At one point, I had a vague intention of staying a virgin until I was married. Until I met my first boyfriend, and until he agreed to go out with me. And then those vague intentions (and my promise ring) went out the door and onto a necklace around his neck. Of course, it didn’t help that we agreed to become engaged on our first date (have I mentioned that we were eighteen, very young, very naïve?) and so my reasoning quickly became “Well we will be married someday, and he’s the only man who I will ever have sex with, so it can’t be too bad to have sex with him now, can it?”
Now, the last three remaining people in the world who thought (up until a few minutes ago) that I was a virgin- I am sure that you are expecting me to say, at this moment, “but you felt terrible afterwards and knew that it was a mistake so you never did it again.”
The rest of the men who I’ve been with are laughing at you now.
Now I can’t say that I’ve never regretted having sex. There is one partner in particular who is in my past whom I would rather have never grappled with, but that is mostly because it ruined a good, potential friendship. Besides that, I don’t feel any guilt over this life of “sin” that I have lived and continue to live in every chance I get- after all, with one exception, I have been deeply in love with the men that I have slept with.
But Elizabeth! Doesn’t this go against Christian Family Values? Isn’t this why your parents are refusing to meet your current boyfriend? Because you are living a life of sin?
(By the way, nice on how you’re managing to live without sin- I thought Jesus was the only one capable of this, but I forgot that you are, too.)
But let’s look at what the Bible says about marriage and premarital sex, and you can see why, at the end of the day, I don’t cry out to the Heavens wondering whether God has forsaken me because I forsook him for the flesh.
A Biblical Marriage Is…
Again, I refer you to people who have done much more research than I, as all I was going to say was “a Biblical marriage is between one man and as many women as he can afford.” This time it is not a beautiful website, but a YouTube video, but I suppose you get the point. I will paraphrase it and offer scripture to support it.
- Between “one man, one woman, and the son she seduced after he’s killed his only brother.” Genesis 4:1
- Between “one man, and his sister, and the help.” Abraham, Genesis 11-21
- Between “one woman, and her rapist” Deuteronomy 22: 28-29
- Between “one man and a gal who’s kidnapped and raped after her mother, father, brother and slutty sister have been slaughtered.” Judges 21: 7-23
- Between “one man and a woman, and another women, and some more women, an adulterer and a pack of raped whores.” 1 Chronicles 3: 1-9, 2 Samuel 16:21
- Between “one man and enough booty to make a Mormon compound seem quaintly understaffed.” 1 Kings 11: 1, 3
- Between “one man, Daddy’s little girl and the slave Daddy hired to rape her.” Leviticus 25: 44-46
- Not between “one man and another man; because that would be immoral.”
What I have learned from the Bible regarding marriage is that it is a contract of trading goods, animals or other goods for a wife. It is an exchange of property, and men are allowed to have as many wives as they can pay for, as well as have sex with them, while women are only allowed to have their one husband to have sex with (or their owner’s husband, if you are a handmaiden or slave).
But! Wasn’t there an “original intent” for marriage to be between one man and one woman?
But then why would God give clear instructions otherwise for thousands of years, if you truly believe that every word in Leviticus is God’s true and perfect word?
Of course, this doesn’t cover the New Testament.
1 Corinthians 7 (NIV)
1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.[a] 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
And so, according to Paul, a marriage, which is mostly an exchange of property anyway, was also designed to keep people from being sexually immoral, as a sin. And so, according to Paul, getting married is not truly about love, but about making sure that the sex you have isn’t immoral. Of course, it would be better to not marry and, instead, be “married” to Christ, but Paul notes that most people are unable to do this because they cannot keep from immoral thoughts or behaviors.
Peter also expounds on marriage by instructing wives to have quiet, inner beauty, that their husbands may believe in God, though he also points out that husbands are to take care of their weaker wives.
My final question- it is said in the Bible by Jesus that a man shall leave his mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Does this mean that all of the holy men of God in the Old Testament were “one” with up to 1,000 women? (Also note that this passage is more about being against divorce than it is for a one-man, one-woman marriage.)
Biblical virginity is…
If we can see that marriage is an exchange of property, than the rules and regulations regarding property and rape start to make more sense- if a man has sex with a woman, then she becomes his property, and he has to pay for her. This is because, if the sex results in a child (which was quite likely with no forms of birth control) then the child is his, bears his name and continues his family lineage, which was the highest Hebrew rule.
14Suppose a man marries a woman, but after going in to her, he dislikes her 14and makes up charges against her, slandering her by saying, “I married this woman; but when I lay with her, I did not find evidence of her virginity.” 15The father of the young woman and her mother shall then submit the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16The father of the young woman shall say to the elders: “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man but he dislikes her; 17now he has made up charges against her, saying, ‘I did not find evidence of your daughter’s virginity.’ But here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.” Then they shall spread out the cloth before the elders of the town. 18The elders of that town shall take the man and punish him; 19they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver (which they shall give to the young woman’s father) because he has slandered a virgin of Israel. She shall remain his wife; he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.
20 If, however, this charge is true, that evidence of the young woman’s virginity was not found, 21then they shall bring the young woman out to the entrance of her father’s house and the men of her town shall stone her to death, because she committed a disgraceful act in Israel by prostituting herself in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
Before marriage, a daughter is the property of her father. (This is why, in marriage ceremonies of today, a father literally gives his daughter away at the end of the aisle. For this reason, my class last semester joked that my boyfriend should exchange me for a goat during our marriage ceremony.) And so, if she is to endanger her property value by having sex, and thus keeping him from a sizable payment, then she commits a sin punishable by death. There is also the possible scenario that she has sex while unmarried, but then becomes married quite soon after, and is found to be pregnant. If this is the case, then the first man could come and claim the child as his own, and without Maury there would be no way to know who the child belonged to. This is especially terrible if the child is male.
Does true love wait?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28)
I have no idea. But it sure as heck is near to impossible to achieve, even for married couples.