A podcast listener writes in to ask this: “Pastor John, my girlfriend, who is no longer a virgin, continues to desire sex, and thinks it is natural despite the fact it is premarital. She wants me to have sex with her. However, I’m a virgin who wants to remain pure until marriage. My question is, if sex is so natural and normal, then why do we resist our humanity and restrain sex until marriage?”
If she does not think it is a sin to have sex outside marriage, then you have a very ignorant and very foolish girl on your hands. This is really basic to Christianity and if she thinks sex outside marriage is holy, then she is not a worthy candidate for marriage, and the relationship you are in, it seems, is certainly more than casual if she is wanting sex. So my counsel is move out of this relationship quickly. Point her to the Bible. Suggest that she study it, and be in a good mentoring relationship with a godly woman, and see if she matures in the truth.
If she does think that it is sin, then you have a very selfish, and even cruel, girl on your hands. She not only is willing to sin herself and put her own soul at risk, but is trying to get you not only into bed, but into hell with her, and so put your soul at risk. And in either of these two cases, whether she is foolish and ignorant on the one hand, or selfish and cruel on the other hand, she may well be motivated by the thought that getting you to have sex with her may be her way of holding on to you, since, from her perspective, as long as you have not had sex you are not bound to her.
But saying all that is not what you asked. That is just what I felt when I read your question. It is not what you asked, even though I think it is what you should ask and what you need to hear. You asked: If sex is so natural and normal why do we resist our humanity and restrain it till marriage?
“Giving in to the seductive woman or man is like an ox going to the slaughter. It will cost him his life.”
Now, I hope that question does not show a weakening of your conviction and courage. And if you feel yourself weakening, please read Proverbs seven which describes your situation exactly. It says, “With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast and an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life” (Proverbs 7:21).
And if you don’t think it is that serious, go back and read the words of Jesus and ask: Why did he talk this way in Matthew 5:29: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” Why does Jesus talk about hell in relation to sexual temptation? Because giving in to the seductive woman or man is like an ox going to the slaughter and a bird flying into a trap. It will cost him his life. Don’t play with fire - flee fire. Don’t put your hand in it. Don’t go to bed in fire.
We Guard What’s Precious
But here, finally, is the answer to your question.
We save sex for marriage precisely because it is natural, and normal, and beautiful so that we can keep it that way. So that it does not become common, and sordid, and manipulative, and diseased, and cheap, but precious, and personal, and clean, and sacred. You don’t put fences around weeds. You put fences around gardens. We don’t put our dirty socks under lock and key in the hotel room. We put our rings and our wallet in the safe. Holding sex until marriage doesn’t make it unnatural. It makes it priceless.
“Holding sex until marriage doesn’t make it unnatural. It makes it priceless.”
Another reason we save sex till marriage is that marriage is a picture of the covenant between Christ and his Church. And sex in that picture is the most exquisite pointer in the covenant relationship to the indescribable pleasures that await our full fellowship with Christ, in the age to come, in covenant with Jesus. Sex outside marriage is a lie about Jesus and about his relationship to the Church. It is a lie about where ultimate joy is to be found.
And, finally, Paul commands, 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immorality [And then he gives this reason, basically]. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
Now I don’t know all that that means, but it means, at least, there is a uniquely deep nature to this sin of fornication, and I think any woman who thinks this experience of sexual union can be offered indiscriminately is kidding herself about the depth of injury she is doing to her own soul. That is why it is protected. Keep your virginity and don’t put your neck in the noose of this seduction.