Christians, Relationships

Why Christians Aren’t Waiting Anymore

Many of my friends on Twitter and Facebook posted a link to a recent CNN article entitled “Why Young Christians Aren’t Waiting Anymore.” The title was intriguing, so of course I clicked on it, even scrolled through the comments in the comments section of the article, but still, I haven’t heard from my readers and friends: what do they think of the article?

For those of you haven’t read it, I’ll summarize. The article suggests that unmarried Christians are having almost as much premarital sex as their non-Christian peers. The author thinks our society  is so saturated with sexual images and messages in the media that drastically contradict “Abstinence Until Marriage” messages. Secondly, we live in a society where people do what feels right; this notion is preferred over delayed gratification. Thirdly, unlike previous generations, people of the current generation get married later in life, leaving them a good 13 – 15 years after puberty to slip up. Fourthly, the abstinence message is no longer relevant. The people who lived in Bible times got married at age young ages, so abstaining was easier.

While I agree with most of these arguments, I would like to present two of my own. First, it is HARD to save sex until marriage! I don’t know if any of you have tried to abstain lately, but my goodness, it takes the every fiber in your being (and God) to resist “temptation.” And secondly, finding a partner who willing to abstain is like finding a casette tape of one of your favorite music artists of the 90’s. Even the “very Christian” men will look at you funny when you propose your intention to abstain from sex until marriage.

So, readers, why do you think Christians aren’t waiting until marriage to have sex?

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11 thoughts on “Why Christians Aren’t Waiting Anymore”

  1. Hey lady,

    So this is goignt o be quick. I think it takes a two way street first of all, and you are right as a woman when I say let’s wait, Christian or not, all of the guys have not been as committed to the idea. They say yes to the plan but they are not committed so it unravels in practice. I would be interested for the very few men who want to abstain if they encounter the same sitaution -women not wanting to wait.

    Realistically as a culture we date differently when folks were abstaining back in the day they were still spending a lot more of their courtship in public plases, ie restaurants, movies, your momma’s/grandmomma’s front parlor. Spaces where it is a lot harder to get it on. So if a man really respected you then you stayed to those spaces. Now even if a guy respects you, as a couple it is more appropriate- or i would even say it is a requisite- to spend “alone tme” snuggled up watching a movie,etc. and as we all know stuff happens…. People would look at you funny if you said my partner and I have never been alone watching a movie we always do group or public dates. People would laugh and ask you if you are still in high school so it makes it tough.

  2. Thanks! And yes, I wholeheartedly agree. Times are different. People spend more time alone. Parents aren’t as involved in their children’s relationship as they once were. And absolutely, things happen! And the group dating idea in theory sounds like a wonderful idea but in practically speaking, who wants to always go out with their boo in group dates?! Lol.

    I always chuckle when I hear about a Christian couple who gets married within a few months of courting (What does that term “courting” mean anyway? But that’s for another post.) Christians get married quicker than their non-Christian counterparts to avoid the pitfalls associated with being alone with their significant other.

    And finally, you bring up a good point. Perhaps waiting is more than just abstaining from sexual intercourse. Perhaps the idea of waiting until marriage introduces a lifestyle change where the couple who is committed to the idea has to date differently – no stay-in movie dates, no late night conversations, or engaging in other activities that make it easier for “things to happen.”

  3. Interestingly, every guy I was ever in a romantic relationship with was either a virgin or celibate. One due to having a pregnancy scare with the girlfriend that can before me, one due to lack of opportunity, and one because he wanted to wait for marriage (though earlier into the relationship, he asked for sex). I believe that there are people out there, regardless of religious preference and gender, who are saving sex for marriage or even just choosing to abstain for an indefinite period. The matchmaker, Paul Carrick Brunson, once said , “I believe 80% of the sex is being had by 20% of the population.” I think there’s some truth to that.

    Regarding my own personal views on it, I think it may have to do with social and gender stereotypes. We are still living in an age where some expect for women to save themselves for marriage, while men are being encouraged to sow their oats. These are confusing messages being sent to young people.

  4. Thanks, Nicole! And where did you find these men who are practicing abstinence? Lol, where have they been hiding?? Lol. (I’m serious.) Regarding the matchmaker’s comment about 80% of sex is being had by 20% of the population, that’s interesting thought. I’d like to read that article.

    Right. I believe in the stereotypes too; however, there are many women who don’t abide by these stereotypes. They make up their own rule. There are many women who do what they want to do, have as much sex as they want. Although I do think that the gender stereotypes have something to do with it, I definitely think it only plays a small role.

  5. Hmmm…the strength of our values versus the reality of our times. We are flooded by messages about sexuality and promiscuity, we celebrate when other go astray from mariages, and enjoy hearing the “dirt” on celebrities…it becomes really HARD (lol Jess) to hold on to what you truly believe versus what others told you to believe. I dont think combatting the issue is the answer, I think young Christians need to be able to find a safe place to have ALL QUESTIONS answered without judgement and in a way that is relevant/applicable to their situation.

