Why should Christians embrace chastity?

Christians should be chaste because research shows that sex before marriage decreases marital stability.

Story from Life Site News. (H/T Mary)


Couples who reserve sex for marriage enjoy greater stability and communication in their relationships, say researchers at Brigham Young University.

A new study from the Mormon college found that those couples who waited until marriage rated their relationship stability 22 percent higher than those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship. The relationship satisfaction was 20 percent higher for those who waited, the sexual quality of the relationship was 5 percent better, and communication was 12 percent better.

The study, published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology, involved 2,035 married individuals who participated in a popular online marital assessment called “RELATE.” From the assessment’s database, researchers selected a sample designed to match the demographics of the married American population. The extensive questionnaire included the question “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”

Couples that became sexually involved later in their relationship – but prior to marriage – reported benefits that were about half as strong as those who waited for marriage.

[…]Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved in the study, responded to its findings, saying that “couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship – often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.” Regnerus is the author of Premarital Sex in America, a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Because religious belief often plays a role for couples who choose to wait, Busby and his co-authors controlled for the influence of religious involvement in their analysis.

“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” Busby said.

Research matters when discussing morality

Young men and women growing up really need to be informed by their parents what they are going to want to be doing long term, and what they should be doing today to accomplish those goals. Young people benefit greatly from the guidance of older and wiser people, but in defining goals and defining the steps to reach those goals. To be a convincing parent, you have to be convinced yourself. And to be convinced yourself, you need to be seen as having knowledge, not just opinions, but knowledge. Having the right peer-reviewed papers at hand will help you to be a better parent.

My previous post on research showing how sex before marriage greatly reduces the stability of marriage. That post contains even more research showing that having even ONE pre-marital sex partner can GREATLY reduce the probability that the marriage will last. And it gets worse as you add more partners.

Christians and chastity

What should Christians know about the purpose of chastity?

1. Chastity is not just abstinence

Chastity is not just abstaining from sex. Chastity is the Christian virtue by which Christians take God’s character and goals into account in their relationships with the opposite sex. Probably about 99.9% of the people in the world look at members of the opposite sex and think “what’s in it for me?”. Chastity allows you to look at members the opposite sex, even the unattractive ones, and ask “what’s in it for God?”.

I’ve written about how the goal of life on atheism is to be happy. One of the consequences of this is that atheists look at other people as objects that can make them happy or not, depending on how resistant they are to sticks and carrots. In Christianity, chastity is the gift that allows you to look at people you are not attracted to in the least and to love them enough to help them grow in the knowledge of God.

2. Physical contact clouds the judgment

Chastity allows you to make a better decision about who you are going to marry. When you are desperate to be loved (women) or desperate for physical intimacy (men) it’s easy to hide the bad parts of yourself and to overlook the flaws of others. Physical contact leads to rushed commitments and emotions that are difficult to undo later once you learn more about the other person’s moral and spiritual beliefs.

Chastity allows you to keep God in the picture as you evaluate prospective mates. Instead of looking at candidates who will fulfill your needs, you look for candidates who benefit God, perhaps because they are skilled at explaining Christianity to your future children. Without chastity, women choose men who are amoral, to avoid being judged, and men choose women solely on appearance, who are unqualified for married life.

3. Sex without commitment destroys the capacity for trust and vulnerability

When persons have sex outside of a lifelong commitment, they have to make an effort to separate their emotions from the physical activity. This leads to a kind of “guarded” condition where a person is no longer free to be really engaged emotionally in a relationship. For example, women lose feminine qualities like trust and vulnerability, which are necessary to attract good men without using sex appeal. (Men can tell)

In addition, I would say that when a relationship is kept platonic, the break-ups are going to be a lot less damaging emotionally. All my relationships have been platonic, so even when the break-ups occurred, there was never any physical element to add to the pain. It is important for people to go after the best spousal candidate they can find, not to settle for some amoral loser just to avoid the pain of rejection.

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8 thoughts on “Why should Christians embrace chastity?”

  1. I’ve written about how the goal of life on atheism is to be happy.

    You keep saying this, but I’m an atheist, and my goal is not “to be happy”.


  2. I’ve been a DAWN EDEN fan since learning that we share a love for GK Chesterton. Pleased to meet you, Winter Knight!

    Poor merkur….

    The goal of every healthy philosophy is “happiness.” Ask Aristotle. Ask Plato. Ask Epicurius. Ask Marx.

    What separates all of the ancient and modern philosophies are the strategies they propose to achieve happiness. Hedonism. Moderation. Altruism.

    The goal of Christianity is eternal “happiness.” Christians have some specific revelation about what will make us most happy, in this world and the next.


  3. W.K.: In the classical view, especially in Aristotle, “happiness” comes when you are doing the thing you are meant to do. When people orient themselves to the correct way of living, they are “happy,” now matter what things happen to them (illness, good fortune, famine, fame, etc.). So to Aristotle (and those he influenced) the important thing was finding out the correct way for man to live — man in general, and living in general. It had nothing to do with day-to-day emotion, or with finding the right career path that matches your personality (the sort of “correct way to live” that many advocate today).

    Looked at in this way, the goal of Christianity can indeed be happiness — and to many theologians, from the patristics on, it has been. Suffering in this context is a different thing altogether.


  4. I am so glad there is an article about both men and women need to guard there virginity. Most the articles are about Women guarding there virginity SO ANNOYING!
    I have spoken to so many men that have tried to use the excuse that they need to sleep with a woman to make her fall in love. NO !! this will not make her fall in love but rather a resentful person that will in the long run make her dislike you even more ! It will also make you a lousy lover when you do mange to marry. Trust me a woman even if she is a virgin will no if you are giving her lousy sex and she will stop asking! Sex is also a little bit addictive once you get a taste you want more and more hence the hook up culture. Men and women are looking for someone to love and feel vulnerable with but in different ways.
    save yourself the heartache and WAIT !


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