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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,875
August 2, 2017
Sex Before First Date?
By Mike McManus

Here's stunning new data on sex in America: 34% of singles have had sex before their first date, according to an annual Singles in America survey funded by Match Dating Service.

And millennials are 48% more likely to have had sex before a first date than all other generations of singles.

USA Today quotes Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, the chief scientific advisor of Match, who helped develop the survey of 5,000+ singles. "We have a real misunderstanding of millennials. I think they are very career-oriented, so sex before the first date could be a sex interview so they want to know if they want to spend time with this person."

Dating and hookup apps make it easier than ever to hop in bed. Kimberly Resnick Anderson, a certified sex therapist, says "We used to think of sex as you cross the line now you are in an intimate zone. But now sex is almost a given and it's not the intimate part. The intimate part is getting to know someone and going on a date."

After reading the data, Jeremy Helligar wrote an article for the Huffington Post, "Why I Prefer To Have Sex on (or Before) the First Date." She says, "I know as many couples in solid long-term relationships that began as hook-ups as I do couples who went the slow-courting route.

"In my own experience, dates tend to go much more smoothly once we've confirmed our physical connection. Then we're free to make an emotional one without that big old pachyderm tracking mud all over our romantic settings."

To me, that's pure rationalization. If the goal is marriage, millennials are failing miserably. Some 93% of Americans say that "having a happy marriage" is a very important goal. One study of high school seniors reported that their number one aspiration was "having a good marriage and family life." Only 8% of women want to remain single.

However, the number of never-married Americans nearly quintupled from 8.7 million in 1970 vs. 41.3 million never-married in 2015.

In fact, there were only 2,077,000 marriages in 2015 - fewer than the 2,159,000 in 1970! In those years, the U.S. population grew from 203 million to 319 million in 2015. If the same percentage of couples married in 2015 as in 1970, there would have been 1.3 million more marriages annually - 65% more marriages!

The millennials having sex before their first date, or on their first date - are headed for failure. Most likely, they will not marry. But if they do, they'll be more likely to divorce. In fact, America's divorce rate after 5 years of marriage is triple that of Britain or France - 23% vs. 8% in those countries.

Sex before dating is upside down nonsense. My wife and I have prepared 61 couples for marriage, 51 of whom were sexually active when we met them. But we asked them to consider signing an "Optional Premarital Sexual Covenant" to become chaste until the wedding.

Guess how many of the 51 signed the Covenant! Write down a number before I tell you. First, however, I'll note that only one of our 61 couples have divorced that we know of.

Surely Scripture is clear. "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immortality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen who do not know God." (I Thess. 4:3-4).

Of the 51 sexually active couples, 43 signed the Covenant. And the one divorce of couples we prepared for marriage refused to agree to it.

Chastity before marriage allows the couple time to really get to know one another' soul, their deepest commitments to God and to one another.

In our home church in the 1990s, we trained dozens of Mentor Couples, who had been married two to four decades, to come alongside 288 premarital couples to prepare them for marriage. In addition to the Sexual Covenant, one tool they used to help couples discern their suitability for one another was the PREPARE-ENRICH premarital inventory. It asked the man and woman whether they agreed or disagreed with 150 statements like these:

  • Sometimes I am concerned about my partner's temper.
  • Sometimes I wish my partner were more careful about spending money.

Of the 288 couples, 58 decided NOT to marry. But of the 230 who tied the knot, we know of only 19 divorces in two decades.

Premarital chastity was an important builder of a lifelong marriage.

Copyright (c) 2017 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. For previous columns go to Hit Search for any topic.

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