Our culture tells us a lot of lies about sex before marriage. We don’t realize they’re lies. But that’s what they are. Plain old, flat-out, bald-faced lies.
We know they’re lies because they contradict God’s word. But if that’s not enough, when we give in to them, we discover the painful truth for ourselves. Far better to simply trust God in the first place and spare ourselves the pain and heartbreak.
We are very embedded in our culture. We absorb these messages from a thousand and one directions, until we start to believe them. We know what God’s word says, but everyone else is saying something different, and it starts to sound like truth. We believe cultural lies about sex far more than we consciously realize.
So what are some of the lies? These are a few that stand out to me:
Lie #1: Sex has meaning in and of itself, totally apart from relationship
This lie says that you can have sex and it’s a purely physical, enjoyable experience. It’s valid to have it with anyone you want, whether you’re in a relationship with them or not, whether you go on to marry them or break up with them.
The reality: sex has no meaning apart from the relationship with that person. We often think of sex in terms of physical pleasure. But the fact is, it is an intense uniting of yourself with a person so that the two of you become one. This is what the Bible means when it says you become “one flesh”. It goes far, far beyond physical sensations. In a mysterious sense, you are united, soul and body.
Sure, sex is physically pleasurable. But the pleasure is fleeting, and is only a small part of what happens in sex. God designed it to unite two people in a very profound way, which has no meaning apart from a total unity of your lives and selves in the marriage covenant.
Anything less means that you are using that person, and they are using you. It leads to devastating heartbreak when the relationship ends. You give that person all that you have, and then you are ripped apart. You truly lose something extremely profound and important that you can never get back.
Lie #2: It’s possible to have sex outside of relationship without being hurt or developing feelings
This totally goes against the way sex was designed. The reality is, you cannot be 100% physically intimate with a person without exposing your soul and emotions. It’s not possible.
I have a friend who had a “friend with benefits”. She boasted to me about how she didn’t want a relationship, but this way she got the benefits without the hassle. But guess what? When this guy didn’t give her anything for Valentine’s Day, she got upset. When she was seriously ill and in the hospital, he never called or came to visit. Her hurt and anger over this ended the “relationship”.
If she didn’t want a relationship, just sex, why should she care if he visited her or gave her anything? Because the reality is, he was using her for his own selfish pleasure. He didn’t care about her, or want to have to sacrifice himself in any way for her. He was happy to hang around as long as she offered sex. But as soon as she needed anything, he was nowhere to be found.
The nature of sex, a total giving of yourself and union with another person, means that unless there’s a union of your whole lives, where that person is committed to and cherishes you 100%, you will get hurt. You can’t go against the design of sex and expect not to pay the price.
Lie #3: Sex is a requirement for being a fulfilled and normal human being. If you haven’t had sex, or are waiting for marriage, there’s something wrong with you.
I bought this lie for a long time. But the reality is, once you’ve had sex, you’ve had sex. Sure, it’s a powerful and profound human experience. But again, it has no meaning apart from the relationship with the person. If you haven’t met the person God has for you to marry, and you’re not married yet, you’re not missing out on anything by waiting. Instead, you’re preserving yourself from hurt and pain, you’re honouring God with your body, and you’re keeping yourself from a lot of guilt (and potentially other problems like STDs or pregnancy).
Our culture used to be more aligned with God’s word, that virginity was valuable, and the ideal was to save yourself for marriage. Now that’s seen as strange and a liability. It’s not. Jesus and the apostle Paul both lived celibate lives, as have many Christians throughout the centuries, for all or part of their lives. Our culture may mock you. God honours you. He sees your heart, and he loves that you choose to trust him and honour him instead of falling for this lie.
Lie #4: It’s ok to have sex if you’re going to get married. You have to know if you’re sexually compatible.
God says that marriage is the answer to sexual desire. Period. If you aren’t yet married, you’re not married. If you haven’t pledged yourself to that other person for life, you’re taking something that is not yours. It will create guilt and distance in your relationship with God. It will drive a wedge between you, instead of uniting you as it does in marriage. Any time you take something outside of God’s design and timing for that thing, it harms you. It doesn’t do the good you think it will.
Until you have said “I do”, the relationship could break up. Even if it doesn’t, far, far better to enter marriage with a clear conscience, ready to enjoy each other without the baggage that comes from the guilt of sin.
Honour God by waiting. You won’t regret it.