When growing up in a sexually uptight Protestant culture, children are typically told that sex is for when you are married to your spouse of the opposite sex and to have sex before marriage is wrong. The idea of saving it for that special someone is romanticized and if you don’t do that you are going to really miss out on something special. The white dress on the wedding day can actually mean what it has traditionally meant. This sort of thing was told to me as a kid and I remember really clinging to it into my late teens. I can clearly remember one of my mom’s early sex talks with me basically just as “wait till you’re married”, and I think it was mostly out of fear of teen pregnancy she of course did not want to deal with.
I’m not passing judgment on the people that are waiting or did wait until marriage, but it was not right for me and I think it generally does go against human nature. Not accounting for asexuals, the human race is very much driven by sexual desires. That of course comes from our instinct to reproduce and it just plain feels good. If god did design people, why would he have sex feel so good but only allowed under a particular circumstance involving a ceremony? I don’t really see too much of a difference between people having sex before or after a wedding, only difference I can see is a ceremony and piece of paper. When people who are not married have sex, I don’t see how they could be doing anything inherently wrong because as long as they are practicing safe consensual sex they are not hurting themselves or anyone else. Fundamentalist Christians may answer that by saying they are at least hurting themselves spiritually and possibly mentally, and to that I say the spiritual thing just means it doesn’t match up with what the bible says and you can find plenty of sexually active mentally healthy single people, gay and straight.
The idea that people have to be married to have sex can be very detrimental because it can drive people to get married at a very young age because they don’t want to wait much longer. Their impatience can led them to rushing into a commitment with a spouse that is not right for them. In some instances, those rushed marriages can turn into domestic abuse cases. I don’t blame them for their impatience, it’s hard to deny one’s desire to have sex, but they wouldn’t have had to rush into marriage if they were comfortable and knowledgeable about the idea of safe sex. There is also a portion of those who are told to wait until marriage that don’t end up waiting but are far less likely to use condoms or other forms of birth control than those who are taught a more well rounded sex education.
Personally, I dropped the idea of no sex before marriage after I realized the only argument people had for it was it was what god wanted and that it was somehow more special. I didn’t have proof of the Christian god so I didn’t see how what he wanted mattered, and being awkward and uncomfortable on my wedding night didn’t sound that special to me. At first the Protestant guilt was a little hard to shake, but I’m very happy I did and did not turn out sexually repressed.