What's the problem with having sexual intercourse before marriage? I'm an intelligent, responsible and mature high school student, and I can't see why having sex with someone I love is wrong. Most of the arguments I've heard against my position are religious in nature and I just don't buy them. What's your response to that?
As you may know, Focus on the Family is an evangelical Christian organization, and so we take the teachings of the Bible seriously. The Bible clearly tells us that sex is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman. Sex is not just a matter of casual pleasure. It goes much deeper than that. It's all about two people becoming "one flesh." As we see it, this isn't just a question of one person's religious views against those of another. It's a matter of understanding God's best plan for the people He has created. Sexuality is most enjoyable, meaningful, and satisfying when we follow God's plan as it's given to us in the Bible.
We'd also like to point out that there are a number of other good reasons to save sex for marriage. They are practical, and they can be grouped into five basic categories.
- First, sex may result in pregnancy. Every year nearly 625,000 American teenagers become pregnant, and approximately three in ten of these pregnancies end in abortion. The vast majority of these pregnancies are unplanned, and a sizable percentage begin even though some form of birth control is used. Pregnancy changes everything in a young woman's life. Whether the child is born, miscarried or aborted, the emotional impact of the experience will remain in the mother's heart and mind. There's no way to pretend that nothing has happened.
- Second, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a constant danger for those who engage in extra-marital sex. More than twenty significant diseases can be transmitted skin to skin or by exchange of body fluids during sexual activity. Some are fatal, many have long-term physical and emotional consequences, and a few are relatively harmless. One of the most significant physical consequences is the risk of infertility. If you want to have children once you do get married, don't have sex ahead of time.
- Third, so-called safe sex really isn't safe. Prominent people in our culture may say otherwise, but statistically and scientifically speaking, only sex kept exclusively within the context of marriage is truly safe. It's as simple as that.
- Fourth, premarital sex distorts premarital relationships. Adding sex to a non-marital relationship, especially when adolescents are involved, is like throwing a one-thousand-pound weight into a rowboat. The center of gravity shifts drastically, forward motion becomes difficult and the whole thing may eventually sink. Sex never enhances a teenage romance. Instead, it almost always overwhelms and stifles it. Arguments, secrecy, stress and guilt usually replace laughter, discovery and meaningful conversation.
- Fifth and last, sex is too good and too wonderful to be treated lightly. The idea that sex should be kept within the boundaries of marriage is not based on notions that intercourse is dirty or unholy, but on a true appreciation of the priceless value of sex as God's fine art. If the Mona Lisa were entrusted to your care, you wouldn't leave it in your backyard, use it as a TV tray or line a birdcage with it. In the same way, to indulge in sexual behavior just for fun devalues one's own sexuality and identity. While movies and television often portray casual sex as the ultimate excitement, the truth is that a healthy, committed, long-term marital relationship is actually the best setting for satisfying sexual experiences. Within marriage, sex becomes a comfort, a natural stimulant (or relaxant), a playground, a special means of communication, and a bridge that can connect individuals to one another after a difficult day or season. Short-term relationships provide few if any of these benefits, and those involved in casual sex cannot approach or in some cases even comprehend them.
Naturally, there's a great deal more that could be said. If you're open to discussing these ideas and principles at greater length, we'd like to invite you to call and speak with a member of our counseling staff.
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Boundaries in Dating