Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 19: Eight Common Objections to Sexual Purity and Eight Common Sense Answers

Crucial moral battles are being fought in our culture.  Nowhere is this seen more vividly than in the present sexual attitudes and behaviors of Americans.  Each of us needs to think through the implications of sexual alternatives and choose a personal sexual ethic based on intellectual, biblical and Christian factors.

Note the following arguments for being sexually active prior to marriage and the biblical response:


1.         Biological Argument

Perhaps the most common argument used to justify pre-marital sex is that the sex drive is a basic biological one.  The analogy to the sex appetite is fallacious.  Humans cannot live without food, air, or water.  But we can live without sex.

While recognizing that human beings share many common characteristics with animals, we do not find comparable sexual behavioral patterns in the animal world.  Human sexuality is unique in that it includes, but transcends, physical reproductive elements.  It reaches an intimacy unknown among animals (1 Cor. 6:12-13, 15-18).


2.         Statistical Argument

A second argument reasons that everyone is doing it.  First, this is not true.  A study of college freshmen showed that two-thirds of men and slightly more than one-third of women “support the idea of sex between people who have known each other only for a short time.”  As sobering as such statistics may be, they indicate that not everyone is sexually active.  Further, statistics do not establish moral values.  The Bible does!  A majority can be wrong (Josh. 24:15).


3.         Proof of Love

A third argument suggests that sexual activity tests or provides proof of love.  Reluctant partners often give in to this pressure with the underlying hope that sex will somehow cement the relationship.  But any person who insists on making sex the ultimate proof of a genuine relationship isn’t saying “I love you,” but rather, “I love it.”  True love concerns itself with the well-being of the other person and would not interpret sexual hesitation in such a selfish way (Phil. 2:3-4).


4.         Psychological Argument

That sexual restraint is bad for your psychological health is a popular idea.  But disciplining one’s sex drive is not unhealthy.  Sexual and aggressive energy can be redirected by nonsexual and nondestructive goals (1 Cor. 9:27).

But, unlike abstinence, guilt caused by premarital sex can produce devastating results.  Guilt often is anger turned inward, producing depression, a lowered self-esteem, and fatigue.  Further, chastity and virginity contribute very little to sexual problems.  Unsatisfying relationships, guilt, hostility toward the opposite sex, and low self-esteem do.  In short, there are no scars where there have been no wounds.


5.         Experiential Argument

I don’t want to appear as a sexual novice on the wedding night.  But the body was designed to perform sexually and will do so given the opportunity.  This is not to say that sexual skill cannot be gained through experience.  It is to say that every skill must have a beginning point.  This should be your wedding night.  Healthy sexual adjustment depends much more on communications that technique.

A deeply committed couple with no sexual experience is far ahead of a sexually experienced couple with shallow and tentative commitment, as far as the marriage’s future sexual success is concerned (S.S. 4:1-5:1; Eph. 5:31).


6.         Compatibility Argument

How will I know it will work unless we try it out first?  But the human sex organs are wonderfully adaptable.  Physicians tell us that compatibility is 99 percent guaranteed, and the other one percent can become so with medical consultation and assistance.

Of greater importance is person-to-person compatibility.  Sexual dysfunction is usually psychologically based.  Building bridges of love and mutual care in the non-physical facets of the relation are the sure roads to a honeymoon that can last a lifetime (1 Cor. 7:1-5).


7.         Contraceptive Argument

The contraceptive argument supposedly gives a green light to sexual activity by removing the fear of pregnancy.  But the simple fact is that pregnancy (along with sexually-transmitted diseases) always remains a possibility.

Sexual intimacy between a man and a woman is not exclusively their private affair.  Sexual intercourse must take place with a view toward facing consequences such as unplanned pregnancy.  The time of moral decision in sexual matters comes before one decides to have sex with someone, not later when unforeseen circumstances take things in the wrong direction (Gal. 6:7-10).


8.         Marital Argument

Perhaps the most prominent defense of premarital sex among Christians is the marital argument, which says, “We are in love and plan to marry soon.  Why should we wait?”

Loss of respect and intensity of feelings may occur, as well as guilt and dissatisfaction.  Restraint adds excitement to a relationship and makes the honeymoon something very special, not just a continuation of already-established patters.

Contemporary studies indicate that the marital argument is not sound.  Of 100 couples who cohabit, 40 break up before they marry.  Of the 60 who marry, 45 divorce-leaving only 15 of 100 with a lasting marriage.  Thus, cohabitation has two negative effects: it increases the number of people who don’t marry, and dramatically raises the divorce rate of those who do.

Engaged couples, according to Paul, should either control their sexual drives or marry (1 Cor. 7:36-37).  Sexual intercourse is not proper for engaged couples.


