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Is Sex Before Marriage A Sin?

Submitted by 22 Comments

Dear Rabbi Singer,

I joined JDate in late October and got a few dates out of it. I then met a guy who traveled from far away to meet me. He would call and text, and after the first date he contacted me to let me know he enjoyed the date. We went on to date for a few weeks, but then out of nowhere he stopped answering the phone.

My question is this: he wanted to make love to me and I asked if it is acceptable or considered a “sin” (he is an Orthodox Jew). He told me that Judaism does not talk against it, saying that if both people are single, it is ok. I am not sure I trust him about it. Yes, we did it and I think it may be the reason he perhaps broke up with me?

I would really like to know if it is ok to have sex without being married… if we are both single and not in the baby productive age any more.

Please let me know,

Confused Dater

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Confused Dater,

According to Jewish law, sex outside of marriage is not permitted, period. Now that we got that out of the way, let me address your issue.

The fact that this man is Orthodox doesn’t mean that everything he does is in accordance with Jewish law. People are people. They don’t always do what they should be doing. As one wise rabbi once said, “Don’t judge Judaism by the Jews.”

In my opinion the reason he broke up with you had nothing to do with the sex. I’m guessing his intention from day one was to have sex with you, not to enter into a committed relationship with you. Once he accomplished his goal, he had no desire to be in a relationship with you, so he disappeared. Or maybe he was just really messed up. It doesn’t really matter anymore.

Don’t torture yourself by over-thinking this unfortunate situation. You did nothing wrong. Move on to find a man who shares your desire to be in a relationship and is on the same page as you regarding sex.

As a side note, I believe most Orthodox men and women who are looking for serious relationships want a partner who is either Orthodox, or wants to become Orthodox. If you don’t want to be Orthodox, you shouldn’t date an Orthodox partner. From my experience, it doesn’t usually end well.

Wishing you much Mazal in your search for love,

Arnie

Rabbi Arnie Singer offers dating and relationship advice on both of his sites: Jcoach.com and ItoIdo.com. He is the author of From I to I Do: How to Meet, Date and Marry Your Mr. Right.
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22 Comments »

  • Jeff Varga says:

    My goal is to set believers (Messianic and Non-Messianic) free from FALSE GUILT caused by well intended individuals inventing COUNTERFEIT SINS.
    This is the most detailed answer you will ever read that the idea of PRE-MARITAL SEX as a sin does NOT exist in the Bible. There are not even rules that require a ceremony, a minister nor a written agreement to establish marriage, certainly not a requirement for any government to issue a license. Pastors and Preachers will NEVER teach this to you, because it would cause the congregation to divide and their salary to dry up. It would also cause loan payments to the bank for the church building to go into default.

    It’s too long to post here- the blog will not allow it. But I guarantee if you read it you’ll be astonished and won’t be disappointed by the peace it will bring.

    Please read here:
    http://counterfeitsin.tumblr.com/post/54067457887/if-all-lust-is-a-sin-stop-looking-at-your-wife

  • janice says:

    hi i dont mean to offend anyones values and maybe i dont understand all this because im a
    christian girl and i would call a lot of jewish beliefs old testament beliefs which i think are very pure and true so much so that i called my son joshua but if we were to listen to everything holy men said from long ago we would be, still stoning people in the street and thats clearly very
    wrong to me just had to say that when i seen it as a reference there from someones comment i had an iranian friend who was not muslim who came accross a public stoning in his country and suffered bad nightmares ever since! not to mention the poor women who died this way i dont care what
    she did stoning is just pure brutal!

  • Plainly said..... says:

    If you want to have sex, then you should also want to get married to the person and your not allowed to leave the person.Those are the rules. PERIOD.

    And if a man entice a virgin that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
    - Shemot 22:15

    This whole trying to rationalize your way into making it “Fine” in your own minds is nothing but trying to twist the values of Torah to your own LUSTS.

    The fact remains: Just because the society we live in has become perverse doesn’t mean that the values of Torah is now all of the sudden outdated or “ancient” or needs to be re-interpreted, the values remain the same, its just these generations that has become increasingly evil. No matter how hard it is for you to swallow, American values is not Jewish values.

