Sex: Does the Bible actually forbid premarital sex?

No. It doesn’t. Not specifically anyway (If you are mad at me right now, please finish reading this). But most Christians don’t realize this. Many are guilty of what is called “eisegesis,” which is the scholarly term for “inserting our own beliefs and presuppositions into the text.” And as a generation of Christians is learning not just to accept whatever is being preached at them (since different teachers might be heretics: Look up “Rob Bell: Universalist?” and see what you get), they are asking questions.

And one of those questions is the title of this post: Where does the Bible actually say that premarital sex is a sin?

And the answer: It is stated nowhere, but it is strongly implied in several locations.

Insufficient argument #1:

First, Christians, when challenged with the question, look for any verse that talks about sexual immorality. So, they start listing out the verses. The New Testament has 15 occurrences of the words “sexual immorality,” but none of these verses define what is meant by sexual immorality. So we define it: “Any sex outside of marriage.” But then, the other person says “I disagree with your definition.” And we say “Then, you’re wrong. It’s one man, one woman…within the confines of the marriage covenant…” and from that point on, the Biblical text is no longer used. Just us regurgitating what pastor said. It’s just an argument.

The closest thing we have to a definition of sexual immorality is the whole chapter of Leviticus 18, as well as the “Thou shalt not commit adultery” in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14). As for Leviticus 18, it goes into detail and basically outlaws incest, bestiality, incest, more incest, in-laws, homosexuality, and having sex with a woman during her period. It does not forbid premarital sex in this passage.

Interesting fact: Having multiple wives is not forbidden. However…

Lev 18:18 (NLT)

“Do not marry a woman and her sister because they will be rivals. But if your wife dies, then it is all right to marry her sister.”

…weeeeeeeeird…

Side note on the multiple wives thing: Once we get to the New Testament, Paul will tell us to just take one wife. Observe:

1 Cor 7:1-2 (NLT)

Now about the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to live a celibate life. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.

Insufficient argument #2 (And I used to use this one):

“Genesis says ‘And the man shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ It doesn’t say “girlfriend” or “lover” or anything, it says wife.”

This used to be my favorite argument to use here, but I can’t bring myself to use it anymore because I am a linguistics nerd.

So let’s talk linguistics for a second. Whenever you have a word that has more than one meaning, such as “goma” in Spanish can mean either “gum” or “eraser,” it means that there is no different word in their brains. Thus, it would be accurate to say that Spanish has no separate word for “eraser,” they just call it “gum.” In another Spanish example, while were enduring the inconvenience of figuring out when to use “ser” and when to use “estar,” (the two “to be” verbs, estar being more temporary and ser being slightly more permanent, although there’s more to it than that) Spanish speakers who are learning English might be delighted to learn that “be” means both “estar” and “ser” and you can use it for both. If translation is easier one direction, it’s harder on the way back. But if a word has two meanings, it is still one word.

So, in Hebrew, you have ishah (woman, wife) and in Greek, you have gune (woman, wife, and this is where we get the word “gynecology”). If they can be translated as both, what it really means is that in both the Hebrew and Greek linguistics, there is no word for wife. Thus, the woman you are married to is simply “Your woman.”

The practical application? Call your wife your “woman” more often. And ladies, the same applies to men (iysh in Hebrew, andros in Greek).

Totally unrelated side tangent: Ooh, did you know that in both Hebrew and Greek, that same principle applies to angel? (mal’ach in Hebrew, angelos in Greek) They are both translated as “angel, messenger” which means that the big strong dudes with swords (I am sorry, I do not view angels as scrawny chicks with wings and halos, and I have no idea where anybody got that idea) and wings and muscles and junk are just called messengers in the Hebrew/Greek linguistic mind. Legit!

However, I do believe that premarital sex is wrong, and biblically wrong. Here is why.

Argument #1: Old Testament Virginity Rule

Wherever your position on premarital sex and the Bible, it becomes quite clear, quite quickly, that sex with no consideration of marriage is wrong on all fronts. Check it:

Ex 22:16-17 (NLT)

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and sleeps with her, he must pay the customary dowry and accept her as his wife. 17 But if her father refuses to let her marry him, the man must still pay the money for her dowry.”

