What affect does premarital sex have on a marriage?

Jay Dee

What affect does premarital sex have on a marriage?

Mar 17, 2015

Last week I put out our premarital sex survey because I’d been getting a lot of comments, emails, etc. talking about how people felt their premarital sex, even if it was with their now spouse, had damaged their marriage.  As well, after our post Is my married

What effect does premarital sex have on a marriageLast week I put out our premarital sex survey because I’d been getting a lot of comments, emails, etc. talking about how people felt their premarital sex, even if it was with their now spouse, had damaged their marriage.  As well, after our post Is my married sex life ruined because I had sex before marriage? we got a lot of questions asking how common this was.  There are a lot of people thinking they are the only ones in their situation.  If they had sex before marriage, they think they’re one of the few Christians who fell to this temptation.  If they didn’t, they think they’re one of the few Christians who made it to marriage as virgins…and then wonder if it was worth the effort.

So, we put this survey out to help answer a lot of these questions, in the hopes that more of you will recognize you aren’t alone in your struggles, but also to, hopefully, help us to better understand how sex before marriage can affect our marital sex lives, and thus be better armed when speaking with our kids, so we don’t have to give the traditional Christian answer of “You just don’t!”

So, on with our survey responses.

Simple Data

First we’ll deal with straight answers to the questions.  Later we’ll dig a bit more.

Total respondents: 407 (Woo, broke 400!).  174 (43%) women, 228 (56%) men, and 5 (1%) who abstained from telling what their gender is.

Are you happy with the quantity of sex in your marriage?

47% of women are happy with the quantity.  Only 27% of men are.  Together, this is 36% of spouses are happy with the quantity of sex in their marriage.  That’s unfortunate.

7% of wives would like less and 46% would like more.

0% of husbands would like less leaving 73% would like more.

Of course, this is representative of our community here.  Sadly, we have a high number of wives who are refused by their husbands, and those husbands aren’t represented in these numbers.  I often see comments asking why women aren’t interested in solving sexual issues, in being more adventurous, in wanting more sex, etc.  However, I’d argue that we have far more low-drive wives in our community here at Sex Within Marriage than we do low-drive husbands.  It would seem that, in fact, generally wives are more willing to work on this than men.  Of course, wanting to work on something you have a high drive for is axiomatic (having a self-evident quality, this is my new favorite word).

Are you happy with the quality of sex in your marriage?

70% of wives are happy with the quality.  So, seems most like sex…they just want more.  At least, in our very pro-sex community.  30% are not, and in many cases, their comments make me want to sit their husbands down and teach them a thing or two.

52% of men are happy with the quality of sex.  Pretty close to half.  Of course, this leaves 48% who are not.  Again, some of their comments…well, I think some wives would enjoy sex a lot more if they made more of an effort.  No all, I know plenty of you do, especially our readers.  But your friends who aren’t so sex positive…we need to fix this somehow.  I’m doing my best.

Did you grow up in a Christian home?

82% of our readers grew up in Christian homes, regardless of gender.  Not really surprising really.  It’s a bit sad if you think about it.  The vast majority of Christians who read this blog have been Christians there whole life.  This means we’re not doing a great job of preaching the good news.  I wish we, as Christians, were better at evangelizing.  I’m still trying to learn this skill…or passion…or whatever it is.  But I am trying.  I hope you are too.

Where you taught, while growing up, to abstain from sex before marriage?

79% of women said yes, 81% of men.  I would have thought that would be higher.  I would hope all Christian homes teach this, and I had hoped some of the non-Christian homes would still hold to this moral guideline.

Turns out they do.  30% of men and 38% of women who grew up in non-Christian homes were taught not to have sex before marriage.   What’s sad is that 12% of women and 9% of men who grew up in Christian homes were not taught this.

Did you make a decision to remain a virgin until marriage when you were younger?

50% of women did, 52% of men.  If you grew up in a Christian home, that goes up a bit to 56% for women and 60% for men.  If not, 22% of women, and 15% of men.

I find it interesting that in the Christian homes, the men seemed more convicted to make a decision than the women.  Outside of the Christian homes, this dynamic is reversed.  I wonder if Christian boys are taught they need to protect/lead more, and in non-Christian homes the girls are taught they need to guard themselves more.  I don’t know, just speculation.

Did you have sex before marriage?

Manual sex: 60% said yes, 24% said yes, but only with their future spouse, 16% said no.  Only 16% managed to abstain from manual sex prior to marriage.  Wow.

Oral sex: 51% said yes, 20% said yes, but only with their future spouse, 29% said no.  One in three managed to overcome this temptation.

Anal sex: 11% said yes, 5% said yes, but only with their future spouse, 84% said no.  This isn’t surprising.  Except that if you consider that in our survey on anal sex and anal play, 73% of people have never had anal sex. So, if you factor out 73% who never had it, the numbers become: 41% said yes, 19% said only with their future spouse, and 41% said no.  That’s pretty astounding I think!

Sexual intercourse: I didn’t split the previous ones by gender, because they were only 1-2% different from men to women in all categories.  But, here we have a larger discrepancy.  Let’s start with women.