    These are the Jewish values regarding pre-marital sex:

    If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.
    - Devarim 22:28-29

    If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and lay wanton charges against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say: ‘I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity’; … if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; hen they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought a wanton deed in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.
    - Devarim 22:13,20-21, Tanakh

  • Margaret Moyar says:

    I was studying a website call Judaism 101. Im trying to learn about the Torah. I came across where it talk about marriage and sex. It says that it is recommended to have sex before the marriage to see if two partners are compatable. But I don’t get it if sex before marriage is a sin…hmmm lots of questions. Now I have been married and divorced I have always had sex with my boyfriends I am currently legally married to a man that I haven’t seen in 9 years because he is not a U.S. citizen and he has remarried and had other children with someone else in his country. I did by the way try to get him his citizenship to try to salvage the marriage but he chose not to go through with it. I have no means of communication so I have finally drawn up a one signature divorce to sent to the judge that married us. I am now in a relationship with a man and we had sex on the second date and I got pregnant not even knowing I could have more children. I have had the child I am still with him but he tells me that he does not believe in love or marriage. I feel stuck. And very perturbed and feeling a bit unworthy. I have made up my mind not to have sex anymore with this man because he has turned very cold and bitter towards me and thinks he is above everyone when the man has nothing and is 46 yrs old. What should I do? Do I repent of my past sins coming this Yom Kippur and hope that G-d forgives my adultress past and hopes in one day I will find my soul mate? And why does it say on the website on Judaism 101 that it is recommended to have sex once before the marriage? And the other question is that I am confused while studying Judaism is that it says you can be married in three ways. Money, Deed, or Sexual intercourse. Does that mean all three have to be performed? Or you or married by any of these acts? Thanks sorry for so much confusion but I want to learn.

  • Charles says:

    Oy! Ladies and gentlemen! Sex outside of marriage is sin, absolutely!

    What does the Torah say?

    And if a man entice a virgin that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely pay a dowry for her to be his wife.
    - Shemot (Exodus) 22:15, JPS Tanakh

    If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and lay wanton charges against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say: ‘I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity’; … if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; hen they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought a wanton deed in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.
    - Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:13,20-21, JPS Tanakh

    If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; he may not put her away all his days.
    - Devarim (Deuteronomy) 22:28-29, JPS Tanakh

  • Man says:

    Sin or not…
    As a man, I would not marry a woman unless I slept with her!
    How can you commit to a lifelong relationship without knowing that one of the most important aspects of the relationship works for both of you?

  • Kayleigh says:

    Fornication is sin.

  • justme&notyou says:

    Its been a few years since someone has made a public declaration such as Rabbi Singer has without any sources. In the past this has been done by the Prophets, but only a couple of hundred years ago there was an individual that did this too, named Shabti Tsvi. He said he was the messiah and everyone must listen to him as his ways were right and everyone else was wrong. He also did not show any sources for any of his declarations. Perhaps Rabbi Singer is a follower of Shabti Tsvi? Oh, at the end of Shabti Tsvi’s life he converted to becoming a Moslem.

    There are a great many Orthodox sages that have written extensively on this subject, and one of the greats from about 300 years ago and is respected by most every Orthodox Rabbi Is Rav Yonatan Eybeschutz. He even wrote a “document of partnership” for couples that were not married. This in itself shows that it is not so cut and dry as we may see. He also wrote extensively on Hilchot Pelegish (or laws for a Girlfriend). I could write name of so many Sages, but alas, my fingers have gotten tired.

  • amelia says:

    yeah, I think sex before marriage is a sin

  • ben says:

    I think the rabbi is wrong, he should clarify and make a distinction between virgins ( any ) and divorced.

    For those who are virgins, it applies.

    But for those divorced its a different story and as they are more mature and for sure have more experience. To that group of people their is free choice, because the situation is very different.