You sleep together? You get married. If you do that, you can actually still be within the bounds of Old Testament Law. HOWEVER, it is SO UNWISE. Because single men want to sleep with everyone. And I saw this poster at “Cedar’s Restaurant” in Detroit, Oregon (it’s like the first thing you see when you drive in) that says “no matter how good she looks, some guy, somewhere, is sick and tired of her crap.” Therefore, if you let your penis choose your wife for you, don’t be surprised if your penis doesn’t make a very good choice.

It should be noted that this argument only shows that it is unwise, not wrong. But it IS TOTALLY WRONG to have sex with someone and not marry them.

Argument #2: New Testament “If you’re horny…” rule

1 Cor 7:8-9 (NIV)

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

1 Cor 7:36-38 (NIV)

If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin — this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.

“Better to marry than to burn…” It seems hard to work around this one: If you’re horny (“burn with passion”), Paul doesn’t say go get your rocks off. He says get married. Why would he say that if premarital sex was okay?

Argument #3: Jewish Culture’s marriage ceremony

Nobody knows the Old Testament’s words in greater detail than Old School Jews. And it’s important to note that the New Testament is very Jewish, too. It was written by Jews who were influenced and compelled by the Spirit of God. There is a long drawn out ceremony that actually paints a beautiful picture of Christ’s coming for the Church, his Bride, however, they don’t consummate until after the wedding. And if the Jews do it that way, I’m not going to step in and say “are you sure you’re interpreting it correctly?”

SO to sum it up, does the Bible directly say: “Premarital sex = sin”? No. But in order to make it “okay,” you have to jump through too many hoops. Therefore, I hold the position that it is sin, that it is wrong. And even if it weren’t sin (right and wrong), it is SERIOUSLY unwise. If you know an adult man who was a wild child when he was younger, ask him what he would think of being married to the first one he slept with. See what answer you get.

See? Seriously unwise.

Sex: The long wait wasn’t God’s idea (God’s design, part 3)

About a century ago, sociologists and psychologists added a new stage to child development called “adolescence.” Before this time, there was no age called “teenage” or “adolescent,” you simply went from childhood to adulthood.

And adults (at the time, 16 year olds and above) can do awesome things. They can get a job and earn income, and help support the family. And you know what else they can do? They can get married.

Also, puberty hit later at this time. About a century ago, the average menarche would happen at 14 years of age (We guys don’t have a marker. We just wake up one day and realize, “my armpits grew hair?”). Now, the average menarche happens at…11. Now, what about the average age that people got married?

 

Copied and pasted from http://hubpages.com/hub/Marriage-in-America,

“What’s the average marriage age in America? The average age at which people marry in the United States has been steadily increasing over the past few decades – from a low in 1960 with averages of 20.3 years for women and 22.8 years for men, it has risen to 25.6 years for women and 27.5 for men.”

 

Let’s observe the difficulties for Christians trying to save it until marriage:

Date:               Puberty marker (menarche)               Marriable age             Agonizing wait

1900                14                                                                          16                                2 years

1960                12                                                                          20                                8 years

Now                 11                                                                           26                                15 years

 

But why do we wait for so long before getting married? Speaking from the guy’s end, we don’t get married until we are prepared to survive in the market/economy, and provide for our family. And we spend years and years and years preparing (whether it is through school or through low-level jobs with advancement opportunities) to get a position where we can provide for our families.

So while some might say, “If God wanted us to stay virgins until marriage, why did He make it SO HARD?” He didn’t make it hard. In fact, God’s word basically says “If you are horny, go get married. That’s way better than just sitting there are being horny.” Or, more accurately stated…

1 Cor 7:8-9 (NIV)

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

God actually didn’t want you to just sit there and burn. He wanted you to get relief for your horniness, you poor, poor thing. However, the society you happen to be in makes you wait a long time.

 

So are you saying that we should get married younger? What I’m saying is that God didn’t want you to be in this predicament, but our society has dealt us those cards. However, research is really clear that earlier marriage means higher divorce rates. Which opens up another can of worms, but let me just shorten it into: A) Choosing your spouse is not actually a universal constant. Many cultures just give you a spouse, right? Nowhere is it written that arranged marriages are bad. You don’t choose your parents or your brothers, and in some cultures, a spouse is no different. B) However, since we can choose, choose carefully. In fact, best advice I can give: Whoever your mentor is (an older, same gender adult with wisdom), let them get to know your significant other. If they object, get out of there as fast as you can. They can see things that you can’t see.

