Let’s be honest, despite our best hopes and efforts, most kids/teens have sex in some version (intercourse, porn & masturbation, etc.) before marriage. And yea, that includes Christians. In fact, sometimes the “Christian” kids were some of  the most sexually active ones when I went to college with.

To deny this reality is to live in complete denial.

And let me be transparent with you. I’m a pastor, a Christian, and was also one of those “Christian” kids who had sex and looked at a whole lot of porn before he got married. I can’t take that back. But I wish I had heard more on this subject when I was younger because maybe it would have spared me some very difficult life lessons.

Don’t get me wrong.

When I was growing up I DID hear a lot of religious reasons not to have sex, most of which boiled down to one central theme – God says don’t do it. I also heard all the standard scare tactics like…

  • You might get someone pregnant.
  • You might catch an STD, etc.

But none of that worked with me. Despite all the threats of holy condemnation or ending up with a lifelong disease, I opted for the forbidden fruit because in my mind,

Rules didn’t feel good, but orgasms did.


I doubted the “bad” stuff would happen to me, so I was willing to roll the proverbial dice.

The problem I see now is the way sex was addressed to me by family and leaders boiled down to a few critical mistakes:

  1. First, I never heard practical reasons to NOT have sex before marriage, only scare tactics and the threat of righteous punishment.
  2. I never heard a good explanation as to the actual purpose of sex.
  3. I never heard or read anything that really mattered for the “here and now.”

And there’s the rub as they say (no pun intended).

When you’re a horny kid sex is all about the here and now, or at least that was my belief.

What I failed to understand at that time was that even though an orgasm is all about the “here and now,” sex is not. And the reasons NOT to have sex before you get married aren’t either. But communicating that truth to your children who live in a culture that submerses them in sexual lore can at times be difficult.

So, here are 5 practical reasons to stay sexually abstinent before marriage that you can pass along. Reasons that might not seem super important NOW but will be HUGE down the road.

First, they will save themselves a lot of regretful moments.

Here’s the truth. If you talk to anyone who had a variety of sexual encounters before they got married, inevitably you’ll find they have at least one – but probably many – they wish they could take back. I know I can attest to that myself.


Because sex that’s in the moment is often sex where consequences aren’t considered.

Consequences that compound our mistakes, and those mistakes lead to regret.

See, even though many people treat sex like something that’s just “fun to do,” it is still very personal and permanent. And it will leave an emotional imprint that can never be undone, so it shouldn’t be something anyone regrets.

Second, it will keep their relationships simpler and easier to evaluate.

Here’s a fact, nothing complicates a relationship like hopping into bed.

It’s much harder to recognize that a relationship is dysfunctional when having sex with someone. Because truth be told, a good romp in the sack can temporarily solve a host of problems.

Want to know if the relationship they have is actually worth having or continuing?

Try not having sex and see if they still want to be around the person.

I’m convinced that “hot sex” before marriage is a main contributor to the sad state of matrimony we see in our culture today. Why? Because those marriages may never have happened if the sex prior wasn’t keeping those couples artificially together in the first place.

Third, it’s difficult going ‘a la carte’ when they are used to a buffet.

Real talk?

When someone is accustomed to having sex with whomever they want and has “sampled all the flavors” like a Baskin-Robbins customer, then monogamous sex with one partner is going to be a hard pill to swallow.

It doesn’t matter if the food is way better at the 5-star à la carte or not. Buffet people are buffet people because they believe variety and quantity are more important than quality, even if the food is crap. And the same principle applies when someone is sexually permissive.

It may sound counter-intuitive in a day and age where consumption rules, but if someone’s only frame of reference for sex is with their spouse (sex that’s exclusive and intimate), then it’s going to be pretty great and they are not going to care a whole lot about what they may have “missed out on” by waiting.

Fourth, their sexual baggage is not something JUST they have to contend with.

When someone brings sexual baggage into their marriage, it affects both people. Not only do they have to deal with past  indiscretions, so does their spouse. And that reality creates issues of vulnerability for marriage.

A relationship that is threatened by comparisons is one that lacks security, and security is super important in the bedroom.

Want to know a secret ingredient for awesome sex? Provide security for both people. When a couple can openly and freely explore sex with each other because they aren’t held back by comparisons, insecurities, and questions – they are able to fully engage with each other and create moments of extreme sexual bliss and enjoyment.

Lastly, sex changes their brain.

One of the most interesting aspects of the brain (to me) is how its rewards’ system works.

Simply put, the brain is designed to seek out and recreate experiences that make it feel good. It’s selfish that way. This is why kids can develop harmful sexual patterns early in life, because their brains bond to the pleasure those activities elicit.

This is of course why porn addiction can be so difficult to beat.

Here’s the thing. While one’s brain’s rewards system can serve to their own destruction (like in the case of addiction) it can also work to their benefit.

For example, as a fitness junkie, I can tell you that over time I have wired my brain to want exercise. I know … sounds crazy. But it’s true. My brain has wired itself to seek out exercise as a pleasure source and that greatly benefits my health. 

Take this one step further.

Imagine if your kid’s only frame of reference for sexual pleasure is their future spouse. What type of effect do you think that will have on their brain? On their relationship? That type of chemical bond is a powerful one and will complement the emotional and spiritual bonds they form with their partner, making the marriage stronger and their intimacy greater.

When it comes to the decision to remain abstinent before marriage…

  • Yes, Biblical reasons are important.
  • Yes, because “God said so” is a legit reason.
  • Yes, we want our kids to avoid the negative results of pursuing casual sex.

But, we need to help our children understand that God doesn’t tell them to wait for marriage because he wants to rob them of pleasure. He’s not some jerk trying to withhold the “good stuff” from them.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

God’s design for sex is meant to give them the best. 

His ways are not just spiritual. Sometimes they are also tremendously practical and always beneficial. And sometimes those ways may not seem important in the HERE and NOW but they will make perfect sense down the road.

And if they’ve already made some poor choices, that doesn’t mean they’ve blown it. It doesn’t guarantee a life of sexual regrets and broken relationships.

My wife and I have worked through all these things and have come out stronger and better for it. But truth be told, there are those moments when I look back and say, “If only I had been told to be a little more forward-thinking – that might have saved me some unnecessary pain.”