Simply because something has become more acceptable to society as a whole doesn't make it either right or without consequences. There are very real dangers that are associated with sex before and outside of marriage. I'm not looking for people to agree or disagree, but rather I'm looking to make some very sound, very logical, very clear presentations of the dangers.
IT IS THE NUMBER ONE SOURCE OF STDS.
Statistics prove that having multiple partners increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Some are curable and some aren't. And if you choose to have sex before or outside of marriage then the odds are you'll have multiple partners. This is a danger that I'll not linger on for it is one of the most known and written about.
Even a casual goggle search will reveal article after article on this subject.
IT MAKES HAVING A LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP MORE DIFFICULT
Sex before or outside of marriage begins to gnaw away at your emotional ties to long term relationships. You find yourself divorcing your emotions from the actual act of sex. This cheapens your emotions and short-circuits your ability to form lasting and meaningful relationships.
Sex is a highly emotional experience-at least it ought to be. If it is not, then I can bet you've had multiple partners already. Molesting a child does emotional damage to that child for the rest of his or her life. This merely demonstrates the emotional impact of sex on our mental state. Even for a teenager or young adult, having sex outside of the committed relationship of marriage damages us emotionally and makes having a future lasting and committed relationship more difficult and for some impossible.
If you have any desire at all for a lifelong relationship where two people have given each other fully and completely to each other, consider what I am saying. Sex before marriage or outside of it damages your chances.
If sex is the foundation of a relationship, the relationship itself has very little to support it. The foundation of a marriage ought to be the commitment they both people have towards each other. The sexual act becomes a wonderful expression of that commitment, it says, "You and only you." But sex outside of marriage says something completely different. It certainly harms your ability to stay within a lasting and meaningful relationship.
Over the years that I've been counseling marriages, the ones that seem to have the fewest problems and the ones that seem to be strongest are those that saved themselves for each other. They let sex become a statement of their commitment and dedication, not a selfish fulfillment of a bodily function.
But the marriages where either of the two have had sex before or outside of it have commitment issues. They can't have sex with each other and have it mean the same thing as those who saved themselves. I have to help them find another means to express that commitment.
IT MAKES SEX, AS AN EXPRESSION OF LOVE, EMPTY
The standard argument for having sex outside of marriage or even before it is this: If two people love each other, then what is so wrong with having sex?
If the only means to say, "I love you," is to have sex, then we are in trouble. Sex ought to be the final expression of your love when you have thrown yourself completely and absolutely into a lifelong relationship. Anything less than complete commitment makes the expression of sex mundane and often even vain.
Someone who only seeks to have sex without the emotional impact of it only wants the physical ride, but not the expression of love that is meant to go with it. I've witnessed so many people struggle and struggle to find any meaningful relationship. Love has been cheapened to them and often becomes empty.
Sex, as a final act of commitment, is a powerful statement of love, one that my wife and I cherish deeply. I am so glad that I was able to give her this gift, and that she was able to give this to me. Sex, for us, deepens our commitment and rekindles our excitement. But done outside of the marriage, this no longer becomes true.
IT ROBS YOU OF SELF WORTH
Sex ought to be the period or exclamation mark on your love and commitment to another person. Take away the commitment and replace it with a cheap love, you rob yourself of one of the most precious gifts you can give. It also damages your own self worth. You'll begin to think either less of yourself, or others will think less of you. A woman who is loose is seen as a cheap thrill for a man. A man who goes from woman to woman is usually seen as a bad risk by a woman seeking to have a real and meaningful relationship.
More than that, people who never get to know you emotionally, spiritually, or mentally and still have sex with you never do get to know you beyond that. Once the physical is introduced, it often becomes the body of the relationship instead of putting the exclamation point on it. People rarely explore a relationship beyond the physical. You have fun with no depth. You have excitement with no meaning. This always erodes your own self image in either your own eyes or the eyes of others.
There comes a point when age and experience allows you to realize that sex is not the relationship. But if that is all you have, your mind and heart begins to drift and you begin to question your own self worth. Is it just your body that the other craves? What happens when you get sick, or old, or wrinkled? Will you be loved when you can't perform like you do now? Can the relationship survive outside of the sexual act?
No teenage boy will emerge from a nursing home and say to his friends, "I saw a lot of sexy old women today!" Yet, every one of his future sex partners will eventually look like that and so will he.
There is more to you, more to your relationships than sex. Sex in marriage is the period or exclamation mark on a relationship that has significantly more depth and understanding to it than the physical. Ironically, it actually makes the sexual act much more enjoyable and meaningful done this way.
IT WILL HAUNT YOU IN FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS
This I can practically guarantee. I don't have the time to recount the number of marriages that struggle because of some indiscretion before or outside of the marriage. If you had to deal with the problems I have, you'd feel the same way I do about this entire issue.
Regret, depression, anxiety, abortion, nightmares, suspicion, trust issues, child support, adultery, anger, bitterness, rape, health issues, troubled children, rebellious teenagers using the past against the parent, teenage pregnancies, divorce, cancer, Aids, pornography, addictions, birth defects, and many, many more are all issues that I can often trace back to sex before or outside of marriage.
I've dealt with all of the above things and more in counseling broken marriages. Almost always, I can trace the root of the issue to sex before or outside of the marriage.
I can't honestly think of a marriage that hasn't been haunted by sexual misconduct before the marriage. And there are many examples of this. A woman who was sexually molested or abused as a child will find it difficult to trust men in general and her husband in particular. That's not her fault, but it is something she will live with. A man that has had sex with many different women struggles to convince his wife that he loves her and only her and he constantly deals with his memories and even dreams. His protestations of love are often viewed as cheap and insufficient.
I could go on and on and on about the problems that are created because of sex before or outside of marriage. Lifelong relationships always suffer as a result.
FOR THE CHRISTIAN
Naturally, God discourages sex before marriage. I read once where someone argued that God never discouraged such a thing, but even a casual reading of the Scriptures will dissuade you from that notion.
Hebrews 13:4 - Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2 - Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman (sexually). Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
Sex, in God's eyes, is more than a physical act. It is a spiritual experience meant to illustrate to us the joy of being in the presence of the Lord. Interestingly enough, fornication is often depicted as idolatry.
Deuteronomy 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
2 Chronicles 21:11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.
God sees sex as a demonstration of a commitment to one person. Anything else is seen as fornication, whoring, adultery, and other sexual perversions. By keeping our sexual activities limited to one person in the bonds of marriage, we reinforce our own Christian bond and union with Jesus Christ. Marriage itself is compared scripturally to salvation in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:21-33). Marriage is a microcosm, a means by which we understand God better, of the relationship we have between Jesus Christ.
Marriage is a wonderful picture of the security we have in Jesus Christ for salvation. Sex is a wonderful, spiritual, picture of the joy we have in Christ. It is holy, right, and honorable in marriage.
No matter if you are a Christian or not, there are plenty of dangers to experiencing sexual activity outside of the marriage. The dangers are real. They do exist. And they do cause more problems than you'd ever really believe.
Again, if you could sit in my seat and listen to the broken, struggling, and desperate lives that result from this, you'd see why I hold these opinions.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
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