Sex before marriage, nervous about my future

Hello everyone!

Currently I am 16 years old, I’m a guy, and I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately.

I’ve done some reading on how only 11% of young Catholics say they will wait to have sex until after marriage, not before. And I feel as society goes on the way it is, that number will drop.

I’m concerned about future relationships, and even relationships I could have in the near future. I am even concerned about getting into a relationship with another Catholic my age, just because of how common sex before marriage is.

My main fear is that anyone I’m together with in the future won’t be satisfied if there isn’t any sex going on. Is this a legitimate concern? I am perfectly willing to tell anyone I get in a relationship with in the future that I don’t want to have sex before marriage, I’m just worried they might not take it well.

Any ideas from you all? I really appreciate it, thanks. :smiley:

First of all, God Bless you for asking this very important question and trying to live the life God wants us to have. At 16, the hormones must be incredibly strong and it may seem like all the kids your age are getting further and further along the path of sexual activities. You’re right to be concerned and thoughtful of this course of action and you are correct that many your age have foregone chastity. Not all of them had a pleasant initiation into the world of sex so I urge you to continue to ponder your course and be deliberate: once you cross the line, there’s no turning back. STDs, pregnancy, loss of self esteem, loss of peer respect, etc can all result from having sex.

God made us physical and spiritual beings so I would ask you to spend some time thinking what’s more important to you at this time. If your faith and love of God is most important, give that the most weight when making your decision. The person you befriend would understand if you tell her that is your highest priority. If her criteria matches your’s, you may have the start of a long term, happy relationship. If not, you may find yourself temporarily happy in one sense but the differences may prove insurmountable in the long run.

Be honest in your relationships. Be consistent. Be strong. And, most of all, see the Christ that exists in you and your friends. You won’t go wrong if you remember that God dwells in each and every one of us. God Bless you.

If you are male, the odds are in your favor that any potential female romantic partners will be content with your decision.

And, if your partner is not agreeable to your feelings on the subject, they are probably not a person you want to establish a relationship with.

STI’s (they’re infections, not “diseases”) can wreak havoc on your life. Not to mention, if she gets pregnant and she’s under 18, her parents could press charges against you for statutory rape (depending upon the state.) Do you really want to risk your health so soon, and risk having sex-offender charges on your permanent record so soon? :confused:

This may be one o the most impressive, inspiring threads I have seen in quite a while, you are really on the right path and I will be praying for you to be able to remain true to your beliefs. It is true that there will be an effort you have to put out to find others who share your values, but be assured that others who share your values are out there. Pray hard for protection from the influences that will be on you and ask God to help you find people to share your teenage years with who will stay on the same path with you. Engage in activities that keep you busy and productive and never be afraid to walk away from those that don’t. Come back here anytime and find people who will care about you and love to pray for you as you move to you adult years. And, try very hard to share all this with your parents who will be so proud of you!

This isn’t the prayer intention thread, but I’m praying for you anyway.

Not true at all!


As a woman, I can attest to the fact that we want to have sex just as much as the men do. A goodly number of us have no desire to wait for marriage, either. In fact, some argue that marrying a man without having sex with him at least few times first is foolish. The Op’s fears are not unfounded.

If It were me, I would tell women in the early “getting to know general things about you” phase that I am a catholic who believes in saving sex for marriage and that marriage is for life, so it is not to be rushed into. The truth is some women will think you’re crazy and walk away. Some will be intrigued, give it a try, and walk away. A few will be happy about your faith and purity and may still walk away for other reasons. And that’s ok. Those women wouldn’t be a good match for you anyways. You just keep trying until you find the right one.

It might be less of an issue than you think.

When I was a not-anything-religious teen, my parents had raised me not to have sex until I felt mature enough to do so, and was in a loving, committed relationship. Consequently, I didn’t much want to have sex. That’s not to say I was wearing a halo, by any means - I enjoyed kissing! But I didn’t feel ready to go beyond that, and somehow I managed to date nice guys who weren’t pushy. I think in the high school years, a lot of girls are going to feel relieved that they aren’t being pressured to go further than their boundaries. And if they are the ones pushing, then you aren’t compatible values-wise, so it’s best not to date anyway.

