Many people wonder what the big deal with casual sex is. For many it begins like this: They’re on a date, and kissing begins to turn into something more. They know what the Bible says about sex before marriage but they’re excited and feeling good about where things are going. Surely, God won’t mind. They believe that once they do get married, they’re sure they’ll be able to commit to that one special person, but for now, what’s the problem with having some fun and exploring sex?
For a lot of people, sex is no big deal. Purity and chastity seem to be virtues that have gone out of fashion. The crisis of values has led many young people to see sex as the center of their dating relationship. Many people believe it’s for fun and pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be confined to a committed marriage. In fact, a lot of people would say, “sleep with as many people as you can,” or “have as much sex as you can!” These are the messages and cues we receive from the media – in magazines, on TV and online. So, when you are exploring life, why does God continue to insist we want until marriage for sex?
First, sex is a special gift from God designated to unite a couple in marriage. When God creates something, He creates it with purpose and design. The Genesis account of creation makes it clear that God’s creation is “good” (Genesis 1:31). But mankind has a history of distorting what God has made, whether out of ignorance or stubbornness. The golden calf (idol) of the Israelites is a great example. Gold is beautiful to look at, but God clearly does not want His people worshipping it. Sex, which was designed by God, is no different. God created it, and therefore it is reasonable to expect that it is good. But when man distorts it by ignoring God’s specific standards, it becomes harmful and destructive. The “why save sex for marriage” question is really a question of understanding God’s purpose and design for sex. We can choose to do things God’s way, and experience the beauty of His plan, or we can choose to do things our way, and experience harm and destruction (Proverbs 16:25).
It’s really important for Christians to understand why God created sex. One reason is pretty obvious: procreation. When God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), they probably figured out that He wanted them to have sex. But God also wanted them to develop intimacy with one another, and He knew that sex would help them do that, in a way that nothing else could. God also knew that because sex is so powerful in creating intimacy but that there must be some constraints on how it was to be used. So, He specifically connected sex to the arena of marriage. The kind of intimacy that God desires between a married couple cannot occur between one person and several others; it can only be experienced between one man and one woman. God specifically said “Flee sexual immorality” (! Corinthians 6:18). That is, do not have sex with someone who is not your spouse. Obedience requires that sex be reserved for one’s spouse.
When we engage in casual sex, a number of problems can occur. In any other context, sex can have deeply painful consequences. Unfortunately, sin twists even this most precious gift so that sex can be used to exploit abuse and defile. Sex has the power to closely unite two people, so it is nearly impossible to have sex that does not involve giving of the whole self. Without the corresponding commitment in marriage to love, cherish and stand by another person for the rest of your life, this uniting power is corrupted and damaged. You may think you can turn the intimacy off and on and just have a fling, but the more you do this, the less likely you are able to turn it back on when it really counts. This results in sex losing its ability to solidify and build the marriage relationship.
If you engage in casual sex and later get married, the results of these actions will show up again in your marriage. Going against God’s good design is not in your best interest and though God does forgive if you ask Him for it, you and your spouse will have to work through anything that begins to show up in your marriage.
Despite societal pressures and media cues, casual sex is not worth exploring. God designed sex to work best in the context of a committed life-long relationship. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing to be gained by exploring. There is great joy in discovering sexual intimacy for the first time with someone who is committed to you. Sex within marriage is the most beautiful and freeing expression of sexuality, despite what others may tell you.Many Christians wonder what they should do if they’ve already engaged in casual sex. Is it too late if you’ve already forfeited their sexual purity? While a person can’t reverse the past, there are a number of steps one can take to keep from further damaging his or her intimacy with God and others.
The first step is to acknowledge your actions as sin. For those who have accepted Christ’s payment of the penalty for their sins, He asks only that they confess – agree with God that they are sinful. Second, maintain purity from this moment forward. Jesus told the woman caught in sexual sin to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). You can’t change what’s been done, but you can keep yourself and others from any further damage by avoiding situations which might cause you to compromise your commitment to sexual purity. Finally, be honest with anyone who is a “potential spouse” – don’t wait until your wedding day to discuss your sexual past. Some problems related to intimacy may be prevented if you address them early on.