Becky has an inquiring post about a niece of hers that is debating whether or not to give up her virginity sooner than planned (plan was marriage). Most of the advice seems about the same (If something is “right” then go for it, but not for the reasons she gave).

Barry of Inn of the Last Home had an interesting question in the comments section:

I’m curious as to what kind of articulation people can put on the reasons why it’s a moral decision in the first place?

That is, taking out the religious tenet of “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”…where does the moral question come into play to those who either aren’t religious or don’t follow the 10 commandments that closely?

In other words, we hear all the time that it’s a moral and upright decision to wait until you’re married, or at least in a stable, loving relationship and not just sleep with everyone you know.


I’m not a particularly religious person. Nor did I wait for marriage and I don’t have any real regrets about not waiting. But I do think that a case can be made against premarital sex or sex outside of a serious relationship without relying on religious precepts.

It does, however, require the belief in some or all of the following:
1. When possible, it’s better that children are raised with two parents instead of one.
2. When possible, it’s better that a child’s parents are in love or at least have an amicable relationship.
3. It’s better that no one (male or female) has a child that they do not want.
4. Abortion, even if it should remain legally permissable, is not a better thing than not being in a position to want one.

Imagine a 100-barrel gun were possible. If you stick a bullet in one chamber and spin it (“Russian Roulette”), aim it at someone and pull the trigger, you are taking a 1/100 change of killing someone. Whether it kills that person or not, you’ve arguably committed a “sin” because you pulled the trigger knowing that there was a chance (however small) that someone would get hurt.

Now we take the chance of killing someone every time we step in to a car. But the difference between the gun and the car is that the latter is necessary (or there will be consequences if you don’t go to work or the store or whatnot) while the former carries no negative consequence for not doing it.

Which brings me to sex. Every time two people have sex, they run the risk of concieving. Contraception fails even when properly applied and it’s often not property applied even when the people having sex think that it is.

An unexpected pregnancy within a loving relationship can be a wonderful thing. For instance, I came a couple years after my mother said she was done. But outside the level of trust that a marriage or serious monogamous relationship can provide, unplanned pregnancies are rarely wonderful things.

If both parties agree that the baby should be put up for adoption or the fetus aborted (if you believe that abortion is not morally wrong), then it can at best be neutral. But generally speaking, things aren’t usually that simple. Either he wants to keep it or she does. Women that have had abortions have not (in my second-hand observations) been able to keep a complete emotional distance (even when they still believe it was te right thing to do).

If she wants the child and he doesn’t, he has to pay child support for a kid that he doesn’t want and the kid grows up without a father, with a resentful father, or at least with a reluctant father. However you stack it, the kid is not going to grow up in an ideal home.

And every time two people have sex, they run the risk of this happening. It’s another chamber of the 100-barrel gun. Both participants know that they’re doing it. And like the gun and unlike the car, it doesn’t have to be done.

So what if one party or the other is completely sterile? That’s a tougher question. A solid argument could still be made that they’re contributing to a culture of promiscuity that encourages fertile people (like April’s niece) to question their moral judgment. There’s also the matter of STDs, which may be an even better gun metaphor than unintended pregnancy.

Now having said all this, I did not practice abstinence in my younger years and I wouldn’t expect it of the younger set today. However, I do think that discretion (going through as few chambers in the gun as possible), and saving yourself for someone that you have enough a degree of trust to confront the parenthood issue, is on some level a moral decision.

Category: Church

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2 Responses to A Nonreligious Case Against Promiscuity

  1. bobvis says:

    An unexpected pregnancy within a loving relationship can be a wonderful thing. For instance, I came a couple years after my mother said she was done.

    Someone thinks highly of themselves. 😉

  2. trumwill says:

    My momma loves me. She told me so. 🙂

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