    Once you get older u loose your innocence and therefore it is much harder to find your mate. So u might as well enjoy dating and experience the whole relationship thing from a to z and hoping that while doing so u simply stay in the relation cause u feel good.

    thats my 2cents opinion ;)

  • Confused dater says:

    Ok, if sex before marriage is a sin, I take it but I need some references where to find in in Torah. It cannot be sin and no sin in the same time. Depends who is answering the question. The real question is – where is the truth and how do we know it is the truth. I was told that Torah does not talk about this issue, so is it a rabbinical no, no or does it really come from the commands of G-d? Where is the real truth? This is what I am looking for.

  • AunaMary says:

    I believe sex before marriage is beautiful and needed
    i believe in getting close to the other sex always,sex

    I dont believe in staying alone anymore for religion or any other
    reason, i have been alone for eight years becuase of old believes,
    i am now reaching out to men, i want to have some sex and beautiful
    friendships on spirituality,honesty and no secrets.

    802-881-7810
    802-497-2028
    Burlingyon vt

  • sarah says:

    If sex before marriage is a sin then just about everybody is sinning. God made us with our five human senses and senuality and sexuality is a strong part of us. God created us that way for the purpose of procreation. Stories of physcial attraction have been around for centuries, such as Ruth and Boaz, Jacob and Racheal, Samson and Delilah, Queen ester . In ancient stories, it looks as though man wasn’t even monagamous, such as King Soloman. I believe using people as objects is a sin. Non concentual sex is sinful.Mulitple partners is sinful, and child offending is sinful. But true love which leads to physical intimacty is not sinful> It depends on the motivations of the heart and only God can be the judge of that. That is my opinion.

  • Stephanie says:

    Well, my answer may not be popular… Some will say it’s controversial, but as a Jewish woman who truly wants to please G-d and honor Him, I am saving sex for marriage. Whether or not some ancient forefathers had sex within concubines is beside the point; sin and disobedience has been around since the Garden of Eden! It doesn’t change the fact that G-d desires for sexual intimacy to be saved for after the chuppah!!! We are to become “one flesh” after the “I do’s” are said. Please don’t “shoot the messenger”(me!)….this is written in Scripture. If we are Jews desiring Jewish partners, then perhaps we can also permit the Almighty Creator to guide the values within our relationships. Believe me; He will reward our efforts to please Him. I, for one, have met a wonderful man who respects celibacy outside the realm of marriage – and we both find one another incredibly attractive. Is “saving ourselves” easy? No, not at all. However, have we seen blessings come as a result of maintaining our purity? Without a doubt. We love and respect each other and yes! We are seriously contemplating marriage.
    Thanks for allowing me to share. For the sake of my and my partner’s valued privacy, I choose to remain anonymous. HaShem knows who I am !!!!!

  • Pesach says:

    To answer the question directly , it is a sin, hopefully not a grave sin although it could be. There are other sins in this world though the fact that there are many sins out there does not justify the act of sinning. There are different types of sins out there as well with different levels of magnitude and different consequences, cause and effect. May hash#m forgive the iniquity.

  • Pesach says:

