I Think Sex Is Wrong Outside Marriage. Why Won’t Anyone Date Me?

I Think Sex Is Wrong Outside Marriage.  Why Won't Anyone Date Me?

Dear Evan,

I keep losing relationships when I say that sex isn’t right outside of a marriage. I used to think that women have more self-control than men, but have since realized that we are all humans.

Is it ever possible to have a year-long relationship without sex? Even the most conservative girl I’ve met gets heavy on that after a while. I feel pressured. They ask questions like “will we be doing that (whatever is the action in the movies) in future?”

I think maybe I’m the problem. I’ve been called frigid, gay (am not), etc.

There’s so much more to life than sex, right? Maybe I should look for intelligent scientists.


Dear Jon,

You sound a bit like the guy who insists on buying flowers for women on first dates. He seems like a really nice guy, but what he doesn’t get is that his views are out of step with the majority of society.

So it’s not a matter of whether he’s right or wrong; it’s a matter of whether his behavior is effective or ineffective.

When you lead your question with “I keep losing relationships when I say that sex isn’t right outside of a marriage,” you make it abundantly clear that your moral stance is quite ineffective. That doesn’t make you wrong. That makes your choice a highly questionable one as far as most women are concerned.

And, as I am wont to do, I’m going to use this platform to ask readers to consider if they have any hard-wired minority beliefs that prevent them from making a connection. Again, I’m not a moralist; I’m a pragmatist. Just because a guy tells me that his mullet hairstyle is the purest expression of how he likes to look, doesn’t mean that wearing his mullet in his online dating photo will help him woo the ladies.

Just because a guy tells me that his mullet hairstyle is the purest expression of how he likes to look, doesn’t mean that wearing his mullet in his online dating photo will help him woo the ladies.

Lest you think I’m joking – that’s a true story. I had a client four years ago who was a grown-up 70’s rocker who teaches guitar lessons. Nice man. Very passionate. But in his insistence on “being himself,” he pretty much eliminated every woman who tossed her AquaNet out the window in 1989. Same goes for my Jewish client who loved his dreadlocks, and was surprised he didn’t get much attention on JDate. Somehow he was shocked that all the Ivy League women who want to marry doctors and lawyers weren’t flocking to his unwashed nest of hair. Doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy – it just means he had to make some tough choices: Keep the hair and lose the women. Or lose the hair and get the women.

Since I’m not a psychologist, I’m not gonna worry in this space about WHY you’d opt for abstinence. That’s between you and your clergyman. All I can say is that the number of people aboard the no-sex train is increasingly small. So as I see it, you have two choices:

Keep beating the drum that says sex is wrong outside of marriage and continue to wonder why most women keep running away, OR:

Get off your moral high horse and start sexually servicing these women the way they want to be serviced.

If not, someone else will. I guarantee that.

Join our conversation (269 Comments).
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  1. 31

    I dated a virgin for 8 months. He’s in his mid twenties. Like Jon, he wanted to wait till marriage. When he finally told me he was a virgin, I was in complete shock because I didn’t believe him and I didn’t believe there were anymore twenty-something year old virgins out there in the world. Anyway, I liked him enough to stay with him. We never did the full “act” but we did other things to each other (use your imagination) so it was a good compromise. Jon, maybe you should consider that.

  2. 32
    That Single Guy

    Nice article, I think you make some strong points, but at the same time, acting as someone who you aren’t can only lead to a fake relationship. I think it’s better to be yourself and enjoy who you are. If that means you never get laid, well, guess whose fault that ultimately is?

  3. 33

    Wow S. That is just making SO much sense. Handies or BJs are OK with our supreme creator but not genital sex. Who thinks of this stuff? The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is making more sense all the time.

    1. 33.1
      Miss Nene

      Again, it has absolutely nothing to do with religion. We have found no text in Old or new testament that prohibits sex outside of marriage.There is a text in the Old Testament Torah, however, that explains why marriage was created. It seems the women (which makes sense) were getting jealous that certain men were having sex with a multitude of women and, in order to honor GOD and stop the chaos of the envy, God said a man should choose a wife and marry.    It’s a common sense thing! Are people happy with the emotional results they have gotten (not to mention financial costs of unwanted pregnancy, etc.) with sex outside of marriage?

      Oral sex, manual masturbation, etc. is all the same thing. I am not the one that called sex outside of marriage fornication, and sex within marriage magically now becomes ‘okay’. There are people that feel and ask for God’s blessing on their marriage, and blessing for the sexual aspect to be a fuller connection to God.

      1. 33.1.1

        PhD in Biblical Studies, that is not true.

