Caution: some of the content in this blog may not be appropriate for children. Rated PG-13 for sexual references.
Even though it’s been quite a few years, I remember fairly vividly one of the assignments I had to do for school (I was in high school). The assignment was to write a letter to my daughter, telling her all the reasons why she shouldn’t have sex before marriage. The point of this was, of course, to try to cement those beliefs in my own mind and heart and to remind me that one day, I will have to have that talk with my daughter and that talk should be a story of success, not of guilt and disappointment. I think of that assignment from time to time. I remember generally the things I said and what I said back then hasn’t changed. I still believe those things. But it’s different now that I’m married.
Here are the reasons (I know I included most of these in my assignment) why people shouldn’t have sex before marriage.
1) STD’s – these are so common now, it’s virtually impossible to have sex with random people (i.e. anyone who’s not your spouse) for even a short amount of time before contracting one. A lot of men carry them but don’t know it and aren’t affected by them. STD’s devastate women in particular. Many women who get them are sterile because of it and a lot of the STD’s can’t be cured – the women carry them for the rest of their lives. If they do have children, they run a fairly high risk of passing it to their children. You don’t hear this talked about much in the media. Why? Because the ONLY sure way of protecting yourself from an STD is abstinence, and you definitely don’t hear that in the media. Let me be clear – condoms can help but they DO NOT protect you 100% from STD’s. Also, quite a few people (mostly teens and early 20’s) now suffer from mouth and throat cancer. They get it from having oral sex with someone who has an STD. It’s not worth it.
2) Pregnancy – I don’t know the exact statistics on teen pregnancies but I know the numbers are high, upwards of 75% in the black community, less among Hispanics and Caucasians. After an unmarried girl gets pregnant, her options are limited. A) put the baby up for adoption – a painful but sacrificial decision. B) marry the dad (if her/his parents allow it) and try to live a semi-normal life. Life will never be normal though, since a lot of pregnant teen girls drop out of high school because of it and a lot of pregnant college girls drop out also. C) try to raise the baby yourself, but that virtually guarantees that the girl has to drop out of school, whether high school or college, and work full-time to support herself and her baby. D) abort – that girl/woman will suffer from that decision for the rest of her life, constantly plagued by guilt and self-loathing. Every time a child laughs, it’ll be like a knife being driven into her heart. It’s not worth it.
3) Emotional destruction – unlike men, almost all women have to have an emotional connection with the guy before they’ll have sex. Then they have sex and a few days/weeks/months later, he breaks up with her and she’s crushed. She slowly recovers but is constantly nagged by feelings of worthlessness – her self esteem is shot. Many times, another guy will come along and recovery will be swifter. She’ll give her heart to that guy and the cycle continues. But after awhile, it doesn’t hurt so much. It’s like… if you put tape on your arm than peel it off. The first time, it hurts like heck. The second time, it hurts like heck but not as bad. The third time, it stings. The fourth time, you feel it but it doesn’t really hurt. The fifth time, you don’t even notice. That’s what happens to the girl’s heart – pretty soon, there’s nothing left to feel the pain. It’s not worth it.
4) Marriage – one of the things that most people don’t consider when they’re sleeping around is the negative impact their promiscuous lifestyle is going to have on their marriage. Habits die hard. If you’re having sex with someone who’s not your husband/wife right now, why would you change after you have a ring on your finger? And for a lot of people, it doesn’t change. A lot of affairs/divorces happen because the husband or wife isn’t content with who they’re married to. Before marriage, if they grew discontented with the person they were having sex with, they just moved on. After marriage, they either get a divorce or have an affair. Inevitably, they find someone else and get married again… and do the same thing. And you people out there who are marrying someone who you’ve been having sex with – if you can’t trust him/her now to only have sex within marriage, why should you trust him/her after you marry him/her? Also, besides the fact that you really shouldn’t trust the person you’re marrying, quite a few people (though certainly not as many as what it should be) live with guilt the rest of their lives for having sex before marriage. How can you tell your child to do the right thing when you didn’t? It’s not worth it.
