Bible Question:

Is sex before marriage a sin?

Bible Answer:

Jellyfish are beautiful, almost transparent creatures of the sea. They can be found in all the world’s oceans, and a few even inhabit freshwater. They have no heart, blood, brain or gills and are over 95% water. They are beautiful, but once you touch a jellyfish, you will receive a sting from their tentacles. Premarital sex is like a jellyfish in the water. It looks great. It feels great, but God calls it sin and current research shows that it leads to more unhappy marriages.

Was It Good For Us?

Premarital sex, an act once condemned by society, is now encouraged. In fact, to be virgin is now considered to be an embarrassment. The comment “What is wrong with you?” was recently posed to a woman who was a virgin. It has become the accepted and in fact encouraged in our society. But this encouragement is not supported by recent research that shows couples are more likely to divorce.

Yet such “benefits” may be more wishful thinking than fact. Cohabitation may seem a good “trial run” for a solid marriage. But in practice, cohabiting couples who marry–many of whom already have children–are about 33 percent more likely to divorce than couples who don’t live together before their nuptials. Virgin brides, on the other hand, are less likely to divorce than women who lost their virginity prior to marriage.

But we didn’t inhale. Cohabitation is associated with other risks for young couples. Live-in boyfriends are far more likely to beat their partners than are spouses. And young adults who move in together, without being engaged to be married, are more likely to use cocaine and cigarettes after they start cohabiting than beforehand. All in all, muses Harvard sociologist Christopher Jencks, adult premarital sex “may ultimately prove to be a little like smoking dope in the 1960s. In retrospect, maybe it isn’t so good for you after all.”

“Was it good for us?” U.S. News and World Report, May 18, 1997

God Already Warned Us!

This is no surprise to Christians. God warned us. Premarital sex is sin, and sin always has a consequence. The statistics in the U.S. News and World Report article do not report how many individuals are angry or remorseful because they had premarital sex. Marriage counselors see that in couple after couple. That is the message of 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NASB)

The comment about “sins against his own body” is significant. Sexual immorality has a unique effect–it stings like the jellyfish. Premarital sex is called fornication in the New Testament. We encourage you to read “What is the correct meaning of fornication in the Bible?”

In 1 Corinthians, Paul the apostle encourages singles to get married if they have strong sexual urges.

But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband . . . But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. 1 Corinthians 7:2, 9  (NASB)

The word “immoralities” is the Greek word for porneia. The meaning is clear here. Do not have premarital sex–just get married. This is God’s will for our life.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality . . .  1 Thessalonians 4:3  (NASB)

Again the word for immorality is porneia. God’s will for our life is to avoid sex that is not between a husband and wife (male and female). We encourage you to read, “What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?”


Premarital sex, adultery, incest, homosexuality/lesbianism, and bestiality are all sin, but sex in marriage is wonderful and fulfilling. The Bible teaches that God intended for sexual activity to be beautiful, holy and enjoyable. Listen to the Holy Spirit from the book of Hebrews.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4 (NASB)

This is His best for us!

Suggested Links:

What is the correct meaning of fornication in the Bible?
Porneia Definition — What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?
Sex, Seduction, and Saints
Marriage In Splendor
What does the Bible say about foreplay and sex in marriage?
Is oral sex within marriage wrong?