  4. 34

    I’d find S’s “compromise” fun, but frustrating after a awhile. And I do wonder, what makes all “the other things”(presumably some resulting in orgasm) okay, but intercourse a moral no-no?

  5. 35

    I’ve always noticed a difference in boyfriends before and after we’ve had sex in terms of our sex life. Before we’ve ‘done the deed’ – but still do ‘everything but’ it’s been more romantic, getting to know each other, etc. I’ve found that you both try harder to satisfy each other. Afterwards it’s more about doing it and you get complacent. This is why, as much as I enjoy the act itself I find there’s greater build-up to emotional intimacy the longer you wait.

  6. 36
    Boston girl

    Jon – Just a note. I am a 30 yr old Harvard-trained scientist who loves sex as much as the next girl. Going after “intelligent scientists” isn’t going to solve this problem. Finding a girl who lives by the same moral code *will*. Just make sure you’re looking in the right place!


    1. 36.1
      Miss Nene

      Morals have nothing to do with it for some. It’s a common sense thing, when they observe all the unhappy people who keep having sex with men (or women) , hoping they will love them.

  7. 37

    “The results: women are leaving him.”

    That tells me Jon hasn’t been focusing in on and dating the RIGHT set of women — not that Jon is himself wrong or foolish or out of touch with reality for not “putting out like everyone else does these days.” I like the suggestion someone made about finding churches and dating sites that will give him a more appropriate (for him) pool of candidates.

    1. 37.1
      Miss Nene

      Why is it only appropriate for him? What happened to men wanting to marry a virgin? They all still claim they do, yet.. contradictory behavior?

  8. 38

    I agree with #35 — before sex, relationships tend to be more romantic. It is harder to put off sex, and justify the whole “I’m waiting till the right person/marriage” if you are making out heavily before then. If they are ditching you, is probably because they think they will be that girl, so they convince themselves they can persuade you to sleep with them (the most conservative one was already ready to go for it) > ultimately becoming a challenge for her. Nonetheless, if she believes she can do it, is probably because you’ve let her on to believe she can. So, if they diss you, is probably NOT because you’re not putting out, but because you are stringing them along emotionally — just enough to keep yourself in good company, but not quite to compromise your standards. That in itself, would not be considered moral. I would say, that if you really want to wait till married, you should state so in the first place, work heavily on the romance, and frienship aspect, and “keep it clean” until you decide otherwise.

    1. 38.1
      Miss Nene

      ..and you can give a man the greatest sex of his life and he still won’t always marry you.

  9. 39

    Everything else aside, where you met her, what her beliefs are, blahblahblah… if shes the one, if she loves you she’ll wait. Ask me how I know….

  10. 40

    wow….that’s all i can say about this.

    Please don’t give up your moral standards just because it is going to make your dating pool smaller. If she doesn’t believe what you do, tell me this, why would you really want to date her anyway?? Right, I know you wouldn’t….we all want someone who can share our beliefs. =)

    Your advice on this subject literally makes me sick. But I suppose that’s advice, it’s not always that great!!

  11. 41

    Wait til marriage? what if you’re sexually incompatible? I think it is a good idea to wait, to get to know someone before jumping in the sack but waiting til marriage might lead to a union of two sexually mismatched people . . . although then again, thinking of all the sexless marriages I know or those couples just having sex in order to have kids, pre-marital sex is not a guarantee of long term sexual compatibility.

  12. 42

    Lyn makes an interesting point. Are these women leaving Jon right off the bat because he won’t *put out*? Or are they leaving him because he is emotionally stringing them along somewhat? Deciding they aren’t marriage material, but keeping them around for companionship while he’s waiting? That’s rather off-putting.

  13. 43

    I was a bit let down at you advice to Jon:

    “Keep beating the drum that says sex is wrong outside of marriage and continue to wonder why most women keep running away, OR:

    Get off your moral high horse and start sexually servicing these women the way they want to be serviced.”

    I think you missed another option that Jon might have had, and that is to approach the whole topic differently. When a person tells someone that practices pemarital sex that it is immoral they run the risk of being offensive. What ends up happening is that the person feels that they are being called immoral (and let’s be honest, who wants their level of morality to be judged?). Jon should just say that premarital sex is not for him and leave it at that. If that wierds a girl out then forget them. As a proud 21 year old virgin I say that no one should have to drop their standards for the sake of a date or a relationship. Why waste my virginity on losers who would not have appreciated it and that I broke up with any way? Jon, you’re better of dating someone who will share/ and or respect your standards.

