Sex before Marriage: Is it Better to Wait?
My wife and I kissed on our wedding day, and that night we did what all newly married people do… we made love. That’s not shocking. The shocking news is we waited until we were married to have sex.
This isn’t normal anymore. Most people have sex before they get married. Depending on what you read, research says between 75-91% of the population, by the time they hit 30 years old, have had sex before marriage.
I was 33 years old when we got married, so somehow I made it into the that 9%-25% of virgins who waited. I wish to clarify…I am not some self-righteous dude.
I am blessed that I was able to wait. Over the years I have struggled with porn and the desire to have sex before getting married. I know what it feels like to be burning with desire. But I am grateful that I waited. I had a lot of people encouraging me and helping me to keep that promise to myself and to my future wife.
But getting married and having sex at the age of 33 feels like an eternity to wait.
I can say there were times when I was angry with God for letting me remain single for so long.
So, would it have been better to have that “non-consequential” sex that Hollywood promises? Or is it better to wait until marriage?
Did I just waste those years when I could have been sexually exploring?
Here are a few classic comments and questions people have made when they found out I was waiting virgin:
-You should test the relationship to see if you are compatible.
-How do you know what you like if you haven’t sexually explored?
Why get married? Isn’t it just a piece of paper?
But is that true?
People are cohabiting or having sex before marriage for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is to test relationships therefore assuring a lifetime of happiness and avoiding divorce.
However, It is not contested today that there exist strong correlations between the practices of premarital sex, cohabitation and divorce.(2) -Helen M. Alvare
I am happy to say that my wife is the only one I have ever known intimately. I did it because I believe what the Bible teaches and it’s truth is, those who wait to have sex have a better chance of long term happiness.
People who live together before marriage are 39% more likely to have an affair even after getting married and those odds are twice as high for those 18-30 years of age, but that slowly reduces to 39% as you get closer to 50 years.(1)
For those who decide to sleep together before marriage, the odds of divorce is approximately 50% vs. 36%-38% who wait to have sex until after marriage.(3)
That statistic is over the life of the marriage but it doesn’t accurately tell the whole story. People who have sex or live together before marriage have a 50% percent chance from year one. Approximately 20% of Cohabitating relationships end up with pregnancy and which also further increases the odds of ending the relationship.(4)
Women who wait to have sex after marriage and after 21 years of age have an 80.8% of a stable marriage vs. 17%-53%* woman who have sex before marriage.(2) That is a staggering difference! (*Varies depending upon number of sexual partners and age of first sexual experience before the age of 21).
“Although it may appear to be a practical, positive stepping stone to a healthy marriage, research indicates living together before marriage (cohabitation) can bring significant harm to the relationship and the individuals involved. Cohabitation makes it more likely that couples will break up, and more likely that they will divorce if they do marry. Partners who cohabitate are more likely to be unfaithful than are married spouses, and they are also more likely to be violent toward the other partner.3
I will say it, again. I am grateful I waited until marriage to have sex! I wanted us to have the BEST chance of success with our relationship. I have never found the Bible to be wrong, or to disappoint me. The evidence over all the different studies in different cultures and values still show that God was right, sex is made for marriage and when we use it outside of marriage it opens us and our future family to a world of pain and grief.
Active Christians are much less likely to get divorced and have a much greater level of satisfaction in their love life and family relationship.(1)
So, next question. If you have already had sex, is it too late?
The answer is no. You just have to hit the reset button. Reconsider the relationship you are in and submit it to God. Sometimes that relationship can be reset; sometimes it has to be broken off. Jesus loves us, and when we stop compromising and trust Him for the best, we will find that He will cause our relationships to be successful and filled with joy. I have many of friends who lived the wild sex life and came back to what they knew to be true. They stopped that life style and gave control back to God. They waited to have sex again until they got married! These people are now in wonderful relationships and will tell you that sex before marriage wasn’t worth it! They have said putting God & marriage before sex was the best thing they did…for themselves and their future spouse.
(1) Sexual Infidelity Among Married and Cohabiting Americans
Author(s): Judith Treas and Deirdre Giesen
Source: Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), pp. 48-60
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1566686
(2)Helen M. Alvare, Saying Yes before Saying I Do: Premarital Sex and Cohabitation as a Piece of the Divorce Puzzle, 18 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 7 (2004).
Available at: http://scholarship.law.nd.edu/ndjlepp/vol18/iss1/2