When is sex outside of marriage permitted?

Jay Dee

When is sex outside of marriage permitted?

Aug 10, 2015

I found this question in my list of drafts that I hadn’t tackled yet, so here we go: My question is this, when circumstances are exceptional (impossible), is sex outside of marriage ok? In short, my situation is this – firstly, my boyfriend and I

Anonymous QuestionI found this question in my list of drafts that I hadn’t tackled yet, so here we go:

My question is this, when circumstances are exceptional (impossible), is sex outside of marriage ok?
In short, my situation is this – firstly, my boyfriend and I are both carers of ill and physically dependent relatives, which means we are not able to marry and live with each other like normal couples, at least not until my elderly mother dies. Secondly, my mother strongly objects to our relationship, mostly because I am 10 years older than my boyfriend (I’m 43), and she will never accept our marrying. Frankly, we both need sex. We need to have that closeness, and for me, I think I’ve waited long enough (I have never been married before). We are both Christians and want to do what is right by God, but are struggling and have pretty much crossed the line already without actually having intercourse. Its all very unfair. I believe the Bible to be God’s perfect word, but not sure it covers all circumstances. Your prayerful consideration and advice would be appreciated.

So, when is sex outside of marriage permitted?

In short, it’s not.  There are no exceptions, no loop holes, no grey areas on this one that I see in the Bible.  Adultery is wrong, and so is fornication.  That’s it.

What you have are difficult situations, not excuses, though it seems you are trying to turn them into excuses.  Let’s go through some of them:

  1. You both care for ill and physically dependent relatives.  Alright.  Would it not be easier to care for them together?  After all, if you really want to get married, then why not sell all the houses involved and buy one large enough for all?  That way you could live as husband and wife, and take care of your relatives.
  2. Your mother strongly objects to your relationship.  That’s okay.  She does not need to consent, you’re well past the age of majority.  You need to respect your mother’s wishes…but that doesn’t mean you always need for follow them.  So, tell your mother that you’re getting married, if that’s what you want.
  3. You don’t NEED sex.  You want sex.  You won’t die.
  4. It’s all very unfair.  Yeah, it’s unfair of God to try to protect you by saying that the only safe relationship in which to have sex is one where you are committed for life (in other words, a marriage).  Shame on Him for trying to tell you what’s best for you.  You want to do right by God?  Well, then let Him do right by you and listen to what He says.

My advice?  Get married if that’s what you want.  Stop blaming circumstances on why you can’t.  And don’t use them as an excuse to go sleep with each other without a commitment.  Excuses won’t save you from the ramifications.

Looking for help?

10 thoughts on “When is sex outside of marriage permitted?”

  1. LatterDay Marriage says:

    Life is unfair to everybody, which kind of makes it fair really.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Made me think of this:

      “He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:45b

  2. Butterflywings says:

    You don’t have to live together to be married. My husband and I spent most of the first 4 months of our marriage living apart as he had to return to work in another state. My parents lived apart for 6 months a few years back because my dad couldn’t get work here, so he and my mum moved to the country he was born in with my little brother and sister. My mum and siblings couldn’t cope, but my dad was contracted to work for the 6 months (and would have been left with a very large debt if he quit) so he stayed on there while my mum returned home .

    And I don’t know if it’s just common amongst nurses, but I’ve found a lot of south east asian nurses I work with are here working to earn money to sponsor their spouses (and kids if they have any) to come to Australia. And it can sometimes takes years to save up enough money, seeing each other once or twice a year. And then there is all the military families. Sometimes couples get married, only to have their spouse deployed as soon as the honeymoon is over (if they get a honeymoon at all).

    You could always do the same – get married and live apart. Or you could move both your families in together. Or if your mum refuses, you could refuse to be her live in carer – care for her during the day and go to your husband at night, or hire a nurse for at night if she is that ill. Or there is always a nursing home. There are always options!

    And if all else fails, as pointed out, sex is not a necessity! Try being married for 8 years and then after several years of being single, finding the person you want to marry… the desire for sex is an ache, but it is still a desire not a need. You can say no!

  3. THart says:

    My first thought was why not get married and all live together that would solve all kinds of problems. Second it took me a long time to recognize I’m an adult I don’t need my parents permission in what I do. When I got that revelation my life changed for the good. I’m not saying totally ignore your mom but you are an adult this is your life not hers. She has lived hers now live yours. Jay Dee very wise counsel as usual.

  4. THart says:

    Another thing don’t put your self in temptation. Don’t be alone with him if you can’t handle it. Go on public dates always be accoutable to someone.

  5. Lindsay Harold says:

    So, it sounds like they started dating even though they didn’t think they could get married. Then they started getting physical even though they know that’s not right. So now they are burning to have sex together (because that’s what happens when you start putting fuel on the fire) and they’re trying to come up with a way to rationalize having sex so they can do it without feeling guilty. But rather than find a way to marry and have sex the right way, they want to blame God for being “unfair” in making rules about sex that they find constricting to their desires.

    It sounds like they need to repent of their sin, do some serious Bible study, take a step back from all sexual activity (yes, foreplay is sexual too), and learn to obey God even when it’s not fun. Assuming they are willing to make a lifetime commitment to each other, they should probably marry rather than burn (as Paul says) and work out the details of how to make that work together. If they choose not to marry, they need to call off the relationship and stop playing with fire when they aren’t willing to commit.

  6. Joe says:

    Alright Jay here’s one along those lines.
    Man and woman trapped on an island. They fall in love but there is no one to marry them. Can they proclaim themselves married and start having sex.
    Ok I know it’s way over the top weird but I might end up on an island one day.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think Christianity needs to nail down it’s definition of marriage (even though I know they’ll never agree). Our society is changing. It was easier when we could point to the law of the land and tell people to get married and honor the authorities that God has put over us. But now common law marriage is just as legally valid as “done in a church” marriage. And honestly, neither has more or less of a Biblical standing.

      I think, off the top of my head, that the Bible teaches about having a covenant from each spouse to the other, and covenants needed to be witnessed. But, as I’m sure someone will bring up if I don’t, Adam and Eve had no humans to witness, only God. So, then what if you are trapped on an island. Or what if you’re in a country that outlaws churches. Or maybe there is one that outlaws marriages, or will be one someday. What then? After all, ,nothing the Bible requires a marriage ceremony. Some of the “marriages” started simply by the bridegroom taking his bridge into his mother’s tent. They had sex, and boom, they’re married.

      I guess what I’m saying is I don’t have a straight forward answer. But here’s what I’m clear on: A decision to have sex outside of a committed (for life) relationship is a sin. It hurts you, and your partner, and more than likely any future partners of either of you, and your relationship with God. As for what you want to call it: marriage, common law, defacto (for the Aussie’s), well, a rose by any other name…

    2. JG says:

      Interesting question! In this instance, I think all that is needed is some type of ceremony (however informal) to mark the occasion between parties and an expressed covenant between them in God. In slavery days, they did something called ‘jumping the broom’. The officiaters of the wedding were not ordained ministers but simply a well-respected slave amongst them. They’d make declarations, pray and then once they jumped over the broom they were married!

  7. Tony Conrad says:

    I agree with the first answer. Get married. House and other things can come later. The important thing is to get married otherwise you are being immoral.

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