To Sex or Not To Sex? Abstinence is the Question…

Don’t have sex out of wedlock. 

My parents dictated that to me from the time my hormones began to rage, preaching abstinence. I failed miserably. Was I a bad son? Are you bad for having or giving into sexual impulses? Is abstinence realistic? These are difficult questions, especially for those who like me grew up in devout religious households. Christianity, Buddhism, or another mainline religion, it doesn’t really matter which you grew up in. They all pretty much give a clear warning regarding the giving into of fleshly desires, sexual immorality of course falling into this category.

I grew up in a Judeo-Christian household, so that’s the perspective I can speak from. Let’s look at a scripture:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5: It is God’s will that you should be sanctified, that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans who do not know God.

Defining is always important. Without clear definitions our understanding is incomplete. In the aforementioned scripture “sexual immorality” should have stood out. What is sexual immorality?

To understand this we must first look at act of having sex. There are two kinds of sex, sex that originates out of love and sex that originates out of lust. The love type of sex is seen as moral. This is the type of sex that my parents encouraged me to participate in, the type of sex that denies the act until after one has married. The lust type of sex is considered immoral, and this is every act of sex that occurs out of wedlock. As a result of this dichotomy religions preach self denial and abstinence.

This is what I learned growing up, and it’s likely what you learned growing up, especially if you grew up in a mainline religion. Does that mean it is right?

Before reading on you have to ask yourself this question. Are you going to accept what we’ve been told, or will you choose to look at sex objectively and judge it for yourself? I can’t answer that for you.

God, or better yet the God-inspired writers of the Bible do make a valid argument when teaching us to avoid fornication, even though their view is subjective. When you have sex with a person who you are not committed to the consequences can be overwhelming. You don’t have to look any further than the exorbitant number of single mothers to prove this point. Children that grow up in single parent homes are at a disadvantage. The writers of the Bible understood the importance of having a strong family unit.

That being said, labeling fornication as immoral is a stretch. I feel my Christian friends seething at me right about now. I’m not saying that the Biblical writers are lying, but rather I’m saying that the idea of morality and how it relates to sexual conduct is misunderstood.

To understand how that is we must first define morality. Morality is defined as “the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.”

Right versus Wrong. Think about that for a second. I can ask most people what’s the difference between a right and a wrong, and they won’t be able to tell me what that difference is. When they do finally come up with an an answer, their answer typically is based out moral relativism.


By the above definition fornication does not fall under sexual immorality. Having sex out of wedlock isn’t smart, but it also isn’t wrong. Knowingly passing a sexually transmitted disease and rape. Those behaviors are sexually immoral.

Abstinence is not the answer, even though it may have worked for you. Telling somebody to “just don’t have sex because the Bible’s writers say so” isn’t acceptable. Framing sex or any other desire in a hope to avoid it altogether only creates an attraction to it. We want what we cannot have. We are taught to suffer when we should be taught to understand, to be aware of our feelings, impulses, and whims as oppose to burying them. If you want to decipher the high teen pregnancy rates look no further than the sexual abstinence message.


Enjoy this video of Rick Perry stumbling over the subject of abstinence and the high teen pregnancy rate.

Please understand, I am not condoning sexual promiscuity. As a matter-of-fact I agree with the Biblical writers. We should do our best to refrain from lust and fornication. We are known by the fruits we bear.




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