58% of wives said yes.  15% said yes, but only with their future spouse, and 27% said no.

47% of husbands said yes, 20% said yes, but only with their future spouse, and 33% said no.

Wait a minute.  Hold on.  Aren’t we taught that men are the more sexual gender?  That they are the ones pushing for sex?  That they are the ones you have to watch out for, to protect your daughters from, that they only want one thing?  Turns out…the men seem to have a bit more self control.  I was surprised by how many comments I read from husbands saying they wish they hadn’t succumbed to their girlfriends/fiancee’s advances, that they didn’t want to, but were afraid of losing them.  Doesn’t that just stand everything you know on it’s head?

I’d made the suggestion before that it seems in biblical times, that women had the higher sex drives, that men were to ensure that the wives were sexually fulfilled, and that something has gone horribly wrong in our society to shift this dynamic in marriage.  This hypothesis seems to be holding true.  I get so many comments saying that prior to marriage, women are sexually assertive, available, adventurous and generous (sorry, didn’t have another ‘a’ word), and then suddenly after marriage, something changes and they become reserved, reluctant, remiss and selfish (sorry, no more ‘r’ words).  What is it that has happened?  What have we done?  More importantly, how do we fix it?  I’ll let you know when I have an answer!

And no, I don’t think it’s as simple as a bait and switch, because many of these wives are quite frustrated themselves by the change that comes on as soon as they are married.  There is something larger and systemic at play, I believe.  I think I have the workings of a concept, but currently lack the words to express it.  I’ll continue to try though through my writing.

Did you live with a sexual partner prior to marriage?

23% of wives said yes, 17% said yes, but only with their future spouse, 60% said no.

19% of husbands said yes, 12% said yes, but only with their future spouse, 69% said no.

Have you ever been divorced?

88% said no, 12% said yes.  I had expected the “yes” number to be higher… After all, aren’t we taught that 50% of Christians get divorced?  Maybe it’s not quite true…

Have you ever had an affair?

16% said yes, 84% said no.  And I don’t want to hear anyone saying that women have affairs more often, at least not in this community.  They’re even.  Unless they’re lying…I can’t test that, but neither can you.

If you had any sexual activity before marriage, do you feel it had a negative impact on your marriage?

51% said no, 49% said yes.  Granted, this is a highly subjective response.  But, I thought it was worth asking anyways.

Data correlations

Alright, let’s see if we can find any interesting patterns. I haven’t looked yet.  I always find this the most exciting part…yeah, I’m a numbers geek.  Seriously, I go through dozens of permutations of data to see if I can find some correlation that is holding some unique piece of knowledge I wasn’t aware of.  I hope you guys enjoy it too.  Lucky for you, I do all the hard work of finding things that have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

For example: Spouses who are the sole child in their family have slightly less sex, on average, than people with more kids in their family.  Like 92 times per year vs. say a first born at 104 times per year on average.  Not really statistically important.  But, I checked…

Interestingly enough though, 1% more of them than First Born spouses wish they had more sex.  See, not really statistically important.  Barely even interesting.  However, what is interesting is that 11.5% of only children (solo children?  what’s the best way to refer to them?  Only childs seems wrong…) wish they had less sex.  In fact, they bring the average up so much that without them, only 2.4% of wives want less sex (instead of the 7% we stated earlier).  What is it about wives that were single children that makes them want less sex?

They’re also the least happy with the quality of sex as well (48% being unhappy, against the 40% of those with siblings).  Alright, now this is getting a little interesting.  I wonder if not having siblings makes them more self-centric, and so if things aren’t the way they want it, they’re more easily unhappy.  Or perhaps they learn fewer conflict resolution skills never having had to deal with siblings and so they suffer in silence more instead of voicing their concerns and resolving it.  Well, this just brings more questions than answers…

Statistically, they are also more likely to be grow up in non-Christian homes (26% vs. 17%), which I’m guessing has to do with the whole “be fruitful and multiply” commandment, but again, that’s just a guess.  But, this in turn makes them less likely to be taught to abstain (70% vs. 80%), which in turn seems to make them more likely to have some type of sex before marriage (93% vs 88%).

Which leads me to the question: Does sex before marriage have a negative effect on your marriage?

There are two ways of looking at this.  We can ask people, which is highly subjective and we get nearly a 50/50 split.  Or, we can look at the data, which is also subjective, but less obviously so, so it might be more reliable.

So, let’s segregate by those that had any type of sex before marriage (manual, oral, etc.) and see what we get:

Those that had sex before marriage:

  • Have sex 1.9 times per week (99 times per year)
  • 36% are happy with the quantity of sex
  • 58% are happy with the quality of sex
  • 13% have had a divorce
  • 17% have had an affair

Those that did not have any sex before marriage:

  • Have sex 2.4 times per week (125 times per year)
  • 33% are happy with the quantity of sex
  • 67% are happy with the quality  of sex
  • 2% have had a divorce
  • 6% have had an affair

!!! Did you read those? !!!

