Is it okay to have pre-marital sex (assuming it’s consensual and you’re in a relationship)? If I had to guess, I would say Christians generally oppose it, but non-religious people are fine with it.
The Pew Research Center just released an analysis of a dating-related survey taken late last year, and the responses actually surprised me because far more Christians were okay with casual sex than I would’ve expected.
In fact, asked if “sex between unmarried adults in a committed relationships” was okay, 57% of Christians said yes, with another 10% saying “rarely” (so there are times when it’s okay!). Only 32% said it was always wrong. In contrast, among Americans with no religious affiliation, 79% were fine with it, another 7% said yes in rare circumstances, and only 14% rejected the possibility.
Even more surprising? Even when it came to casual consenting sex between people not in a relationship, 50% of Christians were fine with it.
What about having an open relationship? While 54% of unaffiliated Americans are okay with it, only 18% of Christians — and apparently Jerry Falwell, Jr. — approve of it. 62% say it’s never acceptable.
Obviously, evangelicals are way less sex positive than Christians in general. And atheists are way more accepting of sex outside of marriage than non-religious people as a whole.
Even if Christians are more “liberal” on these issues than I might have guessed, the hypocrisy remains stark. Christians will routinely condemn pre-marital sex in sermons and books, but it’s clear many of them don’t actually believe it’s all that bad, at least when others do it. We know all too well that when their preferred political candidates engage in it, it’s damn near always forgivable.
This information is also all the more reason Christians should ditch the promotion of abstinence-only sex education in public schools. They want to keep students in the dark about safe sex and contraception even though, by their own admission, having sex outside of marriage is something they’re generally fine with. If that’s the message they’re sending, then people engaging in the act need to know how to prepare themselves, and Christians shouldn’t stand in the way.
(Featured image via Shutterstock)