Premarital Sex Research Is it Safe Physically and Emotionally?

By Live Dr - Wed May 20, 3:52 am

Premarital Sex – Positives and Negatives
“Is it ok to have premarital sex?” That is a common question among teens and engaged couples. Perhaps you are in a relationship that is progressing in that direction, but you’re not sure what to do. In your mind, you are probably weighing the pros and cons of premarital sex. On the positive side of the scale, there is acceptance from your peers, hope for pleasure, and the fulfillment of sexual desires. The negative side of the scale carries the weights of morals, fear of pregnancy or disease, and guilt. How do these scales balance? What is the right decision? Let’s take a look at some of the facts.

Premarital Sex – Is it Moral?
Morality is a factor for many people when deciding whether or not to have premarital sex. Is it a factor for you? After all, the messages we receive from most TV shows and movies these days tells us “everyone is doing it.” In light of today’s permissive attitude, your peers may think you’re weird to even question it.

But maybe there is something inside you, like a voice in your head, that is making you uncertain about whether or not sex before marriage is a right or wrong action. Many people refer to this voice as their conscience. How can you know if your “conscience” is right? People all around the world look to the Bible as a moral or religious book, so let’s see what it says about premarital sex.

The Bible refers to premarital sex as fornication. That’s a word we don’t hear much these days, so what does it mean? Fornication is sexual intercourse between people who are not married to each other. The only distinction the Bible makes between premarital sex and adultery is that adultery involves married persons while fornication involves those who are unmarried. Premarital sex is just as much of a sin as adultery and all other forms of sexual immorality. They all involve having sexual relations with someone you are not married to.

The Bible explains, “…The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13). Verse 18 of this chapter goes on to say, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Galatians 5:19 speaks the same, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity…” Ephesians 5:3 says it most plainly, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” From these verses, we see that the Bible promotes complete and total abstinence from premarital sex.

Premarital Sex – Is it Safe Physically and Emotionally?
Another consideration when deciding about premarital sex is safety. Did you know that 50% of the people who currently have HIV are between the ages of 15 and 24?1 Using a condom only reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 85%. Condoms do not significantly reduce the risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases.2 Take these statistics into consideration when making your decision.

Most people don’t consider the emotional effects of premarital sex. You see, sex is an emotional experience and it affects our lives in ways we don’t understand. After engaging in premarital sex, many people express feelings of guilt, embarrassment, distrust, resentment, lack of respect, tension, and so much more. As you read the next section, consider God’s love for you as a primary reason for sexual purity. God does not want you to experience unnecessary emotional pain!

Premarital Sex – Recreation or Re-creation?
In discussing premarital sex, we often focus on the “recreation” aspect of it. Yes, sex is pleasurable. God, our Creator, designed it that way. It may be hard to think of God creating sex, but He did! In God’s plan, sex was designed for married couples to enjoy the pleasure and excitement of sexual relations. The Bible talks about this in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” God created sex to be fun, exciting, and pleasurable. At the same time, though, it is clear in the Bible that God restricts sexual activity to married couples.

Why is this? Yes, sex is pleasurable, but in God’s view, the primary purpose of sex is not recreation, but rather re-creation. In other words, sex is for reproduction. God does not limit sex to married couples to rob pleasure from those who are unmarried. Rather, God commands against premarital sex in order to protect unmarried people from unwanted pregnancies, from children born to parents who do not want them, and to protect children from parents who are not prepared for them. Imagine, for a moment, a world without premarital sex. There would be no sexually-transmitted diseases, there would be no un-wed mothers, there would be no unwanted pregnancies, there would be no abortions, etc. According to the Bible, abstinence is God’s only policy when it comes to premarital sex. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and most importantly abstinence honors God.

Premarital Sex – Conclusion
Premarital sex has no moral grounds, it is against God, and it is unsafe physically and emotionally. Although sex is pleasurable, it is designed by God to be enjoyed by two married people.

Premarital Sex – Where Should We Draw the Line?
A frequent question in relation to premarital sex is, “If we can’t have sex, how far can we go?” A better question would be “How far should we go?” God’s Word does not give us a detailed “list” of things a couple should or shouldn’t do before they are married. Some use this as an excuse to “push the envelope” as close to premarital sex as possible. However, just because the Bible does not directly address what a couple should or shouldn’t do, that does not give us license to do everything up to the borderline of premarital sex. By essence, “foreplay” is designed to be “before sex” and to get a couple ready for sex. Logically then, all forms of “foreplay” should be restricted to couples who are married. Anything that could be considered “foreplay” should be avoided until marriage.

So, if sexual activity and all forms of foreplay should be restricted to married couples, what can a pre-married couple do? This is to some degree up to the couple and their own relationship with God. It is generally recommended that a couple not go past holding hands, hugging, and light kissing before marriage. The more a married couple has to share exclusively between themselves, the more special and unique the sexual relationship becomes.

Premarital Sex – What If It is Already Too Late?
If you have already engaged in premarital sex, you should make a commitment with God, your boyfriend/girlfriend, and yourself to remain sexually pure from this point on until marriage. Ask God for help and strength to remain sexually pure until marriage. God will provide the strength (Philippians 4:13) and grace to overcome the temptation to have sex, as long as you are willing and careful not to put yourself in a place of temptation. Remember the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation?” That does not mean He will deliver us from the consequences of our own bad choices. If you fall to temptation, it is not because God led you there.

1 Corinthians 10:13 declares, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” It is possible to fight temptation.

Also, it is important to remember that God can and does forgive the sin of premarital sex. When a person places his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, desiring to turn away from the old life of sin, all sins are forgiven. That includes past, present, and future, big and small. Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins, including premarital sex. Once they are forgiven, they are all forgiven. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” What we are to do is confess our sins. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 20, 2006 — Almost all Americans have sex before marrying, according to premarital sex research that shows such behavior is the norm in the U.S. and has been for the past 50 years.

The new study shows that by age 20, 75% of Americans have had premarital sex. That number rises to 95% by age 44.

Even among those who abstained from sex until 20 or beyond, 81% have had premarital sex by 44, the survey shows.

Researchers say the findings question the feasibility of federally funded abstinence-only education programs.

“Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades,” says researcher Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute, in a news release.

“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12–29-year-olds.

“It would be more effective to provide young people with the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually active — which nearly everyone eventually will,” says Finer.

Premarital Sex Research

In the study, published in Public Health Reports, researchers analyzed data from four cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth from 1982 to 2002, which included information on sexual and marital behaviors.

The results showed that the vast majority of Americans have sex before marrying. For example, the 2002 survey showed:

  • By age 20, 77% of men and women had had sex, including 75% who had had premarital sex.
  • By age 44, 95% of men and women had had premarital sex; 97% of those who had ever had sex had had premarital sex.
  • Among those who had abstained from sex until at least age 20, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44.

Despite public opinion that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, researchers say the number of Americans having premarital sex hasn’t changed much since the 1940s.

Among women who turned 15 between 1964 and 1993, 91% had had premarital sex before age 30, compared with 82% of women who turned 15 between 1954 and 1963.

In addition, nearly nine out of 10 women who turned 15 between 1954 and 1963 had had unmarried sex by age 44.

Researchers say that though the likelihood that Americans will have sex before marriage hasn’t changed significantly since the 1950s, people are now waiting longer to get married. So they are sexually active and unmarried for longer than in the past.


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