Is Sex Before Marriage a Sin?

You might have learned this in church: Don’t have sex before marriage. Sex is only for a husband and wife. Anything else is a sin.

But, not everyone believes this.

There are many topics, like sex, that Christians disagree on. Depending on your church and denomination, you may have a different takeaway than others do when reading the same Bible passage. Some people don’t agree with leadership at the church they attend – and that’s OK! Sex is a sensitive and personal topic, and it’s no surprise to see divergent points of view.

Let’s look at both sides of the debate around whether sex before marriage is a sin.

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Premarital Sex Is Not a Sin

Growing up in an evangelical church, I was sure premarital sex was the unforgivable sin. Someone who lies can come clean, and someone who kills can repent, but if you’re not a virgin on your wedding day, you can never go back and fix it.

When I took Bible classes at my Christian college, I was surprised to find that the Bible wasn’t so clear on this topic. In fact, the Bible never says sex before marriage is a sin.

But as a single Christian woman, that alone didn’t grant me permission to start having sex. It was when my faith deepened and I discovered a God who is genuinely loving. Shame separates us from God, not our actions. Christianity is built on unconditional love, not good morals.

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What God Says About Sex Before Marriage

The Bible does not condemn premarital sex. I was surprised to learn this, after a lifetime of reading verses that clearly said that sex outside of marriage was wrong — but then I began to study the text more deeply.

According to Jennifer Wright Knust, author of “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire“:

“The only way the Bible can be a sexual rulebook is if no one reads it.”

Yet, when Christian leaders present reasons why we should wait until marriage to have sex, they often start with the Bible.

I revisited all the verses I had ever associated with Christian purity, and dug up translations to see if I could gain some clarity.
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The Difference Between Chastity and Abstinence

Abstinence and chastity are not the same thing. Abstinence is about saying no, while chastity is about channeling healthy sexual desires. We’ll go over definitions for both.

Depending on your background, the word “chastity” might make your skin crawl.

For me, it conjures up an image of a woman in a frilly 18th-century dress with multiple layers of undergarments, being careful to not reveal her ankles to anyone.

Even as an evangelical Christian raised in the golden age of purity culture, I viewed chastity as a bit weird. But I’ve come to change my mind.

First, let’s talk about abstinence.
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The 10 People You Should Have Sex With Before You Get Married

When I decided to stop waiting until I was married to have sex, at age 26, I was faced with a question: If not only my future husband, who should I have sex with? Where do I draw the line, when I don’t have a black-and-white rule that’s wrapped up in a legal process?

It’s a question everyone has to answer, no matter their background or morals. I’ve learned that relying on external rules and advice only goes so far in protecting you, and to experience true intimacy, you have to experiment to find out what you like and don’t like, and what is right for you. Personally, I didn’t know how to recognize a good partner until I dated and slept with a few bad ones. Continue reading “The 10 People You Should Have Sex With Before You Get Married”

These Jesus Videos Are Peak Christian Nostalgia

When I was attending Christian college, it was a pretty common occurrence to huddle around a hallmate’s laptop to watch funny video online.

jesus video parody

On holiday breaks, I’d catch up with friends who went to other Christian colleges and come back to school with knowledge of more funny videos to share.

This was true of a series of parodies made by dubbing audio narration on top of movie clips about Jesus. Continue reading “These Jesus Videos Are Peak Christian Nostalgia”

3 Worst Lies I Heard at Christian Weddings

Over the years, I’ve been to a good number of Christian weddings. This first started in high school, when the girls at church who were older than me started getting married in their early 20s. Then I finished college, and my friends in serious relationships tied the knot. Then, in my late 20s, there was a second wind of weddings for former roommates from my Christian college.

It’s possible I have fewer close friends who are not Christian, or my non-Christian friends are less likely to get married, but I haven’t been to as many non-Christian weddings.

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