Is Sex Before Marriage A Sin? Is Pre-Marital Sex Bad?

In the following paragraphs, we will look at reasons people give for why sex outside marriage is acceptable for an unmarried couple.

Last Updated:
December 25, 2023
March 14, 2022
7 min

Table of Contents

You might be surprised at how many Christians believe it is okay to have sex before marriage: more than half of U.S. Christians think casual sex is acceptable.

I understand the perspective: refraining from sexual relations until married is one of the hardest things to do in today's over-sexualized society. It's unbelievable what we're up against these days. In today's society, there is a lot of sexual exhibitionism. You can't go to the movies or watch TV without some form of titillation. You can't open the internet without encountering a sexual desire-inducing advertisement.

However, suppose you understand how God designed sex to be within His plan for marriage. In that case, you'll realize the importance of maintaining your sexual purity until you are married and the damage that sexual immorality does to your relationship with God.

Our nation and the world carry the message that sexual intercourse and marriage are two separate things. The movies, songs, poems, and other cultural voices describe sex as a drive similar to hunger which is impossible to ignore and control. These statements have formed a daft view of our lives and scriptures through such subtle methods. The consequences of an over-sexualized society are already here with us. For example, 11% of girls and women worldwide now have lower self-esteem, shame, eating disorders, feelings of shame, and depression. On the other hand, a study involving young men consuming sexual content shows that they expressed more gender-stereotypical objectification over their courtship period. When sex in the lives of men and women is out of control, statistics have shown that it leads to the greatest social and personal problems.

In the following paragraphs, we will look at reasons people give for why sex outside marriage is acceptable for an unmarried couple.

Reasons People Give For Having Sex Before Marriage (And How To Reject Them)

"You can't know if you're sexually compatible without having sex first."

Any counselor who has spent a bit of time with young men will confirm that this is a ubiquitous question that many people raise when Pre-Marital Sex is discussed. The chief reason is that many people today believe that sex will allow young singles to confirm that the compatibility and chemistry between the couple have ensued. For the believer, love and chemistry, which leads to a marital relationship, must not be viewed as a consumable product - I guess I am looking for a 10. The underlying foundation for godly chemistry must remain their value, commitment, and compliance with godliness.

In layman's terms, the world's view of establishing chemistry is similar to the contemporary practice in most car showrooms of "test driving" a vehicle before buying it. Unfortunately, this practice of illicit sexuality is entirely antichristian, and its result is destructive.

The overall problem with the aforementioned notion is that sexual chemistry focuses on pleasure and performance as the pinnacle of our existence. There is a place for wonderful God-honoring sex within the confines of marriage; however, its greatness is not linked to its ecstasy or frequency. True unconditional love births from intimacy. Sex was made for man, but man wasn't created for sex. It is a gift exclusively shared in the confines of marriage to care, love, honor, and serve each other.

And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."
Genesis 2:18 NKJV

The notion of "test driving" views the other person as a tool made to fit and meet our sexual standards, and it is not what God wanted sex to be. Look at the example of the first marriage in the Bible. Did Adam have a few girls to "test drive" before finally deciding to go with Eve?. Absolutely Not! God gave Eve to Adam, with whom they had never had sexual intercourse, and asked him to love her for the rest of their life.

On the keys to sexual passion, N.T Wright says that it has nothing to do with technique but rather the love, commitment, and communication of the parties involved.

"You will feel like you missed out if you don't have sex before marriage."

The second reason boils from the statement that "everyone is doing it anyway." Many young singles feel inadequate if they don't live up to their friends' standards, especially regarding sexual relations. This peer pressure is probably the hardest thing to deal with when everyone says, "Stop being a chicken. You won't get pregnant; it's great, you will love it."

Well, the truth is that many people, especially the majority, can be very wrong. For instance, many people have argued that the earth is flat for a long time. It was almost universally accepted until the truth came out. Public opinion is like a leaf that sways with the direction of the strong wind. It can not be used as the standard for moral norms. If this is the case, how then is it that many people find themselves conforming to the opinions of others? Conformity is part and parcel of the nature of man. Not many people want to appear noticeably different. We hate to pay the price of being singled out.

When the male and female relationship is interwoven in Chapters one and two of Genesis, it wasn't an accidental or temporary phenomenon. However, our present culture doesn't push singles to see it as the sacrament that God created it to be. Instead, it is advertised as a toy. Our cultural obsession with sex as a tool for pleasure and enjoyment undercuts the truth for which it was created. Sex is a beautiful thing that two lovers should enjoy exclusively in marriage.

"If you wait until marriage, you will get married out of Lust."

Many unmarried singles deal with consistent patterns that lead to sexual sin. In their struggle, there is a common excuse that many are falling back to nowadays - "If you wait until marriage, you will get married out of Lust." This should not be a surprise because this is among the strategies that the enemy uses to attack many marriages and courtships before they begin.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8 KJV

The marriage covenant is not just a sexual institution. Lust teaches that the urges of our immediate desires are more valuable than our obedience to God. Lust scoffs at the idea that there is much more to marriage than enjoying the pleasure of sex. This unfortunate train of reasoning is the opposite of what it means to be married. The enemy wants us to forsake service and love to pursue selfishness.

