Why Christians Need To Divorce The Topic of Sex From “Family” and “Marriage”

Why Christians Need To Divorce The Topic of Sex From “Family” and “Marriage”

Why Christians Need To Divorce The Topic of Sex From “Family” and “Marriage”

In my estimation, Christians are mistaken in how they address sexual sin in today’s culture.

I am pretty conservative myself. I am not opposed to traditional values, hetero/traditional marriage, or the family.

I am in disagreement with the attitudes and preoccupation by Christians and conservatives with these things, however, and to an extent, with how they choose to address these issues.

I repeatedly see conservative Christians make complaints such as:

  • Ever since birth control pills came along and widely available in the 1960s, people divorced sex from procreation.
  • Therefore, Christians feel birth control should be banned or discouraged, or people should return to viewing sex as a baby-making vehicle only, or primarily.

(This is also a faulty argument when one considers some married hetero couples are infertile or may choose not to have children. I see no strong grounds for such couples to stop having sex merely because they are unwilling or unable to procreate. I believe there are other reasons or purposes for having sex other than procreation.)

Christians will go on to make other, similar arguments and complaints such as:

  • Ever since no-fault divorce, people jettisoned the idea of marriage- as- duty, to hold the mindset, “does this marriage please me.”

These Christians feel that the idea that “marriage is a duty and obligation, not a means of fulfilling my personal happiness” should be pushed instead.

Here is an except from an article I was reading today (source):

  • Last year, one of the church’s sermon series was called “Family Under Attack.” It discussed topics that included homosexuality, divorce and couples living together out of wedlock. Moore recalled one churchgoer being disappointed with the series.

In the aspect in which it’s being discussed here by Christians, “family” has nothing to do with sex, homosexuality, couples living together prior to marriage, and so forth, but they sadly think that it does.

You will notice that Christians are more concerned about their pet idol, “the family” being damaged, than they are with sexual purity in and of itself.

Christians are more concerned that their idol, the “nuclear family” still resemble the 1950s sit com show “Leave It To Beaver,” than they are with celibacy, virginity, and sexual purity, for their own sakes.

Christians and social conservatives are not concerned about adult singlehood. Despite the fact the Bible teaches that God respects adult singleness, Christians remain obsessed with “the family” and do not care at all how adult singles over the age of 30 cope with the pressure to remain sexually pure in our sex-saturated culture.

There is nothing to indicate in the Bible that the word or concept of “family” should be used as an all-encompassing code phrase to mean “only heterosexual sex between one man married to one woman, marriage is to be permanent, and marital sex is for baby making only or primarily.”

I am over 40 years of age, have never married and am still a virgin. For Christians to keep using the words “marriage” and “family” or “family values” and all assorted, associated terms and rhetoric (such as, “family under attack,” “the traditional family,” “oh my gosh, what about the children,” etc) does not speak to my specific situation.

It also doesn’t offer a sound rationale for why I should not be having sex as a single woman.

The fact is, some people are single and may never marry – and they do want to get married but have been unable to find a spouse (see (Link): this post).

There are some singles who are not choosing to stay single – they remain single in spite of wanting to be married.

Some people divorce mid life, or their partner dies, or their partner divorces them, or their partner joins the Marines and gets sent to serve in Afghanistan for twelve months.

Why should any of these people in these situations remain chaste? Do Christians have a good answer? Telling them to “wait until marriage to have sex, because sex is meant only for marriage” is not a good answer.

I’m not quite sure how to convey my thoughts on this, but there are situations in life where a person does not have a spouse, cannot get a spouse, and they are left single and alone.

Telling a single celibate who wants to be married that she should marry if she wants sex is a Catch-22. It does nothing to address her situation or why she should be celibate while she remains single and may never marry, because she will never meet a “Mr. Right”.

Yet, Christians keep repeating the refrain at singles, “Wait until you get married to have sex.”

Therefore, constantly framing sexual topics under the rubric of “family,” as Christians and social conservatives are wont to do, offers little to no philosophical underpinnings or justifications or compelling reasons for an adult single, or a married person separated geographically from her spouse, to stay celibate.

I am single. I am not married. I do not have a husband or children. I do not have a ‘nuclear family,’ so why should I not be having sex? By emphasizing “family, family, family” Christians have no reasons to give me. 

How would me, a single, adult woman, having sex with a single, adult man, harm “the family?”

I’ve yet to see Christians hash that one out to my satisfaction, though I have seen maybe a small number of very weak attempts to answer it.

