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. 151

    A-L, you sound like a bright, very smart person.

  2. 152
    Karl R

    A-L said: (#150)
    ” had actually been working on a composite number for myself, looking at multiple factors for which statistics were available, to see the likelihood of finding a man who met my requirements.”

    There’s one requirement that exceeds all the others which most people overlook: You need someone who accepts you just the way you are.

    How would you measure that percentage?

  3. 153

    Hunter: Thanks for the compliment, but the props go to Evan as he put the idea out there somewhere (previous blog entry, an e-mailed newsletter, or in a book).

    Karl: I don’t measure the percentage of men who accept me just the way I am, because that’s one of those intangibles that’s darn hard to measure. But do I think it’s easy? Not at all. But throwing in the man’s desires was sort of pointless by the time I got to my percentages. Not including the sex factor, it was 16.6% of the men in my age range. If I think 8% of the male population would be willing to hold off on sex, then that lowers my odds to 1.3%. And sad to say, that doesn’t include a lot of the intangibles.

    Frankly, I’m wondering if I’ve computed something incorrectly because when I’m talking basics, I’m talking SUPER basics for me.

    93.4% At least 5’4″
    58.6% Some college or more (which also corresponds to income levels of about $36k+)
    76% Christian
    40% Single (divorced or never married)

    Those numbers multiplied together on my pool meant that 16.6% would be eligible.

    With a theorized 8% willing to wait on sex, that lowers it to 1.3% Did I mess up somewhere with my calculations? (Either in the premise behind them, or in the actual math.)

    Does this mean that if I find a 5’5″ single Christian with some college that’s willing to wait on sex that I’m going to grab him? No, because there’s more to it than that. But if he’s fun, thoughtful, intelligent, and easy to get along with? I’m thinking I might.

  4. 154

    Deficient and resentful? Nope, not at all. The only people always measuring themselves to others are ones with no life purpose (or personality) of their own.
    What if you found out that a man whom you were interested in, whom you wanted to be with, either has a girlfriend or is married while you have no one? Would you not feel any resentment, any desire to find a boyfriend just so you can show him that you are just as good as he is?

  5. 155
    Karl R

    A-L said: (#153)
    “Frankly, Im wondering if Ive computed something incorrectly”

    Your math is accurate. About the only premise I’d debate would be the “Christian” label. If you’re counting 76% of the population, you’re counting people like Fred Phelps who spout hate and call it Christianity. You’re also counting people who call themselves Christian, but never read a bible, pray or attend a church (except for weddings and funerals). Unless it’s just the label that’s important (regardless of how the person acts), then the 76% is overstated.

    Another possibility to consider is that some traits aren’t evenly distributed. For example, I like women who are very intelligent (maybe 10%) who have a sense of humor that “clicks” with mine (a little less than 10%). In my case, the second group is a subset of the first.

    Furthermore, I can deliberately seek out groups where half the women are very intelligent. In those situations, it’s the percentage of the group that matters, not the percentage of the total population.

    Michael said (#154) to Sayanta: (#149)
    “What if you found out that a man whom you were interested in, whom you wanted to be with, either has a girlfriend or is married while you have no one? Would you not feel any resentment, any desire to find a boyfriend just so you can show him that you are just as good as he is?”

    Why would I need to show that person that I’m as good as them?

    That person is in a relationship, so I’m not about to start dating them (a situation in which their opinion of me might actually matter).

    It sounds like you’re basing your self worth on others’ opinion of you. You really need to work on your self-esteem / self-confidence to where you no longer do that. Not only will you be happier in general, you’ll also stand a better chance of attracting someone.

  6. 156


    Wow. I don’t even know how to respond to that because my mind doesn’t even WORK that way- but I’ll try.

    ok…where to start.

    First of all, you use pretty intense words- “…whom you were interested in, whom you wanted to be with…” I’d have to get to know a guy pretty well to have those feelings- and if I’ve gotten to know him that well and he’s been hiding the fact that he’s taken (your post seems to imply that a surprise factor is involved), I’d write him off as ‘good riddance.’ Hell yeah, I’d be upset, but I figured I’m better off not having a person like that in my life.

