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“Bible characters didn’t wait until marriage to have sex, why should we?” I was recently faced with that question by a guy who doesn’t like me much. As a girl with a solid opinion about sexual purity, I have a lot of non-fans out there, and they ask very tough questions. One blogger, who calls himself “The Scott”, is a little more eloquent and well-thought out than others. I respect a good debate. The Scott, once posted this: “Sexual Purity” is dead! He then went on to reveal a few “dirty facts” that the “Christian Right” will never tell you about premarital sex in the Bible. I guess they were meant to be stumpers, but they didn’t stump me. In my first blog written specifically for the college women I know, I’m going to address his inquiries. (And let it be noted that this Christian is going to address the “dirty facts.” In fact, I’d like to honor The Scott with inspiration for the name of my new blog: Dirty Secrets Cleaned Up: Unashamed Answers About Sex, Beauty and Girlhood!)

I realize that there are a lot of unanswered questions in Christian theology when it comes to sex. Could I suggest that most of them are a result of feasting more on the sexual content of the world, and failing to become Biblically literate! As we digest sexual messages in pop culture, we come to believe them as truth. But Truth can only be found in one place…and I’m happy to answer any “dirty facts” that tend to go unanswered, by looking at that source: the Bible. Here’s one of “The Scott’s” stumpers:

#1 The Lovers in the Song of Solomon first have sex in chapter 2 and then get married in chapter 3.

It’s a good point. It really is. It could even be argued that this fact debunks the oft-called myth that God means for sex to be reserved for marriage. Fortunately, I’ve just finished writing What Are You Waiting For: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex (January 2011), in which I addressed that very issue.  (Go to this link for a sneak peak.) The Ancient Jewish wedding culture did place the first sexual union just before the lengthy, sometimes week-long wedding feast. The first sexual union was literally the night before, and the young bride and groom were asked to bring out white sheets bloodied by the stretching or tearing of the virgin bride’s hymen as evidence that they’d actually consummated the marriage sexually. (The blood was said to be evidence that this was the first sexual encounter. More on that dirty secret in a later blog. It’s not as gross as you might think!) BUT, this sexual union was after much tradition and ceremony in the engagement period. The young couple was legally and morally bound to one another at the private betrothal ceremony that occurred usually in the home of the bride, but they then delayed sexual contact until the groom had adequately paid the full bride price and prepared a home for her. This may have been days, weeks, months or years! Our modern Christian culture honors the exclusivity of the sexual union by placing it just after a public wedding ceremony, which ends with a shorter wedding feast. I think I know why it’s short: The sexual union—if not already consummated— usually occurs within hours of the traditions that legally and morally bound them to one another. With a more informed view of the scripture, you find that the sexual expression portrayed in passages such as Song of Solomon was exceedingly more restrained, not less so. No doubt, the bright eyed Jewish guy and girl were doing the deed before the wedding feast, but they were no less married than I was after my wedding ceremony. My apologies go to The Scott for having to reveal that this dirty secret is already cleaned up! Come back next month when I take on dirty little secret #2.