The above reasoning is deadly because service and sacrifice are the two foundations of any working marriage. In a godly marriage, love is shown by the thousands of small decisions that must be made whether we want to do them or not. Washing dishes, changing diapers, listening to our spouse, and forgiving one another are a few examples of the nitty-gritty of married life. Sexual purity is more about the posture of our hearts than about our bodies. A true godly marriage is worth the wait.

What Does the Bible Say About Sex Before Marriage?

There is a lot of information out there about sex. However, The Bible is clear that sex outside marriage is wrong. The question of whether or not you can have premarital sex and still be a Christian has been debated for centuries, but it's time to put an end to this debate:

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which is God's. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 KJV

The spread of sexual immorality, adultery, and simple fornication results in people turning away from the Lord. Even though this subject is not preached about in many pulpits in our country, the scripture is very outspoken about its danger. Some of the places where you can find these warnings include; Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:7,4:3-4, Songs of Songs 2:7,3:5,8:4, Jude 1:7, Leviticus 18, 1 John 3:4-10 and Hebrews 13:4.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Hebrews 13:4 NIV

The "No Sex Before Marriage" Rule Is God's Way Of Protecting Christian Couples

Protection from sexually transmitted diseases

Sin has been the cause of heartache for human beings since the time of Adam's sin. Herpes statistics show the presence of over forty sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). According to the World Health Organization, over 1 million STIs are recorded every day. In the United States, one in five people had an STI on any given day in 2018. Almost half of these new infections are among young people aged 15-24. This is probably the proper definition of a pandemic.

Unfortunately, over eighty percent of people with an STD like Herpes are unaware they have it. MOST STDS HAVE NO CURE AND ARE DEADLY. From AIDS, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Chlamydia, syphilis, and Trichomoniasis. They can be treated, but they leave very adverse effects on their patients, i.e., Sterility, cancer, etc. And they are also transmitted through sexual intercourse.

Protection from heartbreak

Intercourse is very powerful such that it creates a strong bond between the couple even when there is little common ground whatsoever, just highlighted in the first paragraph about the strength of its bonding capacity. Sex must be reserved between those who have decided to be together in the binding relationship of marriage (Leviticus 18). In the bible, sex in ancient Israel was considered a powerful thing that it was often used as the seal of marriage.

"If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her."
Exodus 22:16 NLT

Against popular opinion, no matter your circumstances and your story, the call to honor God with your body applies. Once a young single engages in Pre-Marital sex, the bonds formed aren't easily broken—the sex bond results in an emotional bond where we feel close to the other person. Non-marital sex cannot provide the safety and trust necessary for intimacy. It often instead leads to heartbreaks.

According to a General social survey done by the Institute of Family studies, the number of Americans with a one-lifetime sex partner have the happiest marriages. Male and female respondents appeared to have lower odds of having a happy marriage when they had more prior sexual partners.

Sexual intercourse is a very spiritual affair as well as it is physical. The bond one forms sexually with another is so strong that the bible calls them one. Therefore, the strongest and closest bond between the two individuals happens during the first experience. As we look at the biblical perspective of sex, Brethren, it must not escape from us that God created sex, and He, therefore, has the best knowledge of its use and application.

Protection from unwanted pregnancy

Unwanted pregnancies often signify previous sin. We must clearly distinguish, especially in cases where the woman is sinned against through rape or abuse cases. However, the greater percentage of unwanted pregnancies is among unmarried couples. God made sex to be something to be enjoyed while he also made it the appropriate prerequisite to reproduction. Since sex is a procreative act, we must handle it with the seriousness that it deserves. Every time a couple, whether married or not, have sex, there is potentially a very physical, permanent, and real consequence - a child. It is through this same way that you and I came to be.

Unfortunately, because most people have reduced sex to being an object of pleasure, there is an increased risk of unwanted pregnancies. Often they will be treated as a nuisance inconvenience to the sexual pleasure. The new child that is created contains the two parents' genetic information, which satisfies the proverbial statement that they are "one flesh." Psychology statistics clearly show that a child who grows in the presence of two stable parents does infinitely better than the opposite. How unfortunate is it that simple fun can lead to the birth of a child you were both not ready for? Ultimately, Pre-Marital abstinence leads to better reproductive health.

Protection from emotional and psychological pain

Love is a powerful thing. In songs of Solomon, he comments that it is as powerful as death and that floods cannot quench the thirst of love once aroused. Choosing to engage in Pre-Marital sex suggests a basic lack of love for oneself, spouse, and God. While it may provide a basic level of temporary pleasure outside the confines and boundaries of marriage, it hinders genuine joy and pleasure.

