Does “Body Count” Matter?

Hello, everyone. I’ve been struggling with how to phrase this, but I wanted to find out if, among my Christian peers, has a high “body count” prior to marriage mattered in your relationship. Honestly, I am both confused and saddened by society’s answer. I know that men see it as good to have slept with many women, but such promiscuity in a woman gives her a negative reputation. That’s a double standard, in my eyes.

I’ve seen many videos on YouTube about such things, and I don’t know what to make of it. Most of society tells us men to abandon women who have had many lovers. I feel like many of these videos are trying to present a macho attitude, but in the end, it just seems they are bashing women and feminism. I consider myself a feminist in that I support equal rights for women, but they just seem to want to rule over women.  So I don’t know what to believe.

I’m saving myself for marriage. But, honestly, I’m worried about it because I don’t have any experience, and I don’t want my marriage to end in infidelity.  I wish there were a sex author to answer my questions, like the woman who wrote “The Great Sex Rescue,” Shelia Wray Gregoire, or the woman from the Hot, Holy & Humorous podcast, J. Parker.

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39 replies
  1. PatientPassion says:

    I've not yet been in a relationship so I cannot speak from experience. However, I have considered this subject as I prepare for dating and marriage in the future, so I'll share my thoughts briefly. (I believe this all applies to both men and women, but I'll use "she" and "her" describing my hypothetical future wife since I'm a man.)

    First, I am quite strongly set on going to my wedding night as a virgin, and I deeply hope and pray my future wife is too. With that said, however, a woman not being a virgin is not a dealbreaker for me. It's by no means acceptable behavior, but it's unfortunately to be expected that anyone who was not raised Christian, but converted later, has lived in sin for a substantial portion of their life. And even life-long Christians still fall into sin, including sexual sin. (There's a debate about whether premarital sex is wrong, but without getting into the weeds, I hold the traditional view that sex is for marriage, and it's against God's design outside of that.)

    So, having a graceful mindset, I would agree to date and possibly marry a non-virgin. However, she must meet the same standards as any other woman to be a marriage candidate for me. Most importantly, she must be a true and committed Christian, having repented of her sin (in EVERY area of life) and trusted Christ as her savior. She must be active and growing in her knowledge of God and relationship with him. After that, we must align on all critical values, especially pertaining to family and children, but also lifestyle, careers and callings. If those things are in place, and I discern she has truly given her life to Christ, the "body count" as you put it does not matter.

    Jesus kept company with prostitutes and treated them with grace. That should be enough to show that any sexual sin can be forgiven, and any person can be made as pure as a virgin again by the blood of Christ. Taking that standard to the extreme, I could theoretically see myself marrying a former porn star who had performed sexual acts with potentially hundreds of people, then repented and given her life to Christ. Granted, that would have to be an extraordinary situation, but it illustrates the point.

    In summary: Even a "body count" of just 1 prior to marriage would be a red flag, but even a "body count" of 100 is not an automatic disqualification. It's not her past that matters, it's her present and future. Repentance and faith in Christ wipes out all the sin of the past. The only question that remains is whether she is now the kind of person who will be a trustworthy marriage partner. That takes wisdom and discernment, and a substantial track record of living a Christ-following life. That standard applies whether someone has slept with 0 or 10, but the farther you get from 0, the more reassurance you need to make a wise decision (namely, convincing and lasting evidence of a transformed heart).

  2. Waiting Hardly says:

    There can definitely be a double standard. In the Law, women were expected to be virgins so their family could get a higher bride price for her. There was no such requirement for the men. Since you mentioned a book, there is one that has been helpful for me, although I do disagree with some of his arguments about remarriage. It was “Sex in the Bible: The Untold Truth” by Evan Turner. (It’s still free in the e-book version)
    In the end, God designed our bodies to use masturbation to satisfy our own physical urges until marriage. Perhaps instead of a body count you can have a vibe count!

