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Why should I not have sex before marriage?

By Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP

April 6, 2011, 2021

WORD Format



It is really wise to expect that one should not have sex before marriage?  Yes!  Because the same problems that existed years ago in marriage because of premarital sex, still exist today.  It is also true that there are many who are remaining virgins until marriage and are happy they made that choice. 

Let me share my findings from my on private practice in marriage and family therapy and my anecdotal research with young people (2021).

  • Pre-marriage couples who from the onset (within a few days to a few months of starting the relationship) have sex as a part of their regular menu in the relationship, are more prone to have unnecessary disagreements, become confused, or wounded and have weak relationships.  Why? Because sex blurs objectivity and clarity in a relationship.  Hence, if body parts join before brains and hearts understand each other completely, there is no doubt that there will be trouble in the pre-marriage relationship and the marriage.

  • Pre-marriage couples who delay sexual intercourse until the after engagement and do not make sex a regular part of the menu in the relationship, tend not to have problems or very little problems.  Why?  Because they tend to be more objective.  They allow themselves to development emotionally and intellectually before they connect sexually.

  • Pre-marriage couples who wait until marriage to have sex are not at any disadvantage and still have healthy sex life for longer time.

Below you will read many other reasons one should remain sexually abstinent until marriage.  Most of the information below are by Josh McDowell, from his book “Why Wait” along with some of my own.

Spiritual Reasons Not to Have Sex before Marriage  McDowell

  •  11 Corinthians 6:12-20 “Flee from sexual immorality.”
  • It is sinning against your own body.  Sinning against your own body means that you lose respect for your body, as well as the body with whom you have sex.
  • Once you lose respect for your body, it becomes increasingly easy to indulge in promiscuous sex.
  • Hebrew 13:4 says that “marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral.”
  • If we choose to ignore what God says, we are placing ourselves under His judgment, and we are subject to the natural consequences of living outside the limits He set for His children.
  • God blesses purity.  1 Thess. 4:3-5: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.”
  • God forbids any type of sex outside of the marriage relationship.   Not because it is pleasurable, but because it has a far greater purpose than simply pleasure.


Physical Reasons Not to Have Sex before Marriage   McDowell

  • No risk of having any kind of sexually transmitted infections.
    • AIDS, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital herpes, Venereal Warts, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis and many more.
  • Avoid addiction to premarital sex.  Sexual addiction is painful and crippling.
  • Unwanted pregnancy.  Having an unplanned child is usually devastating which may lead to child abuse.
  • Abortion.  The options open to teenagers who become pregnant are not favorable.
  • Sex is designed for married folks.  Simply said, sex within marriage brings increased unity and an opportunity
  •  to give pleasure to your spouse, as well as to find pleasure yourself.  Sex outside marriage brings a momentary release.  A way to block out problems, but it brings lots of negative consequences.
  • Abstaining from sex protects us from emotional hurt, from disease, from damaged relationship, from misery that accompanies sin.

    "Remaining sexually pure before and after marriage means that you never lose your virginity.  When you lose something it is a negative loss.  Virginity is offered in marriage, it is not lost.  Virginity is the ultimate gift in marriage."

    Barrington & Annick Brennen



Emotional Reasons Not to Have Sex before Marriage   McDowell

  • Protection from being evaluated on a performance basis.  Sexually active teens also suffer from comparison and the performance syndrome.
  • Due to the instant sex of the sexual revolution, people perform rather than make love.  Many women can’t achieve a sense of intimacy, and their anxiety about how well they perform block their chances for honest arousal.  Without genuine involvement, they haven’t much chance for courtships, romance or love.  They’re left feeling cheated and burned out.
  • Guilt.  The hurt, fears, and feelings of guilt associated with premarital sexual involvement are real.
  • Hardships of breaking up.   Although having sex does hurt a relationship, it also makes it hard for a couple to break up.  Breaking up when you've had sex together can be a terrible tearing experience emotionally.  Sex creates an emotional bond so powerful that it must be reserved for marriage.
  • Psychological and emotional distress.  Premarital sex has a serious adverse effect on the self-image of the person engaging in it. Emotionally crippling guilt, not joy, seems to be the companion of permissive sex. 
  • Self Esteem.  Premarital sex damages one’s self- worth.   The National Research Council for the National Academy of Sciences concludes that “sexual activity among teenagers is intimately connected with issues of self-image.  Without a healthy self-image, people are insecure.”  hence teenagers have sex to bolster their self-image and it backfires.
  • Only one first time.  Once you give your virginity, you never, ever, get it back.   You will remember the first time you had sex for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you remember it as good or bad.  Make it easy and sweet for you--wait until marriage. 


