They Do Exist.

Ask A Married [Man] – What’s The Point of Waiting Til Marriage For Sex If You’ve Already Had It?

Editor’s Note: We’re starting to get to the end of our month on questions from our readers – but we still have soooo many questions to answer, so expect us to pick this back up later in the year! Today, our answer isn’t from a married woman, but a married man. Jed Brewer answered “Are Men Scared of Strong & Confident Women?” for us earlier, and I highly recommend that you follow him on Tumblr. – Lauren

QUESTION: What is the point of waiting to have sex with my boyfriend until we get married, if I’ve already had sex before? I know it’s the right thing, but I’ve already messed things up, so does it really matter?

JED BREWER: I totally appreciate your question. And it makes sense. And I’m glad you asked.

Photo by Branden Harvey / / Design by Lauren Dubinsky

When God says to save sex for marriage, it’s not because he has a bizarre fixation on people being virgins on their wedding night. No, he says it because sex forges an emotional bond between the two people involved. Sex forges that bond because that’s what it’s designed to do. When that bond is forged between two people who have made a commitment to be with each other, no matter what (which is what a marriage is), then everything works great. The emotional bond matches the relational bond. But when that bond is forged between two people who aren’t quite sure and they’ll see how it goes, well, people get hurt.

Whenever God says, “don’t”, what he’s saying is “don’t hurt yourself.”

People can drone on about the idea of casual sex all they want, but as you and I both know, it doesn’t work. At it’s best, casual sex is hype – the thing you keep telling yourself will be amazing, and keeps being really not that. And at its worst, it really, really breaks our hearts.

God doesn’t want to see you get your heart broken. That’s why. Your heart is really important to him. He wants you to guard it carefully (Proverbs 4:23).

And, let’s keep it real for a second: there isn’t an orgasm worthy of heartache. The fact that you’ve had sex in the past and got hurt doesn’t make it a good idea to do again today, any more than the fact that I’ve had one broken toe implies that I wouldn’t be bothered by a second. Sex is not a separate category of sin where once you’ve done it, all bets are off.

I deal with drug dealers as a part of my day job, and no one is trying to tell them that since they’ve sold crack before, it doesn’t matter if they do it again.

But I’d like to add one more thing for you to look at. And that is this: if you want a really amazing, Godly relationship, then don’t waste your time worrying about how wrong it can be and still work. Start asking how right and good and amazing it can be. There will come a day (when you’re married) when God will say, “It’s time for sexy time to commence and never cease!” Between now and then, while there are some things God is saying “no” to, there’s a host of things he’s saying “yes” to – like encouraging each other, building each other up, serving Jesus together – and I’d encourage you to take a hold of those things with both hands.

Note from Lauren: I had the same question when I started dating my now-husband. We’d both slept with others in the past, and to me, that “I’m gonna get struck by lightening for sinning!” feeling had been lost long ago. But the thing about having sex or not having sex is that it’s not simply about being terrified you’re going to do something wrong. It’s about starting over, brand new, and as new creations in Christ, with a heartfelt desire to try to love God and love this guy as best as you possibly can. And for me, that meant obeying God and respecting my husbands commitment to not have sex before marriage – even if I didn’t understand it fully. In a sense, I felt like a silly child deciding to hold onto a “rule” when I didn’t quite understand the point.
 
As the months passed in our dating relationship, I started learning things about myself and him that I NEVER would have learned, had we been sleeping together. I paid closer attention to my emotions, and learned the difference between simply being attracted to a man I’m in love with, and when I was just wanting to use sex as a coping mechanism. I learned in a new way how to love selflessly. I had peace of mind that my desire to marry him wasn’t just “because of our emotional bond from sex.” We both learned how to sort out some of our fears/guilt/shame from past mistakes with sex, without being submersed in more of it. And our wedding was SO EXCITING. Because yes, even if you’ve messed up in the past, this is still new with HIM. The guy you’re marrying, who loves you more than all the ex’s ever could. Also, (this is something they don’t tell you about marriage), there will be times that one person wants sex and the other doesn’t! Building a relationship before marriage that isn’t grounded in sex will make “holding marriage together” without sex so much easier. It’s so important to know that your relationship is secure enough for the seasons without sex. So yes. It’s worth it, and I’d go through the struggle of waiting all over again. – Lauren


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29 Responses

  1. raymondthimmes

    i want to thank you for this gentle reminder as to the difference between thinking of God's wishes as rules vs. love/looking out for me.

    To be honest, I feel like I have the worst chance of meeting anyone my age (mid-20's) and feeling like it would or could be anything more than a few weeks/months of sex and then boredom on their part and then them leaving. I've been in two semi-healthy long term relationships in my life and had very few casual dating/sex encounters. My point is, the hurt you describe is real and it has taken it's toll on me.

    To be even more confessional in a comment, I would also say that this has caused me to lose pretty much all hope that I'm going to meet anyone anytime soon. I know to most this is a weird thing to feel and think but it's very real to me. My desires to have a meaningful relationship in which we build each other up and focus on the future seems to be so antithetical to the desires of everything I know, from my roommate to any girl I may meet.

    Anyway I have probably digressed from your intention and I apologize. I just truly want to thank you for this post and reminder that there are more people (gals AND guys) out there that feel the anxiety about this issue that I do.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

  2. If I could first just agree with both Jed and Lauren. Yes yes yes to everything they said!! I just want to address another possible question that is similar to this one. One that I had a few months into my relationship with my now-husband. When we first started dating my husband was a brand new Christian, and I was even farther behind on my journey. We discovered our faith together, and that meant a few mistakes along the way.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

  3. (continued)

    While we didn't have sex before marriage, we did indulge in "everything but" for the first little while. (Pleasuring each other with our hands and orally) Because my husband knew he didn't want to have sex (although we both had in previous relationships) thankfully we never crossed that line.

    We reached a point in our relationship where we both realized that what we were doing was not honoring to the Lord. Our individual relationships with God has grown, as well as our relationship together with God, and our desire to have God at the center. We were tracking towards engagement at this point, and were looking towards our future, knowing we couldn't do it alone.

    So the question we had was "Is it worth it to now stop what we were doing, and wait until marriage?"

    The short answer is ABSOLUTELY. For all the reasons that Jed and Lauren outlined. Sex (and all things sexual) within a marriage is completely different – even if it's with the same person. I believe this is a blessing that we were given because of our obedience. Even within the confines of our relationship we were washed clean and made new. Each sexual experience was made new in marriage. It's a beautiful and miraculous thing!

    July 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm

  4. Katelyn

    My boyfriend of a little over a year is a virgin and I am not. However, long before I even knew him I vowed to myself to become a "renewed virgin." It is a silly term and many people would argue that there is no such thing, but I am here to say that it has been one of the best decisions of my entire life. It was much easier to tell my now-boyfriend that I was not a virgin when I could couple it with the fact that I was NOT the person who had premarital sex in high school. I was born again in Christ and would be saving myself for marriage. It hasn't been an easy road for us… But he, like God, has forgiven me for my sins and is willing to walk forward with me and leave my baggage behind.

    So, what's the point of waiting til marriage for sex if you've already had it? Because it matters to GOD and it matters to your future husband or wife. Even if both of you have had sex, it will be a totally different experience with your husband or wife. It is a wonderful feeling being so deeply in love with someone without even having had sex before. It is then that you know that your relationship is bonded on not only a physical one, but also a mental and spiritual one as well.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

  5. Kassandra

    I couldn’t tell you how many times I wrestled and debated with this idea since giving away my virginity and subsequently struggling with purity ever since. I dedicated my life to Christ nearly two years ago, and since haven’t ventured down that treacherous path of being sexually involved with anyone… but then again, I haven’t dated either, and can now say that my social group and the men and women surrounding my life are completely different than the ones before.

    As I picture what the ‘next’ relationship will be like, this does come into play. As hypocritical as it sounds, I want to be with someone who values their purity, whether with new regard (as I have) or as an outstanding pillar they’ve followed their whole life. Still, can I trust myself to place those limitations? Will I honor him and not push the line? Melissa had a great point of the role of the partnership between man and wife, and the leadership thus appointed. Will I follow my future husband in a way that both upholds his decisions and protects our intentions?

    And still, there’s a small whisper in my heart that kindly reminds me, “You may not be able to, but God can.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

    I still feel completely inadequate, unresolved to my intentions and not close the point where I could confidently carry a relationship that would honor the Lord… but until I get there, I’m so thankful for this blog, and posts like these, that hold me in a place of confidence in what God can do in my life, based on His actions in others.

    July 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

  6. Shannon

    Thanks for this post. My boyfriend and are saving sex for marriage, but we have had a really difficult time with going wayyyyy past our other boundaries. We have screwed up so many times, gotten better and been pure for weeks or months, just to screw it up again in one night. One of the recent times this happened, we talked about it. He said that he thinks we are viewing ourselves as "damaged goods". That because we have screwed up and gone too far sexually so many times before, it doesn't really matter that we are doing it again. That we aren't worth it. This is such a lie! But it is one that I think I believed, and am going to have a hard time getting over.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

  7. Ruth

    Jed and Lauren, thanks so much for tackling this issue. This has been such a battle in my boyfriend's and my relationship. We have had sex, and it has been a great source of guilt and heartache for both of us. We were both raised Christian and it felt like we had failed ourselves and each other when we fell. Sometimes there comes the point when you feel like, why does it even matter? We've already gone all the way, and we are so far gone, that what does it matter if it happens again?
    That is not the right attitude. God offers to pull us back up time and time again. He never thinks that we are too far gone. We need to recommit ourselves to Him and to each other in order to truly love each other. This post reminded me of why we need to keep fighting and that it is possible to keep going.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

  8. I think the reason people ask the question "if I've had sex before, then why does it matter if I do it again?" is because there is too much emphasis placed on virginity, and how if you lose your virginity then your life is ruined, etc. Even the terminology of "losing" your virginity reinforces this.

    I think the church should talk more about the ideas in this post- how sex is meant to form a bond between 2 people, etc, so it just doesn't make sense to have sex with someone you're not married to- it causes heartache, etc. Instead of using fear to be like "ZOMG IF YOU HAVE SEX YOU'LL BE WORTHLESS AND YOUR LIFE IS RUINED!!!!1"

    July 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

  9. Christian

    Hey to all who’ve been part of this conversation, and to all who have yet to be part of this conversation:

    One bit of Scripture that I think absolutely speaks to the issue that a lot of folks are talking about is I Corinthians 6:18, which says "Flee sexual immorality."

    According to dictionary.com, the term "flee", when used with an object (in this case sexual immorality), means "to run away from".

    It's kind of funny to think about how well Paul, a man gifted for celibacy, understood sexuality. Corinth, at the time of his writing, was a time and place of huge sexual sin, and the church in Corinth was having as much trouble keeping their hands clean as the American church has today. He understood the nature of sexual interaction as cumulatively arousing: in my own terms (and from my own personal experience) kissing once makes it really difficult not to kiss again. Why? Because kissing is inherently arousing. Prolonged kissing/touching/etc. arouses the bodies of the parties involved as to facilitate a sexual encounter. Think about it- even if we say to ourselves "we're just going to make out for a while and that'll be all", kissing and everything beyond prepare the body for sexual intercourse and make us physically desire sex even more than usual. I think we're all familiar with the term "foreplay", right?

    Here's where I Corinthians 6:18 suddenly becomes super-applicable: if you're not married and thus not in a position to have sexual intercourse (or anything else that leads to orgasm), there's absolutely no sense in doing exactly that which turns your body on for sex. Speaking from personal experience, that's difficult to accept, and even more difficult to carry out in practice. I’d heard that before ever dating, and I did a less-than-stellar job of carrying that out, so I claim no particularly high moral ground here.