Alright, so to recap, no sex before marriage means (on average):

  • Sex once more every 2 weeks (a 26% increase)
  • More likely to be happy with the quality of sex in your marriage (my guess is because you have no prior partners to compare to, or any “pre-marriage taboo” exciting sex)
  • You’re significantly less likely to get a divorce (13% down to 2%)
  • You’re significantly less likely to have an affair (17% down to 6%)

That’s pretty substantial I think!

So, 50% think it hasn’t had a negative affect on their marriage what-so-ever.  Let’s look at their answers:

  • They’re having sex 1.9 times per week on average
  • 37% are happy with the quantity of sex
  • 60% are happy with the quality of sex
  • 11% have been divorced
  • 16% have had an affair

No…no negative impact at all…. just in 4 of the 5 categories we measured…but hey, they’re content having less sex, so they get a point there.

Of course, these are statistical averages.

Does being raised Christian make a difference?

If you were raised in a Christian home and were taught to abstain from sex before marriage, then you have a significantly higher chance of making a commitment to being a virgin your wedding day (84% instead of 16%).  100% of those that didn’t take a stance, ended up having sex.  100%.  Sadly only 23% of those who did make a commitment to abstain followed through with it.

So, here’s how it breaks down in our survey:

  • 100% of those who grew up in non-Christian homes had some kind of sex before marriage.
  • 100% of those who grew up in a Christian home, but weren’t taught to save themselves for marriage had some kind of sex before marriage.
  • If you grew up Christian, being taught that sex is for marriage only,andmade a commitment to waiting until marriage then:
    • 27% avoided manual sex
    • 48% avoided oral sex
    • 92% avoided anal sex
    • 60% avoided sexual intercourse
    • 87% won’t live with a sexual partner prior to marriage

So, does being raised Christian make a difference?  No. Being raise a Christian, being taught that sex is to be reserved for marriage and then making a commitment to follow through with that makes a difference.  But you can’t force your kids to make a commitment.  You can only do your part:

  1. Raise them in a Christian home
  2. Teach them that sex is to be saved for marriage

Oh, and if you have an only child.  Either have more, or be very intentional about teaching them about sex.  Apparently not having siblings gets you into trouble…

Should Christians live together before getting married?

Alright, I get a lot of arguments about this.  People saying that you have to make sure you’re sexually compatible and all that stuff.  So, let’s look at the data (I haven’t yet).

Those who lived with a sexual partner prior to marriage have a divorce rate of 25% compared to 5%.  Oh, and if you say “Yeah, but it was only with my future spouse” I’m going to throw back “But you didn’t know that at the time.  You hoped, but you didn’t know.”

They also have a 29% chance of having an affair.  That’s nearly 1 in 3.  Compared to the 9% of those that didn’t.  That’s fairly significant.

So, no, living together is a terrible idea!

The only possible argument you have is that those that lived together before getting married tend to have more sex than those that didn’t (2 times per week vs. 1.8 times per week).  However, I’m going to refer you back to the data that states those that didn’t have any sex prior to marriage are beating you by double that margin, on average (2.4 times per week).  So…better off just not having sex before marriage.

So, what do you do now?

Let’s say you had sex before marriage.  Let’s say you lived together.  What now?  Is your sex life doomed?  By no means.  I didn’t make it to marriage completely clean either.  My (now) wife and I caved, even though we had both made commitments, even though we were taught, even though we were raised in Christian homes.  It’s not guaranteed to stop you.  I’ll tell you, we struggled for a long time with things like guilt and mistrust and confusion over what this meant, even though we never even kissed anyone besides each other.

But, God is good.  He forgives, and He heals, and if you can accept that forgiveness and healing, you can beat these statistics.  Look at us.  We’ve gone from a sexless marriage to being called Christian sex educators!  No one but God can do that, but thank God He can!  He did it for us.  He can make similar changes in your marriage.


Looking for help?

55 thoughts on “What affect does premarital sex have on a marriage?”

  1. Butterflywings says:

    I know you may struggle to find a big enough sample, but I’d be curious to find out two things – the first is whether sex before marriage with a previous spouse has an impact on the current marriage. A person may not have had sex outside of marriage but may have had sex before their current marriage. And being remarried, I know having had sex before does have an impact on my current marriage but I’ve only had sex with my husbands.

    The second thing I’m curious about is the effect of both partners’ premarital sex history plays into the above figures. eg, those who haven’t had sex before marriage themselves who are having more sex might just be married to some horny person who had lots of sex before marriage with other people and are now wanting lots of sex from their spouse.

    I too am a numbers person 😉 But I’m also big on the whole research/statistics biases – what is cause and what is effect? what is related and are things being correlated correctly etc. Maybe those who had no form of sex before they got married are more likely to attract people with lots of experience who want more sex? Maybe if both halves of couples were interviewed, the statistics might come out very different. For example… if you asked my exhusband and I, we’d have given an identical objective amount of sex, but he was very experienced and I was not. I know it’s just not possible, but Jay… if you ever get lots of money and lots of spare time, become a sex psychology researcher 😉 I’d love to know the results of your surveys done on a large scale with a randomised subject pool.

