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5 Reasons to Keep It Buttoned Up Until You Are Married

by Carl Thomas on March 13th, 2017 in The Haps, Men, Women, Students, Featured

buttonedupMy friend Shellie R. Warren wrote a post talking about the advantages and/or disadvantages of having sex before marriage. It’s definitely worth checking out.

But let’s be honest, most people are having sex in some version before marriage (yes, even Christians). To deny that is to live in a bubble.

And I want to be transparent with you. I’m a pastor, a Christian, and a guy who had sex before he got married. And I wish I had heard more on this topic when I was younger because maybe it would have spared me some hard life lessons.

Don’t get me wrong. When I was growing up I DID hear a lot of religious reasons not to have sex (mostly from people who looked like they never had or would have sex).

I also heard all the standards.
You might get someone pregnant.
You might catch an STD, etc.

And with all of these reasons my response was usually one of two.
1: Rules don’t feel good. Orgasms do.
2: I’ll roll the dice. It probably won’t happen to me.

I never heard practical reasons to NOT have sex before marriage.
I never heard good explanations as to the actual purpose of sex.
I never heard or read anything that really mattered for the “here and now.”

And there’s the rub as they say (no pun intended).

Sex is all about the here and now … right?

I know that’s hard to hear when you are a 17-year-old boy who gets a boner whenever the wind blows, but it’s true. Sex is not about the here and now, and the reasons NOT to have sex before you get married aren’t either.

So, all that being said, here are 5 practical reasons to keep buttoned up and hold off having sex until marriage. Reasons that might not seem super important NOW but will be HUGE down the road.

1. You will save yourself a lot of regretful moments.
If you talk to anyone who had a variety of sexual encounters before they got married, inevitably you’ll find they have at least one – but probably many – they wish they could take back.

Sex that’s in the moment is often sex where consequences aren’t considered.

Which leads to mistakes.

Which leads to regret.

Having sex is so personal and permanent. It can never be undone, so it shouldn’t be something you regret.

2. It will keep relationships simpler and easier to evaluate.
Shellie touched on this in her post, but nothing complicates a relationship like hopping into bed. 

It’s much harder to recognize a broken relationship when you are having sex with someone. Want to know if the relationship you have is actually worth having or continuing? Try not having sex and see if you still want to be around the person.

I’m convinced that “hot sex” before marriage is a main contributor to broken marriages. Why? Because those marriages most likely would have never happened if the sex wasn’t keeping them together in the first place.

3. It’s difficult going ‘a la carte’ when you are used to a buffet.
Let’s be honest: if you are used to having sex with whomever and have “sampled all the varieties” then monogamous sex with one partner may be a hard pill to swallow.

It doesn’t matter if the food quality is way better at the a la carte restaurant. Buffet people are buffet people because they convince themselves that variety is always best, even if the food quality is crap.

I know this may sound counter-intuitive in a day and age where consumption rules, but if your only frame of reference for sex is with your spouse (sex that’s special and intimate), then it’s going to be pretty great and you are not going to be worrying about what else you may be missing out on.

4. Sexual history is not something JUST you have to contend with.
When you bring a sexual history into your marriage, you are affecting both people. You have to deal with your flames of old, and so does your spouse. A relationship that is threatened by comparisons is one that lacks security, and security is super important in the bedroom. 

5. Sex Affects Your Brain
One of the most interesting aspects of the brain (to me) is how its rewards system works. Simply put, the brain is designed to seek out and recreate those experiences that make it feel good. For more in depth explanation on that watch this video.

This is of course why porn addiction can be so difficult to beat.

Here’s the thing. While our brain’s rewards system can serve to our own destruction (like in the case of addiction) it can also serve to our betterment. As a fitness junkie I can tell you that over time I have wired my brain to want exercise. I know … sounds crazy. But it’s true. My brain has wired itself to seek out exercise as a pleasure source and that greatly benefits my health.

Take this one step further.

Imagine if your only frame of reference for sex or an orgasm was your spouse. What type of effect do you think that would have on your brain? On your relationship?

That type of chemical bond is a powerful one and compliments the emotional and spiritual bonds you already have making the marriage stronger.

Yes, the Biblical reasons are important.
Yes, not having sex before marriage because “God said so” is important.

But, realize that God didn’t tell us these things because he wants to rob us of pleasure. He doesn’t want to withhold the best. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

God’s design for sex is meant to give us the best.

His ways are not just spiritual. Sometimes they are also tremendously practical and always beneficial. And sometimes those ways may not seem important in the HERE and NOW but they will make perfect sense down the road.

On a side note, this post might imply that once you had premarital sex you’ve blown it.

Not true.

My wife and I have worked through all these things and have come out stronger and better for it. But truth be told, there are those moments when I look back and say, if only had been a little more forward-thinking.




  • Carne Radioactiva

    Please don’t eat cake until yo became a baker .

  • Mathias Bjorkman

    Cover up your goods because they are not for sale.

