Ahh... back to this wonderful, non-volatile, subject!
Being one of the immoral people that is being discussed (actually I'd go a lot further than merely pre-marital sex... but my hole is big enough already here!), I think I'll throw my 2 cents in here. First, so you know where I'm coming from, here's a bit of background info on the non-believer in your midst. My wife and I have been happily married for 4 1/2 years. We have two daughters. We were both virgins when we got married in our early 20's. That's not to say that we were all pure and all that, but only that we've tried to walk that "right path" before and I'm familiar with it--both it's advantages, and it's pitfalls.
You could warn them about sexually transmitted diseases. Some of those diseases lead to death. Human papilloma virus can lead to cervical cancer in women.
I know this is gonna sound strange, but there is also a lifestyle which paralyzes you, and prevents you from really living. This is, in essence, a living death (think Shaun of the Dead
). Acting like a hedon can be a lot of fun... and as you point out it can also be dangerous. The same can be said of Christianity, it can be of benefit to you... and it can also be to your detriment. If you allow it to bind you up so much that you suffocate yourself, then the positives get lost pretty quickly. My point is, it is not simply a black and white issue-- be Christian, don't do that unChristian X. Almost anything
can be harmful if taken too far, or done in a grossly incorrect or distorted way, or done way too often.
My best girlfriend wanted my opinion when she decided to move in with her boyfriend. I warned her that her boyfriend wouldn't be willing to buy the cow if he could get the milk for free. I was right. She had a heck of a time convincing him to marry her after they had been living together for two years. She came to me again for advice and I told her to tell him that they were either going to get married or she would kick him out. At least the second time she took my advice and it worked.
One might wonder why she would stay with someone who would not "buy the cow when he was getting the milk for free". That doesn't sound like a very good foundation for a lasting marriage... someone who's apparently unwilling to commit unless pressured into it. Rather than blaming circumstances that people have put themselves in, or blaming sexuality generally, why not look more to the root of the problem? ...the actual people involved. Both
of them, the enabler, and the non-commiter?
There are also now studies that show the psychological damage done to women who sleep with men. A counselor at UCLA wrote a book describing the negative effects of recreational sex on college women. She listed eating disorders, depression, diseases (HPV), and cutting as some of the problems associated with having sex without commitment.
As opposed to... married women (including Orthodox ones), who flee to abuse shelters, seek divorces in large numbers, etc.? Perhaps we should go back to the days when men could freely "correct" their wives, with no fear of punishment, so long as he didn't "correct" her to the point of permanent injury? Or maybe we could return to the time when a woman had little choice other than to stay with a man, regardless of how he was treating her? This stuff wasn't isolated to Protestant and Catholic countries. If you're just arguing that people should have sex with Harry, Sally, and Bob that comes along, well I certainly agree. However, I think we're getting better as time passes.
I might also add that I've read about studies (though I can't recall where it was) that said that people who have sexual relations before marriage have no higher divorce rates than people wait until marriage. True, you might get someone who doesn't want to "buy the cow when he was getting the milk for free". What you'll also get--in almost every case--is an up close and personal look at someone. It's easy to be on, so to speak, when you see someone for 2, 4, or maybe at most 10 hours a day. But when you have to live with them... when you see them almost all day, every day, you get a much clearer picture of who they are. More importantly, you get a much clearer picture of whether you are compatible with that person on a day-to-day basis. The day-to-day shacking-up-in-sin method is much more informative and substantial than the info you can get using the more conservative courtship/dating don't-go-south-of-the-equator method.
Our bodies were not designed for unlimited sexual liaisons with mulitple partners.
Well, sure. Our bodies were not designed for unlimited... anything
. But I think it'd be hard to deny--on a scientific basis, anyway--that our bodies (especially males) were designed to have multiple partners over the course of our lives. If you want to say that the fall caused this, then... er... well ok, that's your call. What I find most important is that people follow their own nature, and not let themselves be trapped in a lifestyle that hurts them. That can cut both ways, not just into the hedonism...