Pre-Marital Sexuality in America
In the Bible, we find instruction, along with real life experiences relating to sex and marriage. The Bible contains a lot of insight on intimate passion and how to please your husband or wife. To engage in sexual activity with your significant other in a covenant marriage is supposed to be a totalizing experience; it should be done in regards to not only reproduction, but also to the enjoyment of both people involved. When sexual intercourse is wholehearted in pleasing both yourself and your partner, and erotic emotion invades every part of your body and soul, we actually think about what we are doing and the person we are doing it with. This is a totalizing sexual experience. But there are plenty of married couples who do not have this experience. On the other hand, there are many unwed, Christian couples who do. If you do not need to be married to have a strong relationship with God, and if you do not need to be married to have a fulfilling sexual experience with your partner, why is pre-marital sex frowned upon?
In December 2006, researchers from the Guttmacher Institute found through research that about 95% of America’s public population had already had sex before they were married. Out of that percentage, about 84% of them were unmarried Americans between the ages of 18-23 (Regnerus et al. 1). While most of these people have sexual relationships with their first loves at younger ages or involve themselves in unreserved sex during college, many of them do eventually marry someone (whether that is the first love, the third, or the twelfth) at some point in their lives. Even with this being true, controversy still rises within the church about whether it is “ok” for unmarried people to indulge in what is meant to be a spiritual and physical glory to God, and an activity intended for husband and wife.
In Undefiled: Redemption from Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships, Harry Schaumburg says “To be spiritually mature you must be sexually mature; to be sexually mature you must be spiritually mature.” (4) This could lead us to believe that if a person is spiritually mature, regardless of age, he should express his sexuality in order for that to mature as well, but he goes on,
Sex has been around forever. It is of interest to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, cultural background or education…Quite simply, sex is essential. And sex will not end until the new heaven and the new earth. Married people are supposed to engage in sex regularly, yet the truth is many do not and struggle sexually. Other couples use sex inappropriately in sinful ways. The way sex is viewed and worshiped in our culture is a perversion of the real importance of our sexuality. (21)
Schaumburg does not elaborate on which types of couples he is referring to here, but he does say a little about pornography and the impact it has on younger people; it promotes sex without long-term commitment. This is what I assume he regards as inappropriate sex, and I believe that may be indicating that unwed couples who engage in sexual intercourse are those couples who are sinning. But when he says, “Intercourse is a moment of passion, pleasure, union and intimacy that brings an emotional, spiritual, and relational experience…” (22), which agrees with the “sexuality vs. spirituality” quote I mentioned earlier, but contradicts what he has said here. Other couples can and do experience these emotions and are sometimes better off than those married couples who do not.
Schaumburg also mentions that while abstinence (staying a virgin until marriage) is still God’s standard, being a virgin on your wedding night is not all that God intends. To live spiritually and sexually for a purpose other than to fulfill a self-seeking agenda is what has been referred to as sexual redemption (6). This idea argues that premarital sex is acceptable in most cases where the...