    But keep up the good work asking interesting questions 🙂

    1. LatterDay Marriage says:

      And in looking at the effect of previous marriages, is there a difference when the previous marriage ends by divorce compared to ending by the death of a spouse. There is data to suggest that children who have a parent die and are raised by a single parent do better than kids who go through a divorce, so perhaps it makes a difference in the second marriage relationship too.

      1. Butterflywings says:

        LDM I totally agree it would depend on how it ended, but I would also add why it ended. There are definitely two types of divorces (and three types of divorcees) – those that claim to “have just fallen out of love” and mutually ended it, and those that ended due to something bad one has done (cheating, abuse etc). The first divorcees tend to have a kind of lazy attitude towards marriage which isn’t a christian attitude and in the second there are those that disrespect marriage and have a totally unchristian view of marriage and those that probably do have a good attitude towards marriage but have either been abandoned or could no longer take the abuse or cheating. The first two types of divorcees are probably going to have an entirely different view of sex and marriage to the third type.

        And widows/widowers are probably going to be different again in that they are more likely to have a similar view of marriage to the third type of divorcees but the baggage they bring with them will be different. And the reality is, even if someone has done nothing wrong to cause them to be going into a second marriage (whether widowed or they are divorced through no fault of their own), there is sexual baggage. It doesn’t necessarily have to impact a second marriage negatively, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s there.

        All previous sexual experience will impact a marriage even when the previous sexual experience is not sinful ie is only in (a previous) marriage or is unwanted sexual experience, and it’s important to acknowledge the history.

    2. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, I think we’d need to get a lot more people responding to answer those types of questions, particularly if we want to segregate into the three types of divorcees.

      Oh, I’d love to have enough income to do this full time. I’m trying. But, I’m still a ways off. In the meantime, I’ll just keep pushing for more and more people to answer them the way we have been.

  2. LatterDay Marriage says:

    When it comes to those who had intercourse before marriage and comparing the male vs female numbers, I think it would be good to look at who was the one who pushed for it. I think in a lot of cases women are more susceptible to being pressured into it the first time and men are more likely to do the pressuring (although of course there are always exceptions). So what the numbers may be showing is that a certain percentage of men go around and each pressures multiple women into having intercourse during his dating years resulting in a higher percentage of women than men have sex before marriage.

    1. Butterflywings says:

      Totally agree LDM. I know my first husband certainly had more than his fair share of virgins. I think the modern world actually has a lot in common with the ancient world – the only difference is in the ancient world is that men actually had to provide for their many conquests (whether wives or concubines) whereas men (who are the “conquering” type) these days just get their fun and move on. As much as our society in general condemns polygamy, at least it offered some protection to women from “players”.

    2. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, that’s possible too.

    3. Recovering Husband says:

      Maybe I’m one of the exceptions, but I was not only pressured to have sex by my first girlfriend, I was ambushed and bombarded with seduction until I finally gave in. Even though I tried with all my strength to resist, there is a limit to how much a teenage boy can withstand. I don’t know if I’m the only man alive to experience this, but I believe few young men would have been able to say no in the same situation. I wouldn’t be so quick to believe that most women are just being pressured to have sex by a bunch of brutish men. I think this is another of society’s quiet secret, much like the myth that men NEVER refuse sex to their wives. From my experience it can go both ways.

  3. Sandi says:

    Wow, this almost like statistics class. I’m betting if you taught a class with this material attendance would be much better, LOL. Really interesting stuff here. 🙂

    Hey, I listened to you on Belah’s podcast. Nice job!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Glad you liked the post, and the podcast. Thanks!

      1. FarAboveRubies says:

        I enjoyed listening to you also.

  4. Hannah says:

    Thank you, Jay, for sifting through the numbers for us. I love the new perspectives suggested by your results. I have a new outlook on just how difficult it is for a young person to remain a virgin until marriage. I didn’t; I thought at the time it seemed hard to resist and I see it really IS. I wonder how I’ll talk about that with my kids (they are 6 and 1).

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m going to try to write a post on that too (how to talk to your kids), but the hard thing is, you don’t know if it’s right until they’ve grown up and either succeeded or not. And how many parents know if their kids remained virgins until their wedding?

      It’s a difficult topic to address, but I will try. I have to think about it too, mine are 8, 6, 4, 2, and newborn….so I can anticipate lots of talks in the coming years.

  5. Lindsay Harold says:

    You mentioned the idea that in Bible times, women were thought to be the ones wanting sex more. You also mentioned that women in this culture tend to be very free and generous with sex before marriage and then reverse after marriage. I have noticed much the same thing. Women in this culture are very sexually active (in general) before marriage while we have a large number of them becoming sexually inhibited after marriage. I have a theory about that.

    I think women were designed to be sexually uninhibited and eager for sex when they first start their sexual experience. This, of course, was designed to be within marriage and would start off a marriage right, with the wife being eager to please and setting up good habits in the marriage that would help in the long run to combat issues like pregnancy that might diminish her drive.

