Our grandparents, as well as many of our other ancestors, waited until their unions were blessed by the church and state in order to have sex. But things have dramatically changed in the last fifty or so years. Couples no longer wait until they have a marriage certificate and, in fact, engage in premarital sex quite frequently (even with people they have no intention of marrying).
But how did that sort of behavior come to be? After all, if we check in on Bible and premarital sex, we can see clearly that the religion’s stance is still the same. That goes beyond just Christianity since most major religions have quite stern opinions on premarital sex.
And yet, the new normal is that couples have sexual intercourse well before they are married. So let’s try to answer the question of why couples practice premarital sex, shall we?
Religion Against Premarital Sex
It’s important to note that there is no right or wrong way to be intimate with your partner. Some couples choose to become sexually active immediately, while others decide to wait.
But if we check what religion has to say about it, we can see that it has some strict views. For example, it’s usually crucial that a man seduces a virgin, pays the bride price, and marries her. Then, he should have sexual intercourse only with his wife, and each woman that tries to sway him from this course will be “immoral.” In other words, sex is only something one man and one woman, who are married, should experience. Otherwise, God will judge them.
As per Hebrews 13, we should all leave our own desires outside of ourselves (among other things). So, even if you’re burning with passion for your significant other, the Bible isn’t really all that keen on you having sex with anyone unless you’re married. Religion would rather you flee from sexual immorality.
Of course, this isn’t inherently wrong. You can be sexually immoral if you, for example, commit adultery. So, religion kind of has a point there. But, when it comes to premarital sex, more and more people are straying away from religion and its teachings. Why?
Sex Is a Physical Need
Although waiting until marriage to have sex is a matter of personal preference and faith, it’s important to note that intimacy is essential for all human beings. We crave it, and when deprived of it, we feel as if a basic need of ours isn’t being met.
At a basic level, humans are drawn to each other. Still, this need for intimacy goes beyond the simple instinct to procreate. When we’re intimate with our partners, our brains release specific feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and vasopressin that bond us together.
We crave this so much that, to many of us, “thou shalt have no hanky-panky before marriage” means diddly-squat. Because many of us see sex as a physical need that has nothing to do with morality, faith, and spirituality, sexual immorality is occurring more often and freely.
People Are Exposed to Sex at Their Early Age
On average, children and adolescents today are more exposed to sex at an early age than that was the case a few decades ago. That, of course, influences their sexual experience.
So, kids who are exposed to sex during their formative years are more likely to look at it as something that’s normal and familiar. Thus, they are more likely to have premarital sex.
But it’s important to note that those kids probably don’t come from religious households. Of course, there are people out there who see premarital sex as a no big deal and who did grow up with religious family members. But, on average, it’s more likely that people who have premarital sex are the children of people who also engaged in premarital sex.
People Enjoy the Pleasures of Sex
There’s really no other way to put this — sex is really pleasurable. It’s an amazing way to relax, de-stress, and enjoy your body. During sex and specifically during and after an orgasm, our brains are flooded with various chemicals that are known as “bliss chemicals.”
Not only that, but having sex also creates a loop of pleasure in our brains. Just being close to our partners can start the release of the “feel-good” chemicals (also known as cuddle hormones). When we have sex, our brains signal to our bodies (by releasing chemicals) that something extraordinary is happening, and our bodies respond, which leads to releasing even more hormones. Thus, we create a physical-physiological loop of pleasure.
Quite a big chunk of people who have sex before marriage don’t really feel the need to provide any other explanation as to why they do it. Sex feels great. So why not do it? Why wait until after marriage? Why deprive oneself of that specific pleasure?
Society Normalized Sex
People who are sexually active before marriage usually live in societies that accept this as the norm. It’s quite rare that you see someone who lives in a highly religious society rebel against the rules openly and freely.
First of all, society would ostracize them. When your environment doesn’t accept something, they put pretty firm rules in place. Deviating from those rules can endanger your “membership” in society. Second, they are thought differently, and social programming is hard to work against.
Therefore, it’s logical that people who have sex before marriage live in societies and communities where that isn’t a dealbreaker. Of course, there are various degrees of acceptance in different societies. So, some people who have sex might be completely open about it while others keep it more on the down-low.
Sex After Marriage: Does It Have Any Benefits?
Even though more and more people are forgoing the sex-after-marriage idea, it’s not without its merits. A large number of people who didn’t have premarital sex claim not only higher relationship satisfaction but also better sex. Simply waiting to be intimate, in their opinion, also had an effect on their communication patterns.
Waiting to have sex after marriage isn’t always a decision that’s based on religion. Some people decide to go that route due to previous experiences, desires to connect with their partners on an intellectual and emotional level before being intimate, etc. In the end, most people who waited until after marriage to have sex don’t regret their decisions.