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem: Don't excite love, don't stir it up until the time is ripe—and you're ready… Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing— it sweeps everything before it. Floodwaters can't drown love; torrents of rain can't put it out. Love can't be bought; love can't be sold— it's not to be found in the marketplace.
Song of Solomon 8:34‭, ‬6‭-‬7 MSG

The research results cited in "The Case Against Living Together" by Dr. Nancy Moore, a sociologist on unmarried people living together before marriage, show that break up between people in cohabitation outside marriage or having sex has the same impact as that of divorce among married couples. Anyone who honestly thinks that "no one will get hurt" is deluded into thinking that the emotions involved are easy to turn off. Saying "No" to sex outside marriage and cohabitation outside marriage protects us from such emotional pain until it's time.

Will God Forgive Me If I Have Already Had Sex Outside of Marriage?

Peter told Grace that it was unreasonable to abstain from sex before marriage. Since the argument made a lot of sense at the time, they, unfortunately, both ended up in sexual sin to protect the emotional safety of their relationship. And perhaps, just like Peter or Grace having read through the article, you ask, "What if I am guilty of sexual sin? What should I do?" Given the collapse of so many boundaries in modern society, many might be disturbed after reading this.

Sure, you have made a mistake, and it seems hard to stop. My encouragement is that God is crazy about you and forgives us our sins when we go before him in repentance. Acceptance is the first step towards healing and freedom. Are you willing to hold onto His word and wait? You can abstain now and commit to waiting and continence until marriage. Looking through the bible, we see examples of how Jesus handled the immoral with love (the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the prostitute who poured perfume on his feet with tears). To them, he said, "Let your last be past; go and sin no more!"

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:8‭-‬9 NKJV

God will forgive you and make you clean and cleanse you to purity once more if you surrender to Him. His sovereign Grace makes it possible for all our experiences to be used to magnify his name.

How Can I Keep Myself Sexually Pure?

Staying sexually pure in an oversexed society is an arduous task that can not be handled absent-mindedly.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to Your precepts]. With all my heart, I have sought You, [inquiring of You and longing for You]; Do not let me wander from Your commandments [neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience]. Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
Psalms 119:9‭-‬11 AMP
Take Responsibility for Your Sexual Purity

It starts with the personal desire to serve God by committing to obey His word rather than the culture or your raging emotions. You will be able to do this by first reading and understanding the word of God.

When feeling tempted, consider the consequences.

If you have seen a friend or someone you know doing a diet, you have quite an understanding of the disappointment of having a bad day after many victories. Continually living in sin because of backsliding is counterintuitive to the goal of abstinence before marriage.

Surround yourself with like-minded believers

For many Christian unmarried couples or single people, success in marriage means growing closer to God and staying reconciled to Him. However, truth be told, in the case that you are surrounded by people who encourage and enable Pre-Marital sex, you will fail to obtain abstinence before marriage. It is an uphill task for any alcoholic to quit alcohol when all their friends are in the same pit. Nevertheless, if you surround yourself with people who are aiming to keep their marriage bed holy, you will develop self-control, strength, and resilience.

Avoid sexual temptation in the media.

It goes without saying that we are what we consume. Winning early means being able to identify traps and staying away from them. Social media and the internet are a scary world for anyone seeking to have sexual morals. They are littered with soft, hard, and subtle pornography and various foms of illicit sexuality. Sometimes running is the first way of winning certain battles. You cannot stare at naked pictures overnight and expect not to oversexualize the opposite sex. Stop feeding your sexual desires.

Set hard boundaries

The idea is to set boundaries for yourself BEFORE you find yourself in a tempting situation. BEFORE YOU GO ON A DATE or even consider dating someone, you should consider and answer a set of specific questions. "Who will I date?" you should ask yourself. Who am I going to refuse to date? What will I do if they want sex after a few dates? What if they are not born again? Don't date them if you aren't willing to marry them. I believe that followers of Jesus Christ should date and marry other followers of Jesus Christ.

Create accountability for yourself
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 KJV

This will not be an easy conversation, but it deserves close attention. When we hide a sin, it gathers rolling momentum, and with every step we move forward, it becomes harder to deal with it. Sexual immorality never starts big; It begins as simple and small. The bible is replete with counsel and wisdom on accountability. That as iron sharpens iron, so does a man sharpen another. An accountability partner has three primary roles, to pray for you, confront your sin, and plead with you to repent before it's too late. Don't let your life and relationships remain unexamined by other brethren.

You can do it

Don't let Satan convince you that living right in our current society is impossible. If you are a young single, I wouldn't want to oversimplify or spiritualize every genuine problem you could be having. But I would love to encourage you that God delights in restoring what sin sought to destroy. Let us learn that the Christian posture is always one of service, sacrifice, and waiting. Say "No" to the promises of sin by keeping hope and faith in God.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. And at the end of ten days, their features appeared better and fatter in the flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king's delicacies.
Daniel 1:8‭, ‬15 NKJV

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