    As for your last question, “Would you not feel any resentment…to show him that you are as good as he is?”

    Um, maybe when I was 18 years old. Are you under 21? If so, perhaps you have an excuse for this obsessive ‘measuring up’ factor. I’m 30 now, and I really don’t live my life obsessing over what other people think of me.

  7. 157


    Thanks for double-checking my numbers. In using the 76% number that’s just those that self-identify that way. I realize that number includes those who only go to church on Easter and Christmas Eve, or those whose views are so judgmental that it gives me chest pains. But then there are those who don’t identify themselves as Christian but live their lives in what I consider to be a “Christian” manner, and are often willing to have children raised as Christians.

    I met my current boyfriend on Match and he checked the box for spiritual but not religious. But on the religion section he said he was a Christian but felt it was a personal thing between each individual and God and not something that he generally discussed much. He’s gone to church with me several times and is willing to continue to do that and raise our kids as Christians (assuming we get that far). That’s more important to me than the Christian label. So I kept the 76% number thinking that the non-labeled folks I add in would roughly equal the number of labeled ones that I throw out.

    P.S. Can I call you Karl or do you prefer Karl R?

  8. 158


    I want to say that I love your posts, but I was just curious about something- if it’s too personal, you don’t have to answer. If you have a boyfriend, how come you’re still thinking about stats on finding your dream man? 🙂

  9. 159
    Karl R

    A-L asked: (#157)
    “Can I call you Karl or do you prefer Karl R?”

    I prefer Karl, but I add the initial on forums to minimize confusion if another Karl happens to show up.

    The following link might be useful to you. It discusses how many people attend church regularly, how many lie about it in phone polls, and some related information.

  10. 160

    Thanks for the link. I can’t say that I’m surprised, as I think that the 29-30% of regular attendance number is pretty accurate. I think there might be some variation though based on geographic location and age, but overall though, I think these numbers are right. But as I said in my previous post, I’m not limiting my dating pool to just regular church attenders. Otherwise my numbers would be even more abysmal!

    Thanks for the compliment. I love your posts too!

    In terms of your question, I don’t mind answering it. I do have a boyfriend who is sweet, thoughful, intelligent, fun, shares my core values, and accepts me just as I am. All very good things. I also know he’s thinking about me for the long-term. Since I know where his thought process is I’m trying to figure out how I feel about a long-term future for us. The only thing missing for me is the explosive fireworks/infatuation thing (I’m not talking about the physical aspect of the relationship as I enjoy that very much). But I don’t know how much of that fireworks/infatuation/chemistry thing is necessary for a long-term relationship. I guess I’m a victim of too many romantic comedies and novels, in a way. So part of my stats quest has been to figure out how likely I am to run across as guy who is as wonderful as my current boyfriend, and then think about how likely it is that we’ll have this amazing chemistry. And at the same time I’m trying to figure out if I’m being a fairy tale princess wannabe with my fireworks wish, or if that’s something that I realistically should have with the person I marry. Guess it was a pretty personal question after all!

  11. 161


    I don’t know if you’ve read anything by Harville Hendrix- you might like him- his writing is EXTREMELY dense though, so you need a lot of concentration and solitude to get through his books. I can’t remember if his are the books where I found this, but what you’re talking about seems to be the dilemma between romantic and companionate love. Most couples want the first to last forever, but the reality is that a relationships tend to ebb and flow between the two. In american society, particularly mid-20th century onwards, the problem is that fizzled romance has led to high rates of divorce.

    I think fireworks are definitely great to experience, obviously, but I also think you’re blessed if you’ve found someone who seems like long-term companion material. But this is only going by your one description- and I’ve never met you and your boyfriend, so I have little basis to judge. 😀 Still, just my 2 cents.

    PS- Talking about romantic novels’ influences- you’ve got to read “Cinderella Was A Liar.” The title says it all. lol

  12. 162


    Haven’t read anything by Harville Hendrix, but I might have to put one of his books on my reading list. Ditto with Cinderella Was a Liar .

    Thanks for the comments about my relationship. Interesting that I’m dealing with this question since I’ve been such a fan of First Comes Marriage and yet if I really believed totally in all of the concepts, I probably wouldn’t be feeling this conundrum so much.

  13. 163
    Susie Mae

    I find rather intereting that the majority of respondents make this all about them. This is about Jon: Jon who has made a choice about how he will live his life and what his values are, Jon who has a different way of perceiving the world, Jon who considers saving sexual intimacy for marriage, Jon. He doesn’t sit on any moral high horse: it’s not about you. He doesn’t stand in judgement of the many who hold different views about their bodies. Do what you want and let John get on with his life. Evan some of your advice is great but I disagree with you om this one. Sex is viewed as mere fun, physical exercise by others, for other people of a religious pursuasions, it is also a spiritual act. I challenge you to read all the literature out there on sex (not just literature that confirms your biases). See what you dig up.

    Jon: go ahead! But do consider expanding your social circle so you can meet more women who might share similar values.

  14. 164

    hey i think its great you want to wait till marriage its the right thing god wants it to be that way and i have good morals also

  15. 165

    To all of you who think it’s important to “test drive” the car before buying it:
    You should consider the fact that the majority of Americans have premarital sex.  Therefore, most people who get married have had sex with each other before marriage.  Since they got married after having sex, this means they must have believed they were sexually compatible.  Yet, half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. What does this tell you??
    Clearly, placing such an important emphasis on sexual compatibility is absurd since it does not help you in picking a truly compatible spouse.  I stayed a virgin until I was 28 when I married my husband.  When we had sex for the first time, it was not amazing….just awkward.  However, as we explored each other’s bodies, we learned how to turn on each other.  Some people who have sex together intuitively understand their partner’s turn-ons and turn-offs.  But just because you don’t have this natural intuition with your spouse doesn’t mean they are incompatible for you. It just means that this is one part of your marriage where you’ll have to put more effort into communicating your needs directly. Yep, I said it: you may actually need to put forth some effort.  But after a few times, the sex becomes fantastic!
    The problem with having sex before marriage is that it becomes too easy to confuse sex with love.  I’m not saying premarital sex is guaranteed to doom a marriage or that being virginal is guaranteed to make a marriage successful.  I’m saying that people put too much emphasis on passion that they neglect to place emphasis on more day-to-day concerns like finances, whether you want children, when you want children, etc. Beyond the honeymoon period, you will not be spending every waking moment having sex.  At some point, you will both have to deal with the drudgery of everyday life which involves dealing with chores and other tasks that do not elicit any passionate feelings. All too often, I have noticed my friends rushing off to get married because the sex with that person was just too “amazing.”  While they had similar interests, they did not discuss their views on money (major fights can occur over this) and what they expected of each other.  Then during the marriage, they still had awesome sex, but they fought so often over all of these everyday issues, that they divorced.
    The key to a lasting marriage is to be HONEST and DIRECTLY communicate your needs to your spouse.  Sex can be improved over time.  It’s okay if it isn’t perfect from the start.  However, it is not likely that a person who is frugal will change into a gambler over time and vice versa. Make sure that your values are in line with the other person’s.
    Now, back to the man’s problem about keeping a woman after telling her he wants to be abstinent.  I completely agree that the WAY you are phrasing your words is the problem.  I don’t support premarital sex either, but I was even offended over your phrasing. You need to say something like “There is something that I want to be upfront with you about. I am abstaining from sex until marriage.  I do not condemn those who choose to have premarital sex, but I feel that being abstinent is right for me and I will not budge from this position.”
    I wish you the best of luck and believe me, I understand your pain at trying to find someone who shares your values, but there is a woman out there who will share those same values.  Remember, you don’t need to have a 100 women falling at your feet (unless your goal is to get as many notches on your bedpost as possible).  You just need to find ONE woman who loves you.  Keep looking and do not compromise your values because that will only lead you to finding someone you are not compatible with.

  16. 166

    Stick to your morals. You´ll find someone who shares them if you´re patient and look in the right places. You can go and have premarital sex as Evan says, and get the girls, but maybe you won´t get the girls you were looking for. You should think first of all what´s more important to you, if compromising your morals to get a girl is, go ahead. I do tell you from experience, though, that you may compromise your morals for a girl and then if things don´t work out with this girl, and you find an abstinece practicing girl afterwards who you love, you´re going to deeply regret it and she might resent you for it. Wait and be patient, those girls you´re looking for still exist and aren´t as hard to find as you think.

  17. 167

    Jon, stick with your morals. Where are you meeting this women? I am a 28 yr old virgin female who has been in your boat before-its where you meet these people at that could be the problem. Are you trying church or online dating sites made for people who are religious? If you go to the “normal” world then yes it will be difficult to meet females who share these values but there are women who have these values.
    Also, how and when do you tell females about this? I agree with some of the earlier posters-watch how you phrase it but be willing to let a relationship go.
    This isn’t an issue for me of compromising or settling-this is about my faith, values, and morals. If you feel the same way, then stay strong.

  18. 168

    I agree there, stick to your morals and don’t compromise who you are.

  19. 169

    She needs to date only geeks that are virgins or old men that don’t have any more feeling down there. You can date hundreds of men, but who said you need to sleep with them? If they want sex , that’s what they are about from the start, so keep dating and make it fun but don’t sleep with them.

  20. 170

    Jon, it is how you present your desire for premarital celibacy that will be the deal maker or deal breaker. I have been in a loving relationship with a man for 2 years and it is “moving forward”, hopefully to marriage. For religious reasons, we haven’t had sex or extensive foreplay. He is a pastor of a church in a small town where everybody talks. I am a widow with a strong sex drive, yet I accept this. But to stay interested, I needed to hear my man tell me I was attractive, hear “I love you”, and be held close.  I needed to feel desirable in how he approached me physically, mentally, and emotionally. And yes, we have talked extensively about sex, as no topic should be ‘off limits’ if you are considering marriage. When we first met, he wasn’t looking to date, just be ‘helpful’, and I was only six months a widow, so i needed some distance and ‘companionship’ was my only interest.  But we now spend most of our time together, have met several of each other’s families (all out of area), and work well together to help our community.  Our friendship has deepened because of not having sex ‘first’.  Most people in town saw us as a couple before we realized it.  Now we are comfortable with this too.  If we get married, I expect that the sex will be very satisfying.  If we do not get married, our relationship is still very rich and fulfilling.  The thought of never having sex again… is hard for me, but I can’t imagine not having this man in my life. At times I tease him, I’m tempted to pressure him, but then I back off, out of respect for him.  And I feel his respect.  He is the proud father of several children who still call him and seek his advice.  Not a prude.  But wise.

  21. 171

    I am 48 years old and and a widower for the last 2 years and 4 months now . I Fully agree about not having sex before Marriage. I am in a relation ship with a 36 Year old Young woman that has the same belief as I and Also she has never been married either, I Support any one that believes in waiting for Marriage before the have sexual relation with on another , It leaves something more to be desired in Your marriage by the Both of you when that day does come! I know to the the itimency will be much greater!! Also would some one explain to me what sexual compatability,sexual chemistry  Is exactlly?? And why it is so much needed before you get married??, . The example of using having sexual relations before a serious and long term relationship, such as Marriage comitment is like buy a new car, you want to test drive it first before you buy it, The in My opinon degrades those that are even  using that for an example , I’m Sorry, !! But think about it foir just a moment what your saying when you say that???

  22. 172

    I agree with most of what’s on this blog generally but I am personally really offended by this article.  Why should this man have to ditch a value that is obviously important to him so that he can get a date?  Surely, you would want your potential partner to be someone who shares similar values to yours.  Granted that it means not so many people believe in such values anymore, it doesn’t make him a stick in the mud or any less of a man for it. 

    I’m disappointed.  From what I have read, it seems to me that he is not putting what he feels about this in a very accepting way, which is more the problem I feel than the actual pre-marital sex issue. 

    I mean if he has to ditch this to find a partner, then what else should he have to give up to fit in with everyone’s criteria of what is ‘ok’? 

  23. 173

    It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.  If you announce judgmentally on the first date or so that premarital sex is morally wrong, you will probably freak people out.  On the other hand, if you mention (not on the first date) that because of your own personal/religious values, you are waiting til marriage – and even though you are very attracted to her you still feel waiting is important – well that comes across much differently.  Some people still won’t be up for it, and that’s fine, they’re not the woman for you.
    And yes just like you there are women who want to wait til marriage and would be delighted to find you.  You just need to find those women.  Christian singles dot com or something.  Good luck.

  24. 174


    So as a strong Christian woman who agrees with your values I also get what Evan is saying. The women you are dating are asking for something and either give it or realize they are going to leave. So to me this means you are dating the wrong women. I let my dates know my moral compass early on and either they really understand or they so fade away. It takes time and patience. I have learned to accept those I date and to listen to their wants and desires. If they do not line up with mine and there is no room for compromise I move on quickly. I don’t waste time trying to convince them to change etc. I applaud you for staying true to your values but you must realize that others may not take the same stance. Either you wait for someone who does or you continue to experience your current state. Good luck

  25. 175

    I’m 56, still a virgin, and I’ve had five dates in my life. I had to struggle hard to get even those. My last date was 2001, and I quit trying after that. I’m not gay either. Being Catholic defined my moral choices, but early in life I found most females simply didn’t like me for reasons I never understood. Sad to say most women consider any man over 21 who is still a virgin to have issues or is weird. As you age your dating pool shrinks, and after 40 it’s very rough for both sexes. If you have any deal breakers you’re still clinging to at that point, good luck. I quit dating because no matter what I did online or in person, I simply got very few responses. What I did get was just not worth having.
    My advice–get to work on your social skills early and date or try to before 30. After that it gets very hard to stay in the game.
    Read the books: Marry Him by Lori Gottlieb and Save the Males by Kathleen Parker for more clues as to why dating rituals in America don’t work well anymore.

  26. 176

    I am a 38 year old virgin, and as a woman, I can completely relate to and empathize with Jon.  I also understand why Evan gave his pragmatic advice.  Giving up your moral stance on premarital sex would definitely expand your dating pool.  However, ultimately that would translate into compromising your religious beliefs. 
    I was tempted to do that in my 20s but stopped.  As I grew stronger in my faith, my trust in God and his edicts for our life increased.  I won’t lie – I cried and was angry for many years, thinking it would be a tragedy if I never married.  But I was turning marriage into an idol.  I also wasn’t addressing target-rich populations such as churches with large singles numbers.  I didn’t even sign up for Christian-specific online dating, hoping that I would just bump into him in my normal life. 
    The bottom line:  I am thankful that I never compromised.  I don’t regret never having had sex.  What I do regret is not taking more strategic measures in meeting like-minded men who would treasure a woman like me.  I also regret allowing myself to wallow for too many years in self-pity and anger over not being married and ignoring all the blessings that God has given to me in my single life. 
    Jon, my advice to you:  Target church single groups and Christian dating sites.  You as a man are better positioned to find a woman who appreciates your stance.

  27. 177

    I think that waiting before marriage is the right thing to do, I would know because this is why I didn’t have sex to my first husband until we had gotten married.

  28. 178

    there are herds of men that think the way you do….

  29. 179

    Hi Evan, 
    From your post it sounds like you are a really nice guy…of the really rare kind. I totally respect your idea on premarital sex and i really hope you dont change your stance on it if you truly believe in it. Your thoughts have nothing to do with being on a “moral high horse” so you should definitely not lower your standards just to get along with the majority of a society who do not share your values. I can very well assure you that there are many girls out there who share your beliefs and are willing to wait. I am sorry for the girls you have myet and who have broken up their relationship with just because of your stance on abstinence. Just goes to show that they value sex more than they valur you for who you are. So i say goid riddance to bad rubbish. If youalready havent found a girl who shares your values u will find her. I would urge you to hold onto your beliefs while u wait.

  30. 180

    Why wait?  Seriously, nobody is going to judge you for using birth control (or they can cram it up their a$$ if they do). You will get experience and hopefully get better at pleasing your partner, humans don’t naturally mate for life, most primates don’t for that matter. 
    If you take precautions then what is wrong with sex?!?  I get the puritanical/self shame aspect, but I am also now divorced from my adultering wife whom I also have to pay alimony too, take it from me, don’t be a chump and buy into that “ideology”, it is %100 rubbish.

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