For single Christians, especially those who are actively dating, perhaps through some of the many amazing Christian dating websites, sex is probably the most pressing question. Whether you are dating a Christian or someone who is not particularly religious, the question of sex is bound to come up sooner or later. Different people approach this matter differently, of course. There are so many questions that can be raised when it comes to sex before marriage – do I want it or do I want to remain pure? What exactly counts as premarital sex? What if I am no longer a virgin? If I do this, will God hate me for it? How do I resist? And many more.
Like everything else in this world and in this life, sex is also a creation of our Lord. However, as we all know, not all sex is to God’s liking. When practiced according to God’s plan, sex is a beautiful, sacred thing between two people. The Bible teaches us that particular plan includes sex between two married people, with the purpose of bringing a child to this world. That’s why premarital sex is something that many devout Christians are looking to avoid.
The time when all people were expected to remain sexually pure until they entered marriage is long gone, but for some, like so many Christians, it’s making a comeback. There are thousands of high school kids pledging purity and saving themselves for marriage. But they still do go on dates and see people, so the question of sex is far from solved.
Abstinence – What it Means
When someone commits to abstinence, it generally means no sex until marriage. It seems simple, but in reality it’s all one big “small print.” Because, what does it really mean to abstain from sex? What exactly are we abstaining from? Actual intercourse, or everything that goes before and after it? In general, Christians who are abstaining are promising to themselves, the others and, above all, to God, they will not participate in sexual activity until their first wedding night. It can be years along the way, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a beautiful, pure and holy goal and with God on our side, it doesn’t even have to be difficult.
In this day and age when everything is hyper-sexualized and sexual innuendos are lurking from every magazine page, from movies and TV shows, not to mention the Internet, abstinence can be difficult. Fortunately, there are various groups, between peers or within church, that can provide help and guidance along the way.
What Counts as Sex?
One of the questions that troubles almost anyone who pledged abstinence is – what exactly counts as sex? Is hugging or kissing okay? How about petting? Non-vaginal intercourse? What about first, second and third base? There isn’t a universal answer to these questions, unfortunately. There isn’t a textbook where everything is explained clearly and in great detail.
For some people, everything but actual penetration is okay. That means you can make out, hug, kiss with tongue, touch each other and so on, as long as there is no penetration.
For others, everything that goes beyond light kissing is off-limits. Some people only hold hands and briefly hug, because they believe that everything that even remotely gets you excited is considered illicit. It’s really a matter of how you see it personally and how you interpret the concept of sexual purity.
Is It All About Virginity?
It’s important to realize that abstinence and purity are not the same thing as virginity. For women, virginity is a very physical issue as well. Once your hymen is broken, there is no going back and your virginity is lost forever. However, it’s really not that simple. A man who has intercourse for the first time will no longer be a virgin, even though there is no physical evidence of it. He can pretend or lie about it, but you cannot lie to God, as he sees everything. Therefore, virginity is a spiritual and symbolical matter as it is a physical one.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be a virgin to pledge abstinence. For example, a person who was previously sexually active decides to save him or herself for marriage. No longer a virgin, he or she still wants to become or remain pure until marriage, and their efforts are just as valid as a virgin’s, because their intentions and their faith are pure.
Consequences of Premarital Sex
There is a number of negative consequences that come with having premarital sex. Health issues are just one concern, albeit a major one. HIV/AIDS and various sexually transmitted diseases are a constant threat to any sexually active individual. There are also spiritual, psychological and emotional concerns. A person may be coerced into premarital sex or may have done it to avoid embarrassment. Such situations can leave great emotional scars. For Christians, there is also the issue of having let your God down, having disobeyed or disappointed him, which can be just as troubling. Talking to someone at your church, your pastor or priest, can be of great help, and there are of course various church support groups, whether you have already had premarital sex or you are feeling extremely tempted to do so.
What if I Want to Have Sex Before Marriage?
Finally, there are also Christians who do not see premarital sex as something that directly defies God’s will. This position varies depending on the denomination, although in most of them premarital sex is still something that should be avoided.
In any case, you will definitely meet a lot of Christians who have already engaged in sex before marriage or intend to do so. If you are not comfortable with breaking your abstinence pledge and if you want to remain pure until marriage, it’s best to avoid dating those people.
The best way to go about it is to always try to be as clear and honest as you can when it comes to the subject of sex. Talk to your date or potential partner about your position regarding premarital sex, whether you are for it or against it. If you are on the same page – that’s great. If you are not – that’s okay too, you’ll just have to keep looking. Just never, ever anyone force you into doing something you don’t want to do.