    But women are also the ones most easily harmed (emotionally) by sex outside of marriage. Women produce more oxytocin, which allows them to bond more easily with sexual partners, but also means they bear a greater emotional burden when that bond is ripped apart by a break up. This means that women who are sexually active outside of marriage, though they may be initially buoyed by the drive they have on first becoming sexually active, become more easily jaded and withdrawn over time when they don’t have the protection of a marriage covenant and a constant sex partner. They learn to disconnect sex and love, and their ability to emotionally bond during sex (which is a big part of their drive) gets weakened with multiple partners.

    Thus, when a women with multiple premarital sex partners gets married, she can’t bond emotionally with her husband as easily. Without the strong emotional bonding during sex, she has a lower drive. The sex drive for women tends to be more connected with a desire to connect emotionally, and when that connection is lacking, it reduces her desire for sex.

    Anyway, I think that is consistent with studies which show that having more premarital sex partners is correlated with unhappiness in marriage and divorce for women, but not so much for men. It also matches what I’ve observed.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think that’s part of the puzzle. But we need to figure out what happened to those that managed to remain virgins (despite their strong desire to engage in sex), and yet still experience this massive drop in sex drive after marriage.

      1. Lindsay Harold says:

        True. There’s certainly more to the story.

        Perhaps, in cases of virgins who have sex troubles, it’s because the husband and wife didn’t take the time to develop sex-positive habits in the first years. The OT taught that newly married couples were to have a year of lighter duties in order for the husband to make his wife happy. Maybe that first year is very important to build healthy sex habits and our busy modern lives just interfere in too many people’s marriages and they don’t do that.

        We are also a very selfish society and selfishness will kill a marriage and sex life quicker than just about anything else. Even virgins aren’t immune to selfishness.

        It could also be partly due to wrong ideas often taught or picked up in church that say sex is dirty or base. It could also involve another wrong idea that’s very common that says if you wait until marriage, God will give you great, effortless sex right off the bat. And when that doesn’t happen, people get disillusioned.

        So there are a number of factors that are no doubt involved.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Agreed. But I’m still going to try and pick them all apart. 🙂

      2. Ricky says:

        Maybe they built it up in their heads to be something better then it was. I know the women I talked to said they got the impression that if you wait your sex life will be magnificent and amazingly better then if you don’t . They were highly let down. There were no talks of possible pain, soreness, too big or too small issue from their husbands. That could also be a factor. Or PE that doesn’t go away I’m assuming.

    2. Recovering Husband says:

      I am the first and only one my wife has ever been with. Unfortunately, we failed to wait until marriage to have sex. I’ll tell you honestly, that had you told me how marriage sex with her would be, I would have called you a liar. Before marriage, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other, and she was just as into it as I was. Then, literally on the honeymoon itself, sex took a turn for the worst. So something else must be going on.

      1. Ricky's says:

        How long have you been married? I’ve never noticed a difference unless I was the reason. Like waiting for her to initiate. I learned that a strong initiation isn’t really her thing since she’s submissive and it allowed me to accept my dominate roll and take what I need. She still loves sex with me But she’s not as confident in herself so I have to bring it out of her. Let her see her beauty. What she can do and feel.

        1. Recovering Husband says:

          We’ve been married 13 years. I’m not going to say I was perfect, but I also don’t think I was the problem, at least not at first. Now, over time the constant rejection of my initiations combined with her utter lack of enthusiasm or willingness to do anything beyond ordinary missionary made me bitter and resentful. At that point I was feeding the problem.

          It wasn’t unit very recently when I decided things couldn’t stay the way they were that I had a “come to Jesus” talk with her. I let her know what her actions had done to me and that sex was extremely important to me. But no, the husband isn’t always the cause of the wife’s sexual issues.

    3. Greenbean950 says:

      My marriage certainly reflects this. Excellent post.

  6. Repentantsinnerinchief says:

    I appreciate the efforts here. Interesting at least. But one thought keeps coming into my mind -one that I try to impress upon my children and everyone I get to teach – “God’s way works every times it’s tried.” The problem is most people never really try it His way. They often try some hybridized version of His way mixed with their own way. I spent many years just doing thing only my way. Ithen tried to mix the ingredients. I still fall to the latter temptation at times. But His way has always proven true throughout time. There is a good reason – if you believe it – He made us, He knows what works best.

    Perhaps the question or survey needed is “how to recover from pre-marital sex issues positively within a God ordained marriage.” Whether or not it is detrimental to a marriage should not have to be asked. God answered that a long time ago and it is written down for the benefit of all mankind if we’d just take it to heart.

    Not trying to poo-poo on the efforts here, but a sample of 400 people is nowhere approaching statistical significance if you want to prove anything with numbers from a population of millions of Christians. In my opinion it would be much more beneficial to gather anecdotal evidence and examine personal stories, both positive and negative. When man’s life is exposed under the light of The Word you get something that can be used beneficially. As has been stated by the author, sampling from an already increased sexually aware, even sexually positive audience; the skewing effect on this survey population is large and unavoidable.

