Non-religious arguments for virginity and against premarital sex

The physical part of sex is too significant to ignore. Yes, most bodies are capable of performing sexual acts, but that’s not what I’m getting at. I’m talking about compatibility in terms of personal preference, not ability. Different people have different sexual appetites even though each is more than capable of actually doing all of them. Why gamble on that compatibility for an exclusive life long commitment if you don’t have to?

Also, why should sex be viewed as a final sign of commitment to that person when we already have marriage and/or personal vows taking care of that? I understand the argument is that if you save yourself for one person, the sex will be “better and special” when you lose your virginity to each other… but if you take a step back and actually think about it, that doesn’t make any sense. Especially for the girl… Sex SUCKS for the girl during the first 2 or 3 times. On top of that physical issue, sex takes experience to get really good at it. These reasons are why it is so common for people who have had sex a couple of times to joke about how much their first time sucked compared to their current sex life. I don’t see the appeal in having your honeymoon sex turn out like that.

Ignoring the most important aspect of physical compatibility (i.e. sex) is about as bad as ignoring any emotional or intellectual part of the relationship.

If you dont sleep with ANYONE before getting married, you are essentially gambling. Not only do you not know what you personally like, but you know nothing about your partner sexually.

Sex is a huge part of a successful marriage. Even assuming everything else about the marriage is great, can you imagine spending the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t satisfy you? Not just sexually, but in ANY area. Don’t even bother imagining that, because you wouldn’t–you’d get divorced.
Also, I am married.

So if you’re purposefully waiting for marriage you should probably have a good reason for it. For instance, religion.

How should I go about refuting these arguments? (One thing I have in mind is that sexual preference is preceded and necessarily formed by sexual experience.) There must be several secular arguments I can use to persuade someone (non-religious) to keep their virginity until marriage and I hope I can get some good input.

STDs?

Can’t think of anything else atm. I’ll come back later and investigate more.

Have a nice day. :slight_smile:

Hello friend, that’s a tough one but I will try my 2cents worth:
Sex before/outside of marriage is bad because:

1/ You are playing Russian rulet with STDs and a possible pregnancy, abortion and its physical/mental consequences

2/ You are reducing yourself and others to sexual bodies and neglecting the soul or spirit

3/ Girls brains work this way: physical intimacy=love with a commitment. Boys brains work a different way: physical intimacy= immediate gratification without commitment. A lot of young girls have depression symptoms and go from abusive relationship to abusive relationship because they are feeling used, never loved and can’t trust anyone.

4/ The intention is wrong so the outcome can’t be right. In the case of a virgin couple who are intimate for the first time on their Honeymoon, the intention is right so the outcome can’t be wrong. Lack of experience? Marital sex is not about performance, is it? There is mutual love and respect which are not present in the other scenario. The person that you are quoting describes sex as in you are untitled to have your senses satisfied or you are going to call customer service and ask for a refund.

5/ There are many valuable ways to know another person besides sex. See how they act with their family, friends, with your own family, in a work situation… Judging and keeping a person solely by the way they perform under the sheets is ridiculous. It won’t help you to know how they manage money or handle hardships and simply, are they capable to love?

6/ Utilitarianism is what that person is talking about. It’s not about love, it’s not about knowledge of the other one and commitment. It’s just about what can I get out of this person? You don’t love people because of what they do, you love them because of who they are regardless of what they do. They need to change the way they approach relationships and introducing a little theology won’t hurt.

I cant recall all the details at the moment, but do some research into the hormones released during sex, their role in the body and interpersonal relationships, and the effect of multiple partners.

Essentially the hormones that are released during sex cause changes in the brain that beget bonding. When that bond is severed it causes relatively severe psychological repercussions that, long term, can result in the loss of the bonding aspects of sex altogether.

Also, (it is frustrating me that I cant remember the details at the moment) what research has found is that, in men specifically, the hormones that bring about bonding in marriage (i.e. psychologically bound to the woman) cause a loss of interest and an attitude of distaste for the woman.

Sorry I have no details, but hopefully that can serve as a jumping off point for some research for you.

And read this article:
These days, we’re not supposed to take gender difference seriously. It’s politically incorrect. But in yesterday’s Chronicle for Higher Education, Steven E. Rhoads, from the University of Virginia, writes about how males and females respond differently after engaging in casual sex. Studies of teen and college-age girls show that females are much more likely to suffer psychologically.

nationalreview.com/phi-beta-cons/230117/girls-sex-and-depression-part-1

(snipped)

Sex therefore becomes an act of using the other person for self-gratification. Essentially masturbation using someone elses body.

3/ Girls brains work this way: physical intimacy=love with a commitment. Boys brains work a different way: physical intimacy= immediate gratification without commitment. A lot of young girls have depression symptoms and go from abusive relationship to abusive relationship because they are feeling used, never loved and can’t trust anyone.

For men in marriage sex=love. Outside I agree with everything above.

4/ The intention is wrong so the outcome can’t be right. In the case of a virgin couple who are intimate for the first time on their Honeymoon, the intention is right so the outcome can’t be wrong. Lack of experience? Marital sex is not about performance, is it? There is mutual love and respect which are not present in the other scenario. The person that you are quoting describes sex as in you are untitled to have your senses satisfied or you are going to call customer service and ask for a refund.

