Premarital Sex

My mother passed away 4 years ago, when I was 28, on the 5th of May 2011. She had bowel cancer for four years prior and it was not a huge shock when she died. Even though I had that preparatory grief for four years, I had no idea how much grieving there still was to do. For a year I could barely manage to do more than: eat, sleep, work (when I had to) and do one jigsaw puzzle after another, after another while watching episodes of Smallville or some other DVD. My Mum loved jigsaws and part of my grieving process was to spend time most days doing puzzles because it made me feel close to her.

I also remember crying on the way to work every Thursday for the first few months after her death, because Mum died on a Thursday. It slowly decreased to about once a month and after a year I felt that my grieving had significantly lessened.

But there was another aspect to my grieving process that I did not expect. There was a tremendous increase in my desire to have sex. To be close to someone physically and emotionally so that I wouldn’t be grieving on my own. My masturbation increased and I started to resent my virginity.

Up until that point, the most I’d done apart from masturbate, was to experience a small amount of petting and dry humping during make-out sessions. I had phone sex once or twice – and even those were things I did not engage in before the age of 27. But within that first twelve month period after Mum died, I let my guard down a lot further. I had this friend whom I knew was sexually active, who asked me one day if I was still a virgin, but I indicated that I was no longer sure I wanted to be one. He jumped on this opportunity and started coming to visit, probably with the goal to break me down over time and conquer my virginity.

So I let him into my life because I had just lost my mother, and my best friend, and the man I was dating, in the space of about 9-12 months. I felt rejected, lonely, horny, resentful toward myself for succumbing to my “religious obligation to maintain my virginity” and somewhat desperate. We started by making out and petting in the lounge room. Before long we moved to the bedroom, gave each other massages and started taking more clothes off. It took me a long time to touch his penis, but not long to move from that to giving him blow jobs.

A part of me wanted to have sex with him just because I wanted to experience sexual intimacy. I was getting really tired of waiting and had no guarantees that I would ever marry and experience sexual intimacy the way I really wanted to i.e. with a loving husband. So I had a conversation with my Dad when I was 29, just before he re-married (I was so jealous that he was about to have sex with a second person when I hadn’t had sex with anyone) and I told him that I was thinking about having sex. I asked him if he would forgive me if I had sex before marriage. My Dad said he would still love and forgive me if I did, and encouraged me to wait for a man that I loved who loved me.

That was a powerful conversation to have. I knew that if I had sex with the guy I was secretly doing sexual things with, it would not affect my relationship with my Dad: he would still love me. My Dad allowed me the freedom to be myself, make my own decisions and live out the consequences. And freedom has power. Even though I continued fooling around with my friend, and actually started fooling around with another friend as well, over time I became stronger in my resolve to wait for love. Not necessarily marriage, but love.

The temptation to have sex after my thirtieth birthday was high. I still resented never having had sex in my twenties, I probably blamed God for keeping me single all that time. But within three months of my birthday, I met my future husband on facebook. Not long after that I stopped fooling around with both of my friends … and started fooling around with my husband over skype and whenever we spent time together in person.

Not everyone has a story like this. Some Christians are very strong in their resolve not to have sex before marriage. My sister didn’t have sex until her wedding night – at the ripe old age of twenty-one. I secretly call any age between 18-24 “twenty-nothing” and used to make bitter remarks like “they got married when they were twenty-nothing and I had to wait until I was 32.”

I grew up in a Christian household where waiting for marriage was held up as the sexual ideal, only to find out that my parents had sex for the first time a week before they got married. Mum was 19 and Dad 23 – so they were both twenty-nothing! One of my brothers had three kids before he was married and the shunning he received from a lot of our church friends was awful!

On the one hand, I was much older than Mum, Dad, my sister and my eldest brother when I got married and had sex for the first time. But on the other hand, I doubt any of them have done sexual things with anyone other than their spouses like I have. We all have our own sexual journey.

I have read that statistically, most Western Christians are engaging in premarital sex. This has partly to do with the average age of marriage increasing, and probably a lot to do with Western culture. If we continue to hold up the ideal of waiting for marriage, without also upholding love, acceptance and freedom, then premarital sex will only increase, behind closed doors, in secret, with contraception so that people are less likely to get caught. But if we, the church, become more concerned about accepting each other’s sexuality, experiences, decisions, regrets, mistakes and lessons learned, than about upholding an ideal (that most people are failing), then we are much more likely to set people free from sexual bondage, to encourage healthier sexual decisions in the future generations and in our own.

The woman caught having sex outside marriage

There is a story in the Bible referred to as: “The woman caught in adultery.” I would like the rename it: “The woman caught having sex outside marriage.” We don’t know what kind of “adultery” it was. This could simply have been a case of sex before marriage. She could have been a married woman with a man who is not her husband. She could have been divorced. She could have been a widow. She could have been a prostitute. It is even possible she was a victim of rape. All we can really gather is that she was somehow got caught having sex with a man she was not married to.

This woman is dragged before Jesus and the witnesses say: “In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

The New-NIV records Jesus answer as: “Let any of you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.” In other words: “If you’re so perfect, you should be the one to kill her!”

One by one, every single person leaves. Why? Because they all know, they are just as bad as she is.

The law said she had to be killed. It didn’t say this was optional. Jesus is perfect. He has every right to kill this woman for her “sin.” Instead, he looks into her eyes and he says: “Neither do I condemn you.” In other words: “I won’t hold you to the law. Instead, let me fulfil the law and the consequences for you. I love you too much to let you die – watch me go and die for you!”

Next Jesus says: “Go and sin no more,” or “Go and leave your life of sin.” Too many Christians think this is the point of the entire story. The point of the story is: “Neither do I condemn you.”

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at this verse about not continuing in sin. Jesus said this after he had already forgiven her, without her ever saying that she was sorry. Jesus is not looking for repentance, he forgives unconditionally. And when we understand that we are forgiven and we are free of the law and that Jesus 100% does not condemn us, then he, in effect, says: you don’t belong to sin and sin doesn’t belong to you.

He is saying: “You belong to me now. I have made you new. I have forgiven you. You do not have to live in sin and you are no longer a slave to sin, so go and your sins will be no more. You’ll stop wanting to do them. You’ll stop living like that because forgiveness has freed you.”

He is not saying: “Stop sinning or else.” He is saying: “I know you’ll stop sinning.” It’s not him putting pressure on this woman by saying: “I know you’ll stop sinning because you owe me.” It’s more like this: “After the cross I can no longer see your sin because I made you a new creation. You will be free and rid of sin because I WILL MAKE YOU FREE!”

Jesus is showing this woman that sin is forgiven and she no longer has to die or feel guilty or even change. He forgave without her having to change. In fact he changed her. This whole event would have changed her life in a positive way.

The fact that this woman’s sin was sex, only makes the story more riveting because the Western world condemns sexual sin more than any other kind of sin (in my experience and opinion) even though all people commit sexual sin. Jesus proved that all people commit sexual sin when he said: “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Unless a person died before puberty, I doubt there is a soul on earth that hasn’t commit adultery! Why the Western church chooses to labour against this “sin” so passionately but does not take the plank out of its own eye, is beyond me!

Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and be free from sin!”