Young People Ask . . .
Staying Chaste—Is It Really Best?
Because the dull ache in her abdomen persisted, Esther consulted a doctor. After carefully examining her chart and asking a few questions, the doctor matter-of-factly inquired: “What method of contraception are you using?”
Doubled up with pain from a problem that proved to be nothing serious, Esther moaned: “I’m not using any.”
“What!” exclaimed the doctor, “Do you want to get pregnant?”
“No,” was this single woman’s reply.
“How do you expect not to get pregnant if you’re not using anything?” retorted the irritated doctor.
“Because I’m not having sex!” responded Esther.
The doctor stared at her in disbelief and glanced again at her chart. “And you’re 23 years old?” he blurted. “I don’t mean to be offensive, but this is unbelievable. Kids come in here 13 years old, and they are no longer virgins. You are a remarkable person. I see very few young girls who are virgins.”
IN TODAY’S world, chastity has all but disappeared. “It is the exceptional young person who has not had sexual intercourse while still a teenager,” was a conclusion reached by an authoritative 1981 report by The Alan Guttmacher Institute. “Eight in 10 males and seven in 10 females report having had intercourse while in their teens.” What made Esther, discussed in the box below, different?
She was convinced that obeying Bible laws on morality was best. The Bible clearly states: “Now the body is not for fornication [premarital sex] . . . Flee from fornication.” (1 Corinthians 6:13, 18) Yet, most young people ignore Bible morality. However, are there definite advantages to moral chastity?
A Physical Protection
Dr. Richard Lee, writing in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, urged his fellow physicians: “We boast to our young people about our great breakthroughs in preventing pregnancy and treating venereal disease disregarding the most reliable and specific, the least expensive and toxic, preventative of both gestational and venereal distress—the ancient, honorable, and even healthy state of virginity.” Clearly aware of the physical dangers of immoral sex, he concluded his article: “There is still a place for physicians to advise chastity.”
Of course, not all premarital sex causes pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. But the benefits of chastity go much deeper.
Peace and Self-Respect
A young maiden mentioned in the Bible remained chaste despite intense love for her boyfriend. Rather than her morals resembling a swinging door that ‘opened up’ under immoral pressure, she could proudly say: “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers.” Yes, morally she stood like the unscalable wall of a fortress with inaccessible towers. She deserved to be called “the pure one.” And the benefits? The maiden said of her prospective husband, “I have become in his eyes like her that is finding peace.” Her own peace of mind contributed to the contentment between the two of them.—Song of Solomon 6:9, 10; 8:9, 10.
Esther, mentioned previously, had the same inner peace and self-esteem. She said: “I felt good about myself. Even when workmates would ridicule me, I viewed my virginity like a diamond, valuable because it is so rare.” Additionally, chaste youths are not plagued by a guilty conscience. “There is nothing nicer than to have a good conscience toward Jehovah God,” stated Stefan, a 19-year-old Christian.
‘But how can a couple get to know each other well if they don’t have sex?’ argue some youths.
Builds Lasting Intimacy
Though sex has power, it alone cannot forge a permanent relationship. When sex is delayed till marriage, the couple concentrates on the personal and social qualities, rather than on sexual satisfaction. Focusing on sexual satisfaction can lead to serious problems.
For instance, after two painful breakups, Ann admitted: “I learned from experience that at times you can get too close physically too soon.” Thus, when she and her future husband began to date, they were very careful to avoid becoming too intimate physically. You see, under the enrapturing influence of sexual intimacies, a couple may gloss over serious differences that resurface after marriage.
Those who are chaste can avoid such deception. Explains Ann, who has now been happily married for four years: “While courting, we spent our time working out problems and discussing our goals in life. I got to know what type of person I was marrying. After marriage, there were only pleasant surprises. Most couples really don’t have that much time to spend together while courting. So, if they’re constantly romancing and kissing, they can’t talk about serious matters or work out differences.”
Was it hard for them to control their emotions? “Yes, it was!” confessed Ann. “I am just naturally an affectionate person, and Tim loved it. But we talked about the dangers and helped each other. We both wanted very much to please God and not spoil our upcoming marriage.” However, many young people fear that not having sex will spoil their marriage. Will it?
A Happier Marriage
Chastity contributes toward a successful marriage. (See box.) The reason is that it demands restraint, self-control. You learn to sacrifice the satisfying of an immediate pleasure to achieve a more important goal. Gaining the approval of God becomes a priority, and you struggle to avoid giving in to your desires for physical intimacy. (1 Corinthians 9:27) This unselfish concern for another’s welfare is what builds a happy marriage and ultimately leads to sexual satisfaction.
Though many marriages have serious sexual problems, one does not prevent such by engaging in premarital sex. According to extensive research by sociologist Seymour Fisher, the factors helping a woman to respond sexually are not physical but include how she feels about her husband. The vital factors are her having “feelings of intimacy, closeness, and dependability,” the husband’s “ability to identify with his wife, and . . . how much confidence she had in him.” But in premarital sex, dependability and confidence are often undermined by uncontrolled passion. The emphasis is on the physical aspects of sex and self-gratification. Once such selfish patterns are formed, they are hard to break and they wreak havoc after marriage! In marriage, the focus must be on giving, ‘rendering one’s sexual due,’ rather than ‘getting.’—1 Corinthians 7:3, 4.
Interestingly, in a study of 177 married women, three fourths of those who engaged in premarital sex reported sexual difficulties during the first two weeks of marriage. All those who reported long-term sexual difficulties “had histories of premarital intercourse.” Additionally, research has shown that those engaging in premarital sex are twice as likely to commit adultery after marriage! How true are the Bible’s words: “Fornication . . . take[s] away good motive.”—Hosea 4:11.
‘You will reap what you sow.’ (Galatians 6:7, 8) Sow passion and reap a bumper crop of doubts and insecurities. But sow self-control and reap a harvest of fidelity and security. Esther, mentioned at the beginning, has since been happily married for five years. Her husband Jaye exclaims: “It’s an indescribable joy to come home to my wife and know that we belong only to each other. Nothing can replace this feeling of confidence.”
No worries about a sexually transmitted disease or an illegitimate pregnancy. Peace of mind knowing you are pleasing to God. A meaningful courtship leading to a satisfying marital adjustment. All of these and more are sound reasons for concluding: Staying chaste is really best!
[Box on page 19]
Chastity Helps Marriage
“This research carried the investigation one step further in an attempt to relate premarital sex experience to total adjustment in marriage as measured by (1) marital happiness, (2) general marital satisfaction, (3) love, and (4) marriage permanence. The findings in general agree with those of [other researchers] that virginity prior to marriage is most favorable to total marriage success.”—Making the Most of Marriage, by Paul H. Landis.
“A significantly larger per cent of divorced than happily married men reported premarital intercourse.”—Predicting Adjustment in Marriage: A Comparison of a Divorced and a Happily Married Group, by Harvey J. Locke.
“Premarital chastity can strengthen the respect and love between two sweethearts that lead to the full expression of both personalities within the marriage. . . . Saving sex for marriage gives you something very special to share with one another, which no one else can have.”—Why Wait Till Marriage? by Dr. Evelyn M. Duvall.
[Pictures on page 18]
Chastity protects you from severe physical and emotional tragedies