I like this explanation.

5/ There are many valuable ways to know another person besides sex. See how they act with their family, friends, with your own family, in a work situation… Judging and keeping a person solely by the way they perform under the sheets is ridiculous. It won’t help you to know how they manage money or handle hardships and simply, are they capable to love?

6/ Utilitarianism is what that person is talking about. It’s not about love, it’s not about knowledge of the other one and commitment. It’s just about what can I get out of this person? You don’t love people because of what they do, you love them because of who they are regardless of what they do. They need to change the way they approach relationships and introducing a little theology won’t hurt.

Love is a choice. NOT a “well they fill this need, so I will love them”.

I think Matthew 5:46 is incredibly applicable here.

If you have the chance to spend 30 minutes listening to this video featuring a Catholic revert:

youtube.com/user/EWTN#p/u/58/CEETcDpD23c

In it, she details her marriage and divorce (her husband determined that he was bisexual), and how she battled against God after her divorce.

She talks about promiscuity vs chastity and how being chaste has helped her to become a stronger woman and a better mother.

Some people will say that if you remain a virgin until you marry, you will always wonder what sex with other people would be like.

But ask someone who has had multiple partners whether their lives would seem incomplete if they not experienced sex with one of those people. I imagine they would be hard pressed to say yes.

I hope that made sense.

In addition to the other excellent reasons posters have already mentioned, having sex before marriage clouds the discernment process. Before you’re married, you’re supposed to be figuring out who the right person is to marry. But if you’re having sex with them, all the feelings that are supposed to bond you together in marriage are bonding you to quite possibly the wrong person. Sex increases your love for your spouse in spite of their flaws, which is the way it is supposed to work.

If you’re having sex outside of marriage, all of the sudden you’re deciding you’re in love and want to marry that person, without being clear-headed enough to decide that in a rational way because it’s easier to overlook the bad things. One of the people you quoted mentioned they’d divorce someone if they weren’t sexually “compatible”- well, why not just marry the right person to begin with?

You are absolutely right. I wish I hadn’t had those experiences but maybe I can use “my luggage” to help others by explaining how negative it is.
And by the way, I like this brochure “If Sex Feels So Good, Why do I Feel So Bad?” abortionfacts.com/literature/literature_9419is.asp
I wish I had come across it 20 years ago when I made my first mistakes.

Amen.

Every day I have to live with the things I did. I am thankful that the Lord in His infinite goodness saved me from more sexual sin. I wish I still had my virginity and I wish I never got involved with certain women, with self-gratification and porn.

The people who will wonder what sex is like with another person - and the people who say “you need to test drive a car before you buy it” are not fit for marriage.

I agree with all the points above on sex before marriage.

The one item that is concerning is the stance that, once two people find they are compatible, they must determine if they are good sex partners before making a life time commitment. The inference is that before marriage, everything that could lead to a failure must be tried prior to the commitment.

But once married, there is actually more learning about the other person than before. How to raise and discipline children, for example. That can be discussed down to the finest detail, but until one if faced with it one never knows how they will respond. Likewise, how to manage a serious crisis, be it financial, health, death of a family member, or otherwise. Again, until finding oneself in that position it is virtually impossible to predict their response and the recovery.

By embarking on sex before marriage to insure compatibility, it is reduced to a physical act. Within marriage, it allows each person to become completely vulnerable and completely giving at the same time. Sure, there are times when one partner is taking more than giving. But it is in times like that where the other person elevates the giving to please/appease the taker.

Besides all this, engaging in sex complicates unmarried relationships. Does he/she feel the same as I do? By taking this step are we both embarking on a deeper relationship? Will he/she tell everyone if I don’t perform well? Can I trust this person to stay true to me for the duration of our relationship? Will he/she tell me if I do something wrong or will they simply leave?

That’s how I see it, anyway. :twocents:

I appreciate everyone’s quick and helpful responses.

  1. The STDs argument is a good one, but many people believe that by practicing “safe” sex, through having knowledge of both partner’s results in STD testing, and by using contraceptives that protect one partner from the other’s disease (latex condoms). I am aware that using contraception is morally wrong, but explaining that whole business to an atheist or agnostic is not conducive to my main and present argument.

  2. That is a great point and as a later poster expands on it, deciding the other person’s ability to give you pleasure and compatibility is a selfish motive and contradicts the understanding of marriage as giving yourself to your spouse and loving him/her for his/her own sake. There is sadly an understanding in today’s society that everything one does is for one’s own good and the moral relativism prevalent in such an understanding contributes greatly to the number of divorces we see today.

  3. Good point. I will do further research in the psychological effects of sex upon the partners of premarital sex and its effect on marriage or other dating/premarital relationships.

