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What’s wrong with a test-drive?

How can I respond to my friend when he says, "Would you buy a car, without first test-driving it?" in regards to sex?


I was out recently with some friends, and the conversation turned to the issue of premarital sex. I was trying to defend my position to an acquaintance who held the opposite view, and he said something to me that I just could not adequately respond to. I’m a little embarrassed because it wasn’t exactly an original argument. He said, “Would you buy a car, without first test-driving it?” Do you have any ideas on a thought-provoking answer that would display the error in that argument?


You could tell him that his view trivializes sex, is a one dimensional view of marriage, and demeans, demoralizes and dehumanizes women. How’s that for starters?

OK. Let me take a deep breath and calm down.

Our female readers’ hearts must be just melting with romantic euphoria at the thought of being compared to a Volvo. Him to her dad: “She’s pretty; no doubt about that. Mind if I take her for a spin? Can you tell me about her warranty? I mean, what if she turns out to be a lemon? What kind of mileage does she get? You don’t have one in metallic silver, do you? I know you’re asking $20K but would you take $15? What about with a trade-in?”

You might remind your friend that despite men’s fondness for naming their vehicles, a car is a soul-less, inanimate piece of metal. The woman you marry is a human being, like him, made in the image of God, with whom — unlike a car — you’re commanded by God to become one flesh for a lifetime.

Marriage and buying a car have little to do with each other. One is, as Michael Lawrence points out in this Boundless piece, about being a consumer, the other is about being a servant. It’s apples and oranges. Your friend is making what’s called a “straw-man” argument: presuming a premise, then knocking it down, but the premise he starts with is false, merely a “straw-man.” Car buying and spouse finding are not the same thing, despite how much guys love their cars, nor is sex anything like taking a car on a test drive — thankfully! Sex is but one part of a lifelong relationship, and trust me, a “test spin” of sex will tell you absolutely nothing — nothing — about how your sexual life with your wife will be or how your marriage will be. That’s an adolescent boy’s view of sex. Period. What exactly is he hoping to discover with the sexual “test-drive” anyway? What about a sexual encounter would disqualify someone from being his wife? A guy says something like that and actually has no idea what he means by it.

Let’s turn the tables and see how it feels. Let’s say he finds the woman he wants to marry. She’s perfect in every way, except for one thing: she’s been “test driven” by all the guys who have the same mentality he does. She’s been treated like a commodity by guys who needed to “kick the tires” to make sure she’d do, but for one reason or another they rejected her. How does that make him feel about those guys who “test drove” his now-fiancé? When she says, “Keep in mind I’ve had to sleep with a lot of guys because, as you know, guys need a test-drive,” will he understand? Or is he expecting brand new “cars” just to keep rolling up to him for his test drives?

Or better yet, how would he feel if he were taken on a test drive? What if, after having had premarital sex with the woman he wants to marry, she said to him, “I’m sorry, everything about you is perfect, but I just can’t marry you because you were a horrible ‘test-drive,'” and then discards him into a junk-yard heap? See how hurtful that is?

Tell him you’re not buying a car; you’re searching for the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with, raise a family with, and grow old with. You’re much better off to look for connection in other areas — spiritual, personal and emotional compatibilities. The last thing you need to worry about is sexual compatibility or performance. You’ll just have to trust me (and thousands upon thousands of marrieds) on this one: sexual compatibility is something that grows, matures, enhances over time, and surely can’t be judged on a “test-drive.”

There. I feel much better.



Copyright 2012 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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