Relational Reasons Not to Have Sex before Marriage

  • Protection from communication breakdowns.  Not only does premarital sex cloud the issue of true love, it tends to distort the communication process.  Most of us by nature gravitate toward what comes easily and is pleasurable.  Therefore, sex offers an easy way out to those who have never learned to communicate intimacy apart from the physical.
  • Protection from a difficult courtship.  Premarital sex makes a courtship more difficult.
  • Premarital sex wages war against responsible courtship in two powerful ways.  First, it has a binding effect on the partners.  In sexually active courtship, many issues surrounding the relationship are often not weighed or dealt with adequately.  Once the initial blast of sexual involvement tapers to a more stable flame, unresolved issues become far more pressing.  Very often issues that are not resolved during courtship become issues that shipwreck a marriage later on.
  • Protection from a forced marriage.  Usually one partner involved in pre-marital sexual relationship feels compelled to remain and get married even though there are doubts or questions.   Why?  Because he or she promised not to have sex before marriage and since it happened, they vow not to have another sexual relationship.  So they force themselves to stay in the relationship, even though the relationship is having great problems. That pain is taken into the marriage creating havoc.  Not engaging in sex before marriage prevents this.


Practical Reasons Not to Have Sex before Marriage

  • Protection from financial embarrassment.  Premarital sex often leads to pregnancy and children.   It costs money to have a family. Most teenagers do not have the resources to have a family.  The lack of funds causes emotional stress that sometimes leads to abuse, depression, and emotional stress.
  • Protection from delay in educational pursuits.  Premarital sex, because of the excess baggage it brings with


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     it, it prevents many individuals from reaching their educational goals. 

  • You have nothing to lose waiting until after marriage to have sex.  Although the urges to have sex might be strong, there is absolutely nothing to lose when you wait to have sex after marriage.  There is no risk factor in waiting.   On the other hand, even if you “play safe” (contraception) the risk factors are ten fold when you have sex before marriage.  Sex before marriage can cause you to marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Brennen
  • Sex before marriage does not prove you will be able to have sex after marriage. Sex before marriage only proves that the penis and vagina are working.  It is no proof that the sex organs will continue to work after marriage the same way they did before marriage and that you will be able to satisfy your spouse.  Sex before marriage only proves you can have sex but nothing else.   It does not guarantee sexual arousal, excitement or enjoyment after marriage.  What sex before marriage does is to guarantee pain and misery in the marriage.  Waiting will allow a mutual learning experience by both spouses that brings real excitement and happiness.  Brennen

SAY NO ALWAYS:  Say no to all sexual activities before marriage:  Anal sex, oral sex, petting, free deep kissing, vaginal sex, pornography.    Vow to be sexually pure before and during marriage:  Sexual purity is not having sex in any form (emotionally or clinically), before marriage and remaining faithful to your spouse after marriage.   Brennen

DO NOT LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY:  Remaining sexually pure before and after marriage means that you never lose your virginity:    When you lose something it is a negative loss.  Virginity is offered in marriage, it is not lost.  Virginity is the ultimate gift in marriage.  Brennen


Send your questions and comments to Barrington Brennen (marriage and family therapist), P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit the website www.soencouragement.org, or call 1242 327 1098, or info@soencouragment.org









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