Can I Have Sex Before Marriage?

This question was asked on our #TuesdayTruth segment on social media. If you missed it, check out the video on Instagram.

Whether we want to admit it or not, a lot of Christians are having sex before marriage. The world has made premarital sex normal – they encourage it and find those who are waiting for marriage absurd. Some Christians say that the context has changed and the Bible is outdated. Others say that as long as you love the person, it’s okay. Whatever the reason is, they try to justify their actions to avoid conviction and guilt.  

Biblical truth about sex before marriage 

The truth is, the Bible undeniably condemns adultery and sexual immorality. But you may ask, is sex before marriage actually considered sexually immoral? According to 1 Corinthians 7:2: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband”, yes is the clear answer. In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way. 

1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly includes sex before marriage in the Biblical definition of sexual immorality. There are numerous Scriptures that confirm that sex before marriage is a sin: Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7. The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4). 

We’re not saying that as soon as you lust after someone, or desire sex, that you need to immediately marry that person. The Bible also clearly speaks of the need for self-control (1 Thes 4:4). Who you choose to marry should be well thought out. You should not be unequally yoked (2 Cor 6:14), and since marriage represents Christ marrying the church, it should bring glory for God

The consequences of premarital sex 

God wants men and women to enjoy sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Song of Solomon and several other Bible passages (such as Proverbs 5:19) clearly describe the pleasure of sex. Sometimes there is shame around sex, it has become such a taboo topic and depicted as a shameful act, that when people do get married, those feelings enter the marriage with them. That is not what God intended – sex was created for pleasure and intimacy within the safety and purity of marriage. It is a physical depiction of husband and wife becoming one.  

When you have sex before marriage, God sees you as one. That act binds you together. Never mind the emotional connection that forms during sex (whether you acknowledge it or not), the spiritual connect is great too. For a couple to engage in sex before marriage is doubly wrong—they are enjoying pleasures not intended for them, and they are taking a chance of creating a human life outside of the family structure God intended for every child. The nuclear family is what God intended. 

On a more practical level, you’re opening yourself up to the risk of sexually transmitted infection and disease.  

The hard choice 

Abstinence is God’s only policy when it comes to sex before marriage. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and, most importantly, honors God. 

Choosing to abstain before marriage in a world that actively encourages sex from a young age is extremely difficult. Temptation is all around us in this hyper-sexualised world. Pornography is readily available, quick hook ups are easy with apps like Tinder, many Christians are open to sex within a dating relationship and sexual brokenness results in bad decision-making.  

We’re not saying the right decision is easy, but it is ultimately good. Sex is a beautiful act that gives much pleasure – within the context of marriage. The Bible is clear on that – only sex within marriage, between a man and a woman, is right.  


Jarryd Doyle

Jarryd is the Production Coordinator for CBN South Africa in Cape Town. When he is not behind the camera he is either editing content or surfing with his wife. He is passionate about using media to call a nation to live deeper with radical empathy and a love that has action. “Let’s practice what we post!”.