    My understanding certainly became much clearer when I attended a session on integrity and the facilitators used technology for everyone to submit ALL and ANY questions. The responses were within a Godly context and it felt great…I think young Christians are under alot of pressure and it’d be great if we gave them loving, honest, caring, non-critical answers before they make mistakes that have long-term impacts….my two cents…

    1. Thanks, Sharon! I never want to inflict guilt upon anyone who has chosen not to abstain, I just think the abstinence messages need to be re-framed. Cause this whole “True Love Waits” phenomenon in the midst of the reality just doesn’t work. Something’s gotta give.

      I feel you on having a safe haven for people to have all questions answered. And a place where people can be vulnerable too, if this is the lifestyle they want to lead.

  6. I waited until marriage and I’m happily married but I recognize that I’m not in the norm. I have asked myself this question many times and I’ve come up with a couple of reasons. Some are similar to what you have said whereas others are different.

    1) Sex education is radically different. Abstinence only sex education programs are much rarer. And I think it sends kids conflicting messages. Even if we say “Abstinence is best” I think there’s this underlying attitude of “Abstinence is best, but kids are going to do it anyways, so we may as well tell them how to do it safely.” I think when that attitude exists, that kids are going to do it anyways, what incentivizes kids not to do it? If their society tells them they’re just going to fail at being abstinent anyways, then why should they bother trying? We’ve really lowered the bar for our kids.

    2) The church is sending conflicting messages. You hear the message from churches, wait to have sex. But yet many well meaning Christians also tell their sons and daughters to wait until they’re older to get married. The current stigma that exists against young marriage (and as someone who got married at 20, I can definitely tell you it exists). If you really want people to wait, don’t push people who are ready to get married to put off their wedding because the temptation will be too much. Because you’re right, it is really hard. So then you get these conflicting messages – wait until you’re married to have sex but you must also wait to get married. Christians aren’t super human and if people are ready to get married, encouraging them to wait even longer when they’re already ready so that they fit into a societal norm, might push them to have sex before marriage because marriage is forever away.

    3) This try it before you buy it attitude that’s really pervasive in our culture. When I told people I was saving myself for marriage (other people) the number one response I would get is that, “Well then how do you know the sex is going to be any good? You could get stuck married to a guy who you have horrible sex with for the rest of your life!” And variations of that. I think this is a lie that Satan tells that is very easy for people to buy into since we live in a society full of try it before you buy it and money back guarantees and so on. And indeed, isn’t that the whole idea behind cohabitation? I think it’s just as easy for Christians to believe this lie that they need to try before they buy, but that lie is hurtful – do you know why? Because guess what, I waited until I was married and I have great sex and you know what? I could be having horrible sex but . . . I have nothing to compare it to. Sex with my husband is all I’ve ever known and I think that makes it easier for me to have a great sex life. But I think people are looking for that reassurance that it’s going to be good because of statements like that. But I will always maintain – people aren’t cars! If you try before you buy with a car and decide not to stay with that car forever, the car has no feelings involved. If you have sex with someone and decide not to stay with them forever, there are lots of feelings and hormones involved and it will be a messy breakup.

    Those are just my thoughts on why people in general have a harder time waiting.

    1. Wow. Thank you, Melissa, for your insight. What you’re saying about conflicting messages is so true! And even from personal experience, whenever there is someone who is younger than 25 getting married, most people are against it. I have to admit: I’m usually anti-marriage-before-25. But comments like yours and others who are doing it successfully are now opening my eyes and perspectives to getting married early.

  7. I’m going to make this short and simple. Just like you said it’s HARD!!! The Bible even says so. I Corinthians 7:4-5 states “It is not the wife who has the rights to her own body, but the husband. In the same way, it is not the husband who has the rights to his own body, but the wife.DO NOT DEPRIVE each other, except by mutual agreement for a specified time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then resume your relationship, SO THAT SATAN MAY NOT TEMPT you because of YOUR LACK OF SELF-CONTROL.” It further goes on to say in I Corinthians 7:8-9 “To the unmarried and widows I say that it is best for them to remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, let them get married. FOR IT IS BETTER TO MARRY THAN TO BURN WITH SEXUAL DESIRE.”

    I totally agree that we live in a society that has hyper-sexualized images and messages everywhere and for a teenaged or early 20’s Christians trying to contradict those messages while you are still trying to “find yourself” in the midst of understanding the changes your body might be experiencing or exploring your new found independence is definitely challenging but I think doable if you have the right type of guidance growing up.

    But as I get closer to that big 3-0, I have just come to find that the older I get the harder it gets to be patient and wait. Especially if your form of waiting has been not dating at all. Tensions and desires can rise in that interim and it doesn’t take a lot to tip the scales.

  8. Since this post, the problem is probably getting worse. And people are justifying it more and more. Christian men and women have to hold each other accountable. If we cant wait for each other, who can we wait for?

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