Predicting this thread will be a hopping one
This particular issue really hits close to home for me, having been ‘a fornicator’ in virtually all the relationships I was in before meeting my fiancee, and now with my fiancee waiting till marriage for sex, and it’s been a long wait, going on six years now, and it will probably be a least another year or two before we tie the knot…
So there is both the shame that I still sometimes feel about my past (though I know that God forgives me for all of it, whatever wrong there was in it, which I’m thankful for) and also the difficulty of waiting in the present, that I have to contend with.
For a long time, up until recently, I assumed that sex before marriage was always wrong, and you had to wait… but nowadays I’m not so sure.
And my reasons for waiting now with my fiancee Kaylyn have less to do with religious convictions then they do with Kaylyn’s wishes. On the one hand she promised her maternal grandma (whom she was very close to, and who passed away only a year or so before I met Kaylyn) that she would keep her virginity till she married.
She also promised God at some point that she would.
Along with this, she’s a little scared about it. Not that she doesn’t ever want to do it, she knows that when we’re married that will come with the territory… but I think she’s kind of gotten used to the way things are (she’s even confessed as much to me) and is a little afraid of the change in our relationship that sex may bring (though she agrees that we’ll work it out somehow and adapt to the change when the time comes ).
That, and she’s a little afraid of having her ‘cherry popped’, of the pain of that, though I’ve assured her that it’ll be fine, cuz we can take it slow… though I can’t make any promises about the pains of childbirth, though I’ve given her permission to beat me up in retaliation for impregnating her when the time comes for that, if that makes her feel any better.
And along with all of this, on my end, I know that I would feel better about it if I waited, knowing me, and I figure I’ve waited this long, so I mi’aswell tough it out till the end, otherwise all the waiting will have been for nothing, if you know what I mean.
But despite my more complicated situation, I don’t necessarily believe that sex before marriage is always wrong, or at least I’m not so sure about the traditional take on it as I once was. Perhaps in God’s eyes marriage has less to do with signing papers and holding a ceremony then it does with the depth of connection two people have, and if their relationship, and their commitment to one another, has progressed to a certain level, then maybe sex isn’t a bad idea, whether they’ve signed papers and held a ceremony or not.
But, to balance this out, I don’t think jumping in the sack right away is a good idea… and I know this from experience.
Sex is a powerful act, and it can gather all the focus of one or both members in the relationship, to the exclusion of other aspects of the relationship, which doesn’t give the whole relationship, in all of its aspects, a chance to really blossom…
I learned this the hard way… in every relationship I was in before I met Kaylyn, it was all about the sex, at least for me.
I focused on it so much that I neglected all the other aspects of those relationships I was in, so things fell apart pretty fast…
For example, one of the women I was with before I met Kaylyn even said that though I was good in the bedroom, I wasn’t good outside of it.
But I think (or I hope anyway) that if you wait awhile, and focus on all other aspects of the relationship for a good amount of time, then it gives that relationship some time to blossom, so then you have a solid foundation, and then when you add sex to the mix, instead of damaging the relationship overall, it only makes it stronger…
Or at least that’s what I’m betting on.
Of course, this may not be the case with everyone… perhaps some can include sex in their relationship from the get go without depriving or hurting other aspects of their relationship, but then again, I still think it’s best that people at least wait until they’ve gotten to know each other fairly well, and have given some time to see how strong and deep their relationship is, or to see where it is going, if anywhere… I think there should be strong commitment and real love and lots of trust in the relationship, at the very least, before you start getting naked together…
Sex is something good, by nature, I know, because God created it, but like any other good thing it can messed with or approached wrong or twisted into something bad…
To illustrate, this great quote from Frederick Buechner:
‘Contrary to what some believe, sex is not a sin.
Contrary to Hugh Hefner, sex isn’t salvation either.
Like nitroglycerin, it can be used either to blow up bridges or to heal hearts.’
Sadly, I’ve most often, well, always, experienced it as something bad, something to be ashamed of (even though, granted, it *felt * immensely good, to be sure, in the moment), as something that blows up bridges, and not as something good, or to be unashamed of, though I do hope in marriage that I can experience it in a new way, as something that God has blessed, as something good, which I need not feel any shame about, as something that heals hearts…
With all that said, to give my two cents on your questions, or those I haven’t covered in what I’ve already said…
I do feel that certain segments of the church are just too legalistic, not to mention nosy, about all of this… ultimately what two consenting adults do (who aren’t attached to anyone else but each other… adultery is another issue entirely, and should be addressed by the church, I believe, albeit in a loving yet firm way) behind closed doors is between them and God, I should think, and it’s none of the church’s business, at least in my opinion…
And sadly yes, I think women are more effected by this, because when men sleep around, people will say ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘they’re just sowing their wild oats’, but when women sleep around, they get called names, like ‘slut’ or ‘whore’.
The unspoken rule in many corners of society is that women are expected to hold to a higher standard of ‘purity’ than men, which is unfair if you ask me. After all, as I’m sure you’ll agree Jael, women have sex drives too.
And I do think that culture may play a part in all of this. Perhaps in some cultures it is best to wait, in others, it is okay if you don’t. Not sure on that one though.
And as far as causing damage, I think it all depends on the situation, and on the people and on the relationship… in some cases it may do more harm than good, as it did in my case, but in others, it may not.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were non-married sexual relationships that were more Christlike than some married relationships, as Christ is often found in the most unlikely of places.
And as far who can’t marry, for whatever reason?
I’d say if they really love each other and are committed to each other, they should just go for it, without shame, because marriage probably has less to do with signing papers or with traditional ceremonies than it does with the quality and depth of the relationship itself anyway.
For instance, Adam and Eve signed no papers, nor did they hold any ceremony… they had God’s blessing, and that was enough for them to be naked and unashamed.
It may be interesting to take a look at what the Bible says about this, but like others here, I don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, and I believe some of what’s in there may only be people’s opinions or only applied at the time it was written, so… but it may be interesting.
And perhaps a couple more things worth throwing in the mix and discussing: masturbation and pornography.
Personally I’ve come to believe that masturbation by nature is okay. It’s not the ideal, but I don’t think it’s wrong in general.
Though I think we shouldn’t fantasize about anyone we have no business fantasizing about…
For instance, Kaylyn tells me she’s okay with it as long as I only fantasize about her, and no one else. Fair enough
As far as pornography, I still believe it’s not a good thing. I’ve wrestled with it for much of my life, and it’s never done me any good. It can be very addictive and can consume your life and your mind, so I think all in all it’s not okay, and should be avoided as much as possible…
Anyways, I think that’s my two cents on the matter for the time being.
And I’m guessing Johnny and others will throw in their two cents as well.
Thanks for bringing this up, Jael, and blessings to you