In college, things are trickier. Certain campuses have a hookup culture, and it seems like a lot of dating rituals have gone by the wayside. However, I found in college and post college, that the expectation is to jump to sex way too fast - even for my personal moral code before I became Catholic. Again, though, I think that if you’re dating women you’re compatible with, you’re not likely to run into an issue. You don’t even have to bring up on the 1st/2nd/3rd/etc. date that you don’t believe in sex before marriage. Just let the relationship evolve, and if it becomes serious, then it is natural to have a discussion about your values.

I know that it seems like everyone is having sex, particularly at sixteen! But in reality, I think there are fewer than you’d think, or many who feel like they “have” to. I think the women you’re going to be attracted to and want to date are naturally going to be different than that, as your faith informs all your life choices, not just the choice to have sex. :thumbsup:

What are you talking about? Reread the original post. This is a 16 year old boy who says he does NOT want to have sex before marriage, and is concerned he might not find a girl who will agree to not having sex before marriage. He wants to remain chaste before marriage.

Hi Pater2330,

I think this is a valid concern and one you need to be careful about. It means you have a good reason not to date anyone who isn’t a devout Christian, and ideally a devout Catholic.

The number of devout Catholics is a lot lower today than it was in previous ages, but there are also more resources at your disposal to find devout Catholic women. For instance, because my area is so heavily Protestant and the few Catholics there are are not especially devout, I had to cast my net wider. I got on Catholic Match. There, I found many many chaste and holiness-minded Catholic women, including the woman who is now my fiancee. She lives a lot farther away from me, so the relationship is long-distance with all those attendant difficulties, but we are 100% on the same page about chastity and our relationship is good and happy.

So don’t despair. :slight_smile:

No, it is not. Not breaking your baptismal vows is the legitimate concern.

If the lady you may date in the future is not satisfied without sex before marriage or even expects it, it is a clear sign that something is not right in the relationship. Good communication - and a good sacramental life - may fix this issue. Otherwise, it is more than sufficient reason to interrupt the relationship. Dating and marriage are supposed to take us onward and upward, not towards the fires of hell for the sake of the flesh.

Also forget the world, and do not succumb to it. Paul admonishes us:

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.

Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live.

Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my advice, as one that has obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I think then that this is good, on account of the present necessity, that it is good for a man to remain so as he is. Are you bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.

I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

At 16, you shouldn’t be thinking about dating.

Dating is to discern the vocation to holy matrimony. Do you think you can marry and be a father at your age? Should you rather not be concerned about your instruction and fitness, that when you become of age you may provide for your spouse and offspring? Do not follow the way of the foolish, who say to themselves: “Let us eat and drink and have fun, for tomorrow we die.” Serve the Lord with joy, and let His will be yours.

Be open, in a prayerful and chaste way, to the will of the Lord. Propose, do not dispose.

If your vocation is matrimony, you will in due time meet the woman that God has called to be your spouse. She will not want to do anything that would sully your soul. She will want to sanctify you and purify you, and she will expect and demand the same from you. By her side you will become and feel like a true man, a man in Christ, whose vocation is to sanctify his bride and keep her spotless until the last day.

Remember that the sexual union within marriage, with the sacred unitive and procreative purposes preserved, does not stain the spouses’ soul, but rather, sanctifies them and glorifies God. For you to be able to accomplish this, you need to learn about the holiness of marriage and of sexuality, and you need to strive to achieve self-mastery and control over your body and passions, living as all true disciples of Christ, in chastity and celibacy until the time comes to either marry or make vows.

A good place to start is to study St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (Cristopher West has some amazing video presentations on this) and to try to attend Mass frequently, confess often, and pray even one decade of the Rosary daily. For it is known that in the fight between the prince of impurity and the Virgo Castissima, the frail Rosary binds a soul to heaven with the might of God’s hand.