    It’s hard to survive without sex. If you were to deny yourself sex, ie. via the safest means available to you, which could mean with a safe partner who has the right microbial balance. It could mean going to a massage parlor. It could mean masturbation. You share tongues with someone you will soon spit like they do although your venom can return and be as strong as there’s. A man has a need to be fulfilled, it cannot be void, if the man tries to go days while hungry for sex, although it might make him more attractive as he’s in heat, his mind cannot stay rationale. Think of male dogs that roam the street astray. While it is important to acknowledge the mind and give it power over our bodily needs, our mind should tell us that we cannot deny our body with the power of our mind. Sperm is on the constant factory of production so to speak. A male could probably pollinate a million females. How would you make a male plant not pollinate, while it is in vegetation, the male plant has no pollen, (in dichotomous plants , that is to say plants with seperate male and female sexes). A male plant could have it’s pollen stored for years, this is possibly something that should be looked at as a mitzvah is this idea of simply storying pollen for artificial insemination. There is the concept of love though and a loving partner though that could possibly settle the other aspects of the various openings in the body and make the men more complete. For example the heart opening when felt more complete gives the chest a sense of feeling more complete. This strong healthy full chest sensation can only be felt with the connection. The degree at which the strength of connection and strength of all relation is based on the strong connection that you have with your partner and the common ground that you share. If the ground is such that it is at different potentials than this could lead to great energy drops when the grounds are connected together causing further complications in the circuit. Sex is important but it’s not the same thing as marriage and the purer one can remain the better. Marriage, love is much more than sex but sex is an important and essential aspect of marriage. You will not have proper fulfillment unless you really find the right partner and it is shameful to dirt yourself for that proper partner, the lower the degree the better. Also, with strong love ties, a more sensible approach can be applied to the male dog who wonders the streets desperately looking for his female counterpart to complete his mission. Nevertheless, we need to rise up from the idea of being nothing more than neanderthals who live in caves and are savage animalistic beasts and to come up with a strategy that is better than being some lunatic like sex humper (either by engaging with multiple partners or by simply being amongst people they could hump and try to somehow pettily entertain the idea with possible indications aside from face gestures and body language to suggest some of this success or not), wanker, etc..

  • Sarah says:

    When a man picks you up for a date, meet in down stairs in your lobby, at your front door, of in front of your house. Do not let him in your place unless YOU are ready to have sex with him. Why, because his is ready to have sex and once he gets into your place he will want to get into your pants. So, to protect the safety of your pants, don’t let him into your place. Think of this scenario, would you let him go through your purse? If the answer is ‘no’, then you are not ready to let him go through your pants. Remember you have many purses, but you have only one
    ‘in your pants’. If you value it, so will he,if you give it away without regard for its value, it will be regarded as valueless. Does this sound old fashioned? Yes, it does, but so is romance. It goes back to Adam and Eve, and if you want to be treated like his ‘only’ woman,act like it.
    You have the power don’t give it away, until he is worthy of you.

    One final thought, if you have one date or a few dates and he does not call you, you feel disappointed. Right??? Think how much more disappointed you will be if he did not call you, after you have had sex with him, before you were ready to have sex and he was worthy of you. So hold out, hold on and hold onto your pants. It will be worth the effort,it will be wait,and it will be worth your worthiness.

  • Schadenfreudian says:

    Well-said, Claudia.

  • Ginger says:

    No, I do not agree with Rabbi Singer. I do know of a non-Orthodox Jewish woman who spent a lot of time frequenting the Jewish singles events of NYC and went on very few dates. Then she went on a Jewish dating site and an Orthodox man contacted her. They are now married with children. This would never have happened if she had simply rejected him because his profile said Orthodox.

  • Claudia Hexter says:

    It is a mitzvah to preserve life. A healthy sexual relationship is good for both partners, I mean
    physically good because it keeps the mind and body active. I guarantee, before the laws were codified
    and when we were still nomads wandering in the desert, if two, aging adults were attracted to each
    other, I dare say that there was not a Rabbi standing outside the tent the morning after their€£¥ or
    whatever wagging his finger at them. Instead, if there was a witness to their good times, he or she
    would have said: kol Hakavod!

  • G4 says:

    Arnie,
    Are you saying that people not in the normal child bearing/rearing years commit a sin if they make love together? If you are, does it make sense to you? g4

  • max says:

    OK, forget about being Jewish, or not Jewish, Orthodox, or not…. the real question is: sex in general. On the first, second or third date… or anytime… and/or whether it has to be when you’re in an “exclusive” and committed relationship.

    I met someone here who said he wanted marriage and kids and he was divorced with two already. Same age, educational background, etc.

    He came to pick me up for our movie, we ended up talking so much (at my apt. – I live in NYC) and we never left. Instead we ditched movie and ordered takeout. I told him that b/c I had a small place I wanted him to know that just b/c my bed was close by (studio) there’d be no sex until committed relationship. Anyhow, we groped and kissed and had a fun time… all clothes stayed on… no oral sex or regular sex… and he left, saying he’d call me the next day and never did.

    What gives?
    Confused #2

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