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Maybe one or both of you achieved orgasm even though you didn't actually "have sex" as you define it.

Even there, however, God is clear that sex is uniquely for marriage: "Do not arouse or awaken love before it so desires (i.e., before it's appropriate — within marriage)." (Song 2:7) A blog comment or two emerging from the last column suggested a different interpretation of this verse and Song in general, but the orthodox interpretation of the book suggests both that an actual sexual relationship is part of what the narrative relays, and a context (at the time of the sexual part of the relationship) of marriage.

As a good initial principle here, we should affirm that sex itself (and sexual activity in general) is not inherently negative or sinful.

On the contrary, in the proper context, it is a kind and good gift of God.

Let's go through what I hope will become the usual drill here.

I will lay out what I view to be applicable biblical principles and passages on this topic, and then I and the editors will leave it to you to follow up with blog posts, comments and discussion.

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