  14. 44

    I cannot tell you how disgusted I am by the thought of men being told to “service women” by being sexually active with them while dating. If I date a man who is saving sexual activity for marriage, I know a few things about him:

    1) He respects me and himself way more than the guy who will willingly engage in sex just because he “wants some” or because I’m afraid I’ll lose him without it.

    2) If he can have self-control in abstaining from sex now, then it is more likely that he will continue that self-control (ie. being faithful inside of marriage instead of looking for satisfaction with other women).

    3) He is interested in me as a person (personality, talents, intellect, etc.) and not just my body.

    4) He wants to love me (ie. not put me at risk and seek what is best for me) rather than use me (treat me as an object to gratify him).

    So, Jon, I think that any woman who is treated in this way will feel like a princess if she truly realizes what a sacrifice it can be for a man to want to wait. Saying yes is not always the loving thing to do. Even though it is hard to say no to sexual activity outside of marriage, it is a testament to the love and respect that you have for your future spouse.

    Perhaps you have not met the right girl yet, but that does not mean you are doing something wrong. If you want a special girl, you have to act accordingly. If you compromise, you are just settling for less than you deserve.

    And finally, know that there are other people out there who are waiting for their spouse (or have waited and are now married) and would not trade their love story with anyone who treated sexuality as no big deal or as a way to attract more people. Quality would be preferred over quantity.

    1. 44.1
      Miss Nene

      Exactly. I still know many  more happily married people (who connect on a spiritual level) who were virgins when they got married then married people who were not virginal at the time of marriage.

  15. 45

    Your morals are correct. Abstinence before marriage is the right thing to do. It will only make your marriage more beautiful and strong. There are plenty of women out there who believe the same way as you do. Wouldn’t it be better anyway to marry someone with the same morals and beliefs? You don’t need to change; all you need is to keep looking until you find her.

  16. 46

    Could it be that women are getting the impression that you are not all that interested in sex? Yes, of course you should stick to your guns if you want sex only with marriage. But if you have a normal sex drive, you should find ways to get that across. There are MANY women out there who would appreciate your ideals but are afraid of getting stuck with a dud in bed. That’s not a judgment, just a biologic imperative on the woman’s part.

  17. 47

    to mary,

    I see what you are saying….and to top it off,,,,,the average woman does not “train a man in bed,” She won’t ask for what she needs in bed. They usually, just get rid of us…

  18. 48

    Hi Jon,

    I’m assuming you are waiting for religious reasons, correct? I think you should stick with your morals, just make sure not to be judgmental of others’ decisions because that’s not Biblical either. I agree with your thinking – we may not understand God’s plan for us, but the Bible makes it pretty clear that sex (intercourse, oral, etc) is a gift that is intended to be shared only between husband and wife. Personally, I think that if you don’t wait, it loses some of it’s intimacy – it’s not quite as meaningful if you’ve shared the act with several other people versus just your spouse. If you wait, it’s something special between just the two of you. (You can always “learn” and get better — so don’t give in if you’re worried about being inexperienced later)

    I’m 26 and am choosing to wait until marriage. I have a different, but very related problem. My bf of about a year has not pressured me, but he has not chosen to wait himself. I have never felt such a deep connection (physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc) with anyone else before….but I am having an incredibly difficult time dealing with the fact that he has not waited. I feel like what was the point of me waiting if he hasn’t b/c then it won’t be as special for him as it is for me when/if we get married. I’ve been dwelling on this a lot recently, and am not sure how I should deal with it — i cant just “get over it” but I don’t want to give up on the best relationship I’ve ever been in either. Any adivice from anyone?

  19. 49

    Your feelings about your boyfriend’s previous sexual activity are completely natural! I have friends who have been in that situation and struggled to accept the past of their bf/gf (or in some cases their own past). The important thing you need to figure out is if your bf wants to change. You said he isn’t pressuring you, which is awesome. Does he love you so much that he doesn’t want to use you (sexually or otherwise)? Does he regret his previous sexual choices and desire to start anew?

    I think it’s important for you two to discuss your feelings on this subject, as difficult as it may be. Does he understand why this is hard for you? Do you understand what his current feelings are?

    Knowing people on both sides of this situation, I know that those who have not waited are incredibly grateful for the gift that their spouse gave them by waiting for them. On the other hand, those who have not waited often regret their past — but one cannot change the past, only one’s future choices. What these people have chosen to do is to wait “from this day forward.” Forgiveness on your part is not easy, but it is possible.

    If you make the choice to always seek what’s best for this man (what love really is) and it leads you to marraige, then God will give you the strength you need to deal with his past.

  20. 50

    Emily- You wrote, “Forgiveness on your part is not easy, but it is possible.”