5) Sex makes you stupid – a blessing in marriage, a disaster outside of marriage. There’s something about sex and the emotional connection that’s forged that just makes people not think straight. In marriage, it’s an awesome thing. When you have that kind of connection with another person, you tend to be more forgiving, you notice bad things about the other person less, and you have that general “stars in your eyes” thing. Yes, it does lessen the longer you’re married, but as long as you continue with an active sex life, the effect will always be there. God created sex to be the glue that holds your marriage together – it’s the only thing you should only be doing with your spouse (you can talk to your friends, you can go out to eat with your friends, you can say you love your friends, but sex is reserved for just your spouse) and it’s very special. However, when you’re having sex outside of marriage, it blinds you to what the other person is really like. You have that “stars in your eyes” thing… but it’s at the wrong time. You need to have a clear head and be focused before marriage so you pick the right person. The percentage of people who had sex before marriage then got divorced is very high. Why? Because after they got married, the “stupid” went away and they realize what the other person is REALLY like. If you don’t believe me, go ask some people. I think you’ll be shocked. It’s not worth it.
6) The reasons given above apply across the board, whether you’re a Christian or not. But if you’re a Christian, one of the most devastating things about having sex before marriage is that you destroy your witness to those around you. Having sex before marriage and being a Christian do not go together. “Yes, I’m a Christian but I sleep with my boyfriend every weekend”. Well, I’m sorry, but what kind of Christian is that? The Bible is clear: sex before marriage is wrong. If you don’t believe me, look at how many times in the New Testament “fornication” is forbidden. It’s wrong, it disappoints God, and it destroys your witness. If you’re really a Christian, you can’t do it. It’s just that simple. I don’t know which is worse though, the disappointment of God or the destruction of your witness. Whichever it is, it’s not worth it.
From a different perspective, as Christians, we’re required to love everyone. Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). If you really loved the one you’re fornicating with, you wouldn’t be doing it. Love means doing what’s best for the other person. Sex before marriage is not best for the other person (see reasons above). Love doesn’t steal. Sex before marriage is taking something that doesn’t belong to you. It’s not love and it’s not worth it.
Like I said above, I still believe (as I did back then) that sex before marriage is wrong and isn’t worth it. But I also said that it’s different now. Why is it different? Because back then, I wondered sometimes if I had the strength of character to stand strong in the midst of temptation. And now I know that I do. I’m very happy, proud, and relieved to say that I was a virgin on my wedding day (don’t hear those words out of people very often, do you?). I know that some people claim to be virgins but then you find out they’ve done everything BUT (in fact, oral sex is often called “Christian sex” since a lot of people do only that before marriage and still think they’re virgins… sorry people, but you’re not). That wasn’t me. I wasn’t perfect but (not to get too graphic) clothes stayed on and hands didn’t stray. I don’t have feelings of guilt or remorse, I don’t live every day with a shadow because of the things I did. And I KNOW that I would’ve been one of those people who feel the burden of that guilt every day. I also know that the oft-used arguments “I can’t help it” or “everybody does it!” aren’t true. I didn’t do it. Because I knew that it wasn’t worth it.
Now, I know there are many people out there who can’t go back and fix their mistakes. If you’re truly sorry for what you did, God will forgive you. But why even get to the point where you have to beg for forgiveness? Wouldn’t it have been better if you hadn’t done it in the first place? That’s why you need to teach your kids to do the right thing. That’s why you need to be accountable to someone and hold them accountable. That’s why you need to do the right thing with the small things, so when you’re faced with bigger temptations, you have the strength of character to resist. This isn’t about trying to make anyone feel bad (unless of course you’re having sex outside of marriage right now… than I hope you feel like crap for what you’re doing); it’s about trying to stop something before it starts. We have to learn this lesson or it will destroy not only our lives, but the lives of our children and their children and their children. Believe me people. It’s not worth it.
There’s one last thing I’d tell my daughter: “My darling girl, your virginity is the most precious, wonderful gift you have. It can only be given once. Save it for the man you marry. I know how much you’ll love him and I know, because of that love, you’ll want to give it to him and him alone. The world will tell you that you can have sex with no bad side effects, men will tell you that they love you just so they can use you, your girlfriends will tell you how great it is to be able to sleep with any guy they want. But God tells you that it’s worth the wait and when you marry, you’ll agree. And trust me, daughter, when I tell you that it’s worth the wait. I know…. because I waited.”