May my girlfriend and I be intimate with one another before marriage?

Full Question

A priest told my girlfriend that it is okay for us to touch one another intimately before we are married. Is this correct?

Answer

No. Jesus stated in Matthew 5:28 that a person can commit sins of sexual impurity even in his thoughts. He stated, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The same thing is true of fornication (premarital sex).

Looking at a woman to whom you are not married and indulging in lustful thoughts counts as committing fornication in your heart. If indulging yourself in mental lust for a woman to whom you are not married counts, how much more will intimate touching, in which you partially act out the sexual desire you have for another.

Though some priests may not like to say so, fornication is a grave (mortal) sin. The apostle Paul states, “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness . . . and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21). This is a severe teaching. It is one many unmarried people find hard to accept, but it is the clear teaching of Scripture, and we must hold to it.

Sometimes people rationalize extramarital sexual practices on the grounds that by committing a lesser sin one may avoid a greater one, such as fornication, but there are two problems with this.

First, as the Holy Father has made clear in his recent encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, one may never do something intrinsically wrong in order to avoid a problem. We cannot do evil that good may come of it.

Second, this strategy simply doesn’t work. If you find it difficult to restrain yourself sexually, following that priest’s advice will not make it easier to control yourself–quite the opposite.









5 comments

  1. Nviiri Richard Male Reply

    i have learnt some thing from this post.

  2. Janice Chen Reply

    If two people never married in church but only civil, is annulment possible from God or the church?

  3. Nancysfo Reply

    in the eyes of the Church, they are not married, thus, no annulment.

  4. paul Reply

    Not correct – they need an annulment

  5. Visuca Reply

    I have had REAL probles with this issue in the past… THANKS BE TO GOD! I (think, hope, believe) I am beginning to surmount them; and answers such as the one you give, although correct, do not help much. One thing is LUST, and a completely different one is LOVE: but in many several fields these two overlap so much that one needs every Grace from God to differentiate both and I’m afraid to say that this has come to me though practice. LUST is intrinsically REVOLTING: LOVE is the nearest I have always been to God. Priests, nuns, monks, religious people that adopt celibacy as their way of life are indeed giving up a lot in this world. It is very clear to me that only the immense love of God can fill the gap of being SINGLE. When God created MAN (in His image, if you please) He also created WOMAN, and He did so in His capacity of GOD; what else?!. He surely knew all it entail and His immense gift in making us FREE and capable of following in His steps and being able ourselves of CREATING other human beings not only in our image but also in His, is… Almost behind words!. – I believe that the problem is that we, human that we are as well as divine, do not know our limitations and abuse our privileges until we learn; a part of growing up! – if I were God… (now: THERE is a conundrum!) the thing I would NOT forgive… or very rarely so… is the damage inflicted to others because of my actions.

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