Abstinence Before Marriage: Our Position

Focus on the Family is dedicated to defending the permanence of marriage and traditional families. We believe that the institution of marriage is a sacred covenant, meant to be the basic building block of human civilization.

Research has found that marriages and families tend to survive for a lifetime when entered into by two loving, heterosexual, mutually monogamous individuals who have saved themselves sexually for each other and remain faithful to one another. This is in accordance with God's plan.

Sex is beautiful and holy. The purpose of sex is for procreation, union (bonding), mutual delight between husband and wife, and celibacy (if single). Sex is unselfish and centered on the other spouse, not on oneself. When we remain sexually abstinent before marriage and faithful within marriage, we are not simply saying "no" to sex but rather "yes" to God's unique plan. Therefore, abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage have historically protected and will continue to protect individuals and society.

Like married people, singles are called to steward their sexuality as a gift from God. They do so through faithful devotion to Christ. By foregoing or awaiting the intimacies of marriage, a single person affirms the exclusive and covenantal relationship of marriage and all it symbolizes. Celibacy is a worthy state for mature men and women.

Remaining abstinent until marriage manifests a number of immediate benefits for the individual who follows God's plan, and it also lays a foundation of blessings for the individual's future spouse, children and extended family. God's moral standards are meant for ultimate freedom and protection in sexual expression.

Parents are charged with teaching the next generation the sexual morals and values given to them by God. Parents are responsible for staying involved with their children to keep communication open so that they can continually educate them in God-centered sexuality. Children, teens and young adults need to know the implications of sexual sin for themselves and others. It's essential that they realize Christ's forgiveness if they have made mistakes, along with the need for repentance under Christ's mercy and grace. But they must also realize that the consequences of sexual sin cannot always be erased in this life.

Sexuality is a glorious gift from God meant to honor Him either in marriage or in celibacy. Unmarried singles who abstain from sex are as pleasing to God as faithful persons in marriage. All people – even unmarried teenagers – can rely on God's strength to abstain from sex before marriage. Abstinence outside of marriage supports God's design for sexual intimacy.