I’m going to get a little personal here because really, what is the point of looking at what the Bible is teaching us if it has no personal relevance? It’s fine to look back at what happened thousands of years ago, but if has no significance to me today then it is just a history lesson and that misses the point entirely.
I did not grow up in a religious family. My grandmother led me to Jesus when I was 7 years old. For the next 11 years, my brother and I walked ourselves to the church at the end of our street.
I was a virgin when I graduated high school. I can honestly look back and say that had more to do with lack of opportunity than any moral conviction, but it’s interesting how frequently those go hand in hand. It was easy to say that it was my intention when I knew it wasn’t going to be tested.
I never dated in high school. My first kiss came at 16 with a girl I met at church camp.
I have discovered that it is much easier to accept a stringent standard of morality when you have no options. My first real test of my morality came with my first relationship in college. We dated for a month before we started having sex. It lasted four months. It was awful.
On my very first attempt, I failed every test. I had endured 19 years of loneliness on the expectation that I was holding out for something truly remarkable. This was my first indication that perhaps I had misjudged my approach. This girl was as unremarkable as they come.
I’m not blaming her, she was broken and I was too inexperienced to know it. But my inexperience originated in this belief that I was following God’s will by not dating until I met THE ONE, so when this girl came along I had no basis for how to handle the relationship. She understood my feelings on the matter and assumed that if she could get me to sleep with her I would have to marry her on the basis of my convictions.
One thing I feel like I have to stress is that everything I’ve done wrong in my life, I’ve done as a Christian. There is no old me. There is no “I once was lost, but now I’m found”. Since I was seven years old, I have woken up every morning knowing that God is with me. That means every mistake I’ve made has occurred while I knew he was there watching.
And guess what? No matter what I did the night before, He meets me every morning and says, “I’ve got plans for you today.”
Is pre-marital sex evil? Meh. Maybe. I don’t know.
Is if harmful? Oh yes. Quite often.
Should I have had sex with that girl? Absolutely not. And in that experience I understood what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 6:18 about sinning against your own body. In that one experience I put my body at risk for disease. There was the risk of pregnancy that would alter the course of my life forever. In addition, I lied to her, I lied to myself, and I betrayed my own conscience.
It wasn’t even good sex. I don’t know if that would have changed my feelings on the subject. Would I feel differently about it if I looked back and thought, “yeah, but it was worth it”? It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t worth it.
So what lesson did I learn from that relationship? Don’t have sex with a crazy chick.
I will admit to you that my wife and I had sex before we were married. Do I feel bad about that? Not particularly. This was the woman I was pursuing as my mate and I planned to spend the rest of my life with her. We did reach a point a few months before the wedding where we both felt God was telling us to stop. We lasted until just a few weeks before the wedding.
I can honestly say that I feel like God punished us for that. Our first year of marriage was a disaster sexually. We had a difficult time figuring each other out once we were living in the same house. When I would pray and ask God what the heck was going on, the response was always the same, “You started early, now the bill is due.”
Strangely, most of the difficulties seem to clear up after that first year. Was God punishing us for having sex? I don’t think so. I think he was punishing us for not stopping when he asked us to. I truly believe that if we had kept our commitment to hold out those last few weeks, our first year of marriage would have been completely different.
What about as a married man? What is permissible for me? For us?
Most of Christ’s teachings in the New Testament focus on the intent of the Law; why are we doing what we’re doing? He is concerned about what is in our hearts more than how strictly we follow the letter of the Law.
I’ll be honest, there are all sorts of activities in my life that I don’t necessarily want to be engaged in when Jesus comes back. I’d feel a tad awkward if He showed up while we were in the middle of the adult version of Alice in Wonderland (our favorite adult film).
I might fumble with the straps a bit if He arrived while I had my wife strapped down to the bed with a gag in her mouth. But I fully expect that He would simply turn around and say, “I’ll wait”.
As a couple, we have come to an agreement on our moral standards. If it is mutual and agreed upon, we are good with it.
For example, we have friends who have HUGE issues with porn. There is nothing mutual or agreed upon if that husband is viewing it behind his wife’s back. But if I looked at it without my wife, she would simply pout and say, “why didn’t you wait for me?”
If I wanted to tie her up and spank her out of anger or tried to do it against her will, I have sinned against her. But what if she wants me to? Then I will do it with a smile on my face and a prayer of thanks in my heart.
What does the Bible really say about sex? It says to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. This is the complete fulfillment of the Law.
Sex is one of the more prominent topics in the Bible because it carries such capacity to hurt one another. Stay away from the temple prostitutes, your neighbors wife and your neighbors ass and you’ve pretty well covered all the bases.
If your sexual exploits are consensual, mutual, and agreed upon, I suspect you will rarely find yourself at significant odds with God. Although I do caution you to stop it whenever He tells you to.