I recently watched a fascinating video by one of my favorite Bible scholars, Martin Zender.
The video is titled “What Does God Think About Pre-Marital Sex?“
I know from my own research that this is the #1 most common question about God and sex typed into search engines.
The situation that might prompt that search is easy to imagine:
You’ve got a girl you’re seeing.You’re committed to each other. You’re both sexually attracted to each other. But you have a Christian background and so were taught that it is sinful to have sex outside of marriage.
Within the sterile walls of church, the restriction made sense. But now, in the throes of passion, you wonder…
“Can I do the deed before the date?”
To be honest, Zender’s video is the only sensible breakdown of the topic I’ve found. I’m going to riff off of his video below.
First off, “pre-marital sex” is a misnomer. It’s an invention of the Catholic church.
The Scriptures make it very easy to determine who you can & can’t have sex with, and when you can & can’t have sex.
So we’re really dealing with a leftover question from Catholic doctrine that Protestants never resolved.
As I’ve written before, the great sleight of hand the Catholic church pulled on believers was requiring a licence (i.e. permission) in order to marry a woman or engage in sexual intercourse.
In the Scriptures, you will find absolutely ZERO requirements (or even examples) of a man getting permission from the government or a priest to have sex with or marry a woman.
So the first thing to understand is there is no “sacrament” of marriage. This is just lofty rhetoric designed to disguise the fact that the church is sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong.
Sex is not a mystical function where you some how need a pastor or priest to “bless” your endeavors.
Sex is physical. Sex is emotional. And sex (can be) spiritual.
It’s a natural function of being a human. And, no, you don’t need a licence to do it.
So part of the answer to this question becomes obvious…
You do not need to wait to have sex with your betrothed. Why would you? You’ve already promised yourself to each other.
If the social custom is to wait 6 months before having a public celebration, so be it. But there is nothing magical about the ceremony that somehow grants you permission to penetrate your woman.
So the next question is, who can you have sex with? Or, more pointedly…
Can two single people have sex without being condemned by God?
Obviously, two single people having sex is condemned by the church… but who gives a shit what they say?
Let’s look at what the Scriptures say…
In the Scriptures, we find examples of two notable situations…
- Married and not having sex
- Having sex and not married
In first category, we have the situation of Joseph and Mary. They had what we might call a “covenant relationship” or “marriage.” When Mary (a virgin) became pregnant, Joseph was going to divorce her quietly. But then God showed up and explained the unusual situation. But Mary was Joseph’s woman (wife) before they had intercourse.
On the other hand, we have examples of men who had wives AND concubines. For instance, Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Hagar was his concubine. When trouble arose between the women, Abraham sent Hagar away… even though he had a sexual relationship with her (and she even bore him a son.)
If Abraham had married Hagar, he could not have sent her away without being condemned by God. For God hates it when a man sends away his wife (Malachi 2:16).
So, we have to wrap our heads around this “not all rectangles are squares” logic…
Marriages include sex (in normal circumstances), BUT…
Marriage does not equal sex.
Sex does not equal marriage.
The Catholic church has foisted the deception on the world that the moment you put your penis inside a woman, you are married.
Most people intuitively know this idea is absurd. Are you really going to require a man to track down and marry his first girlfriend long after they separated? Or require a woman to leave her current man and return to her “true” husband?
Of course, just because you can have sex with someone, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
“All things are lawful, but not all are expedient.”
Leviticus 18 gives us such examples…
- Sex with relatives
- Sex with both a mother and her daughter
- Sex with two rival sisters
- Sex during the menstrual period
- Sex with someone else’s wife
- Sex with a man
- Sex with an animal
Yes, it is anatomically possible to have sex in such ways. And, as far as I know, there is no longer any law against such acts.
But these things were forbidden for a reason. Your life will not turn out well if you do such things.
God also warns elsewhere against having sex with temple prostitutes.
So do you find anything about “pre-marital sex” in any of God’s prohibitions?
The ONLY time in the Scriptures a man was required to marry a woman after having sex with her was if the woman was a virgin:
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
~ Deuteronomy 22:28-29
The reason for this law was because, in ancient Israel, a virgin was an economic asset to her father. Fifty shekels of silver is roughly 62.5 pounds… or $13,581 by the current price of silver.
To take woman’s virginity without the father’s permission was equivalent to theft.
Virgins are still prized to this day for their inherent sexual value to a man. No sexual baggage and almost guaranteed to be loyal to the first man who penetrates her. Hence, high status men gladly pay the necessary price to acquire one.
Obviously, we have no such laws about virgins in the West. So what you personally believe about the matter is irrelevant. Fathers cannot legally require men to marry their daughter after he takes her virginity.
Nevertheless, we still retain the principle:
Virginity is a woman’s greatest leverage in acquiring a quality husband.
Once a woman loses her virginity, the game changes. As a man, you don’t know if a non-virgin is “hoe or housewife” material.
Strategy for Single God-Fearing Men:
In light of what the Scriptures say (or do not say), I propose a two-fold strategy for men navigating the present sexual marketplace:
If you are lucky enough to find a virgin, it probably means the woman respects her father. She is a prime candidate for wife material. The strategy here is straightforward:
Meet the father. If you share similar values as him, he will likely suggest you marry his daughter. So you go about seducing his daughter with the father’s approval.
If the father is a prick or a prude, you have a choice. Either give up on the girl (father’s too much a pain in the ass.) Or decide you will do a “forceful rescue” of the woman. You seduce the woman without her father’s permission and you maintain a strong alpha frame when the father gets fresh with you. Depending on how masculine the father is, you may need to be prepared for violence. So size him up accordingly.
In either case, you should approach a virgin with full intent on marrying her. It is an act of cruelty to take away a woman’s most valuable possession without giving her a fair exchange.
Even pick up artists are hesitant to penetrate a virgin.
Women who have already lost their virginity tend to have weak fathers or absent fathers. In today’s climate, this is the vast majority of women.
The key here is to protect yourself from committing to a woman who will not be loyal to you.
You are still looking for a wife who will support you on your mission, but the non-virgin needs to be tested.
Is she still loyal to you after you have sex with her?
This is a critical question because sex is (in a woman’s mind) the most valuable thing she can give to a man. If she’s a quality woman, she’s not going to want to be discarded after giving her most valuable resource so she will submit to you out of fear of losing you.
If she proves to be low-quality, she won’t care about pleasing you “post-smash”… or she will try to use sex to manipulate you.
You’ll need to test her. Biblical speaking, a non-virgin would be your “concubine” until/unless she proved herself to be wife-material.
In either case, the end game should be to get a quality wife. But I don’t believe men are restricted by the so-called “sexual sins” defined by the church.
Every woman must be assessed:
- Is she wife material?
- Is she loyal after sex?
- Does she want your babies?
If she doesn’t meet your criteria, no point in marrying her.
At the end of the day, I think this is a far more sensible plan than the church’s “rush into marriage” plan.