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Dating and sex: Can you have one without the other?

Christian men I know are becoming frustrated that many Christian women will have sex with non-Christians while the Christian men are "waiting" for them.


Recently some friends and I were discussing sex, and one of the guys piped in and said that the reason we (the other guys) didn’t have girlfriends is because we don’t have sex.

After a lot of discussion, we could find no holes in his theory; it seemed like he was entirely right.

He’s a psych major which lends even more credibility to his statements, but basically he said that because we don’t have sex with a girl when our relationships have reached that stage we cannot keep her and that God designed male/female relationships to take a certain course of action in a certain sequence and that it is very hard to frustrate that course of action and not have a breakup.

He did say that we could slow down the whole process and take each step with the girl very slowly to not reach the point-of-no-return, but I don’t know.

Also, I don’t know even one Christian leader who waited for marriage for sex. They all tell us to, but they didn’t wait, so how can they tell us to do something they didn’t do and think that the outcomes will be so great? They have no idea!

I’ve chosen to wait, and I probably will until I get married, but all these points are very valid, and many of the Christian men I know are becoming increasingly frustrated with either the system itself or the fact that many Christian women will have sex with non-Christians while the Christian men are “waiting” for them.


As you suspect, your friend has a point. As you also might suspect, he’s missing the glaring problem. But before I get to that, let’s clarify a few important things. First, there are plenty of Christian leaders who’ve waited for marriage before they’ve had sex. We’re all over the place, so take heart. Second, not all Christian women are engaging in pre-marital sex. Most, like you, are waiting for marriage; we hear from them at Boundless all the time, and they share many of your frustrations. And third, having sex outside of marriage is no guarantee you will “keep” a girlfriend — in fact, it often spells disaster for the relationship, given enough time.

The line between psych and psycho-babble can sometimes be very thin. There is an element of truth to what your friend is saying. The relationship between a guy and a girl has built within it a God-wired design — God has a point to the whole thing. Your friend acknowledges that, but believes (or implies) that the point — the end goal — of the relationship is sex. Wrong. Sex is part of the natural progression of the guy/girl relationship, but it is not the point. If it is made the point, it will fail over and over and over. Ask anyone who has made it the point.

Typically, a relationship follows the natural progression of ever-growing intimacy until it reaches the point of, not sex, but commitment — lifelong commitment. When people don’t want to commit for a lifetime, but also don’t want the relationship to end, they enter that hazy, thorny middle ground of sexual intimacy without lifelong commitment, hoping to prolong what they have — not by marriage and lifelong commitment, which is God’s design — but by jumping to sex and maybe living together. It’s counterfeit “marriage” and a train wreck waiting to happen.

Feeding this problem is what I call passive dating — growing more intimate with someone without really any ultimate purpose other than having fun, with no intentionality in the relationship. I can’t tell you how dangerous it is to continue growing intimate in a relationship that has no ultimate purpose beyond “fun” or “personal pleasure.” Those are great things, but they are by-products of a great relationship, not at all strong enough to be its ultimate purpose. Sex can’t sustain a relationship, even a marriage relationship. It takes more than that.

More often than not, these women you refer to are not after the sex. They are after commitment. They are hoping that the sex will help get them there or at least prolong the quasi-commitment they now have. It will ultimately fail, though, because she’s giving away her sexual power and giving him no reason to commit.

Your frustration is not because of your virginity but because of your alone-ness, and it’s God’s way of getting you to take action, to pursue a lifelong companion (Genesis 2:18). Alone-ness is not solved by sex; it’s solved by the lifelong commitment found in marriage. God didn’t say, “It is not good that the man is a virgin.” Virginity doesn’t threaten relationships. Passive dating and chronic delay of lifelong commitment (now epidemic), does. My advice: Be active and intentional in your pursuit of a spouse, not a girlfriend; be encouraged that you’re not the only one who feels the way you do; and beware of secular psycho-babble.

One final thought: From one man to another, you need to know how proud I am of you for taking a bold stand against the tide by reserving the gift of sex for whom it was intended, your future spouse. That’s real manhood, and you, my friend, will not be disappointed, and your wife will be swept off her feet by your sacrificial expression of love.



Copyright 2006 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.


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