Christians might trot out stats that show singles who have sex prior to marriage get STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), but that doesn’t really answer the question (it does not demonstrate how singles having sex “destroys the family,” it only shows that some singles might get herpes); it merely dances around the topic.

I’ve also seen too many testimonies along the lines of,

  • “Hello, my name is Samantha. Though I was a Christian and knew that pre marital sex was a sin, I still went ahead and had sex with 100 different men a day for twelve years,  so I then contracted genital warts, HIV, and herpes as a result.
  • But after I asked God to forgive me, praise Jesus, I was totally healed of all my diseases over the next three minutes, and two months later, I fell in love with Hank, and Hank and I got married after that.
  • Then the church tells me, and blogs like Rachel Held Evans, blogger Tim Challies, Russell Moore, and Relevant magazine say, don’t worry, don’t feel ashamed about your sexual past, because God forgives you, your worth is not tied to your virginity, virginity isn’t important!
  • Virginity is simply a tool of the patriarchy used to control female sexuality, so it doesn’t matter I didn’t wait until marriage to have sex. Isn’t life great?”

-to buy into the concept that pre marital sex harms “the family.”

Christian women who have more pre-marital sex than a five dollar crack whore does, are getting married to Christian guys, and some are having children with them. Obviously, sleeping around prior to marriage is not hampering some women from starting up their own family, the “family” that is so worshipped by evangelicals and other Christians.

About the only slim argument I can see to make against it is the “sex economy” one, in which men choose not to marry because they are getting the milk for free. If men are getting the milk for free, they are robbed of an incentive to wait and marry.

Other than that, I’m at a loss to see how two singles having pre marital sex impacts anyone’s family, or “the family,” or “a” family.

I can tell you that staying a virgin and waiting for a man to propose does not make a family.

Christian women are oft told in Baptist and evangelical Christian teachings and literature that if they wait, pray, and have faith, that God will send them a husband.

Lots of us Christian single ladies waited, prayed, had faith, and we are still single, and some are still virgins. Being sexually pure does not seem to form families.

You have married couples, as I have blogged on before with links to examples, who are being told by some marital counselors that if their married sex life is boring to spice it up by having an affair.

Christians need to be making positive cases for celibacy, not making positive cases for “the family,” or “family values,” or for traditional (hetero) marriage (ie, in their fight against homosexual marriage), because none of that speaks to people who are single, single again, or facing some kind of marriage crisis.

Tying sexual ethics to (traditional / hetero) marriage and marriage only (and/or to “the family” and “family values”) only does not get to the heart of the matter.

Marriage and being part of a “family unit” does not keep people from falling into sexual immorality.

I have a blog post with numerous links to news stories of married men who are fathers, some who are also Christian, who were charged by their churches, or by law enforcement, with using or distributing child porn, selling drugs, raping women, and abusing their wives.

You can view that page of examples (Link): here. That is the link to the page about marriage; I have a (Link): similar one about how parenthood does not make a person more godly, nor does being a parent vanquish sin from a person’s life.

As the God of the Bible totally endorses and respects adult singlehood, if our culture was made entirely of adult singles who actually followed the teachings of Christ on a regular basis, we would see a transformed, improved nation. Crime rates would go down, as would sexually transmitted disease rates and other forms of immorality.

Being married or supporting “the family” or being in a “family” does not get at the heart of sin, or a nation’s problems, or solve them.

The Bible does not prescribe being married, being in a nuclear family, or defending and endorsing, traditional marriage and baby-making (“the family” or “family values”) as a cure, or a tool, in God’s arsenal of weapons against sin and societal decay, or in combating sexual sin. ~That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for.


Related posts:

(Link):  Misuse of Terms Such As “Traditional Families” by Christians – Re: Kirk Cameron, Homosexual Marriage, and the 2014 Grammys

(Link): Just How Family-Centered Is the Bible? by J. Starke – An Essay that Hits and Misses

(Link):  Perverted Christian Married Couple Wants to “Wife Swap” (For Sex) With Other Christian Couple – Why Christians Need to Uphold Chastity / Celibacy For All People Even Married Couples Not Just Teens

(Link): New ‘Christian Swingers’ Dating Site Offers Faithful Couples Chance to ‘Hookup’

(Link): You May Be Surprised How Many Born-Again Christians Use Ashley Madison (web site for married cheaters); story from Huffington Post

(Link):  Christians Are Following Secular Trends in Premarital Sex, Cohabitation Outside of Marriage, Says Dating Site Survey (survey/article)