One of the more maligned aspects of Christian morality is the view of sex. Many of the critics simple knock-down stereotypical strawmen, instead of examining the actual Church teachings on sex. Unfortunately, much of the stereotypes have been reinforced by uninformed Christians and their own ignorances of what the Bible actually says. But when examined properly, the Christian view of sex is one that gives even more evidence that Christianity is true and the way believers are called to live their lives is the most beneficial way possible.
Many people, wrongly, assume that Christians hate sex. They believe Christians don’t like sex and that we hold a very low view of it.
However in the Christian view, sex is held in very high esteem. In Christian theology, sex was given as a gift to humans by God. He could have designed human reproduction any way, but he wanted to given humans the gift of pleasure in sex.
In order to kept the pleasure at the highest state possible, He placed boundaries on it. His rules are not there to limit the fun of humans. On the contrary, when we use the gift of sex within the God-ordained boundaries we are able to experience sex in the highest form – the most pleasure, with the least possibility for pain.
Countless studies have been done to evaluate the effects of premarital sex on the success of the marriage. Here are some the evidences that support the Christian view of sex and why it ultimately is the best way:
One study found that 20 years later, men and women who had reported being virgins at age 18 were about 50% less likely to be divorced, had completed one additional year of formal education and had annual incomes about 20% higher than people who were not virgins at age 18. The study also found that women who were virgins at age 18 were half as likely to receive government assistance and more likely to have a positive financial net worth than women who reported having had sex by age 18.
A look at data by the Heritage Foundation found married women who have premarital intercourse are “34 percent more likely to experience marital dissolution” at some point in their marriage. For each year that sex is delayed prior to marriage, the “risk of marital disruption is reduced by about 8 percent.” Women who both premaritally cohabited and had an intimate relationship with a man other than her eventual husband are at a high risk for divorce (166 percent greater than virgins).
Compared with married couples who did not cohabit before marriage, couples who cohabit before marriage are 65 percent more likely to separate and, if separation occurs, only 33 percent as likely to subsequently reconcile.
Research has found that couples who did not engage in sexual activity before marriage report greater sexual fulfillment after marriage
Those who have trial marriages do not have better marriages. Trials, or half-steps, that test whether the relationship works are not successful—in fact, quite the opposite. Research indicates that couples who live together before marriage have significantly lower marital satisfaction than those who do not cohabit.
Other studies have shown that those who wait until marriage to have sex:
• Show higher levels of overall marital satisfaction
• Have a higher overall commitment to marriage as an institution
• Are more likely to see their spouse respects them
• Have a smaller fear of divorce
• Are less restless about their marriage and outside relationships
Those inclined to disagree with this research will most likely pan the sources, but they must acknowledge that it would be very difficult to find a liberal (or even moderate) source willing to publish such data. The findings run contrary to society and many common-held (or hoped for) beliefs.
I don’t report the findings with glee or with a smug satisfaction in the failings of others. I find it sad that so many people (both Christian and non-Christian) choose to attempt to find happiness (sexual and marital) outside of the guidelines that bring the best results.
I know many married and unmarried people (being 26, I still have “connections” to both worlds). None of my friends who are married come up to me and say, “Man, I wished I would have ran around with a few more girls before I got married.” (Even if one was willing to say that to a guy friend, would that say that to their spouse?)
In fact I find the opposite is true. Many of them have told me how much, now that they are married, they regret having sex with everyone except their wife.
Virtually all of them are looking for things to do to avoid the fate of many of our parents – divorce. They don’t want that to happen to them and their wives. Yet by their actions before marriage, they set themselves up for failure.
Violating the God-established standard of waiting until marriage for sex does not automatically make someone a bad person or even destine their marriage for failure. It does, however, increase (even if it is simply statistically) their chances for a divorce and a less satisfying marriage.
The biblical guidelines for sex are not there to hinder the development of people or even limit the fun of the follow, but rather are there to act as the lines in a road – if you stay within those lines you almost asure yourself of reaching your destination safely, but if you venture outside the lines you increase your chances of veering of course and becoming involved in an accident.
I don’t want to see people’s marriage described as accidents (or even worse – wrecks), but even more than me, God desires for us to have fruitful, loving, enjoyable relationships including marriage. These standards are not God-given because they are true, but they are true because they are God-given and we only increase the opportunity to hurt ourselves and others when we “go our own way.”
* I have purposely avoided mentioning the issue of being gay. That is a seperate debate. This one is strictly dealing with the issue of heterosexual sex and the consequences of engaging in that outside of marriage.