    Why should LR have to forgive her bf for having sexual experience before they even met?!!! He didn’t *do* anything to her that requires forgiveness. What an incredibly self-righteous idea.

    It is her misfortune to have fallen in love with a man who chose not to ‘wait’ as she has such conflict about about not being someone’s first and only. After the age of 26, the pool of males who are ‘waiting’ is only going to get smaller and smaller, so she would potentially have this self-issue with the majority of possible mates, not just this particular one.

    LR, if you find this issue to continually eat away at you and effect an otherwise good relationship, perhaps you should consider seeing a therapist about it. You could break up with your bf and go back to waiting for someone else who has waited, but you might well be faced with this same issue again if you fall for another man who isn’t a virgin. The older you get, the fewer you will meet–you need to get realistic about this.

    1. 50.1
      Miss Nene

      Perhaps those that treat their body as a garbage disposal and have sex with multiple people  that they have no feelings or respect  for and who don’t even want to marry them should seek therapy to realize that sex is, and was designed to be, physical, emotional, and spiritual. We all (most people) love sex.  Most of us love to eat foods we like, too.  Too much eating of what we desire causes obesity. Too much lust causes many other problems.

      I don’t belong to any church groups, yet I have managed to meet several men over the age of 40 who claim to be virgins.

      Anyone can rub genitals together. Anyone can have an orgasm, even in their sleep. When you love a person, sex isn’t all about the orgasm. When you don’t love them, it’s all about the physical and the orgasm.  Pretty simple. And  lust and love can occur at the same time.

      Your body is to be respected, as is your heart. Once you’ve experienced true love, the desire for the single life and /or  sex outside of marriage with other men stops.

  21. 51


    Like you, I’m waiting to be married before having sex. But I don’t think my partner’s sexual past is of great importance here. It’s the sexual relationship the two of you have had. I think that reserving sexual intercourse for the marriage then makes sex between the two of you far more special than sex would be if you would have engaged in it together beforehand. A special bond is created that ties you together in a way that only exists within your marriage. If one (or both) of you have had sex with other people, it doesn’t really matter. It’s the fact that the two of you have decided to hold off on sex with your relationship together, and that will be what strengthens the intimacy in your marriage. It’s not the number of sexual partners, it’s a matter of reserving the intimacy of sex for your marriage.

    And as others on the thread have said, it may not be impossible for a virgin to find someone for a serious relationship, but if you’re going to limit yourself to ONLY virgins, it’s going to be an extreme challenge. Just my two cents.

  22. 52

    yeah, same to Jennifer who posted here on Dec 18, I am a proud 24 yo virgin.. (beat you, huh, Jen?? hehe.. ) what’s the matter of not having sex and keep it until we get married?? well, I dont understand why people out there ( I am in Indonesia.. but dont think we are all virgin here, virgins are the same rare here and there) think so highly about the “test-drive”.. oh, come on, if you love someone would you still mind his or her inexperience in it?? well, you can teach him/her (in marriage)…
    hey Jon, I believe you can find a girl who meet your standard there, you just have to find her in the right situation 😉

  23. 53

    Jon – I agree with all those who are saying to hold onto your morals. This is much different than a haircut that might make your picture unattractive. This is a moral decision, whether religiously based or not, and to compromise your morals just to get a date, or to get married, won’t equal a happy union.

    To all those who speak of sexual compatability and needing to know the sexual chemistry is there – have you thought of what happens to this sexual chemistry if the two of you stay married past the time the body refuses to operate in this capacity? Sure, if you had great sexual chemistry before that you have a lot of nice memories to keep you warm in that old age, but if you concentrated so much on that person who fulfilled the physical aspect in just the right way, you may have missed the one who you could continue to “stand” when that part of your life goes away. Sex is important, but it’s just another way of conversing. When you give it too much importance, you can also pass by the person who can make you happy no matter what.

    I was married for over 20 years to a man who, during the last few years of the marriage, lost his ability to sexually perform and we discovered that despite 20+ years of marriage, despite the children, there was very little else, aside from this stellar sex life, keeping us together. So when the stellar sex life was gone, so was the marriage.

  24. 54

    I think you’re being incredibly harsh, not to mention insensitive and just plain stupid.

    Evan clearly has some strong beliefs, as well as a desire for love and companionship. And your best advice is to go a complete personality overhaul to “fit in” with the majority? What is this, high school? That’s like telling a 14-year-old girl to sleep with her first boyfriend to “prove she loves him”, or tell a punk that they will never get a date unless they start looking more like in investment banker. What a narrow-sighted view of society!

