Waiting until marriage for sex

I thought that’s probably what you meant. I have no problem at all with discussing such subjects, here or anywhere else. In fact — since the difference between salvation and damnation, for so many people, hinges on their relation to sins of the flesh (and desiring sexual compatibility within marriage absolutely is no sin) — this part of life needs to be discussed, and discussed frankly. Many people have an issue with doing this.

One thing I’ve found in this 45±year journey throughout the Catholic world, is that on one level, the Catholic Faith presupposes ideal behavior. What I mean by this, is that when sin is committed, even if it is repented of, there are sometimes things that just can’t be undone. Let’s say, for instance, that someone is divorced. The estranged spouse is remarried. Reconciliation is impossible. That person seeks to become a Catholic. Their marriage is reviewed for possible invalidity. Bear in mind that non-Catholics are not bound by canonical form, and their marriages are presumed valid unless proven otherwise. The tribunal comes back and says we’re very sorry, but your marriage was valid, we can’t find sufficient proof of invalidity. You cannot remarry in the Church as long as your spouse is alive. You may become a Catholic, that’s fine, in fact, you should, but you are still married to your estranged spouse. The cost of discipleship isn’t always distributed evenly, and according to our human lights, it just doesn’t seem fair. We can only tell this unfortunate person that their reward in heaven will be greater, because their cross is heavier.

And so it is with bringing illicit sexual experience into a marriage. I do not mean this in any lewd sense, but there will always be the tendency to compare past lovers with one’s partner. What happens if sex with one’s spouse isn’t as gratifying as with one’s past lover or lovers? What if, compared with those lovers, your spouse “fails the test” entirely? How do you get past that? I don’t know. Some might say “love hides all faults”? Yes, but what if it doesn’t? I’d be a poor one to ask. I was a male virgin when I married.

1 Like

At the time I got married, I was agnostic, and my husband was a lapsed Catholic.About a year or so into marriage, we both felt a yearning to go back to church. He convinced me to try the local cathedral. I went to Mass, enrolled in RCIA, and the rest is history.

I’m all for encouraging abstinence before marriage. But I don’t think the pro-abstinence crowd is doing anyone any favors by hyperbolizing the long-lasting effects of premarital sex as though it’s PTSD. I’m fond of quoting St. Augustine: “There’s no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” Go to Confession and get on with your life. Dwelling on past transgressions isn’t healthy for any person or their marriage.


Oh, so you’re advocating that we advocate committing mortal sins of sex before marriage or say it’s okay? I don’t think that is allowed on the forum, nor do I think it’s a good thing to advise people to do.

Nobody on this forum came up with the “no sex outside marriage” commandment. My understanding is that it’s the law of God. I’m not going to run around on a Catholic forum telling people to go break God’s law to see if they’re sexually compatible before marriage.

^^This is completely different from what you said in your earlier post.


I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I mean sure you might have had more experiences with different people, but I don’t think it makes you constantly think of that past gf or bf who was better in bed. It may just give you a better sense of what you like or don’t like in the bedroom and what you expect from your spouse in the bedroom. In that sense, it can be easier to determine compatibility. There is nothing wrong with having standards. Satisfaction of both spouses is important in a marriage

I don’t want to speak for him/her, but I think what Blackforest meant based on subsequent posts was not “sex before marriage is cool y’all” but rather “if someone does have sex before marriage, we shouldn’t view it as this uniquely unforgivable sin that makes them irrevocably damaged goods unworthy of love and marriage.”


And it is a “tendency” that some people might be able to get past. I can’t say. I’ve never been in those circumstances. Much better to be a “blank slate” in this regard, for one’s spouse to be likewise a “blank slate”, and only to know each other. That is God’s plan. When we act outside of God’s plan — in this matter or in any other matters — we invite problems into our lives.

(And yes, there are remarried widows and widowers. The loss of a spouse is involuntary, and I have to think that Our Lord can supply grace to get past any issues.)

Yes, that’s what their second post said. The first one made it sound like we were supposed to condone or excuse sex before marriage. Which of course we can’t do.


Being in a similar circumstance I can say it does not apply to me and I do not compare or dwell on past experiences. From a secular perspective it is only an opinion and not everyone will agree that it’s better to be a blank slate.

Allow me to clarify, before anyone snitches to a mod, that I DO NOT advocate sex before marriage.

You truncated my last sentence when you quoted it. I’m going to hope it wasn’t deliberate.

I am saying that if we advocate for abstinence, we cannot insist that sex is something we can never discuss openly and frankly in the post-marital context.

1 Like

And if you’ll noted, I hearted this post as in . . . . I agree with it. He probably just has a better way with words than I ever will.

1 Like

What I meant, was that it is God’s plan for both spouses, if never before married (i.e., widowed), both to come into the marriage as virgins. Fornication is a mortal sin and can never be “part of God’s plan”, because God does not desire that we ever sin. When one (or both) relinquish their virginity before they marry, they have squandered their ability to come into marriage as a pure, “blank slate”.

The secular world has no use for virginity, aside from conceding that it is a personal choice that some may make, if they wish (or — and I hate to bring this into it — it can be involuntary, in the case of “incels” both male and female who can’t find anybody). That is a far cry from affirming that premarital sex is a mortal sin.

