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I'll be the first to admit that I grew up in a Norman Rockwell painting-you know, basic middle America brimming with traditional family values, but all that aside, I've come to see myself as sophisticated and in tune with today as the next guy. But to be totally honest with you, some recent trends are alarming me.
The demographers are starting to analyze the 2000 census data and are reporting some of the trends they are discovering. On May 14, 2001, the Washington Post reported that the number of cohabitating unmarried couples rose by 72 percent over the past decade from 3.19 million to 5.47 million. Commenting on the trend, Andrew J. Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociology professor said, "The central place of marriage in our family system is eroding." (Http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26160-2001May14.html)
Are we on the lower end of a slippery slope that began decades ago? Will the day come when traditional values will no longer include marriage as the accepted context for sex? Has that day already arrived?
The Bible teaches a clear standard for sex-the only acceptable context for sex is marriage.
Hebrews 13:4 says, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (NASB) Forget about the scarlet letter, or other people judging you if you are a fornicator (one who has sex before marriage) or an adulterer (one who has extra marital sex) God, will judge you.
Why? What we do with our bodies is personal to God. He considers our body His temple. 1 Cor. 6:18-20 says, " "Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (NASB)
Another reason is the only context where sex can really be safe is in a monogamous relationship. In his book, Boy Meets Girl, Joshua Harris wrote about a missionary who gave in to sexual temptation before he was married. "He was a virgin in his thirties and two months away from getting married. One night, inflamed by lust and tired of resisting temptation, he made his way to the red-light district of the city and the bed of a prostitute. Only once. Just fifteen minutes in a dark, dingy room--a moment of indulgence in years of work for God. But he left infected with AIDS. Two months later he unwittingly infected the bride who had waited so patiently for him."
-Boy Meets Girl, Joshua Harris p. 147
Not only does God restrict sex to the context of marriage, but it makes
it a priority in the marriage relationship. " Now for the matters you wrote
about: It is good for a man not to marry.  But since there is so much
immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise
the wife to her husband.  The wife's body does not belong to her alone
but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong
to him alone but also to his wife.  Do not deprive each other except
by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to
prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because
of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians