I want to broach a topic that, in my personal opinion, is not discussed enough among Christians in a scriptural way or in a safe environment.
It is time we stop acting like this is not an issue. It’s time we start acknowledging that it is a struggle to remain pure in any capacity in the society we are in–a struggle for everyone, including children of God. It’s time to talk about why sex is worth waiting for.
It’s time to have the talk.
Why is sex a taboo topic?
The act of sex seems to get lumped in with topics like pornography and same-sex attraction when thinking of topics we do not or cannot discuss in Christian settings. But I think this has given us a wrong view of it. Sex in and of itself is not bad. It is not wrong or sinful. It is a gift from God. When we say “Oh we can’t talk about it,” we are equating sexuality with sinful practices like those mentioned above.
But sexuality – the act of intimacy and the desire to partake in it – are not sinful. God created men and women, He created marriage, and He created intimacy.
All of this is not to say that we should casually mention this topic in any and every setting. It is a sacred thing. Unfortunately you only have to spend a few minutes watching any television show, hanging out with unbelievers, or listening to mainstream music to hear about it. However, I do believe that we as Christians need to create healthy settings where we can talk about this. Sex isn’t a joke. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. I want there to be more places where married women can share truth about this with younger women. I want there to be openness between a young man and an older male mentor to talk about temptation. I want there to be accountability, and I want us to remove the “sinful” label on sex.
God created sexual intimacy to be between one man and one woman, and the world has warped the original plan.
Everywhere you look, God’s plan for sexuality is continually distorted. Premarital sex, same-sex relationships, “shacking up,” “open” relationships, incest, bestiality, and autosexuality are just a few of the ways the world has taken a beautiful gift and corrupted it.
God’s way is always best, and it is often simpler than we make it out to be. Yes, the temptation is there. Yes, there is immorality everywhere we turn. But God has made His plan very clear to us: a man leaves his parents and cleaves (literally cling or keep close) to his wife. Proverbs tells us in chapter 5 to drink waters from our own cistern, our own well, and then follows with this: “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Keep things between you and your spouse. 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, “Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Your own. Not someone else’s, or someone who is not your spouse.
The bottom line here is that God has a plan for sexuality, and the world has warped it with selfish intentions and disgusting fantasies. But what’s the big deal?
Why are these different kinds of sexuality wrong?
A few years ago, my mind was blown when someone answered this question for me. As a young person who had grown up in church, I knew homosexuality, fornication, and the like were wrong. But WHY were they wrong?
The following is a big chunk of scripture, but just bear with me. Ephesians 5:23-32 (boldness added):
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
This is the big deal, y’all. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride, the church. When the world changes that standard set by God–the sacred relationship, the beautiful intimacy between the husband and his wife–they are spitting in the face of God’s love for His children. We are the bride of Christ. He loves us and gave Himself for us. We as His bride are to love Him and only Him: no other gods, no other loves. And as the husband cares for his wife, so Christ cares for His bride.
The goal of marriage and sexual intimacy is to draw closer to God. It’s about this oneness, this sacred knowing of our Creator and the gift He has given us in our spouse. When the Bible talks about how Adam “knew” his wife in Genesis 4:1, the Hebrew word is yada. Yada means “to know” or “to be known.” This is God-created sexual intimacy: truly knowing your spouse and being known. But it goes deeper than that! Get this: yada is the same word used in Psalms 46:10: “Be still, and know (yada) that I am God.” God wants us to have the same intimate knowledge of Him that exists, on an earthly level, between a husband and wife. Isn’t that wild?
I want to point out something really quick about the concept of yada. Every time the Bible talks about sex, it is not always this word that means “to know intimately.” When the Bible mentions inappropriate sex (i.e. Lot and his daughters, David with Bathsheba), it is a different word that simply means to lie with. There is no mention of this deep, close “knowing and being known” that comes from a healthy, intimate relationship. This out-of-context sexuality is not good, blessed, or beneficial.
But why bother waiting?
The majority of people don’t wait, so why should you? Let’s go back over a few things I’ve mentioned as we now think about this in context of “Should I wait or should I not?”
