one should ask if he is willing to have sex with an HIV infected person, using only a condom for protection. A study done on 800 sex therapists stated that none of the 800 would have sex using a condom with an HIV infected person.6 Thus, premarital sex, which is unsafe, should be avoided.

(3) Human life is all about adaptation. We adapt ourselves so to live peaceably with our parents, children, siblings, country, culture and status of birth. We do not choose any of these. We are given, so we live. Then we operate with limited choice in our school, college, university, jobs, colleagues, spouse etc. Many of us do not have perfect schools, jobs, or spouses, but we adapt to our choices. We control our urges and desires and try to live our best with what we have. Thus, it is not an alien concept for an individual to control or sacrifice his sexual urges, before marriage. Anyone indulging in premarital sex does so not on account of lacking in self control, but on account of not applying his mind to the fact that purity is a better alternative to sex. It’s not a case of I-cannot…, but it’s a case of I-don’t-want-to….

(4) If one still maintains that they are tempted into sex, they should flee sexual temptations (1 Corinthians 6: 18; 1 Peter 5: 8). Those tempted should not be alone with whom they are sexually attracted to.

(5) It is a myth that sex is the glue that holds a marriage together. The problem in today’s world is that the media accentuates sex as the most important factor in marriage. “A healthy sexual relationship does not happen like spontaneous combustion. It takes work, adjustments, and communication – none of which are ever portrayed in the media, says Scott Rae. 7 Determining sexual compatibility before marriage is a mere excuse and an utter nonsense.

(6) How can an individual who indulged in premarital sex, who continues to defend his decision, be trusted for faithfulness to his spouse? What assurance can this person offer his spouse that he/she would control his sexual urges when complications invade their marriage? Seeds of mistrust sown in a marriage are always a recipe for marriage breakdown. (Many believe that non-penetrative sex between unmarried couples is cool or chic. I am a conservative who believes that virginity is lost the moment two individuals perform non-penetrative sex acts in a half or a fully nude state. Some believe that kissing is acceptable while dating. But how often does kissing only end in kissing and not more sexually intimate?)

(7) Following another person should be based on his/her character. Character of that person should subscribe to a higher power, namely God and HIS Word. Atheists will be disoriented on this count.

(8) Finally, couples who indulge in premarital sex often neglect enriching the emotional and spiritual realms of their relationship, which form the foundations of a marriage. Unmarried couples should seek to enrich their spiritual and emotional foundations of their relationship than succumbing to the temptations of premarital sex.

       Those who indulged in premarital sex have a great offer from God. If they repent of their sin, God, who is rich in mercy and grace, forgives and restores their emotional and spiritual virginity. Physical virginity cannot be restored but what matters in the long run is the healing of emotional scars of past sexual promiscuity leading to a healthy and a fruitful marriage.

Premarital sex is neither yum nor dumb, but it is a sin against God. Amen.




5 Scott B. Rae, Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics, 3rd Ed, p291, 2009.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid., 293.


Andrew Rodrigues said...

Well researched and superbly written, Pastor...God bless!

Raj Richard said...

Thank you very much, Bro. Andrew.

Biju Thomas said...

Thank you.

Terrymize4 said...

Thank you uncle for your advice

Raj Richard said...

You are welcome, Brothers Biju and Terry :)