    Let me stop here and point out that personally, I’m not a fan of abstinence and I strongly believe that it’s short-sighted and plain archaic, so I’m not beating the Christian Superiority drum here – but merely pointing out that “advice” like yours has the potential to inflict serious consequences on a person, both social and psychological.

    However, “change or stay single” are NOT the only two options. If he were the last man on earth who held those beliefs, then you, indeed, would be right. He’s not.

    My best advice is not to change his behaviour, or his personality, or his beliefs, but simply find women who accommodate them. Where is he meeting people? Match.com? How about trying a local church group, or maybe a Christian dating site? Through religious friends, perhaps? The chances of finding like-minded people through those channels are significantly higher than in “adult fun” personal ads.

    Everyone has different beliefs – changing them to suit the majority to increase your chances of not dying a spinster is not only shallow and pathetic, but also unnecessary.

    Finally, if you’re “not a psychologist”, what exactly gives you the license to give out relationship advice, particularly bad one?

  25. 55

    Sorry, I meant “Jon clearly has strong beliefs…”, not Evan

  26. 56

    That was absolutely the worst advice I’ve ever seen.

    A year and a half ago, my current girlfriend and I had the sex talk, and she said two things to me:

    1. In a fight between you and God, God wins, because He’s God and He’s perfect, so don’t even try.

    2. I love my husband more than anyone else, and he matters enough to me that I will wait for him.

    Now, the first one I was kind of expecting, but the second one really stopped me, and I realized she was right. If you plan on having a happy, loving, crazy-head-over-heels, complete marriage with someone, isn’t that person WORTH delaying some personal pleasure for?

    Evan says that you are in the minority, and that is true–if you pick up girls in a bar. People looking for people in a bar are looking for sex. That’s just how it is. But if you’re looking for that wonderful girl to date for several years, propose to in the cheesiest manner possible, and spend the rest of your life having sex with her only, I personally know dozens of girls looking for you.

    You just have to look in the right place.

    1. 56.1
      Miss Nene

      Thank you! It’s funny that when I truly fell in love, I said nearly the same things your gf said! God first. Not a man. Not a woman. Not my needs and desires. God.

      It should really be called ‘sex outside of love’.

  27. 57

    to sam,

    you said, “if you pick up girls at bar,” that is out of the past….. According to research and studies, women no longer allow that. What is “in” now, is at work… women are getting laid at work…much safer, because they know the man, and see him every day….

  28. 58

    Alice said: “Finally, if youre not a psychologist, what exactly gives you the license to give out relationship advice, particularly bad one?”

    In what universe does a person need to be a psychologist to give out relationship advice? Are you saying you never get (usually unsolicited) relationship advice from a girlfriend or sister?

    What gives Evan the license to give out relationship advice is simple: people ask him for it. Jon specifically asked Evan for his advice, rather than seek out a psychologist.

    As to the advice…I don’t necessarily agree that Jon should simply decide to abandon his strong feelings about sex. But if he wants a larger dating pool, he’s going to have to do just that. If he’s satisfied knowing that he’s going to have to stick to the much smaller group of women who don’t believe in sex before marriage, then, cool. But it’s just a fact of life – most women are gonna want sex with their partner before marriage, and no amount of wishing (or logical arguments about there being more to life than sex) will change that.

    And Jon? I’m an “intelligent scientist”, and I’d never stay in a relationship with a man who didn’t want to have sex with me. Sure, there’s more to life than sex, but sex is a huge component of a love relationship, and I wouldn’t have considered marrying a man without first finding out that we were sexually compatible.

  29. 59

    So I’m one of those girls who thinks sex should be saved for a serious relationship. Serious as in nobody (including us) can imagine life apart and we’re doing all the practical stuff (ie saving for a down payment, spending holidays with both families) to create a health foundation for the future. There’s nothing wrong with this perspective, as long as Jon is looking for someone who agrees with it.

    My question to Jon is, where are you looking? What first impression are you creating? For example, if the abstinence stance is religion-based, perhaps positive venues would be faith-based activities. This is not to say that the girls will have any less experience, just that they may be more understanding of Jon’s perspective. The key to successful dating is to ID the appropriate target audience. In this scenario, asking the cute liberal activist may not be the best decision. Frankly there are only so many hours in the day, so start spending them with those dates that have potential.

    In response to Evan’s post: change your screening technique, Jon, b/c those you’ve found so far obviously aren’t a good match. Also, be willing to say “we’re not compatible” to those who don’t share your moral/religious conviction, regardless of how much you like them – it’s not going to work so why give false hope? If you handle this well, your incompatible matches may become your greatest advocates.

  30. 60
    Michael Ejercito


    The best thing to do is to find women who are part of this “abstinence-until-marriage” subculture.

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