This connects with the entire idea of testing “compatibility”… “Are we compatible? We need to know before committing!” Best response I’ve ever heard: “You’re a man, she’s a woman. You’re not compatible.”

1 Like

Isn’t this the story we often observe? A person seeking, ascertaining from experience that there is compatibility, finds no commitment, so repeats the search. Then after a few experiences like that, there may be marriage, but then one or both change and are unsatisfied. Then “its like you’re stuck”.

I’m going to speak to you as a woman who – with her husband – saved herself for marriage. Certainly, there are a lot of false promises people make to encourage couples to wait for marriage. There’s this tendency to idolize virginity, as if virginity were the virtue we are called to rather than to chastity.

What is chastity? It is the simple ability to govern your own sexual choices rather than to be enslaved by your sexual passions.

What we long for is to be desired and loved. But desire and love aren’t the same thing. Desire is being wanted. To be loved, is more rooted in our freedom than desire. To merely be desired can turn you into an object. You become useful in satisfying that desire. To be loved means not just that I desire you, but that I will what is good for you. I don’t make it all about me.

I won’t promise you that expectations of your sexual life won’t be disappointed once you’re married. A lot can complicate things in the marriage bedroom, but I don’t believe for one second that premarital sex saves you from that. There are plenty of people who complain that things changed in the bedroom, that they used to be sexually compatible but now their bedrooms are dead. This is quite common.

Waiting for marriage won’t save you from that, but the virtue of chastity – lived out in its day-by-day experience even in marriage (chastity isn’t abstinence. It is simply the ability to willfully choose the most loving action rather than being dominated by sexual passion) – helps. I won’t even say that being chaste ten years ago will grant you a superman ability to practice the virtue ten years from now.

What I can say is that as exciting and alluring as it may be to have sex during the honeymoon stage of a relationship, the reality is that sex makes babies. Regardless of what the odds are of that happening on a particular occasion, we need to appreciate that and really ensure that we fully appreciate that. It is best to commit first and then surrender to having children than to try to change the nature of the sexual act in order to go after the thrill.

And really, that’s all it is . . . a thrill. It doesn’t tell you a whole lot about compatibility in my opinion. Things change throughout the course of a lifelong marriage. Love is a choice.


So basically your friend is ok with sleeping around under the guise of ‘seeing if we’re compatible’.

One thing we see on Catholic answers is exactly that. Someone has been dating, having sex with them a while, and they come on with some story. He’s spent time in jail, he’s been married before, he spends a lot of time drinking, he gets really really angry at me, he promised that he’d quit porn but he sneaking it on me now.

God made sex to be the glue to help married couples through tough times. When applied too soon, as in dating, somehow it becomes very easy to overlook huge red flags in a relationship.

Dating should be a time of evaluation of a relationship. Is this person a good fit for me, a good parent one day, someone who knows how to pray, goes to the sacraments. It’s a time to be sober and thoughtful. Once you have sex, hormones make it very hard to think straight.

There’s no regrets doing it God’s way.

1 Like

I’d love to take the OP’s post to Mythbusters. lol

This is possibly the biggest myth/lie about sex and relationships. And it’s extremely damaging.

In my experience, compatibility is “male-cow excrement”. No couple is naturally “compatible”. All couples must work to make themselves more compatible to the other. This includes in the bedroom.
Sex before marriage is glamourised by society but it is often fraught with anxiety and insecurity in reality. It certainly doesn’t lend itself to being truly open and vulnerable about what one’s sexual preferences might be. Marriage is all about being open and vulnerable, and it helps couples to attain greater compatibility and greater sexual pleasure.
Sex is like driving. You are terrible at it when you start, and very nervous, but you get better with practice.

People in the modern world love to diss marriage. You’re tied down, trapped, it’s unromantic, you’re whipped, the old ball and chain, no more freedom, sexually yoked to one person. But that is what we’re designed for and anything else ultimately will hurt us. Marriage has the potential to be the most romantic, amazing, and liberating experience. But many prefer to eat dog food instead of caviar.

1 Like

This. Absolutely this.^^^ What AdamP88 said.

1 Like

Learning how to drive! Thanks AdamP88! There’s a lot of rules to learn first, from a book. Lots. Then there’s the practical, the actual driving, with a person sitting beside you to teach you. It’s a lot of trouble and effort to get a driver’s license and yet, people are ok with it. The reason is that we know we have to share the road with a million other people and to be safe, we all need to follow the same rules of the road.

God created men and women and family life. He gave us a bible and He gave us a Church to be the one who sits beside us as we go through life. Yes there are lots of people who don’t want to pay attention to God’s rules for family. And like car crashes and fatalities on the road when people drive too fast, maybe drink too much, ignoring the rules of the road, so too the people who ignore God’s plan for marriage and family life have fatalities as well, as we see in the number of abortions. We never hear this enough. That’s our own children we’re bringing to be slaughtered.

Let’s learn from the mistakes of others and not go there. That’s the smart choice. Let’s encourage others to make that choice.

1 Like

I’ve had this sort of talk with a lot of people but never once did I think about it this way, thank you!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.