Christians and premarital sex

10 Feb

Why is it so important to wait to marriage? Well, back when the bible was being written (and up until recently) there was no way to tell for sure if a child was yours. Women were property, their main value derived from their ability to have children. They were property used by men to beget more men. Marriage was primarily a financial transaction where the husband buys a wife from the wife’s father. The father then walks his daughter down the aisle and “gives” his daughter to the other man. It’s all about property. Thus it was important to the men that their “property” not be previously “used”.

The theology behind it was just whipped up out of early church father’s utter disdain for woman and the human body. St. Augustine for example hated women and sex, and from this hate centuries of boys and girls were brought up to be ashamed of their bodies and desires. Your body and desires are perfectly natural and there is nothing wrong or dirty about them. Believing they are can lead to all types of sick disorders and self-loathing.

Besides these side effects, waiting to marriage can have some disastrous consequences. There are plenty of young evangelical men and women who are now rushing into marriage way to early, and for the wrong reasons. They’ve been told their entire lives that they can’t give in to their strongest urges until they’re married, and so these young adults are diving into marriage in their late teens, early twenties, just so they can have sex. They might not have ever dated anyone else seriously, and they aren’t fully ready to support themselves. Financial stress is one of the leading causes of divorce, and these kids just aren’t set up well enough on their own two feet to be in a marriage.

Here are the divorce rates among Christians, Jews, and Atheists:

Religion % have been divorced
Jews 30%
Born-again Christians 27%
Other Christians 24%
Atheists, Agnostics 21%

(I wouldn’t be surprised if  Born-again is so high up there because the kids rush into marriage just to have sex)

It’s important to experiment in life to see what works for you. You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t experience all life has to offer before you die.  I have a housemate that is engaged to a woman he’s never had sex with. The woman does not want to have sex before marriage, and so he’s going to wait 5-6 years (supposedly, if they last that long) to marry her and then have sex. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. What if he marries this person and they don’t have good sexual chemistry? Then he’s shafted for life! And don’t try and say “Well, the other qualities that makes him love her should overpower the lack of sexual chemistry”. That’s naive and unrealistic. Sex matters. You can have a great personality, but if the sex just isn’t good, the marriage/relationship is not going to work.

Telling kids to wait until marriage also increases the chance of teen pregnancy. In September 2009, a study came out showing a link between how religious a state is, and the teen pregnancy rate. Here is an indisputable FACT of life that will not change no matter what any religious book will ever say: Teens will have sex. This has been true for all  time, and will continue to be true forever. Telling teens to not have sex until they are married does nothing to keep them from having sex. Abstinence only does not work. Instead they will just not use birth control and will get pregnant, which raises the number of abortions. (Hint, want to stop abortions? Teach safe sex)

When it comes down to it, sex is all about responsibility. Some people are more responsible than others at different ages. I was very responsible when I was a teenager, many of my friends were not. Now that I’m an adult, I’m even more responsible, yet I know people my age and older who aren’t. It depends on the person. Some people are emotionally mature enough to handle sexual activity in their teens, some are not. If they are ready for sex, they must be responsible enough to also use protection consistently. Diseases are out there and they do not magically disappear when you get married.

If some people feel they are not ready for sex and want to wait until marriage, that’s fine, it’s their body, they can make that choice, but don’t then go and try to tell me I should do the same, that my body is sinful and dirty, that
I should be ashamed just like them. Marriage is an outdated patriarchal institution when it comes to managing sex.

7 Responses to “Christians and premarital sex”

  1. Rob F February 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    As a tangent, since at least the 1950s, 95% of Americans have had premarital sex (cite. The US seems not to have been harmed by this.

  2. Sidney Carton February 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    AIDS, Chlamydia, Syphillis, Herpes, Gonorrhea, etc… etc…

    Seems like there are still a fair number of practical reasons to avoid, or at least be selective, in one’s indulgence of libido.