    The null hypothesis for such a study would be “premarital sex has no effect on married sexuality.” Is that the question at hand here? I can picture myself reading this as a young man. “Hmm, only 26% less sex after marriage if I do it now. I can beat those odds….” My question is why the survey? If your’re trying to prove its negative, you don’t need a survey. God has settled the question already. The real question is “do you believe God, do you have faith in His guidance?” Maybe spend some time exposing what the true negatives are. One less time every two weeks is not where it is.

    Talk about the mental turmoil one goes through as they try to erase the memories that keep telling them their spouse is second best. Talk about the struggles with self worth that haunt someone that fell for sexual temptation and how that impedes their intimacy with their spouse. Talk about the struggle with the other sins of fleshly desire that sexual temptation opens the door for. Talk about the pain spouses that held true to God’s command now feel because they are married to someone who can seemingly “never be satisfied.” Talk about the inability to receive God’s gift in the way He meant it to be received. Talk about the years of internal struggle and pain this sin can cause someone, how deeply festering the thorn can become. Talk about ways our children can follow God’s plan to fruition and be blessed for it. Talk about how to grasp and embrace that blessing in marriage (which is done often here, pretty well btw, thank you.)

    I’m sorry Jay, but it seems you’re getting lost in the trees here. The Father has already spoken on this one….

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Well, if it hasn’t become painfully obvious…God speaking on it doesn’t make people stop doing it.
      Perhaps it should not have to be asked…but it does get asked, constantly. Should we reject apologetics and instead fall back on “you have to have faith”?

      We live in a society where the Bible is questioned, and we need to respond with answers. Saying “You have to have faith” will drive post-moderns away, not towards God’s word.

      This isn’t lost in the trees. This is for the people questioning if there is forest. So, we show them a bunch of trees in the hopes that they’ll believe the forest continues.

      If you can show them that God knows what He’s talking about in a few areas of life, they are more likely to accept what He says in other areas. That’s why. And I think God knows that these people exist (myself included). Isaiah 1:18 has God saying “Come, let us reason together”. Do you reject God’s invitation to reason then?

      As Galileo said:

      I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.

      Also, what you have to realize is that not everyone is convicted in the same way. I write like this, because this is how I see the world. To me, numbers are reality, and I server a God of logic and order (as well as love and faithfulness). I believe in God because it’s been proven to me, that’s how I see His love. Others are completely different. Like you, they want the stories, the emotions, the feeling. To them, it doesn’t matter if I say 400 or 1,000,000 answered the survey. I could write one inspiring story from one person and they’ll be convicted. But, I’m not that guy. I can’t write those.

      So, I write with what God has given me: a mind for numbers and logic.

      With respect, I appreciate your perspective, but I reject that it’s the valid one for all people.

  7. LatterDay Marriage says:

    Both DW and I waited until we were married, but there was still big change in the amount of physical affection before and after the wedding. The first few years of our marriage had a lot of heartache for me before we got things to a better place. DW said a part of it was that before marriage, she knew that being affectionate would not go any further than just being affectionate, after marriage it would usually result in me trying to get her into bed with me so if she didn’t feel like having sex she withheld affection so she wouldn’t be put into a position of saying no.

    I think another factor might be that before marriage you are not spending as much time together, so you get an idealized view of the other person. Once you marry and are living together the flaws in your spouse are easier to see and you wind up stepping on each other`s toes in various ways causing little hurts that hinder the desire to be intimate more for women than it does for men in general.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to hide your flaws 24/7, isn’t it?

  8. Jerry Stumpf says:

    I may come back and speak about other points but I want to address one point in particular.

    A brief background – we have been married 40 years; three grown children; 6 grandchildren.

    My point – children these days learn about sex and ALL its details by the time children are 8 – 10 years old. Our oldest grandson a few years ago had a girl in his class become pregnant at age 12! So sad but so true. Do not wait to begin telling your children about sexual purity in marriage until you think they will learn about it from outside sources.

    Your children will learn more details than you were privy to, growing up. They will learn these details from their friends and the siblings of their friends.

    We live in a sad world but the reality is that you can have a wonderful, positive affect upon them.

    Also, please teach them the entire story of sex. Before marriage certainly don’t become physically intimate. After marriage the focus is to unconditionally submit to your spouse, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

    Sex is a marvelous experience but if it is taught to be a “dirty” activity the child will grow up with that idea even after the wedding day.

    Jay Dee – you did a great service to many folks, thank you!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      It’s a pleasure to serve.

  9. Spiritwalker 142 says:

    I may just be speaking to the wind here but what if some people have more sex before marriage because it’s exciting because you’re “breaking the rules”. Like the kids who drink under age and when they turn 21 they either tapper off the drinking or quit. Today’s society seems to make it look “fun” to break the rules and when people are no longer “breaking the rules” it becomes less exciting therefore not “fun”. I’m just curious if this may be a reason for the tapering off of sex some people seem to experience after marriage.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      No, I agree. I thought I said something about that somewhere in the post…but perhaps I only thought it.