  3. RMD says:

    Tolu, that is a good question. First, the only good and right way is what God tells us. Coming to marriage as a virgin is not a deficiency, it is a blessing to you and to your future wife. She will have no fear of comparison to past lovers, and you will have no memories to haunt you. You can learn to make love together, and even if she has been with other men, what you and she have will be yours alone. There is nothing good about sin; it does not prepare you for marriage. But what of a woman who has been promiscuous? She is your sister in Christ as well as your wife. Never judge her; you have no idea of her past and what led her to that life. Never look down on her in self righteous pride. Cherish your future wife. Pray for her now, whoever she is, that God will protect her and make you both ready for each other. Are you worried about infidelity because you are not experienced? That is a large topic, but briefly, people use sex to get love, which is completely backwards. Love your wife, treasure her and make her life full of beauty and happiness. Do that and you will not have to worry, you can make up any shortfall you have in sexual knowledge by being vulnerable to your wife, asking her to show you what she likes and needs, and then doing those things. You can gain knowledge here on MH, and through Christian books and blog and podcasts, like the ones from the author of the book you mentioned. As for the double standard, you are right to a point, but I don’t see that as much as in past years. What I do see are many empty, broken people hoping to find love and an end to loneliness, but using the wrong way to do it. For you, do all God says about following him, and when you are married, about loving your wife. It is love and vulnerability that elevates sex into making love. Constantly create love with your wife, and whatever she had before you will be nothing.

  4. Salcpl says:

    If you marry the person God has chosen for you, lack of sexual experience will not matter. I would have preferred to have been a virgin marrying a virgin and we explore everything together. I believe that’s how God intends us to live.

  5. elventurist says:

    I can't really say that I have a direct answer for you, given my limited personal experience (though I do have theories). I would venture to say that the primary factor would be whether an individual is repentant for their promiscuity.

    I am curious, what constitutes "body count?" Is it any sexual contact/interaction? Does it include making out?…petting?…oral sex?… Or, is it simply penis-in-vagina intercourse?

    I completely agree with you on society's double standard. I view promiscuity the same regardless of gender and am not a fan, whether male or female.

  6. kdm1984 says:

    I hadn't been with any men until my husband. He's my one and only. He had been with a few women before me. I believe the ideal is for both men and women to abstain prior to marriage, but in our fallen world, of course that's not always possible. We must be forgiving of any past sins of our spouses, and move forward.

  7. SecondMarge says:

    I see no positives in a high body count. Not sure I still believe in saving it for the wedding night either. Then I have come to understand the Bible in a manner others may not agree with that does not conclude God wanted or expected us to wait. Nor do I think he makes decisions for us or pick partners for us. That much is very certain with the many divorces and bad marriages. One thing God did give you is the ability to make smart choices.

    • Frankie says:

      I am one of those who disagree with you. The Scriptures are clear. God wants and expects us to wait. The prohibition against fornication (any sex outside of marriage) is as clear as any instruction in scripture. It is true that God forgives sin—all sin, including fornication—but there are earthly ramifications none of which are good. I have never met anyone who regrets waiting until marriage.

    • SecondMarge says:

      No offense but that is like saying we should have the same laws for cars as we did for horse and carriages.

    • CrazyHappyLoved says:

      To me, it's like saying God is smarter than us and that people are people, no matter the time or culture. What the world sees as passe may still be the very best way to do things. But people don't like acknowledging that anyone could know better than themselves what is best for them. But I believe God does and always has. He sees the end from the beginning.

    • SecondMarge says:

      I give God far more credit. He knew mankind was like a small child crossing a dangerous intersection. He had parables written to hold their hand and cross safely. Now we are adults know what a crosswalk is, can read a walk/ Don’t Walk sign, have laws to protect pedestrians, police to enforce laws. People may be people, but the situation has changed immensely, just as God knew it would. God knew we would develop the medicine, laws, science to understand what people of 2000 years ago would have thought was evil. He held our hand until we grew up.

    • CrazyHappyLoved says:

      I can't look at the world today and see much evidence that humanity, as a whole, has "grown up." And these boundaries, signs, laws, and law keepers you mention have been in existence as long as society has. We aren't smarter or wiser just because we have different ones.

      Yet I agree that "The Law" was intended to be our instructor, and when Jesus came, we were supposed to be able to tell right from wrong based on the law of Love and led by the Holy Spirit within us. The rule was simplified, but that doesn't mean what *is* right and wrong, good (beneficial) and evil (doing harm), has changed. And ultimately, only the Creator of All has the authority to define right and wrong, not we with our changing mores.

      I believe you've said it something like this recently: If nobody is getting hurt, go for it. But often, our limited vision and scope of reference don't allow us to see the harm we are doing until long after the acts themselves. God, though, knows and has taught and warned us beforehand.

      I'm not for being legalistic; I agree with you that we aren't held to keeping the Law of the Old Testament for eternal life. But "all scripture" (and at the time of Paul's writing, that was just the OT) "is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." It still teaches us. I think you see that, too.

