Statistical data supporting the Catholic view on waiting until marriage

I am currently engaged in a discussion with one of my close friends who has just moved in with his girlfriend, and is engaging in a sexual relationship with her. He absolutely refuses to accept the existence of an objective moral truth, so I’m turning to the science which supports the Catholic view that sex should be withheld until marriage. I know the statistics are out there, I just don’t have them. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

focusonthefamily.com/about_us/focus-findings/marriage/premarital-sex-and-divorce.aspx

here is something I found on pre marital sex and higher risk for divorce.

Thank you, that’s the sort of stuff I’m looking for ^^

don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t even work, if he doesn’t believe in a universal law high risk of divorce may not change him. Plus only use this to open him up to the truth show him the moral truth of the wrongness of pre-marital sex.

When viewing these and other statistics that show correlations, it is important to keep in mind the difference between correlation and causation. In the examples cited by the article, a correlation is shown between pre-martial sex and divorce or infidelity. The implication of this correlation is that these statistics prove that pre-marital sex is at least partly the cause of divorce or infidelity. But one could also argue that both pre-marital sex and divorce are the result of a third, unspoken, factor, which accounts for the correlation. In this case that third causitive factor could be a particular set of moral values. If you have those values, then you are less likely to have pre-marital sex and you are less likely to get divorced, even if pre-marital sex and divorce have no causal relationship between them.

How could this distinction between correlation and causation ever matter? Well, suppose the friend mentioned by ProdglArchitect (the OP) decides to follow ProdglArchitect’s advice and refrain from pre-marital sex, not because of any belief in God or any objective moral truth, but only because of a pure pragmatic and selfish desire to avoid the pain of a broken marriage. If that is his motive, he is less likely to have the incentive to avoid infidelity on his part, if he thinks he can get away with it. On the other hand, if a person avoids pre-marital sex because it is part of a larger moral values system, that person will also have independent incentives to avoid infidelity, and other things that are destructive to a marriage.

So while I do not doubt the statistics cited, I do doubt that they will do the OP’s friend much good unless that person comes to an acceptance of that larger moral value system of which the avoidance of pre-marital sex is just a part.

I am very familiar with the distinction between correlation and causation ^^ Thank you for the rundown though. I also don’t expect it to do much good, but he is my friend, so I feel obligated to inform him.

What you say is true, however…

If people are willing to make the hard choice to refrain from pre-marital sex in the interest of having a lasting marriage, they will probably a) understand better about the hard choices and hard work involved in marriage itself, which would help them not to divorce, and b) be connected more closely with their spouses when they have sex inside the marriage–they have increased thier understanding of its specialness.

Not that this relates to correlation vs. causation exactly, but it does mean that even if the decision to abstain from pre-marital sex does not come from a larger moral system, the act of abstaining itself may still improve the chances for the marriage.

Just MHO, no stats. :slight_smile:

–Jen

a link I posted earlier shows how this is the case.

Another thing you can add is that when you are in a serious relationship and have no sex you will probably get to know the person better. Unfortunately sometimes people think the only true dating relationship should have sex, or have this idea that if you truly love me you’ll have sex with me. By being chaste till marriage (and even in marriage to) you will come to know your spouse in a much deeper way. Plus on a practical level how embarrassing if you had a child out of wedlock broke up with your spouse and went back on the dating scene. Being certain that you will live together for the rest of your life (well being pretty sure) is a much better time to have children. (now contraceptives would come into play in this situation but that is another animal all together.)

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