  10. TSB says:

    GOD IS TRULY AWESOME! Both my husband and I caved, in fact we were together for 6 years (lived together for 5 of them) and married on the 7th year, it didn’t do any good that I nagged him or changed anything during that time, that what we were doing was wrong, each time we were together the Holy Spirit convicted me and I did nothing about it which terrified me, Oh and the guilt is so real and bad. Just the other day I asked my husband how he felt about our lovemaking after we got married, he said it’s very different, more meaningful and feels the union is blessed and sacred. He came from a christian background I didn’t, my parents didn’t mention to me that I should save myself for marriage because they didn’t do that themselves and so I lived what I learnt from them. But after giving my life to the Lord, you are guaranteed to change your way of thinking, He will find you in your thoughts and you start following Him in his righteousness. But for me now, my son will know from an early age why he must wait, why it’s wrong to have sex outside marriage and how it is so beautiful when you do this with your wife one day, thanks for the post very encouraging, always enjoy them 🙂

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Good for you in working to break the cycle. Thanks for your testimony!

  11. Lauren says:

    I met my
    Husband when I was 20. Before I met Him I did engage in pre marital sex and I regret that. (From age 18-19). I grew up in a Christian home but my parents didn’t talk about it much- About the temptations or the peer pressure or general pressure. I wish someone talked about it. Maybe they had school assemblies
    But we never pay attention to that. I wish someone had really
    About it all
    But I know young people and teens think they know it all. I don’t feel like it ruins my marriage though. The only thing that sort of upsets me is that we have three daughters. And I don’t want them to engage in the situations I was in. I have only a few encounters (some manual hand action, a couple times oral and some inter course, all of it very brief and inexperienced) but it is enough to regret especially none of the partners were my boyfriend. I never had a boyfriend until my husband. The
    Worst part of all is well, it wasn’t enjoyable. For one it wasn’t with a loving partner. There was no emotional, sensual or feeling of love. Bottom line though for what ever reason it was pressure because it wasnt like I was drunk. Some of the times I just felt like it was the thing to do. I wish someone told me how to say no. And to act confident in myself in a respectful manner. My kids are only 7, 3, and 8 months but I will definitely teach them what sex is supposed to be like in a loving relationship. And just teach them how to reaps themselves and say
    No. I just hate the typical hs and college guys mentality of sex and all that. I am sorry for anyone who is feeling like premarital sex has ruined your marriage. You can move on from it. And in my case I will use it as a lesson to my own daughters one day. They will be naive like I was but maybe I will tell them how to handle and talk to and how to say no to temptations or pressure from a guy. My children are No where near the teen years yet, but the good thing is I am thinking ahead of how to protect my daughters from these guys who will want to get them
    To sleep with them. Ugh! It’s all a mentality though teaching them to be confident in themselves. No one ever forced me to do anything. I could have said no easily but I was so naive and had no confidence and wanted to do what everyone else was doing I guess. This is what we need to teach our daughters. To stand up for themselves and demand respect.

    1. Ann says:

      Lauren, your daughters also need to be warned about their own hormones and given good guidelines about how to avoid making provision for the flesh. I grew up in a religious home, if not Christian, and was cautioned once or twice about staying a virgin. In a few years I went on to pressure my one real boyfriend–knowingly? I’m not sure–but he did more with me than with any of his other girls, because I egged him on. And I was SO sure I was going to stay a virgin ’til marriage. I was terribly naive about my drive and his, and he was very weak to resist. For a long time in our marriage I resented the fact that he did not say No, that he did not protect me from myself or from him. Thankfully the Lord is making beauty from ashes, but it has taken a v-e-r-y long time. Warn those beautiful little girls about their own propensity to do wrong.

  12. Ricky says:

    My wife and I didn’t wait till we were married. We lost our virginity to each other and broke up in HS and end up sleeping with a couple people. It wasn’t the same as sleeping with each other before or after marriage. I think it worked ok even though I know it was wrong simply because of where we are at I’m our lives with Jesus and because now there is no wonder what else is out there. We know we are by far the best fit for each other and have a superb sex life. The only ups and downs came from lack of drive due to child birth hormones but we have three beautiful girls and the youngest just turned 3 months. We have intercourse at least twice a week if not more and oral at least once to completion. So I’m not sure why the drop off in numbers honestly. Maybe guilt? I think there needs to be a lot better prep for couples planning to wait till marriage and some of the struggles that may occur. Lack of quantity, quality, passion, sex after kids, hormones affecting sex drive and try to come up with a plan for such obstacles. It REALLY affects some couples and to me not having sex in marriage is just as bad as having it before. Refusal might even be worse.

  13. Ricky says:

    I meant 8 months old not 3

    1. Lauren says:

      I also have 3 daughters and my youngest daughter is also 8 months old. Beautiful age, crawling. Anyway, whether we have daughters or sons, all that matters is the importance of what we will teach our children regarding marriage and sex. We won’t teach them that sex is dirty, Or sex is just for procreation. We need To educate them on what marriage is supposed to be like and being one flesh monogomously and to be in love with each other through thick and thin, through the good and the bad. Parents always say they don’t look forward to the teenage years and about the sex talk. I used to feel the same way. But now in many years to come, I will know what to say to my daughters and how to teach them how we are meant to be treated, loved, and respected.