 The biblical standard that puts sex within the fidelity and security of marriage is the most responsible code ever developed.  You are justified in following it without apology as the best standard for protecting human, moral, and Christian values that has been devised.

This was adapted from “Why Wait Till Marriage?” by Jimmy Williams and Jerry Soloman (Probe Vanguard, Spring 1994)

“Try to separate sex from deeply committed love, and you end up with an act that only apes what sex is meant to be.” Tim Stafford, Why Wait for Marriage? (1989).


“ Sexual encounters outside of marriage, whether or not they include intercourse, give an illusion of intimacy that can be mistaken for the lasting commitment that makes a marriage work.” Randy C. Alcorn, Christians in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution (1985).

“Sex outside of the marriage relationship always has qualifiers which either dilute the experience, or in many cases change sexual intercourse from what God intended to something far less.” Earl D. Wilson, Sexual Sanity (1984).

“We need to put sex into the perspective of what God intended for it; a means of expressing love between a man and a woman committed to each other for life in marriage.” Ronald Burwell, “The Most Important Thing in the World and Other Myths about Sex” (1981).

For more of this series, see here.

Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 18: The Twelve Steps to Intimacy

As we continue this series on parenting, it is important to remember that the relationship between two parents is crucial  for family life and must be protected. This list of  “Twelve Steps to Intimacy” is one that was originally developed by a behavioral scientist decades ago, but Dr. James Dobson used and explained well to demonstrate the importance of the bond within the marriage relationship. 

1.       Eye to Body

A glance reveals much about a person – – sex, size, shape, age, personality and status.  The importance people place on these criteria determines whether or not they will be attracted to each other.


2.       Eye to Eye

When the man and woman exchange glances, their most natural reaction is to look away, usually with embarrassment.  If their eyes meet again, they may smile, which signals that they might like to become better acquainted.


3.       Voice to Voice

Their initial conversations are trivial, and include questions like “What is your name?” or “What do you do for a living?”  During this long stage the two people learn much about each other’s opinions, pastimes, activities, habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes.  If they’re compatible, they become friends.


4.       Hand to Hand

The first instance of physical contact between the couple is usually on non-romantic occasions such as when the man helps the woman descend a high step or aids her across an obstacle.  At this point either of the individuals can withdraw from the relationship without rejecting the other.  However, if continued, hand to hand contact will eventually become an evidence of the couple’s romantic attachment to each other.


5.       Hand to Shoulder

This affectionate embrace is still noncommittal.  It is a “buddy” type position in which the man and woman are side-by-side.  They are more concerned with the world in front of them than they are with each other.  The hand to shoulder contact reveals a relationship that is more than a close friendship, but probably not real love.


6.       Hand to Waist

Because this is something two normal people of the same sex would not do, it is clearly romantic.  They are close enough to be sharing secrets or intimate language with each other.  Yet, as they walk side-by-side with hand to waist they are still facing forward.


7.       Face to Face

This level of contact involves gazing into one another’s eyes, hugging and kissing.  If none of the previous steps were skipped, the man and woman will have developed a special code from experience that enables them to engage in deep communication with very few words.  At this point sexual desire becomes an important factor in the relationship.


8.       Hand to Head

This is an extension of the previous stage.  The man and woman tend to cradle or stroke each other’s head while kissing or talking.


9. – 12. The Final Steps

The last four levels of involvement are distinctly sexual and private.  They are:

9) Hand to Body

10) Mouth to Breast

11) Touching Below the Waist

12) Intercourse

Obviously, the last three steps of physical contact should be reserved for the marital relationship, particularly since they are immensely and progressively emotional and sensual.

Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 17: God’s Guidelines for the Gray Areas of Life

As we continue through this series, today I want to share another simple outline. It looks at Paul’s Corinthian principles for dealing with the so-called “gray areas” of life.


The Corinthian Challenge.            1 Cor. 6:12-11:1; 13:1-13


 1) Will this action be helpful to me?          1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23


2) Will this action potentially enslave me?            1 Cor. 6:12


3) Will this action encourage my brother or sister in Christ? 1 Cor. 8:13; 10:24, 32


4) Will this action help or hinder my gospel witness?        1 Cor. 9:12, 19-23; 10:32-33


5) Is this action consistent with my new life in Christ?  1 Cor. 6:9-11, 19


6) Will this action violate my conscience? 1 Cor. 10:25-29


7) Will this action follow the pattern of the life of Jesus?            1 Cor. 11:1


8) Will this action show love to others?   1 Cor. 13:1-13


9) Will this action honor my body which belongs to God?  1 Cor. 6:19-20


10) Will this action glorify God?     1 Cor. 10:31