  4. This is the argument I’ve put most thought into, so far, and the one that I have the most tough time arguing. The utilitarian aspect of wanting sexual pleasure for yourself and an awesome honeymoon sexual experience should not be a major criteria for marriage in the first place. However, there is one problem I can see and that is, how do you explain this: “There is mutual love and respect which are not present in the other scenario.”? How could you explain to a atheist that a situation of loving someone to whom you are engaged/dating has changed in the situation of marriage. (The fact that you have now pledged your lifetime to love and care for the other person?) They say that a large part of marital sex is indeed about performance (producing offspring and the bonds that it creates).

  5. I agree, but they will argue that the “under the sheets” judgement is just one of the many considerations that go into discerning a good prospect for marriage.

  6. This is true, and I will explain the problem with utilitarian relationships, and appeal to the sense of human solidarity and respect, even when the person(s) that I talk to, refuse to recognize (at least on forums and in theoretical conversations, but doubtfully in practical life) an intrinsic worth or value in the human person.

Some of the questions I have with your points are answered later. Thank you for the helpful input!

This is extremely helpful, and I will do some research on the topic, but it will hold ground in my conversations with agnostics and atheists that rely heavily on such psychological data when it suits them. Thanks!

That’s a good view on the subject, but sadly, some people would say that saving your virginity for one person and having a happy married life do not constitute a complete life. They reject the idea of a complete life altogether.

Your first paragraph makes a good point. Thank you for that argument! To play devil’s advocate, the person would say that the reason for having premarital sex was to make sure they get the right person the first time, by trying out every last compatibility issue, (including the discovery of your prospective spouse’s sexual preferences, likes and dislikes) to avoid divorce, and to “marry the right person to begin with”. It’s a tricky circular argument for the supporter of premarital sex.

However, I suppose that one could refute this argument by simply explaining that the couple could discuss the subject before they get married and figure it out through communication, not through actual experience and the “clouding of the mind”, attachments, and problems that come with it.

This is a great answer, it really explores the objectifying of sex outside of marriage, and the problems that come with premarital sex, and it solves several misunderstandings or confusions that I had.

Why do you feel the need to sell chastity to non-believers? The only arguments you can trade on that are not religious in nature is the STD issue, the possibility of pregnancy and the risk of engaging in something they may not be emotionally prepared for. Even then, the “until marriage” argument is on shaky ground. Most of these concerns apply more to teenagers. Most people these days don’t marry until at least their late 20s, so unless someone is religiously devout, emotionally stunted (or simply asexual), OR a germophobe, you’re not going to do much business selling chastity to adult singles…

If you dont sleep with ANYONE before getting married, you are essentially gambling. ot only do you not know what you personally like, but you know nothing about your partner sexually.

Sex is a huge part of a successful marriage. Even assuming everything else about the marriage is great, can you imagine spending the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t satisfy you? Not just sexually, but in ANY area. Don’t even bother imagining that, because you wouldn’t–you’d get divorced.
Also, I am married.

So if you’re purposefully waiting for marriage you should probably have a good reason for it. For instance, religion.

Now THIS is completely ignorant. How would you like you bed down on your honeymoon and say, “hey honey, now that we’re married, I’m going to fantasize about ever yother person I slept with before you! I love you!”

Sex is NOT the end-all of a marriage. This person is overlooking this HUGE issue: What happens in the later years when the beauty fades and you’re not interested in sex anymore?

A good marriage does not come from good sex. Good sex comes from a good marriage. This person’s logic says that your spouse is only worth how good they are at sex (again, utilitarianism).

I think all of this hinges on what sex actually is to someone. It seems that any argument in support of extramarital sex is based on an egocentric view of sex. What am I getting, how does it feel for me, what do I like, etc. I don’t think you’re going to be able to convince anyone of the value of waiting until marriage unless you first are able to at least get them to understand how the Catholic view of sex itself is self-giving. I think that, unless someone at least respects that view, they probably can come up with a counter argument for anything. :shrug:

Also, in reference to the post that wondered about one’s partner not being able to satisfy them unless they had previous experience:

Sex, besides being a blessed union with your spouse, is also a learned skill. One wouldn’t take up downhill skiing and immediately start on the expert slopes.

From an apologetics point of view, the whole exchange is pointless. It reminds me of one of my godfather’s Vietnam stories. He was in charge of a junkyard/weapons depot and one time some Korean unit came and demanded a quad 50 machine gun or something they weren’t authorized to give out. The Koreans refused to leave and began yelling incessantly in Korean at him. He had one of his Latino guys argue back in Spanish. It was a colorful standoff, to be sure, but there was no rational persuasive argument happening, you’ll agree. This is much the same. The Catholic practice (or at least ideal) of chastity arises entirely out of a religious understanding of the nature of the human body and the purpose of sex etc. If you’re arguing this point with an atheist or secular guy who doesn’t buy into any of that, you have essentially no way to lead him to your point of view.

All you DO have to talk about is the strictly practical considerations of whether sexual experience prior to marriage is or is not beneficial to married life. I would venture to say almost no secular couples of typical marrying age these days in the West marry as virgins. Those who do, that I am aware of, almost always remained virgins late because of intimacy issues. On the other hand, those men and women who are promiscuous to the point that they never learned to engage the opposite sex in a non-sexual relationship likewise are probably not destined for married happiness.

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