Why some Christians still don’t want to have premarital sex
Wyatt Chant was in grade 7 at his Catholic school when his religious education teacher told the class to stand to one side of the room depending on what they would and wouldn’t do.
Those who planned to have sex only after marriage stood on one side, and children who expected to have sex before marriage stood on the other.
“I was the only one standing on the side of the room saying I was going to wait until marriage to have sex, and I was ridiculed for it,” Wyatt says.
But so far, the 23-year-old pastor has kept that promise.
Why Christians Don’t Want to Have Premarital Sex
In 2014, Australia’s second health and relationship study of over 20,000 people found that 87% of Australians think premarital sex is okay, but many Australian Christians think differently. In 2011, out of a sample of 1,357 faithful Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants, 48.6% said that premarital sex is always National survey on the life of the Church.
There are still Christians and Christians who choose not to have premarital sex because of their Christian beliefs, but also because they believe it is a better way to form romantic relationships.
Wyatt grew up in a Christian home and expected abstinence, a belief inherited from his parents who had not had sex before their marriage. But as a teenager, he knew he had to decide for himself.
“It sounds like a set of rules, but it’s not,” he says.
In high school, that meant turning down offers of sex from girls at parties, and as a young adult Wyatt puts in what he calls “guardrails” to avoid situations that can lead to sex.
Growing up and living in the family home, Wyatt said “Me and my girlfriend weren’t allowed to be in my room with the door closed. We weren’t allowed to be in our house if no one was there. else there “.
Is sex necessary in a romantic relationship?
Wyatt is in the minority when it comes to Australians’ perspective on premarital sex, which has been part of the social norm for the past 30 to 40 years, says Anastasia Panayiotidis, general manager of clinical services at Relationships Australia in Victoria.
“We are biologically programmed or designed to find a partner with whom we resonate on a physical, moving, heart and mind level,” she says.
But for people who choose not to have premarital sex, it may be possible to feel the spark without sex. Ms. Panayiotidis says there is “discipline and decision” involved in choosing abstinence.
From her discussions with the people who decide to wait, she says, “They actually show trust and value in the relationship, and that there is a life that they can’t wait to build together.”
“It takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of strength to control and manage the sexual desires that are part of our biology and of our being.”
Sleepovers, but still no sex
In her teens and twenties, Claire * believed that being a Christian meant not having sex.
“You believe that Jesus is the son of God, he died for your sins, sin is real, premarital sex is a sin,” she explains.
Historical Christian teaching on sex limited it to an act between a man and a woman only in marriage, but the culture of purity that emerged from the culture wars of the 80s and 90s in the United States enshrined the teaching in a different way.
What was considered fair or good by Christians involved not having a date unless you were ready for marriage, save your first kiss for your marriage, virginity is everything, and of course, no sex. Before marriage.
The changing dating landscape has given Claire a chance to reconsider what she believes and why.
She signed up for Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid, and had to figure out the dating scene with the app – where she could date multiple men for days in a row.
She had to take everything less seriously, she was rejected and she did the rejection.
Claire, now 30 and a teacher at a public school in west-central Melbourne, has only met and dated Christian men on the apps, but some have had sex before.
When she met the man who would become her fiancee last year, she realized that she would have to come up with a set of beliefs about sex that belonged to her.
“I don’t know if God cares so much about what I do with my genitals, but I know he cares about my heart and my priorities,” she says.
Claire and her fiancee had honest conversations about sex and boundaries, and Claire ended up changing some of her rules.
They live an hour apart and the driving took too long, so some evenings he would spend the night in her apartment – in separate bedrooms – which she never would have considered before.
But they won’t have sex until they get married.
Abstinence should be a personal choice
Robyn J Whitaker of the University of Divinity Melbourne said: “Churches can provide healthy and positive sex education that values both virginity and the gift of our sexuality.” But she says some messages of purity have been criticized for leading to feelings of shame around sex.
For abstinence to work, Panayiotidis says it must be a personal decision without pressure or coercion from a religious group or sect.
“It must be a personal belief that matches that person’s true identity and does not compromise their independence or ability to choose, or create anxiety or other consequences or other suffering to the result of a decision that is also difficult to bear or too difficult to manage. “
Ms. Panayiotidis adds that a healthy relationship requires more than just a sexual connection. A healthy relationship is one where both parties are equal, where there is no manipulation or control.
“The fundamental ingredient of a romantic relationship is the emotional security of each partner towards the other and the fact that they can open up to their vulnerabilities, fears, anxieties, hopes and dreams without harsh judgment” , she says.
* The name has been changed for reasons of confidentiality.
ABC Everyday to your inbox
Receive our newsletter for the best of ABC Everyday every week