Many Christians who signed abstinence pledges or wore purity rings as young people reach a crossroad as adults. They are faced with upholding Biblical principles against sex outside of marriage during an era when the average age of first marriage creeps toward 30. Celibacy may be even tougher for singles who have splashed around in the pool of fornication long before dedicating their lives to Christ. More are asking, “Am I really condemning my soul to eternal damnation by getting my freak on Saturday night and praising the Lord on Sunday morning?” As many as 80 percent of young unmarried Christians have had sex, according to Relevant, a magazine for Christians aged 18 to 30.
Even as they uphold abstinence as ideal, religious leaders can no longer ignore the elephant in the sanctuary. From a newsletter published by pastor Creflo Dollar: “There was a time when … marriage was honored and respected … and sexual relationships outside of marriage were certainly not accepted as the norm. However, times have changed … values have moved away from the standard of God’s Word because of selfishness.” Last year’s Jumping the Broom, produced by Bishop T.D. Jakes, opened with Paula Patton’s character regretting her decision to have casual sex the night before. The romcom portrays her finding true love and deciding with her fiancé to abstain until their wedding day. It was Jakes’ decision to include the morning-after scene, Patton told The Christian Post. “We make mistakes, but the goal is to become better [people].”
But finding a Christian man who is actually willing to wait may be easier onscreen. Single father John Fitzgerald, 29, acknowledges the difficulty in putting faith before flesh and has even ended relationships because of the woman’s decision to remain abstinent. “Yes, it’s wrong, [but] I’m still doing it,” he says. “It’s something I struggle with in my personal relationship with God. People say, ‘Don’t make sex such a big deal,’ but for a lot of people, it’s a deal breaker.”