  3. godlesspaladin February 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Selective and careful yes, but that’s what using protection is for. (and being sequentially monogamous)

  4. miscellaneoussheepery February 11, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that people used to get married at a much younger age than they do today, thus eliminating the whole “I’m a horny teenager and have no outlet except my right hand” stage. The way our society is structured nowadays means that people have to wait longer to get married because they cannot really support themselves or a family until they have graduated high school or college, which puts them in their late teens, twenties, or even thirties if they go to grad school and then get a doctorate. This makes it much harder to wait until marriage, because we are biologically wired to become sexually active and begin reproducing in our mid-teens.

  5. Mr. Hot Pants March 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    “back when the bible was being written (and up until recently) there was no way to tell for sure if a child was yours.”

    Ergo, the establishment of marriage to settle matters of heredity and inheritance. It’s not like you get Earned Income Credit as a reward for being really, really in-love. It’s all about legitimacy. The son of a married couple isn’t a bastard child, even if he bears a striking resemblance to the postman.

    “Your body and desires are perfectly natural and there is nothing wrong or dirty about them. Believing they are can lead to all types of sick disorders and self-loathing.”

    How Puritanical of you — and by that, I mean that the Puritans, like many Christians throughout history, shared your exact sentiment. I’d say that the attitudes of the early church toward women were a significant improvement over those of the Ancient Greeks. After all, weren’t St. Augustine’s views on women more of a reconciliation with Plato’s notion of them as imperfect men, part of an attitude that became the basis for western science? Keep in mind that St. Augustine also said, “If you expel prostitution from society you will unsettle everything on account of lusts.” Early Christians were quite enthusiastic about premarital sex, so long as (and you really hit it on the head here) you knew who the children belonged to.

    “It’s important to experiment in life to see what works for you. You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t experience all life has to offer before you die.”

    Funny you should say that. I just shot myself in the foot just so I’d know what it was like before I died. But seriously, “experience ALL that life has to offer” is a pretty tall order. Is that possible? My goodness, the sheer number of women I’d have to sleep with just to experience all of the different shapes and shades of areola . . . mind blowing.

    Of course, by your own logic, you shoot yourself in the foot by not experiencing a monogamous relationship. Assuming that the grass is not greener solely on your own side of the fence, you deny yourself experiences and opportunities by choosing any Option A over Option B. By driving a Ford, I will never know what my life would have been like driving a Nissan, which ironically enough is the very same thinking that leads to many divorces.

    I believe that your historic outlook is somewhat oversimplified and very much generalized on this matter. For example, though in some cultures the bride’s dowry was administered by her husband, Russian brides retained complete control of their own assets.
    http://www.goldschp.net/archive/wedding.html
    Attitudes varied by region and century (even decade).

    As to why modern Christians wait until marriage, the rationale isn’t so different from that of atheists. We emulate our parents. It’s not as though most eighteen years old have a sound theological understanding of their faith. To me, the benefit of waiting would have been experiencing all that life has to offer WITH my wife, instead of a revolving door of partners who are no longer part of my life. I met my wife in high school, we fell out of touch, and I fell in love with her when we met up ten years later. I would gladly trade that stretch of alternating experiments in sex and loneliness for ten years with her. For all that I love her, we missed out on so many firsts together. And talk about pressure to have kids. When you hit thirty, the family planning + sex life equation gets much more convoluted. It’s not like you are likely to conceive at forty.

  6. godlesspaladin March 2, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    “I’d say that the attitudes of the early church toward women were a significant improvement over those of the Ancient Greeks. After all, weren’t St. Augustine’s views on women more of a reconciliation with Plato’s notion of them as imperfect men, part of an attitude that became the basis for western science?”

    Oh yes, what an improvement. And Plato’s notion of the homunculus was the basis for bad western pseudo-science perpetuated to keep men in power, and has since been debunked.

    “Funny you should say that. I just shot myself in the foot just so I’d know what it was like before I died. But seriously, “experience ALL that life has to offer” is a pretty tall order. Is that possible? My goodness, the sheer number of women I’d have to sleep with just to experience all of the different shapes and shades of areola . . . mind blowing.”

    Oh fuck off, you know what I meant. If you want to sit in a box and pray to a stick of wood for the rest of your life, fine, but leave me alone and don’t tell me that I can’t enjoy life.

  7. Kaydence August 16, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    Wait, I cannot fathom it being so starihgtforwrad.

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