Sex is beautiful. Sex is powerful. Sex is mating – and is designed for sharing in a mutually committed, monogamous relationship where children are welcomed and mature communication skills further solidify the lifelong partnership of two people.
I’m about to sound like an old dude from another generation, even though I’m a Gen X-er with a pretty broad view of many aspects of society.
But I have to say something, because the kids are growing up swimming in Netflix, the latest movies, university environments, and “hip” homes that are all quietly (or overtly) communicating to them the idea that sex, before and outside of a committed, lifelong relationship, is a good idea.
Sex is mating. And when you mate with someone, it has powerful psychological, emotional, and, in my view, spiritual effects.
In marriage, it can seal hearts together, renew friendship, express tenderness, and revitalize a connection and a commitment that was made for a lifetime. Babies may come, and the circle of joy that sex creates expands to enfold little ones in a family where a mother and father clearly love one another by the way they hold hands and softly touch.
Biologists know that sex is mating, and I suspect that some psychologists know that sex outside of a committed relationship can be damaging (see The National Marriage Project link at the bottom of this article).
Yet while the culture progresses ever deeper into its desacralizing of the sexual experience for all who want it (which is all of us), voices are few that present another view. That view needs to be lovingly but loudly expressed before the next young kids feel pressured into sex by another, or are driven by their own runaway emotions and lack of inhibitive filters into sexual relationships (and their accompanying emotional bonds) with the wrong people.
Having sex with someone with whom you are not committed to both publicly and privately bonds you to a person – making you emotionally connected to someone who, in some cases, you should actually not be with.
In marriage, sex is beautiful. Sex is powerful. Sex is mating with the the purpose of deepening affection, tenderness, care, mutual respect, and children.
Outside of marriage, sex is minimized to an emotional and physical experience, and new ways to have sex without consequences (that’s for another post one day) have been formulated to keep it a casual way of having fun with anyone with whom we share some emotional connection.
In my experience watching many couples progress over decades, sex before marriage – especially when with multiple partners and when a constant mating-then-separating pattern is initiated – is damaging to our human capacity for intimacy.
Like duct tape that loses its stickiness, continual mating without commitment can stunt a relationship before it begins.
Sex was designed to share with your mate – and I personally believe that sex was indeed designed for human joy.
For joy. For family. For children. For pleasure. For intimacy – within the mutally committed relationship that is marriage. Sex is the ultimate physical overflow of the deep communication you practiced before you were married and had sex for the first time.
All our favorite movies and shows that perpetuate that “friends with benefits” is not complicated, is fun, and can be done lightly, are lying to us.
And a generation who believed them was deeply, deeply damaged. With Netflix, we can now binge watch the malforming lesson over and over and over and over.
The power of sex masks immaturity, creates bonds that are unhealthy, and disables effective decisions about the long-term viability of the relationship.
A lot of young people are having sex thinking it is helping the relationship. Outside of marriage, trust me, having sex before marriage is eroding the chance your relationship will go the distance and weakening the muscle of restraint you will need to apply every single day in marriage.
Starting a relationship with physical affection too early on confuses and convolutes a relationship right from the start, and earlier centuries of marriage both intuited this and respected it.
Sexual intimacy before and outside of marriage, from my view:
+ displaces mature communication with psychological-biological excitement,
+ stunts a couple’s ability to cultivate restraint (a vital ingredient in marriage),
+ masks a host of immaturities, and
+ unhelpfully creates emotional bonds between people who may otherwise be incompatible in a long-term relationship.
Without the hard commitment of marriage as the foundation for sex (mating) and shared living, the whole structure of a lifelong friendship may be doomed before the first floor is even built.
First comes the lifelong commitment based on years of deep and foundational communication – then comes sex as the sealing of the bond and the celebration of a union that began in the heart.
Don’t let sex distract you from the hard work of developing a healthy emotional, psychological, and spiritual relationship with another person. Sex is powerful, so it will distract you from the real (and hard) work it takes to go deep with a person toward a lasting relationship.
I do believe that there is healing for those who have had sex before marriage with multiple partners, or even with just one. But that has to be desired, and the impact of having sex before marriage understood, before healing can have its full effect.
A lot of young people are playing house, thinking they are mature enough to mate before they actually are. Playing house – with sex – rarely works.
Building a house, however, in a committed relationship, can be supported by this powerful gift.
Sex within marriage is so worth the wait.
+ The couple can grow in intimacy, friendship, and commitment
+ The couple can learn to be respectful and tender with one another
+ Emotional maturity can grow as they give themselves to one another
+ The gift of children can come from this act of physical, emotional, and psychological union
+ Selflessness can be cultivated over time, if the couple keeps learning about one another
It’s not old-fashioned. It’s the new Union.
From my view,
Other Articles In The Relationship Series
How To Start A Marriage That Lasts A Lifetime
Why Committed Marriage Eats Living Together For Breakfast
Sex Is Mating – And Is Worth The Wait
What Your Girlfriend Needs From You
Why A Man Wanting To Be Like Jesus Is A Good Thing
A Sample Wedding Service For Couples
The Virtue Of The Second Question
Other Helpful Resources
Focus On The Family’s Marriage Resources
Books That Helped Us Start Strong
Premarital Workbooks on Amazon
How Can I Be Sure? A Premarital Inventory (a retro cover, but the workbook was great)
The Act Of Marriage (LaHaye) (the beauty of sexual love)
The Meaning Of Marriage (Keller)
Other Helpful Resources
While I do not endorse all of the content, perspectives, or presenting organizations of every article linked to in my other posts below, one or more of them may prove helpful to your particular situation or need.
The Risks For Couples Moving In Together (Psychology Today)
Living Together? Just Married? The First Year Challenges (Psychology Today)
Current Divorce Statistics (LoveToKnow)
Essential Cohabitation Statistics
The Danger Of Sliding Instead Of Deciding To Get Married
Divorce Statistics & Living Together Before Marriage (LoveToKnow)
Cohabitation Is Pervasive (Institute For Family Studies)
The Problem With Living Together (Focus On The Family)
Does Living Together Build A Stronger Marriage? (Focus On The Family)
Cohabitation As A Means To Marriage (Focus On The Family)
Myths About Living Together (First Things First)