      "You must not pervert justice; you must not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the rich; you are to judge your neighbor fairly." "Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God's wrath." "Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God; for I am the LORD your God." Who would argue (except maybe with the second one…)? And Jesus summed this up in the Greatest Commandment: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      In the context of this post, then, are we loving God and our neighbor when we have sex before/outside marriage? Are we loving the person we have sex with? Their future spouse, in case it doesn't turn out to be us? The children that could be created (and perhaps destroyed) by our union, no matter the precautions taken? Are we putting others' potential best before our own desires?

      Just some food for thought from one who has made the mistake of living the "as long as it don't hurt nobody" paradigm and (hopefully) learned from it.

    • SecondMarge says:

      CHL there’s almost nothing in your reply I agree with but you certainly are entitled to your opinion. We will just agree to disagree. Otherwise we will only re-argue what mankind has debated for centuries and resulted in 100’s of differing beliefs under the umbrella of Christianity. I do find it interesting that you consider the greatest commandment one that many consider only included as part of the positive cal campaign to have Jesus win in the battle against dozens of others declaring themselves the Savior and son of God.

      Do unto others. The rule that covers everything of true importance.

    • CrazyHappyLoved says:

      Not me, Marge. Jesus himself answered the question "Which is the greatest commandment?" with those words.

      And I believe *everything* in the Bible is important or God wouldn't have brought it through time to us.

    • SecondMarge says:

      You believe he brought it through time to us when in reality mere men decided what is and isn’t in our Bible. I look through the words to the motivation behind them using the intellect God knew mankind would develop and realize what was once needed and why. And what no longer is relevant. Just like we no longer follow laws against our horse and buggies or more relevantly against oral, anal, mixed race, nudity, or same sex activity. It just takes some people longer to understand. Love each other and do no harm to yourself or others. That is what it’s all about.

  8. Sarge says:

    Like kdm1984, I’ve only been with my spouse, and she was able to say the same. It’s always annoyed me that men are studs when they’ve bedded many women. Yet a woman is a slut if she beds a lot of men.
    The actress Tina Fey has only been with one man, and they’re very happily married. You do not, DO NOT need to have had sex before marriage to be a good lover. It’s a matter of learning each other and what works for you both. In fact, it’s a whole lot of fun getting to know what’s Meh, fair, good, really good, or mind-blowing. My wife and I both decided that anal sex was not going to be part of our sex life together, and she was tentative about oral sex, but I’ll tell you what, she was amazing at it, and loved having me eat her out. I miss that.
    Take your time, there is a lifetime left to enjoy sex with your future spouse, but until then, learn your self-pleasure.

    • SecondMarge says:

      Which shows everyone is different and you should never let anyone tell you waiting is wrong or that not waiting is bad. Neither decision is likely to have a significant impact on your life or how much you will enjoy sex. Having to be married to have sex is like the Pope telling Catholics not to use the pill. No one is listening. Like any other decisions in life weigh the positives and negatives on either side and make the choice is is right for your life. For any example of a happy Tina Fey that waited there are 10 that didn’t wait and glad they didn’t. Simply because very tiny percentage of people wait.

      I make these comments without intent to influence decisions just to put some reality and information out there to help.

    • MarriageHeat says:

      MH does believe it is Biblical to wait, it is best to wait, and a blessing to have waited. That said, many of us haven't, and it would be foolish to throw in the towel on ever having a committed, fulfilling, and exciting marriage if you didn't wait. As previously stated by many, repentance and forgiveness are key.

    • Fearless Lunk says:

      I have some bad news, saying abstinence before marriage is “Biblical” is just a short-cut with very little weight behind it. We must strive to handle the Word correctly, and that includes not building life-doctrine off of random verses or oddly-interpreted words (like “fornication”). This is the same kind of doctrinal practice that slave-owners would use to spiritually oppress their servants. There are more pro-Polygamy verses in the Bible than there are anti-Premarital-Sex verses. So I’m not a fan of saying “___ is Biblical” as a mic drop moment. Can this conversation be uncomfortable? Yes. But it’s valuable. I know the Bible well, and I cannot say I’ve found definitive and conclusive verses that sex before marriage is Universally sinful. In fact many scholars believe Song of Solomon has premarital sex (and we all know Solomon slept with hundreds of women).

