What could really go wrong with sex outside of marriage?

Q: I've heard about the risks of STDs and unplanned pregnancy, but aren't there ways to protect against that? What could really go wrong with premarital sex?

STDs and pregnancy can be the least of your worries when you take sex outside of marriage. One of the main problems with the media (movies, TV, music, etc.) and the "safe sex" message is that sex is perceived as merely a physical act. Sex always affects the heart, mind and soul as well.

The emotional, spiritual and intellectual aspects of sex are always present, to some degree, when the physical act takes place. One of two things can take place: either people try give all of themselves in premarital sexual experiences (all of their body, heart, soul and mind) and are emotionally torn apart when the relationship ends, or individuals learn to not give all of themselves in premarital sex to avoid major pain if the relationship would fail — which leads to a devaluation of sex and lack of intimacy skills when someone wants all of the “other” aspects to be present in marriage.

Below is a list of the dangers that are always present when sex is outside of marriage. Not everything listed necessarily happens to everyone, in every sexual experience. However, all of them are very real possibilities and do happen on a regular basis to teens and adults alike. There are too many of them to take lightly and it is impossible to dodge all consequences. And thinking that some of them won’t affect you and your future marriage in powerful ways — that's a lie.

Perhaps more importantly, consider that these consequences will not only affect you. Every time you have premarital sex, you are putting your partner in a situation where they can experience any or all of the following consequences. How loving or caring is it to put people in emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical danger? True love wants what is best for the other; endangering someone, for any reason, is not love. How would you like to be responsible for putting them through a great deal of unnecessary hurt? How satisfied would you be if their future marriage goes through serious problems because sex isn’t as important or intimate as it should be? Sex without any possible regrets can only be experienced in marriage. Outside of marriage, there is always the risk. Are you willing to risk yourself or the one you’re with to experience ANY of the following?

Emotional (Psychological) Traps of Premarital Sex:

  1. Worry about pregnancy, STDs, and AIDS
  2. Regret
  3. Guilt
  4. Loss of self-respect and lowered self-esteem
  5. Devalued Sex
  6. Shaken trust in relationships and fear of commitment
  7. Hurt and anger over betrayal
  8. Depression and suicide
  9. Ruined relationships
  10. Stunted personal development
  11. Difficulty evaluating future spouse: when a couple is physical, especially to the degree of having sex, they tend to become partially blinded to each other’s failings and often only focus on someone’s good traits. Have you ever heard something like “He’s really not that bad... He’s a great guy when he’s not cheating on me.” There are many rationalizations that can take place so that some people feel justified in staying in unhealthy relationships. In marriage, this partial blindness can be very good, as it helps couples overcome minor problems before they tear each other apart. Outside of marriage, minor problems are often hidden major problems that couples refuse to deal with. When you are sexually active with someone, you are not at a good place to evaluate someone’s character. This can lead to a devastating marriage decision.
  12. Lack of bonding through sex in marriage: we recommend reading The Epidemic of Bad Sex in Marriage.

Spiritual Traps of Premarital Sex:

1.      Ghosts in Marriage: When a person engages in physical relationships before they get married, these sexual experiences become a part of his or her marriage as well — because you share your soul with each sexual partner, whether you intend to or not. Comparisons to lovers of the past can undermine the intimacy of a marriage and can make a couple feel as though others contribute to their private sharing of intercourse. Perhaps you’ve compared yourself to a boyfriend or girlfriend’s exes, wondering if you are as attractive, or as smart, or as fun to spend time with. Can you imagine how much more painful those comparisons would be if you knew their previous relationships were sexual? Now can you imagine how difficult it would be to live with those sexual comparisons for the rest of your life? It’s a much happier, healthier marriage when a couple learns to navigate sexual experiences together, without the ghosts of past relationships haunting them.

2.      Isolation from God: If someone’s relationship with God is even remotely important to them, premarital sex is something that could shatter his or her faith life. Premarital sex is a serious, mortal sin for all Judeo-Christian faiths. When we sin, we are stepping away from God and His awesome plan for our lives. It’s such a grave sin because it causes so much damage to our hearts, minds, and souls. God created sex to be a fulfilling, life-long gift of self to the other  – and it is only in marriage that sex can be what it should be. For many, committing this sin leads to them to believe that God can’t love them anymore, and they walk away from Him – which is such a lie! We are taught that God is the source of true, unconditional love and He will always forgive us. But when we choose to engage in premarital sex, we choose to walk away from God – from what should be the most important, most loving relationship we have. Many abandon their faith entirely to rationalize their desire to enjoy sex outside of marriage. How willing are you to walk away from God? Are you willing to risk the salvation of yourself or your partner?

 

When you choose to save sex for marriage, you avoid all the negatives listed above. But if you’re dealing with any of these consequences from sexual activity, or already have gone too far physically, there is still hope. You can start fresh to and avoid many of these dangers from this point on through the gift of starting over – you can have a second chance.