Should not having sex before you’re married be a struggle?

We talk a lot about marriage and sex on this blog, but what about sexual temptation before you’re married?

It’s Rebecca on the blog today, and I’m tackling a bit of a weird one. After reading the comments and some replies we got about the post last week: Women: Do We Understand What Rejection Does to Husbands? and I recognized a trend among some women.

Some women get married without ever having experienced real sexual attraction to their husband. Even when they were dating.

They may recognize that sex will inevitably happen when they get married, but they don’t particularly want it. And I wanted to talk about that a bit, because I think it’s very concerning.

What do you do if you're dating a guy, or even engaged, and have no sexual attraction to him at all? Here's why sexual attraction isn't wrong--and is actually healthy--even before you are married.

My concern is that women haven’t been told that sex is important to them, too–not just for the guys!

And for a lot of girls, this results in them learning to complete shut off their sex drive.

In youth group, girls are told again and again that boys want sex and girls shouldn’t give it to them. Very few of these talks acknowledge that girls have sex drives, too, and that sex is just as important for wives as it is for husbands. This mentality often carries on into the pulpit as these girls grow up into adults.

So from the time they hit puberty, women are pretty much told, “You are a pure, lovely virgin. And when you get married, you’ll have to do this thing called sex for your husband. So make sure you don’t do it before, or you won’t be desirable to your future husband because you won’t be pure.” (Which, by the way, is a lie, and not what God intended the message to be.)

So it becomes pretty easy to see how girls could get into relationships and never really want sex--we’ve been taught that it’s wrong to have a sex drive, because that’s not what girls were made for. Girls were made to be the gatekeepers of sex, not the instigators!

Once you’re married, though, that mentality just doesn’t work.

And that’s because sexual attraction is a perfectly natural and important part in a relationship. No, sex isn’t the only part of a marriage. But neither is talking, but you wouldn’t marry someone you never wanted to talk to. When girls start to internalize these messages of guilt, however, we start to see sexual attraction as a sin, so we learn to shut it down.

But really, sexual attraction is not the same thing as lust.

Lust is wrong. Lust a sin, it’s a conscious choice to ruminate on you’re intense sexual desire for someone. But the initial sexual desire isn’t wrong–that’s temptation. Lust is when we give into the temptation and start to obsess over it, seeing that person more as an object of sexual pleasure than a whole being.

Being sexually attracted to your boyfriend is not the same thing as lusting after him. You can want very much to have sex with him but decide that you’re not going to obsess over it because you don’t want to make the temptation any harder than it already is. That’s not lust.

But there should be that sexual attraction in serious relationships. That doesn’t mean you have to be with a perfect 10. Often for girl’s it isn’t about looks as much, which is why girls often find that it’s after they’ve been in a relationship for a while that sexual temptation really starts to set in. Because wanting to be with someone is the natural next step when you’ve gotten to know them and love them deeply–you’ll want to take that intimacy further.

Sexual attraction is not the same thing as lust. So let’s stop treating it that way!

So here’s what I want to tell girls who are currently in serious relationships or engaged:

It’s not wrong to be sexually attracted to your boyfriend.

Being curious about sex isn’t wrong. It isn’t sinful to wonder what an orgasm feels like if you’ve never had sex before, and it’s not wrong to wonder what sex will be like. Curiosity about sex is not the same thing as lust–same way curiosity about what it would be like to rob a bank is not the same thing as greed (maybe that’s a weird analogy, but I hope it gets the point across).

If you’re in a serious relationship with someone or engaged, it is perfectly natural to be sexually attracted to that person. And that’s not sinful–it’s how God made you. When you are in love with someone, you will naturally want to take it further. Now, God put his laws in place so that we don’t just listen to our own desires, but we decide a better way instead. The desires aren’t necessarily wrong (lust is wrong, attraction is not), but the actions they lead to if we blindly follow them can be damaging. Do you see the difference?

But I see a lot of women in relationships where they have almost no desire to have sex with the man they are about to marry. They think about cuddling and sleeping in the same bed and having devotionals at breakfast together, but sex? Not really. They accept it as a necessary part of marriage, sure, but they don’t really feel the need for it.

Now here’s my unpopular opinion: it’s unfair to both of you to marry someone you have no desire to have sex with.

It simply is. Marriage is important–and sex is a really important part of marriage. Sex and the marriage contract are really the only things that separate it from other relationships, if you really think about it.

This may sound harsh, but if you marry a man you desperately love but don’t have any desire to have sex with, that is simply not fair to him. Because it means you are cutting him off from one of God’s gifts for him–a great sex life. I know it’s weird to think of a great sex life as a gift from God, but that’s one of the amazing parts about how God made marriage!

Flip the tables for a second. Imagine if you were getting married to someone who didn’t want you sexually–that would be a huge rejection, and a huge betrayal, as well.

But it’s not just him who suffers in that marriage–you do, too. And that’s because God has something greater for you. If you’re not married yet and you seriously have no desire for sex, maybe God is calling you to singlehood, and to do something amazing for Him with that. Maybe you have become incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of sex because of lies you believe about God–if that’s the case, God wants you to live in truth. Maybe you don’t want to have sex with this guy because he’s not the guy you’re supposed to marry.

No matter what the situation, not being sexually attracted to someone you are considering marrying should be a huge red flag that means something needs to change. Because God wants more for you–whether that’s getting out of your relationship or working through some lies you’ve believed about your identity and about sex. 

This is a difficult topic, and a personal one. What are your opinions on this? Do you think it’s fair to marry someone you’re not sexually attracted to? Let me know in the comments below!

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