    • MarriageHeat says:

      Saying that waiting until you are married to have intercourse is "Biblical" means only that the guidance given to us in God's word is to do so. And, yes, that guidance is given in reference to the woman—but only a man could take a woman's virginity, so to do so was to sin against (do wrong to) that woman's father and future husband and shame her, and there were penalties for it. Today, with consensual sex prevalent if not the norm, there are still negative consequences to sexual relations before marriage, not the least of which is the heartbreak of having given oneself to another who is not committed for life. Nor did we "drop the mic", just stated that the purpose of *this site* is to encourage men and women to only have sex—and lots of hot, passionate sex—with their own spouse.

    • Fearless Lunk says:

      Thanks for sharing more. I’m just so tired of hearing “XYZ is Biblical” – about any topic. I personally believe in saving sex for marriage. I was told my whole life that it was the “godly/Biblical” way to live. Now I think that is poor teaching. It’s such a slippery slope. We can’t say one Biblical reference is “prescriptive” (or as you put it “guidance” – and say that other parts of that same issue are just cultural). In other words, if you are not willing to use your 12- or 13-year-old virgin daughter to establish an arranged marriage and have her sex life begin at that young age, then maybe you're not “parenting Biblically.” Arranged marriage and betrothal before age 14 was common and very much a part of the verses about preserving virginity. The idea of a 24-year-old single woman remaining a virgin and dating men to choose a spouse… that didn’t even exist in the first century. So to use those verses about adolescent virginity and say it’s “guidance” for all modern relationships is a stretch.

      Now, to be clear, I love hot monogamous sex in marriage. I don’t want MH to change (other than maybe reconsidering the use of the word “Biblical” – LOL). I had a talk with my 16-yr-old son about saving sex for marriage earlier this year. I said, “I need to level with you. The Bible isn’t totally clear on this issue. Some issues of sexuality in the Bible are very cultural. But I can tell you that waiting until marriage is the healthiest and wisest decision for you — even just from a biological and psychological perspective.”

    • CrazyHappyLoved says:

      The way I look at it is this: If God made a rule for the Hebrews to do something a certain way, I believe he had a good reason for it. God said the daughters among his people should be virgins until they marry. Some will say it was because of the financial rights of the father and the right of the husband to know that his heir was of his own progeny… and that those are social issues with which we need not concern ourselves in this day and age.

      But Paul teaches in 2 Timothy that "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work."

      I firmly believe that the Prime Directive of the entire Word of God can be summed up in one word: Love. Jesus said it thus: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself. Is it loving to have sex with someone that I have not committed myself to for life? To accept from someone a gift that they can never then give to the one who will love them that way? Is it loving to myself to cheapen the sexual experience by spreading myself around? (I did, and their low value of me—that I wasn't worthy of commitment, not worth marrying—lowered my value in my own estimation.)

      So even if the "value" of the bride price isn't an issue anymore, self-worth is. For my daughters, I want them to know they are worth waiting for and committing to. For my son, I want him to protect the worth of any girl he has an interest in, even if she's not the one his heart desires. And for all three, I hope they get to first experience the sheer beauty of the sexual union with a spouse who loves them second only to the Lord.

    • SecondMarge says:

      Some wise comments by MH. I think we left the time a woman’s virginity had an effect on her value to her father and future husband. Even the Royal family has dropped the inspection of the woman a future prince was to marry. Strange we don’t insist the future kings were virgins. MH can promote better sex in marriage to strengthen marriage without the archaic idea of having to take the vows as a virgin. Women like me who entered our first marriage untouched are as extinct as the dinosaur and I for one think we are better off.

  9. MarriedtoaHotBabe says:

    There's definitely a double standard. I would never use the term "body count," but I did have many lovers before my wife. My feelings on all of that are very complicated.

    • SecondMarge says:

      There still exists the acceptable concept that men need to taste all the fruit before deciding on the sweetest or sow their wild oats, while a woman should just cross her legs and resist or not have desires like a man does.

  10. Chloe says:

    Frankie: "I am one of those who disagree with you. The Scriptures are clear. God wants and expects us to wait. The prohibition against fornication (any sex outside of marriage) is as clear as any instruction in scripture."

    Agree 100%! God's Word is very clear: sex is reserved for the marriage bed. The Bible is also clear that homosexuality is sin as well. The Bible is also clear that there are only two genders. Faith says "Amen" to what God says. Faith says, "Thus saith the Lord."

