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Talking Points (Abstinence)

  • While sexual intimacy is the exclusive privilege of a husband and wife within the context of marriage, sexual morality is the concern of individuals, families and society.
  • Abstinence until and faithfulness within marriage fulfills the biblical guidelines of sexual morality, which include the following:
    • Human sexuality is both a gift and a responsibility.
    • The morality of sex is defined by God's holiness and His standards rather than by human desire, experience, personal preference, culture or opinion.
    • Sexual behavior is moral only within the institution of heterosexual, monogamous marriage.
    • Marriage protects an important purpose of personal sexual intimacy: to reflect the intimate moral and spiritual union Christ will one day enjoy with His Church.
    • God's standards for sexual moral purity are meant to protect human happiness; only sex within marriage can be physically enjoyable, emotionally satisfying, psychologically fulfilling and spiritually meaningful as He fully intended.
    • Sex is not an entitlement, nor is it needed for personal wholeness or emotional maturity.
    • Sexual sins can be fully forgiven through repentance and faith in Christ's atoning work, but physical and psychological consequences caused by sexual sin cannot always be erased in this life.
    • Sexual celibacy is a worthy state for mature men and women. Unmarried singles who abstain from sex are as pleasing to God as faithful persons in marriage.
    • All persons – even unmarried teenagers – can rely on God's strength to abstain from sex before marriage.
    • Sexual immorality threatens the stability of marriages and families. Early premarital sex increases the likelihood of promiscuity and future marital breakup. 1
    • Sexual immorality threatens the stability of our society. 2
    • Sexual activity outside of marriage causes physical, mental and emotional consequences including out-of-wedlock childbearing, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, guilt, fear, depression, lowered self-respect and increased risk of suicide. 3

    1Bridget Maher, "Why Wait: The Benefits of Abstinence until Marriage," Family Research Council, 2008. See
    2Joseph Daniel Unwin, "Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behavior," address given on 27 March 1935, to the medical section of the British Psychological Society, printed by Oxford University Press (London, England).

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