 

Regardless, don’t miss the main point. God never wanted to torture you with unsatisfied horniness. He wanted you to experience a desire, and then satisfy it. Our “earn more buy more high standard of living” society just delayed the process.

 

Up next: Does the Bible ACTUALLY say premarital sex is bad?

Sex: Sex as a drug (God’s design Part 2 – the perversion)

WARNING: This post is not for the lighthearted. We are going to talk porn.

Sex as a drug

Have you ever ordered a small drink at Carl’s Jr.?

I mean, seriously, I love Carl’s Jr. But this blog is now an interactive blog. Go to Carl’s Jr. and order a small drink. (Or just pretend you are doing so. Or google “Carl’s Jr. Small Drink.” Whichever floats your ice cubes.)

You will find: Carl’s Jr.’s small drink is not a small drink. And yes, this fact makes me greatly happy. If you actually think that it is a small drink, give it to a child and see if the child finishes the cup in a short amount of time. There is a reason that juice boxes and Capri suns exist, yes? (Surfer cooler is the best flavor pretty much ever.)

Why is this? Because the market is competitive, and so are people. Thus, Carl’s Jr. is a large, successful food chain because their advertisements emphasized Big burgers, bigger than their competitors. And people were like “Big burgers? I will show how insanely manly I am by eating one. Ha! I eat bigger burgers than you, tiny scrawny meat bag of a human who is next to me! Go have a salad to celebrate your puny inferiority. Big burger!” Thus, the same would happen to their drinks. This is not coincidence: It is a reality in the marketplace, because it attracts the competitive nature in us. For us men, eating more than other men is another field in which we can compete and compare, although in the end, the manliest people alive according to this criteria are those really tiny Asian girls who win at every hot dog eating contest they participate in.

So first, is there a sex marketplace? Duh. Enter the porn industry. Porn is porn, and has been porn forever. But if you are making money off of a porn website, and you start to lose clientele, what do you have to do?

Bigger. Better. More. Freakier.

Now honestly, sex is pretty simple. The penis goes into the vagina. Repeat until either climax or until you run out of energy. Or until you have to go to work or the kids wake up. Regardless, simple. However, simple doesn’t sell. So when the porn site owner starts to lose customers, he has to compete.

And that’s when it happens. More people. Two people doing it is no longer good enough. Now it has to be three. Or four. Or double penetration. Or triple penetration. Or more violent. Or more toys. Or freakier toys.

And, of course, this other porn site has to keep up, so they up the ante as well.

Multiply that by millions and millions of porn sites.

While all this is going on, you have a common, mild-mannered, average husband who just happens to be into porn. He watched regular porn, but again, sex is sex and anything that is not new is no longer exciting. So he ups it and watches threesomes. And then the toys. And then the multiple penetration. And then, after all this has happened…he comes back to bed to his wife. His hot, but normal wife. And she offers herself to him. She offers him that which she can offer: Normal, everyday, God-intended and pleasurable, one on one (quite literally) sex. Which is no longer good enough for him.

Thus, sex has become a drug for him. He has built up a tolerance, and now he needs more and more in order to satisfy. And of course, it won’t satisfy for long. It will have to be bigger. Better. Freakier. And my main thought: Poor wife.

 

But aside from the topic of porn, what about simply dating around and getting sexual experience with different partners? Because once you’re married, you’re with that person for life, right?

However, the same root problem occurs. Lack of contentment. Our sex needs to be better. Our sex needs to be hotter. We need to have sex more often than that other married couple. So again, if you go down that road, where will it land you? Either it will end, or it will result in an insatiable desire that nothing less than depraved pornographic sex will satisfy, and then it will only satisfy it for what, 24 hours max?

God didn’t design sex that way. And for you married couples: God gave you the orgasm. What more could you ask for? A bigger orgasm? Sure. But when will you finally be like “I can stick with this. Thanks, God!” And ladies, there are two mammals in the entire animal kingdom where the females experience sexual pleasure: Chimpanzees and you. Because you have a clitoris, and so do chimpanzees. For other animals, the female just kinda sits there and takes it. I think that is a great thing to thank God for, yes?

 

Coming next: Just a side note – The long wait wasn’t really part of the plan