Is premarital sex forbidden? If so, by which Commandment? What if you want to have premarital sex to make sure there is sexual compatibility before making the decision to marry?
Premarital sex is still prohibited by Torah law. See Lev. 15; 25 – 28 concerning a menstrual woman and her ritual status. As is fairly clear from this passage (and more explicit in the Talmud), sexual relations during this time are forbidden even with a woman’s husband, and are only permitted upon immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath).See also Deut. 23; 18 (and the commentary Rashi) which prohibits a person (man or woman) from engaging in casual sexual activity with multiple partners.
What is the purpose of intimacy of various kinds between men and women? Why was it created? I strongly believe that God gave us this gift to enable the creation of strong, healthy and productive families. If a husband and wife have managed to create an emotional bond, then the comprehensive happiness and unity of purpose that ensues will usually extend to their children. If children are raised in a truly harmonious and peaceful home, they will exude health and will probably follow their parents’ direction (either way though, in the real world, it’s going to be bumpy – there’s no room for heavenly bliss on this earth – that’s for the other place). This is an environment where God’s Torah can be properly and successfully transmitted.
But if that harmony is too badly damaged or was never achieved in the first place, things will come so much harder. Marriage, as everyone knows, is an institution under a lot of pressure these days. Who wants to lower his chances of having a successful marriage?
Pre-marital relationships weaken adult marriages. I strongly believe that it’s no coincidence that the statistical success rates for marriages accelerated their decline at the same time as social barriers preventing casual, pre- and extra-marital intimacy came down. You can’t separate the physical from the emotional as every relationship you create changes you significantly. A married couple must form a firm emotional bond, but if this relationship is only one more out of a whole line of relationships, their chances are poor.
It’s like Scotch Tape – it just doesn’t stick as well the second time, does it?
I hope this helps.
With my best regards,
Rabbi Boruch Clinton