What are some of the effects of sex before marriage?
THE TEAM’S ANSWER
We know what you’re probably expecting from an article like this– Yes, sex before marriage can lead to unplanned pregnancy. Yes, it can lead to sexually transmitted infections. Yes, it can increase the risk of identity issues, depression, and broken relationships. But, there’s so much more to talk about than that, particularly some of the invisible effects of sex.
First let’s start by understanding this: we can’t stop our bodies from doing what they were created to do. What were they created to do? Bond. We were created to connect with another human being in such a way that we would become one unit, together, for life.
Why does this happen?
Because our hormones cause us to glue, so-to-speak, with our partner. No amount of consent or informed decision making can change that. There’s a bonding that occurs that supersedes a mere skin-to-skin connection. Scientifically, we know that sex engages us hormonally, neurologically, psychologically; it forms intense bonds mentally, emotionally, and physically, especially when we do it over and over again.1
How does this happen?
Quite simply, any kind of sexual activity that takes place releases chemicals in our brains. For women, it is primarily the hormone oxytocin, and for men it is vasopressin. Oxytocin allows a woman to bond to the most significant people in her life. It eases stress, creating feelings of calm and closeness, which leads to increased trust. It also causes her to want to nurture and protect the one she’s bonded to. Vasopressin is very similar to oxytocin, except that it is primarily released in the brain of men. This hormone causes a man to bond to a woman during intimate contact. Some call it the “commitment hormone” or “monogamy molecule”. This hormone generates a desire for commitment and rouses loyalty. It inspires a protective sense over one’s mate, and can create a “jealous” tendency.2 There is a third set of hormones called endorphins released during sexual activities, and they affect both genders. Endorphins are what we call happy hormones. They are highly addictive and cause us to want to experience the rush again and again and again.
What makes things even more interesting is that these hormones are values-neutral.3 Whether it’s a one-time encounter or a lifelong commitment, we bond the same way. It also crystallizes these emotional memories in our minds, making these encounters and experiences difficult to forget.
Now, in a marriage, these hormones are extremely motivating and helpful. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that some days marriage would get hard. He knew we would need some help choosing each other day after day, over and over again. He knew that some days we wouldn’t like our spouse very much. We would argue. Bills would come in. Babies would get sick. In-laws would come to town. Emergencies would happen. Stress would overshadow the relationship. So, He installed an over-ride system (hormones) that would cause us to stick together through thick and thin, in good times and bad, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. It would cause us to feel devoted, loyal, possessive, and willing to endure trials to keep what belongs to us. What an intelligent Designer we have.
So, what happens when we have multiple sexual partners?
Scientifically, we know this: As we bond and break, bond and break, bond and break, we lose our ability to properly bond.4 When we’re ready for that new, serious relationship or marriage, something is missing that prevents us from fully bonding; we don’t feel that connected or committed. Our feelings may seem to diminish. When we see someone else a little more exciting, more appealing, more perfect for us, we’re ready to move on in a heartbeat. The condition of being “crazy in love” suddenly disappears. We may say we don’t feel all that excited anymore. We may even lose faith in falling in love again.
This is why it is important to protect our purity; spirit, soul, and body. We must understand that ability to be pure and save ourselves is not just a religious ideal. It’s not just about giving your valuable v-card to someone. That’s not the point. The point is to keep our stickiness intact so that when we find the right person, we connect with them for life.
*For more information, check out Hooked: New Science On How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children by McIlhaney and Bush.
1. McIlhaney, Joe S., and Freda McKissic Bush. Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2008. Print. 45.
2. Ibid., 41-42
3. Ibid., 33
4. Ibid., 43