Premarital Sex - Positives and Negatives
"Is it ok to have premarital sex?" That is a common question among teens and engaged couples. Perhaps you are in a relationship that is progressing in that direction, but you're not sure what to do. In your mind, you are probably weighing the pros and cons of premarital sex. On the positive side of the scale, there is acceptance from your peers, hope for pleasure, and the fulfillment of sexual desires. The negative side of the scale carries the weights of morals, fear of pregnancy or disease, and guilt. How do these scales balance? What is the right decision? Let's take a look at some of the facts.
Premarital Sex - Is it Moral?
Morality is a factor for many people when deciding whether or not to have premarital sex. Is it a factor for you? After all, the messages we receive from most TV shows and movies these days tells us "everyone is doing it." In light of today's permissive attitude, your peers may think you're weird to even question it.
But maybe there is something inside you, like a voice in your head, that is making you uncertain about whether or not sex before marriage is a right or wrong action. Many people refer to this voice as their conscience. How can you know if your "conscience" is right? People all around the world look to the Bible as a moral or religious book, so let's see what it says about premarital sex.
The Bible refers to premarital sex as fornication. That's a word we don't hear much these days, so what does it mean? Fornication is sexual intercourse between people who are not married to each other. The only distinction the Bible makes between premarital sex and adultery is that adultery involves married persons while fornication involves those who are unmarried. Premarital sex is just as much of a sin as adultery and all other forms of sexual immorality. They all involve having sexual relations with someone you are not married to.
The Bible explains, "…The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Corinthians 6:13). Verse 18 of this chapter goes on to say, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body." Galatians 5:19 speaks the same, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity…" Ephesians 5:3 says it most plainly, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." From these verses, we see that the Bible promotes complete and total abstinence from premarital sex.
Premarital Sex - Is it Safe Physically and Emotionally?
Another consideration when deciding about premarital sex is safety. Did you know that 50% of the people who currently have HIV are between the ages of 15 and 24?1 Using a condom only reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 85%. Condoms do not significantly reduce the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases.2 Take these statistics into consideration when making your decision.
Most people don't consider the emotional effects of premarital sex. You see, sex is an emotional experience and it affects our lives in ways we don't understand. After engaging in premarital sex, many people express feelings of guilt, embarrassment, distrust, resentment, lack of respect, tension, and so much more. As you read the next section, consider God's love for you as a primary reason for sexual purity. God does not want you to experience unnecessary emotional pain!
Premarital Sex - Recreation or Re-creation?
In discussing premarital sex, we often focus on the "recreation" aspect of it. Yes, sex is pleasurable. God, our Creator, designed it that way. It may be hard to think of God creating sex, but He did! In God's plan, sex was designed for married couples to enjoy the pleasure and excitement of sexual relations. The Bible talks about this in 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." God created sex to be fun, exciting, and pleasurable. At the same time, though, it is clear in the Bible that God restricts sexual activity to married couples.
Why is this? Yes, sex is pleasurable, but in God's view, the primary purpose of sex is not recreation, but rather re-creation. In other words, sex is for reproduction. God does not limit sex to married couples to rob pleasure from those who are unmarried. Rather, God commands against premarital sex in order to protect unmarried people from unwanted pregnancies, from children born to parents who do not want them, and to protect children from parents who are not prepared for them. Imagine, for a moment, a world without premarital sex. There would be no sexually-transmitted diseases, there would be no un-wed mothers, there would be no unwanted pregnancies, there would be no abortions, etc. According to the Bible, abstinence is God's only policy when it comes to premarital sex. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and most importantly abstinence honors God.
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