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.

Yes. Sex Before Marriage Is a Sin

From the blog, Beautiful Christian Life: According to Barna, 41 percent of practicing Christians surveyed approved of living together before marriage, but the Bible condemns sexual immorality, using the Greek word porneia.

From the publication, Core Christianity: Nine Bible verses teach sex before marriage is a sin.

Website Crosswalk compares sex before marriage to ice skating in the middle of summer.

Speaker and author Preston Sprinkle says God created sex as “good” but all forms of sex outside of marriage are wrong.

Evangelical organization Focus on the Family compares sleeping with a partner to driving a car (fwiw, the first car I drove was a Toyota Tercel and I never considered it “the best” of anything).

The Village Church again points to verses condemning porneia / sexual immorality, making the leap that premarital sex is sexual immorality.

No, Sex Before Marriage Is Not a Sin

Publication The Echo says Bible verses condemning sex before marriage are taken out of context: “We are using these verses, devoid of their context and circumstance, in order to justify a belief that does not have much merit.”

Christian Bible Reference Site says, “There is no specific prohibition in the Bible against sex between an unmarried man and unmarried woman.”

The Christian Left Blog points out that in biblical times, women were property owned by men.

Pastor Bromleigh McCleneghan says, “There was no overriding voice from the church talking about this in any singular Christian sexual ethic or any singular Christian sexual behavior pattern or restriction or prohibition or whatever. The church was a defining voice for me in terms of my identity, but not necessarily around sexuality, and mostly for better, I think.”

Buy my book, Shameless: How I Lost My Virginity and Kept My Faith, now: