Most people agree that the Bible is pretty clear that sex outside of marriage is a spiritual no-no, but according to some reports, as many as 80 percent of young unmarried Christians are doing it anyway. A piece that originally appeared in the May issue of Ebony magazine takes a look at how people who are unmarried but not so young anymore are balancing their faith with real-world temptations.
Spoiler: It involves plenty of talk about sin, but not a whole lot of abstinence.
Yolanda Jordan* remembers the moment she decided to have sex for the first time. She was 27, fresh out of grad school, in a committed relationship — and horny. She was also raised in the Baptist church and had taken a vow of abstinence. “I was curious,” says Jordan, now 34, a graphic designer in Columbus, Ohio. “My mind was telling me one thing, my body another. I was grown [and] longing to be touched. I am not perfect; I struggle with sin. I strive to live a righteous life. Just because I have a Bible on my nightstand and condoms in the drawer doesn’t mean I love God any less or that He doesn’t love me.” …
“The Bible is clear that you should not have sex outside of marriage, but that is not the reality of what’s going on,” says Sophia Nelson, award-winning author of Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama (BenBella Books). She cites the finding that more than 50 percent of single, churchgoing women admit to having sex. With U.S. Census data showing that nearly 40 percent of Black women do not marry until age 35 and more than 45 percent of African-Americans older than 14 have never been married, Black Christians face a long road of chastity.
The shoulder of that road is cluttered with breakdowns and those who have run out of gas: Almost three quarters of Black children are born out of wedlock. “It is unrealistic in the 21st century to expect celibacy until marriage. We live in a sexualized society and [during] a time [when] people marry much later,” says Nelson. She points to a double standard among Christian men — who face little judgment for indulging in pleasure and promiscuity — as a reason some sisters “pray for a husband,” but find themselves over 40, celibate and bitter.
Read more at Ebony.