Sexual intimacy is a picture of our relationship with God. Sex outside of marriage can warp our view of intimacy and God. Sex by the world’s standards is very self-focused: how can I feel good/happy/fulfilled? What can I get out of this? Who cares what this other person is feeling/thinking/going through as long as they can bring me pleasure? In truth, according to God’s Word, sex is a very selfless act. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul discusses that sex should not be withheld from your spouse because it could cause them to stumble. Sex is about serving each other, not only participating so you get something out of it.
Besides all of this, let me tell you something from my heart.
It is worth it. It is. Sex is such a gift, and the fact that my husband and I were both virgins on our wedding night is something I NEVER want to take for granted. We don’t have anyone or anything to compare it to. Sure, it was a little awkward and clumsy at first. But we were together, we were getting to know each other and be known in such an intimate, unlike-with-anyone-else way; and it was (and still is!) a beautiful thing.
The world will tell you it’s not worth it. “You have to test drive! What if they’re terrible in bed?” I’ve literally heard people say that out loud. If that is your main concern, you already have the wrong mindset! Again, sex is not about you. It’s fun and it’s great and all, but it is about serving your spouse: my husband serving me and me serving him. It’s about knowing him deeper and better than anyone else on this planet. And it’s about learning more of God’s great love for and close knowledge of us.
Besides everything I’ve already mentioned, let’s talk about someone else’s perspective. Dannah Gresh wrote in And the Bride Wore White, “Those who fail to wait [to have sex after marriage] tend to face obstacles in learning to have fun in their married sex lives. . . I am not saying that sex outside marriage might not have some pleasurable moments. But it’s a substitute for the real depth of pleasure that can be experienced within a faithful marriage, and it can really water down the pleasure you have with your husband” (pg 139). She wrote later in the same chapter, “This gift [of intimacy] is most at risk if you are sexual outside of marriage. In fact, I have frequently heard girls and guys talk about how sex outside of marriage really drove them apart rather than brought them together. Plus, if you are sexually active before you are married, you may find yourself returning to memories with another sexual partner at a moment that should be for just you and your husband. What a sad thing to be robbed of those precious, private moments” (pg 141).
Y’all, God put this verse in the Bible and I believe it can be appropriately applied here: “No good thing will withhold from them that walk uprightly,” Psalm 84:11. He wants to give us good things, and sex is a good thing! If we follow His plan, make excellent choices, and seek His will, He will give us good things.
In reference to what Dannah Gresh mentioned about how sex can actually drive girlfriends and boyfriends apart, I want to share something that Shaunti Feldhahn included in her book For Young Women Only. She shares a quote from a young man (one of many who echoed this concept in her survey): “When you’re involved physically, the line gets blurred between love and hormones. From then on, you’re always wondering which factor is in play. Do I like this girl, or do I just like the physical pleasure? And that confusion totally messes things up” (pg 157). Unfortunately, sex doesn’t equal commitment. For girls, we want to know we are loved and this guy is committed to us, right? But it doesn’t usually mean that. Engaging in sexual acts prior to marriage creates conflict and almost always leads to complications in the relationship.
In spite of what the majority of the population will tell you, sex is most definitely worth the wait.
Often people will use the argument that those who never had sex before marriage will never know if it could’ve been fun/better/more beneficial somehow. But I don’t mind not ever knowing that. It was worth the wait for so many reasons, primarily because I know that we followed God’s plan as best we could. We were not perfect; but we did wait, and I’m so thankful we did.
In summary, here are the main points I’d love for you to take away from this.
- Sexual intimacy should be discussed in a healthy, scriptural, logical way.
- Sex is much more than just a physical act.
- Abstinence before marriage has so many positive benefits.
- Sex is not about you.
- God’s plan is best.
- Marriage and sexual intimacy is a picture of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church.
I encourage you to seek out a Christian counselor or mentor who you can be open and honest with about questions, struggles, or choices. It should be someone older, more mature, and more scripturally wise than you, maybe someone at your church or a family friend.
Also, I want to mention really quick that if you have already engaged in sexual acts prior to marriage, there is forgiveness in Christ and freedom from shame and guilt. God can redeem your past if you will let Him! Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk about it; or connect with a mentor or older mature Christian who can encourage you and help you through the healing and redemptive process.
If you’d like some great resources on having a healthy view of sex, check out the following books and articles!
And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh (I have the older version linked because that’s what I read/quoted from here.)
What Are You Waiting For? by Dannah Gresh
Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom (I have not finished reading this one yet.)
The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas