Does the bible really say ‘No sex before marriage’?

I wrote this in answer to a teen’s question and want to share here for every Christian teen and youth searching for the reasons why we believe and practice abstinence. I pray this enlightens your heart. You can leave comments and ask further questions if you have any.


There is no verse in the bible that specifically says ‘Don’t have sex before marriage’.

However, looking at the verses that talk about sex, the stories told around it, the poems written about it, you’d get the truth out.

One thing I love about the bible is how intricately knit it is. One verse hardly ever stands alone. It’s about many stories, over many years, coming together to tell one truth. The answers you want is found in seeing how each bit connects.

(Side note: No bible verse overtly says ‘Do not rape’. But the bible clearly shows it as a violation that God sees as evil and punishable)

First, the real truth that makes my belly dance. God created sex. God wants you to enjoy sex, like, take pleasure in sex. For reals. The Songs of Solomon is one of my faves!!

With sex being a God-thing, how come there’s so much fuss about the time to engage in it? How come there is no clear statement that says, ‘No sex until marriage?’

The bible does talks a lot about sexual sin and sexual immorality separate from adultery, but what exactly does that entail? (Mark 7:20-23) (Galatians 5:19-21). This to me, is the big one. If it is mentioned that we should avoid any and every hint of sexual sin/immorality, (Ephesians 5:3) then knowing what that is makes it clear, doesn’t it? The Greek translation (porneia) refers to a bunch of things, like harlotry, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals.

Another question that bugged me was wondering if there is a context to the mention of sexual sin, like in (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) where the preceding verses talked about sleeping with harlots? Or those that mention incests or sleeping with the same sex (Romans 1:26-27). Even sleeping with animals is mentioned. (Leviticus 18:23). But there is no sex before marriage specifically.

Then, is it more of a cultural or societal thing that the Israelites had to stay off sex until marriage? We saw this when Joseph was going to quietly put Mary away since she’d been with another man. It was a thing of shame.

To be honest, I find that we ask many questions when we are looking for a squeeze out of a tight situation, out of a need to prove that our self is right, out to find a support for our instant pleasure. Yet, they work to strengthen our belief if we answer them correctly and with an open mind for the truth. So here are 10 reasons to abstain from sex before marriage.

  1. All references to sex (that is good) in the bible comes within the context of a marriage. For example, in the old testament, when Adonijah was trying to sleep with Tamar, she said he could just marry her and not commit such great abomination of sleeping with her before marriage. The foolish boy still raped her and then hated her more than he lusted for her. (There are many close up stories of this too). I’ll also cite the story of Ruth when she went to stay at Boaz’s feet on the threshing floor. He did not touch her, and also didn’t want anyone to know she had been there to avoid rumours. Then Exodus 22:16-17 “If a man seduces (implies consent) a virgin (or a woman of marriageable age) who is not pledged to be married, and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price (or marriage present) and she shall be his wife.”  Of course, we don’t subscribe to that anymore as we believe that old things pass away once Christ comes in, but it shows the enormity of sex. And then, in the new testament, Paul said – “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). I mean, if this isn’t saying ‘don’t have sex before/outside marriage, what is it saying?
  2. The bible teaches self-control (to please God) and not self-indulgence (to please self). If we are honest, the reasons we would come up with for wanting to have sex will come back to our self-enjoyment and have many ‘I’s and ‘Me’s and everyone else is doing it and still succeeding in life. 
  3. It isn’t just about sex. It is idolatry. I can tell you from my experience with pornography and learnings from people on sex. It steals your attention away from the God you desire a close relationship with. It breaks the connection. It’s a question of purity, and only the pure sees God.
  4. Timing is key with God. We see it in almost every story in the bible. God has a specific time for everything. Abraham will tell you. Paul too. The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything under the sun. And the reason is this – Sex is a right of the human body, but it carries responsibility with it. It was created by God to be enjoyed and to lead to procreation. That enjoyment comes with both physical and emotional attachments that requires a certain level of maturity or protection. An ideal marriage gives that.
  5. Sex creates a bond. I like how The Msg puts it in 1 Corinthians 5:16 – 16-20 – “There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” There’s a reason why people say that a couple who’ve been married for a long time start to look like each other. There’s a bonding happening when bodies meet. It ranks as one of the ultimate covenants. Paul says – all other sins are committed outside the body except this. It’s an exchange in both the physical, spiritual and mental realm. Remember, you are a spirit, housed in a body. A male friend says it like this – “After the sex, the man is spent. He just wants to sleep. He has given off something. It’s like’ virtue has left’ in that moment”. I believe firmly that same goes for the woman. You’ve given a sacred part of yourself, beyond the physical.
  6. Sex leaves your mind clouded to logic and reasoning. That’s why lust is so powerful. You start saying things like, “let me just do it so that it will leave my mind’. Ask wives and husbands one of the methods they use to get their spouse into a giving or free-speaking mode. SEX. For an unmarried person, it clouds your judgement on who the person you are really sleeping with is. Without sex, you find new levels of emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and mental intimacy that makes you know each other better. 
  7. The See-finish syndrome. Permit me to be Christianese risqué. Sex is an exhilarating activity that ends in a climax. It’s an out of control experience once you ‘get there’. Faces distorted, funny shouts or screams, naked privates, imperfect bodies, spasms, funky liquids; it is humans in their basest form. Not really the prettiest. Who do you want to give that privilege to? Someone that has promised to marry you or someone you are already in a covenant with? Why keep kissing frogs in the hope one turns to a prince?
  8. *Sex is a HUGE DEAL.* I find that the world has distorted sex to be one of two broad things – sacred act that opens new level of spirituality for just anyone at anytime (the Romans, Greeks) or something that isn’t such a big deal (Pop culture). Well, sex is a HUGE DEAL. (the other points say that). And as a huge and valuable deal, it is worth the wait. And it’s not about how long. You don’t get to age 30 unmarried and then start considering if, maybe, supposedly. The end of the wait is marriage, and for me, you, and everyone I care about – marriage to the right person on all grounds. Is it Sex? You will have it. You are going to be married every second of every day or every month of every year. Wait. And enjoy it the right way. You also don’t want to get married and have your spouse start comparing you to the people in their past sexual escapades, and same goes for you comparing your spouse. That doesn’t aid a healthy marriage.
  9. Sex, marriage, relationships; those are not the ultimate things. People can die without having sex, getting married, or ever being in a relationship. And it really means nothing. But die without accepting Christ? Now, that’s death. The focus is more on building a depth with Jesus and telling people about His love. Marriage and sex are sweet and important, but they aren’t the ultimate reasons for our existence.
  10. Personally, I don’t like multi-tasking. It saps me. And like Paul said, unmarried people concentrate on working for and pleasing God. I don’t have the energy to double date with God and my sexual cravings. Tried. Failed. Full focus on evolving into all God has spoken of me. Part of that is sex. But, back to point one, He only mentioned it in the freedom of marriage.

Beyond these, God says He’ll write HIS laws down in our hearts, so we know what to do and HE has. Even when you don’t have the exact scripture, you can still follow your Godly instinct. 

No one loses their virginity easily. It’s a big deal involving lots of arguments in your mind. So, don’t fall for social and peer pressure. It’s not a godly world after all. In your mind, you KNOW that it’s not ok. Trust your God instinct. Your head and heart are not so smart all the time.

Now, there is that conversation on those who don’t believe there is a God, or who don’t believe in marriage. There is also another conversation on how purity isn’t only about sexual purity.

But for this discourse, you believe in God? You want to do what pleases him?

Then sex before marriage isn’t on God’s good to do list.

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