I wish I had your mindset when I was your age :slight_smile: You are brave and strong. Stay that way. God bless you.

Actually, at 16, dating is all you think about :slight_smile: Dating does not have to mean searching for a spouse, it can be about meeting people, having fun, and growing up. Not everyone should marry the very first person they date and are together with.

Yup. We had a previous thread on dating as a teen, and I wrote how I felt it helped me grow as a person. The types of dating, usually in groups, that teenagers do can be great practice. It’s the training wheels that provide teens with the social skills to be able to seriously date when they’re older.

Somehow, as a non-religious teen at a big suburban school, I managed just fine. If you’ve been raised with strong morals, you’re going to be able to navigate dating as a teenager. Dating does not have to be discernment of marriage. Dating is not courting, and shouldn’t be confused as such.

Such is the wisdom of this age, and to some extent you may be correct.

I personally disagree. I understand that the sole purpose and end of dating is to discern whether we are called to marry. To date for the sake of dating is disordered.

Healthy relationships can be established without dating, because dating creates expectation and binds hearts, especially the innocent hearts.

Furthermore, dating is depicted in today’s world as requiring very low moral standards. True Catholic dating is always chaste and pure, and as such it is not necessarily problematic. But I still think we should get our priorities straight in life.

Thank you so much everyone for all of your advice. It has helped out a ton!

I’m glad to hear that, while it is an issue, I can let loose on my concern a little bit.

I am not someone who wants a ton of relationships that ends up in a giant wreck, and was a waste of time. And the advice you all have given me has helped me think about how to stay patient, and only get in relationships with women who will care about my values.

Thanks again all, I greatly appreciate it! :smiley:

Why would a couple go out and flirt with each other and have feelings for each other if not for the intention of marriage? So, are you saying that dating is just hanging with a friend as you would with the same sex? So, if two guys are hanging out we could call that dating even if they are heterosexuals? I think not. I think you have a distorted view as to why a guy and a girl who are attracted to each other pursue that attraction.

What exactly is the distinction of dating and courtship as you so mentioned? Statistics clearly show that most do not navigate dating as well as one would hope. Sex is a big part of dating now days and to think otherwise is to be foolish.

If one wants to hang out with the opposite sex in groups then that is not the same as dates whereby two go out together by themselves. Most dating is in this fashion. so, I have to disagree with you. I firmly believe that dating is solely for discerning marriage and should be done accordingly. Any other reason is opening up opportunities for disaster and people getting hurt. Anyway, that is my two cents. God bless the OP for asking such a mature question and seeking to do what is right.

In terms of history, dating has not been around all that long. It became a “thing” around the same time that teenagers became a recognized age group - beyond childhood, but not quite adults.

Courting, of course, has been around for much longer and has always been recognized as a ritualized pursuit of marriage.

While dating can certainly lead to marriage, in practice, it has always been more focused as a social activity, whether that is as a couple, a double date, or in groups. Particularly among the teenage set, it has always been focused on socializing - not marriage.

If you’d like a more nuanced discussion of the issue, perhaps check out this thread from earlier this year:

Others have already shared, but I thought I’d chime in as well.

I agree that you can let go of your concern a little bit. Actually, the statistics I have seen show a decrease in promiscuity among teens in recent years. So I don’t necessarily think that things are on one, long, continual downward slide with no chance of reversing direction. There is hope.

I really think it’s all about the company you keep. I thought much the same as you back when I was 16. But when I got to college, I became part of some great Catholic groups and all my dating experience occurred in that context. I never dated a girl that didn’t share those core values. Of course, that doesn’t mean temptation is not an issue. But it helps to start off a relationship knowing that we were on the same page in that regard.

So stay true to your convictions. Not every girl will necessarily appreciate those convictions. But you don’t need every girl to want to spend the rest of their life with you. You only need one. :wink:

Fantastic advice here, thanks Joe. I honestly completely forgot about any Catholic groups, or anything like that. I’ll look into some stuff like that. Thanks again. :thumbsup:

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