Ethics: Sex (part 1)

Sex is very much a part of the American life. “The Pill” was introduced to American married women in 1960. Since 1972, “The Pill” has been available to both married and non-married women. “In 2008, Americans spent $3.5 billion on birth control pills” ( year old). One can hardly turn on the T.V. without being exposed to an E.D. commercial. E.D. drugs became available to men in 1998. Sales have now “hit $1.5 billion or 19 million prescriptions a year” (U.S. News and World Report, Sept. 15-22, 2008, p. 52).

Sex has always been a part of the American life, but American sexual morals seem to have changed. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dunbar write: “Why has the prostitutes wage fallen so far?” Because demand has fallen dramatically… Prostitution, like any industry, is vulnerable to competition. What poses the greatest threat to prostitutes? Simple: any woman who is willing to have sex with a man for free. It is no secret that sexual morals have evolved substantially in recent decades. The phrase “casual sex” didn’t exist a century ago (to say nothing of ‘friends with benefits’)… Imagine a young man … not ready to settle down, who wants to have sex. In decades past, prostitution was a likely option… At least 20 percent of American men born between 1933 and 1942 had their first sexual intercourse with a prostitute. Now imagine the same young man twenty years later. The shift in sexual morals has given him a much greater supply of unpaid sex. In his generation, only 5 percent of men lose their virginity to a prostitute. Moreover, it’s not because he and his friends are saving themselves for marriage. More than 70 percent of the men in his generation have sex before they marry, compared with just 33 percent in the earlier generation…. As the demand for paid sex decreased, so too the wages of the people who provide it (Super Freakonomics, p. 30-31).

Pre-Marital Sex

The average age for first marriages in this country is now 26 for women and 27 for men ( However, “Americans start having sex in their teens: 63 percent said they lost their virginity at eighteen years or younger” (Dr. Frank Luntz, What Americans Really Want … Really, p. 42). “Cohabitation, once rare, is now the norm… More than half (54 percent) of all first marriages between 1990 and 1994 began with unmarried cohabitation”  ( The percent of all births to unmarried women: 38.5% (

Things to Remember:

1. Pre-marital sex is sinful (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Corinthians 6:9-ff; Galatians 5:19-ff; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

2. Pre-marital sex sometimes has physical consequences.

       (a) “By age 24, at least one in three sexually active people are estimated to have an STD” (Marilyn Morris, Teens Sex and Choice, p. 77). Some of these STDs can have terrible consequences (Chlamydia and gonorrhea can scar the female reproductive system leaving the woman infertile. Syphilis and Aids can kill you).

       (b) “About 1 million teenage girls get pregnant each year. That is 1 out of 5 sexually active girls. Pregnancy is the top reason why teenage girls are hospitalized” (Marilyn Morris, ABC’s of the Birds and Bees, p. 151).

3. Pre-marital sex sometimes has financial consequences.

       (a) “About 50 percent of all unwed mothers go on welfare within one year of the birth of the first child. More than 75 percent … within five years” (Bill Bennett, The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, p. 65).

       (b) “Children of single parents are six times as likely to be poor.” (Rush Limbaugh, See I Told You So, p. 98).

4. Pre-marital sex sometimes has family consequences.

       (a) “When daughters of teen mothers grow up they are 50 percent more likely to have children before they marry.

       (b) When sons of teen mothers grow up, they are 2.7 times more likely to spend time in prison than sons of mothers who delayed childbearing until their early twenties” (ABC’s, p. 151).

5. Giving into your boy friend or girl friend may not bring about a lasting relationship (Read 2 Samuel 13). It may just be the conquest that is truly desired. After he’s had you, he may be on to the next conquest.

6. Cohabitation does not improve marriage. “Sociologist at the University of Wisconsin stated ‘recent national studies in Canada, Sweden and the U.S. found that cohabitation increased rather than decreased the risk of marital disillusion’… Another study documented in the Journal of Marriage and the Family stated that the divorce rate is 50% higher among those who lived together before marriage… An Australian study found that couples who cohabitated before marriage were more likely to divorce than those who did not cohabitate before marriage…” (ABC’s, p. 41).

Extra-Marital Sex

High profile infidelity makes news: Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Jon Gosselin, Tiger Woods. However, it is not just celebrities who are unfaithful. One study from the University of Chicago reported that 25% of men and 17% of women have had an extra-marital affair ( Parade Magazine puts the figure at 19% for men and 11% for women (Sept. 21, 2008). Whatever the true figure, it is clear that infidelity is not rare.

Things to Remember:

1. Adultery is sin (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9-ff; Galatians 5:19-ff). Moreover, it often leads to other sins (remember David?).

2. Adultery can destroy your marriage. Your spouse may divorce you with God’s approval (Mt. 19:9). “Only 35% of unions survive an extra-marital affair” (

3. Adultery exposes you and your spouse to the possibility of contracting an STD.

4. Adultery could result in unexpected pregnancy (2 Samuel 11:4-5).

5. Adultery can destroy reputation and influence (2 Samuel 12:14).

6. Adultery could bring the wrath of a jealous spouse (Proverbs 6:33-34).

7. Adultery could tie one to an unstable person. Remember the movie Fatal Attraction?

8. One does not have to commit the adulterous act to have improperly acted. Caitin Flanagan writes, “When a married man begins a secret, solicitous correspondence with a beautiful and emotionally needy single woman, he has already begun to cheat on his wife” (Time, July 13, 2009, Why Marriage Matters).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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