    Here’s a really helpful point: for two unmarried people to most literally follow Paul’s instruction to “flee sexual immorality” means absolutely avoiding that physical contact which turns the body on for sex. Yes, it’s really hard to do so. What’s even harder, though, is not doing anything which either party will regret after becoming strongly sexually aroused. The best thing a couple can do in this regard is to keep themselves from being alone together. It’s difficult, but it works brilliantly because unless neither of you has any shame, you’ll be much more conservative with what physical interaction you’ll allow with one another when you’re visible to other people. Again from personal experience: after swing dancing together, I and my (now ex-)girlfriend would permit ourselves a kiss. We were in front of other people, and that really helped to ensure that a kiss stayed just a kiss.

    To be continued in another comment…

    July 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm

  10. Hey my friends,

    Thanks so much for reading, and thanks too for your kind words.

    I so appreciate each of you sharing your stories and your struggles. (The Devil hates it when we keep it real.) Please know that my wife Hallie and I are lifting each of you up in prayer, and we've got your back.

    Your brother,
    Jed

    July 29, 2012 at 12:22 am

  11. I just have to share, I so appreciate this post and the comments!! I love how the idea of boundaries for different people is brought up. I was in a brief relationship for the first time last year and when it ended, I was left wondering how to maintain my boundaries next time. I had mine, but in the moment, it all flew out the window, or almost did. He pushed me beyond my boundaries and then left me longing for more. God has pulled me up and put me back together, but I’m still struggling in the area of boundaries. Thankfully, there is no guy in my life to “help” me figure this out, just me and God, and the support of my family and friends. I love all the ideas here and will def glean from them to form my own thoughts. God bless you all!!

    July 31, 2012 at 10:24 am

  12. Becky

    I am currently in a relationship with a man who is not a Christian. I love him with all my heart. He’s a bit older than I am but we are both still virgins and I love that. He knows and respects my values about premarital sex and he is interested in my spiritual life and once he knows all there is to know, is willing to convert. He asked me if I have rules on how far I go without losing my virginity and I said as far as fingering but it stops there. But now reading this post and comments, I do wonder if that is a wise choice or if I’m only going to get myself into trouble later on in life with this kind of thinking. I would really appreciate having someone to talk to about all this

    December 17, 2012 at 8:15 am

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  14. Joan

    Frustrated with this topic. My relationship is wrong in so many levels, its hard to know where to start. I met him 6 years ago, neither virgins, quickly began being sexual. After two years broke up for two years with others and its been two years since we are back together. I have his 4 month baby, he moved out this week, but were still together.(Our fights are abusive so untill we start therapy we wont be living together.) To him marriage has no point, to me marriage and not having sex is important. He knows this, so after a while he wasnt interested as much. But I began to feel like I was losing him. I used sex to be closer to him even though it didnt really work. To me, he is my husband, we have a baby, we are a family. But without marriage, its a hugeblur. Many times we stopped sex to put God first, but Im the only that thinks this is important. He says hes a christian, but theres no passion, no guilt to obey Gods word. It doesnt even seem like he cares, hes happier if we have sex and atleast it makes me think hell stop looking at porn for a while. Six years ago he wouldnt enter a church with me, he wouldnt pray or read the bible. Now he will do all of these ocassionaly, especially after a fight. I repent everytime i fall, but we were a family, we have a daughter, we lived together, does it matter? Doesnt that make us husband and wife? Have been very depressed and will be grateful for any prayers

    January 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm

  15. Sorry, but no

    Nope, too much time is wasted thinking that you need to save yourself for marriage. I have read and heard so many stories of Christians who had decided to save it until they were married, only to discover that they were sexually incompatible. Most ended up divorced within the first 5 years (the struggle with physical intimacy bled into other areas of their marriage).

    Waiting until marriage is all well and good for your teens and early twenties, but if you're 25+ and single, it doesn't really seem reasonable anymore I think waiting until you are in a loving, committed relationship is ideal for losing your virginity…find out if you and your partner mesh together before you commit yourself to a lifetime with that one person!

    October 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

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    November 7, 2013 at 11:44 am

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  18. Jade

    So amazingly WELL SAID!

    March 21, 2014 at 12:28 pm

  19. A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post

    November 21, 2016 at 3:42 am

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