  14. Paul Byerly says:

    Not to be “that guy” but my math says 63% of spouses aren’t happy with the quantity of sex in their marriage,

    1. Chris Tian says:

      I found that to be an interesting read. I think for most men if they have a choice they’d rather go for “the real thing” my husband likes it but does like to waste an O on it, he’d much rather “shoot to score” as it were.

    2. Jay Dee says:

      No, please, be that guy. There as a type, should have been “are”, not “aren’t”. The 1% variance is an artifact of rounding.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

      1. Paul Byerly says:

        I figured it was a transposition error – my speciality.

  15. Chris Tian says:

    Thanks for this Jay. I agree about comparisons. I was dissatisfied in my marriage but didn’t understand why and felt guilty but then I met my ex’s sister and it was as though a lot was unlocked in me. I remembered that firstly all those experiences just appeared better because I was younger, lighter and could do more. I then remembered that my ex was rather selfish and didn’t care about me just what he could get. The only thing I was desiring really was intimacy, talking and hugging but my husband doesn’t really do that but realising this has been helpful, it’s like a burden has lifted off of me and I feel more able to enjoy intimacy with my love without always feeling like something’s missing.

  16. El Fury says:

    Would be interested to see break-out of marriage results based on premarital oral sex vs. premarital intercourse.

  17. Cassie says:

    Wow, Jay. Some of this is very interesting to read! Very interesting….

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Care to elaborate?

      1. Cassie says:

        A lot of it is really interesting! What stood out to me though was men of Christian families and women of non Christian families had higher percents of remaining virgins. I think your conclusion on that might be right.
        For some reason when I read 16% of people have had affairs my heart sank. I know that is a “smaller” number within 100% but that means out of the 407 people like 65 people have had affairs! Man.
        Then the numbers you showed between people who had premarital sex verses not. The increase in divorce and affairs.
        Just a lot of crazy stuff that is a bit heart breaking really.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Thanks for sharing Cassie.
          I agree, it’s heart breaking. But, it’s uplifting, I think, to see the data agree with God’s word on the topic. This is how we should be preaching about premarital sex in churches and homes, not “Don’t do it because God said”, but “Don’t do it, God said so, and here’s why…because you can increase your chances of having more and better sex later on if you listen”. Then it’s not a sacrifice, it’s an investment.

  18. Matthew says:

    Abstaining for marriage accounts for a lot of people struggling with unhappiness and divorce. This is due to people marrying in the heat of young love, so they can experience the joys of sex… bypassing the 18+ months it takes to learn whether or not you are “equally yoked” (compatible enough to support the emotional and spiritual growth of those involved without stifling the other with a contrasting set of your own personal needs)

    If children weren’t left to figure out their sexuality for themselves through awkwardness and shame, we wouldn’t have so many missteps as adults.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’ve seen no data to support this. 18+ months to learn if you are “unequally yoked”? How do you figure this? I think you have a misunderstanding of that term. Check out 2 Corinthians 6:14. This refers to believers marrying unbelievers. It’s pretty simple. If you both have given your life to God, and allow His Word to guide you, then you aren’t unequally yoked.

      Though I agree, more conversations about sex and removing shame would fix a lot of issues. We need to be able to teach that it’s an amazing, wonderful thing, within the context of marriage.

  19. Mark Smith says:

    Andy: I kept my virginity until marriage (aged 32) after a very long social life. I am a Christian so I thought it would lead to a better married life. I would say (on average) I’d like sex twice a week. My wife would like sex (on average) twice a year.
    I feel slightly ‘short changed’ by keeping my viginity. I know it is ‘Gods way’ but was that for the times when people got married at 14 – 16 year old. In which case it makes perfect sense. Today? We have three children (which means my wife and I have had sex at least 3 times in 10 years of marriage)… I’m going to tell them to respect themselves and don’t let anyone tell them what to do.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Don’t discount God’s way merely because your wife is not following His guidance. It would be a shame to teach your kids to follow the world, where it is guaranteed they will suffer.

  20. Don says:

    I had manual/oral with one person, a girlfriend of three years who I thought I would marry. No intercourse to be “technically” pure. I met my wife when we were both 18. She was not a virgin and had many partners in various sexual practices (I didn’t learn about most of this until we were long married). Thirty years later I still cannot get the image of her and multiple other guys doing sexual activities out of my head. It has very definitely had a very negative affect in our marriage. I am sorry I did things with my girlfriend. I am forever haunted by my wife’s sexual history. Saving yourself until marriage is an extremely big deal with lifelong ramifications.

  21. Greenbean950 says:

    Just one recommendation: the term “intercourse” means any sexual contact that includes the genitals of one of the participants. That includes manual or oral. Coitus is the correct term to use for the intersection of the genitals of both man and woman. Too many people think that because they didn’t have coitus, that they didn’t have intercourse. This is part of the technical virgin scam.

Share your thoughts

Becoming More Sexually Engaged - For Christian Wives Course - Cohort starting this Sunday