Sex and the Waiting Game

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

My friend Beth recently went to lunch with a man she met online. She didn’t know this man very well, but as they chatted, he proved to be pleasant company and a good conversationalist.

As the date continued, they began to talk about matters of faith, and he made a black-and-white comment that cut off any possibility of a future dating relationship between them.

“I couldn’t be with someone who isn’t willing to sleep with me,” he said. But he jokingly reassured her that it didn’t have to be that weekend. 

Beth has been waiting to meet her husband for years. She is approaching 40 and has never been married. Saving sex for marriage hasn’t always been an easy road for her, but it’s been a good one, and the longer she has to wait, the more she realizes that the story God is telling with her is special. She feels loved and blessed because she’s had to wait, and she can already see how the wait has been worth it.

After coming this far and waiting this long, she wants to find a man who feels the same way about sex that she does—that it’s a sacred thing that should be preserved until marriage.

“He doesn’t have to be a virgin,” she says. “That’s not what I’m saying. But as a mature adult who is putting Jesus first in his life, he needs to think like a virgin.” 

What Science Says 

Many people believe that the Bible exaggerates certain topics—specifically, topics involving sex. They don’t realize that modern science actually agrees with the Bible about the importance of saving sex for marriage. Here is a brief glimpse of what I mean. 

According to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, people who wait to have sex until marriage:

  • Rate sexual quality 15 percent higher than people who have premarital sex

  • Rate relationship stability 22 percent higher

  • Rate satisfaction with their relationships 20 percent higher

In other words, saving sex for marriage can heighten your sexual experience, create more stability, and result in greater relational satisfaction. Knowing these things, doesn’t it sound like a good idea to wait to have sex?  

Another important reason to abstain from premarital sex involves the long-term consequences. Dr. Galena K. Rhoades and Dr. Scott M. Stanley write, “What people do before marriage appears to matter. Specifically, how they conduct their romantic lives before they tie the knot is linked to their odds of having happy marriages.”

The truth is, God wants to protect us and, just as my friend Beth said, it is a blessing to follow God’s instruction because it offers a better life. 

What Scripture Says

Some people would scoff at a story like Beth’s, but relationship with God is a serious thing—more so than many of us realize. Being a Christian doesn’t mean following a set of religious rules, nor is it something that matters in the afterlife more than it matters now. 

If you are a follower of Jesus, your life has changed forever. You are actually different than you were before, and that’s important to remember when considering sex. Why? Because the Bible says that he who unites himself with the Lord is one in spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17). This means you aren’t just “you.” Not anymore. You are one spirit with God and your body is His temple:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor. 6:18–20)

There comes a point in relationship with God when we do what the Bible instructs because we love God and it’s our joy to please Him, not because we are forced to follow a rule or we’re afraid to “cross the line” with someone. 

“Waiting until marriage is how I choose to honor God,” Beth says. “I have found that abstinence is actually an act of worship, which means that it is a delight more than it is a hardship. I get to wait with God, and waiting isn’t a bad deal. After all, He’s the God who saves the best for last.”


For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.

You can also order the book in Spanish. Click here.