  • biz

    Hey Carl,
    Great post! Love that you accentuate number 5!! This is SO overlooked today. Thanks again!

    • Thanks Biz!

      • biz

        You bet. I am actually printing some of this material for my boys who are finishing up a persuasive writings assignment on sex before marriage.

  • Jenn

    These are all kind of negated when you marry a porn addict. We were both virgins, but he is addicted to variety and instant gratification.

    • Qt

      This too shall pass…

  • Shivonne A.

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! is there a link for the video regarding sex and the brain????

    • I posted a link yesterday but doesn’t seem to have got approved. It’s your brain on porn (all one word) dot com.

  • Also remember that as embodied spirits when you have sex with others then your spirits join as one (as well as your bodies physically and emotions chemically). Hence, there is always a need for prayer to separate the spiritual ties that have been made from sex with different partners. We have seen the difference this kind of prayer makes setting people free – sometimes so tangible that there is a physical manifestation.

    • TheWildBoar

      What a load of bullshit!!!!

  • Heather

    Um, but do you really think you would have really listened to any of these reasons when you were young? Sorry, but you had sex before you were married. Because people do. Because orgasms feel good, as you said. Neither my husband or I had sex before we were married, but I acknowledge that almost every one else does. I also got married at 19 so that I could have sex – I was lucky, in my case, he turned out to be a good man worth staying with for a lifetime, but we had rough patches where we weren’t sure. I feel like you are encouraging people to marry young and then ignoring the fact that you’ll have to deal with the high divorce rate later (it’s the same rate among Christians as non-Christians). I think it’s easy for church leaders to say these kinds of things to young people because you’re all married now and can pretend you would have done it differently if you were young and single. But you probably wouldn’t have. Not really.

  • Liz

    There are so many people in the church with sexual hangups.

    Here’s a huge reason to explore sexuality before marriage. People will ultimately, have preferences and ways of doing things. They will also have different sexual needs and appetites. This is not going to fundamentally change after marriage.

    Finding out you’re sexually incompatible after marriage is heartbreaking. And yes, it does happen.

    I’m sorry but this outdated version of “purity” is so troublesome and the source of more pain and frustration than you can imagine. Girls are told that their worth is located in their vagina. Then, many have sexual issues after marriage. They still think of sex as bad and wrong and dirty. And shame on Christianity for making women the primary bearers of purity. Christians have so many sexual hang ups. Born again Christians have way higher percentages of porn addictions compared to the general population. Face it, it’s not working. In the end most people don’t wait anyways, and guess what — the divorce rate is about the same as outside the church. The women I know who kept it “pure” until marriage – all but 1 is divorced now and have slept with other people. Waiting until marriage is an outdated fairytale. How about making it about consent and respect and fun.

    • Eric

      Liz, I don’t think sexual compatability is a thing to be honest – but selfishness is. When people are selfish in relationships, and say their partner isn’t giving them what they want as often as they want, as a culture, we’ve come to say it’s just because we’re not sexually compatible. However, when the relationship is about loving the other person, and serving them, then sexual compatibility isn’t a problem because were seeking to meet the needs of the other person before our own needs.

      And I agree that it’s sad that the divorce rate in the church looks roughly the same as outside of it. And again, I think that’s because of selfishness and not loving the other person more than yourself. It’s not sexual compatibility that’s the problem, it’s selfishness, and until we learn to address the “me-centered-ness” that’s causing the desire for instant gratification, there will continue to be divorce and conflict over sex.

      • Michael Winkles

        my first wife had a low sex drive and was content to have sex every 6 months, i can’t do thati want it several times a week. that is why she is not my wife now

      • Kate

        Are you talking about having sex/doing sexual acts you don’t want to do because you are serving your spouse? This is one of the most disturbing things I have heard pastors talk about recently. Not wanting to do something with your own body is not selfishness.

  • kyla

    My husband and I were both virgins. I wished we would have had sex before we were married and we could have found out that our sex drives were different and maybe we wouldn’t have been in such a rush to get married. Waiting for marriage is only great if you have 2 people that value sex. If you’re different, it leads to a lot heartbreak and possibly divorce. If I could do it over I wouldn’t have waited.

  • Peggy Reyes

    Is there a good way to get a print version of this article? I need it for my girls mentoring program.

  • Gladys

    This is ridiculous information for an adult. More suited for a teenager. And by the way..there are lots of other issues involved in a marriage. And I think you need to get up to speed. Marriage is about intimacy….emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically. Why are you honing in on the sexual aspect? Ho hum.

    • Gladys

      Ladies…If your in love, want to get married to someone…please…have intercourse with the person before you get married. If it sent a good fit…move on!

      • Hannah Ruth Anariba

        You’re on the wrong website.

  • Kaitlyn Cowan

    this is a great help! I’ve been struggling since my boyfriend and I got engaged with the why and this actually makes sense

  • Tony

    Sex outside of marriage cost me a wonderful woman and future with her. No matter your age, I am 58. It hurts today just as bad as it did three moths ago.

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