    • Fearless Lunk says:

      But here’s the problem, it’s not a proper handling of scripture to just say “the Bible is clear…” without any study of the context or original intent of those statements. Otherwise, “the Bible is clear” about the following: • women must have a head covering when entering a place of worship, • teens/adults are not allowed to date, their family chooses their spouse, • you are not allowed to eat shrimp (fried, raw, or scampi), • no buying fast food on the Sabbath – or even groceries… “thus sayeth the Lord.” Do you see how saying "the Bible is clear" is just picking certain verses and principles to personally elevate while other Biblical rules (see list above) are discounted as not "applying to me", or maybe those were just cultural? There ARE certain principles that I think are universal (Love your neighbor, Forgive others, Show grace, Be humble, Seek first the Kingdom, etc). How, when, and where people orgasm is not a key value of Jesus or scripture in general.

    • SecondMarge says:

      Fearless Lunk, I think you make excellent points. We are quick to dismiss some things in the Bible as no longer relevant but decide others can not be subjected to the same rational examination as to if it should still apply.

      Why? God gave us the ability to seek to understand why God wanted us to do or not do certain things. When you do that, almost all sexual restrictions fail as no longer needed.

    • CrazyHappyLoved says:

      But Marge, the Bible tells us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways higher than our ways. We can't always understand all the reasons why God wants us to do or not do a thing. And I shouldn't need to understand "why" to obey; when it comes from the Creator of the Universe and the Lover of my soul, "Because I said so," is enough.

    • SecondMarge says:

      CrazyHappy, with due respect, my friend, there are dozens of things the Bible instructed us to do or not do that we all reject as no longer his will. To think we are to live our lives as people did thousands of years ago does not pass any test.

  11. naturalman says:

    Marriageheat's comment (I can't reply directly to it in the thread) raises an interesting question:

    "And, yes, that guidance is given in reference to the woman—but only a man could take a woman's virginity, so to do so was to sin against (do wrong to) that woman's father and future husband and shame her, and there were penalties for it."

    If only a man can take a woman's virginity, then Biblically speaking it would seem impossible for two women to have "sex" as defined by the Law… what are the implications of that for f/f conduct? Not advocating. Just putting the question out there.

  12. O-man says:

    Equal rights? Double Standards? We are not the same. We look alike and are of the same "species" but basically our minds (hearts) do not function the same way.

    The society you rightly accuse of double standards is the same one that has women not only preferring men that have sexual experience but preach against it.

    Why is it that when feminists preach for equality with men, it rarely ever is for the 'priviledge' to do godly things? Why is the struggle ever so often for the 'freedom' to be immoral?

    Body count matters both ways. Even the women programmed to want experienced men, after they have driven men to go get experience, come to a place where they wish they could go back in time and undo that wrong.

    To both genders I can boldly say this: the fewer the sexual partners we have in this life before and after marriage, the better our lives can be. Peace and soundness of mind with an undivided, firmly founded heart is a luxury we all should enjoy but many throw away by wanton choices.

  13. Honeymooners says:

    God created sex for marriage. We were both virgins on our wedding day. We're still learning together as husband and wife. Body count sounds like a race and cheapens sex as just a toy you play with then move on to the next one. We must treat sex as something special for a special person whom we share marriage with.

  14. donald-g-wong says:

    The reason there is a double standard is because men and women respond differently to invitations of a sexual nature. A study done by the Florida State University called the Russell Clark experiment had some male and female student volunteers proposition other students of the opposite sex that were complete strangers asking only one of 3 questions per person propositioned: "Would you go out tonight'?", "Will you come over to my apartment?" or "Would you go to bed with me?". The volunteers were judged to be close to an 8 on a one to 10 scale physical attractiveness scale.

    The results showed that while 50% of both men and women only asked to go on a date agreed. Only 6% of women only invited to go to the male volunteers apartment agreed and 0% of the women only invited to have sex with the male volunteer agreed. While 69% of men only invited to go to the female volunteers apartment agreed to go to the apartment and 75% of the men only invited to have sex by the female volunteer agreed.

    The study shows that it's extremely easy for women to get a man to have sex with her while men have to put in a lot of effort to convince a woman to have sex with him. Someone I watch on YouTube commented on a story from a woman who said that she had sex with more than 400 men and woman by the time she was 28 as a cocktail waitress (not a porn star).

    Marriage, at its root, is a committed, exclusive, sexual relationship and if it's so easy for women to have sex outside of marriage how can I believe that she would value sex with me if she's been casual about who she had sex with before I met her?

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