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What's wrong with pre-marital sex?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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The Torah commands us to marry before we engage in sexual relations.
Sexual intercourse, when done properly, is a holy act. Marriage means inviting G-d into the relationship. Pre-marital sex reduces a holy act into a base, animalistic desire.


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Posted by: Anonymous, Los Angeles, CA on May 22, 2005

May you please post the pasuk [Ed. note: verse] which explicitly forbids pre-marital sex. Not because I disagree with the halachick validity of that statement but becuase I would like to be able to answer my friends correctly when they ask me why it is forbidden.

Editor's Comment

It is a prohibition which is inferred from a positive commandment. The Torah says (Deuteronomy 24:1), "If a man marries a woman and is intimate with her." This is the mitzvah of marrying a woman before living with her. Pre-marital sex is a violation of this mitzvah.

See also: "I can't find in the Torah a prohibition against pre-marital sex!"


awful logic on pre-marital sex

Posted by: David Margolis, Miami, FL on Sep 21, 2005

I've yet to hear a compelling reason from the Tanakh, or even the Talmud, as to why pre-marital sex is forbidden.

The logic that pre-marital sex is forbidden simply because marital sex is commanded is flawed. In formal logic that reasoning would be expressed as "If A, then B," where marital sex is commanded (and this is true), therefore "If NOT A, then NOT B," which is flawed reasoning. In logic, this flaw is called the fallacy of the inverse.

Consider another example. If an object is a rose, then it is a flower (If A, then B). That statement is true. But can we then say "Therefore, if an object is NOT a rose, then it is NOT a flower (If not A, then not B)"? Of course not!

I've heard some people quote Maimonides and other rabbis, but their particular interpretation is not the binding word of God.

I also realize God forbids promiscuity. So what's wrong with a monogamous couple engaging in pre-mairtal sex? Show me explicitly from the Tanakh or Talmud.

Editor's Comment

There is a Talmudic rule called a "lav haba miklal assay," which mean, "a prohibition which is inferred from a positive command." This means, that if, for example, there is a directive in the Torah for a High Priest to marry a virgin, that automatically includes a prohibition against marrying a non-virgin. (The difference between such a prohibition and an ordinary prohibition is only germane to the penalty incurred for transgressing the prohibition.) The same applies here -- if the Torah commands one to marry before engaging in sexual intercourse, this includes a prohibition against pre-marital sex.

Premarital Sex

Posted by: Matthew, Ottawa, On, Canada on Nov 02, 2006

Just in disagreement with the formal logic presented by David. I know about logic, and you are assuming that simply because it is said that maritial sex is a holy act, pre-marital sex is fine, it just isnt holy. this is wrong, for we do not hold other holy acts on a whimsical basis, such as marriage (although this is arguable in this day and age), or any other holy act, so you cannot simply take a holy act, take away the holy nature of it, and call it okay. another reason is that we are called to have not a trace of sexual immorality, meaning (amongst other things) no premarital sex.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.