If you are seriously looking for Patristic sources, there are a few. But, you can't look for them under 'pre-marital sex,' but rather under 'virginity.' Remember, the terminology of the ancients is different.
Here are a few sources:
St. Gregory of Nyssa
St. Augustine of Hippo
St. Ambrose of Milan
There is a book on the topic by St. John Chrysostom, but it is not available for free:
As you review these sources, you will see that the saints bewailed the loss of virginity outside marriage, and even St. Paul recommended abstinence if such a gift is given.
Thank you. I read these writings prayerfully, with an open heart and mind. I have haven't found where any of them "bewail the loss of virginity outside marriage" as you say they do. What part of which source do you find does that?
As far as I can tell, they are simply expounding on the benefits of virginity for those who choose it (or, rather, for those who are gifted to be able to choose it). Nonetheless, marriage is also wonderful for those gifted to enjoy it. As St. Ambrose says in ch. 6 of the source you gave, "I am not indeed discouraging marriage, but am enlarging upon the benefits of virginity."
Those who choose to pursue marriage have not sinned, rather they are enjoying a gift given to them. And from what I can read in Scripture, the loss of virginity that comes with choosing marriage can occur even before the "ceremony" of a wedding. Look at the Song of Solomon. The couple share's a bed in that book before the actual wedding, while they are courting. As to these particular writings, I have found no passages that say such sex in courtship is sin.
If you can provide particular passages that actually say sex before marriage is a sin I will reconsider my opinion.
Pre-marital sex is the loss of virginity, first and foremost. No Fathers recommend it, especially outside marriage.
No Fathers that I've seen recommend that couples wait until after the wedding ceremony either. In fact, in Song of Solomon, the only book of the Bible dedicated entirely to the relationship between a man and a woman, the virginity happened to be lost in the courtship phase of the "marriage" (before a wedding). I'm simply claiming that is okay; that was not a "sin" on the couple's part. You're telling me such behavior is sin. The fact that whoever taught you Christianity told you so may be enough for you to believe it. That's not the case with me. I've already been burned by relying on such things in my Baptist past. From now on I rely on Scripture and the witness of the early Fathers for my Christian beliefs. And I have yet to find your beliefs about the sinfulness of sex during courtship in either of those places.
Misrepresenting virginity was so important in the Old Testament is was punishable by death:
"If any man takes a wife, and goes in to her, and then spurns her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings an evil name upon her, saying, `I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her the tokens of virginity,' then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the tokens of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate; and the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, `I gave my daughter to this man to wife, and he spurns her; and lo, he has made shameful charges against her, saying, "I did not find in your daughter the tokens of virginity." And yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him; and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought an evil name upon a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. But if the thing is true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has wrought folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house; so you shall purge the evil from the midst of you. (Deuteronomy 22:13-22
Her 'harlotry' was merely not being a virgin at marriage.
I think you get where this is going, yes?
Non-virgins who were honest about their status were not killed. The punished woman was killed for misrepresenting her virginity. Her harlotry was lying about her sexual status in order to gain a husband. She was taking advantage of a man's sexual desires for her own gain no in much the same way a prostitute does.
I know you think I'm a "troll" because I disagree with you. That's fine. You don't know me nor my heart; I know I'm not a troll. And in fact, I would say it is much more "troll-ish" to cite duet. 22 as support for the belief that sex in courtship is a sin. The passage very obviously relates only to women who lied about being virgins. No woman was ever killed or proscribed to be killed in the Old Testament for having sex before marriage. They were only killed if they lied about it in order to gain a husband.
The closest the Old Testament comes to prohibiting sex before marriage is the command that a man must pay the father of a virgin he sleeps with her before marriage. However, that passage is in the context of restitution. It is in Exodus 22, and the passages before it are all about restitution. In fact, the verse right before it says someone who borrows an animal that is then injured must pay the animal's owner. The father deserved to be paid for his daughter's virginity: that was the custom then. Granted, the man also had to marry the woman if the father wished for it. However, the running assumption under the same code was that he could divorce her the next day if he wanted to.
The short of it is this: In Scripture, I see promiscuity and an "orgy" lifestyle forbidden (romans 13:13). However, I don't see premarital sex ever forbidden when it is in the context of courtship. In fact, in the Song it is celebrated. Therefore, I've come to the conclusion that your beliefs about sex in courtship are based on traditions found neither in Scripture nor in the early Fathers.
Sex is dangerous. It is also wonderful. That is why young people must be taught the proper balance. Teaching courting couples to abstain from the enjoyment of sexuality during courtship puts their marital sex-life at risk in the same way that teaching them not to talk during courtship would put their marital emotional-life at risk. Just as there are couples that get along well emotionally and others that don't, there are couples that get along well sexually and others that don't. The time to figure such things out is before sealing the relationship forever. That is the model in the Song of Solomon, and that model is never condemned in Scripture or the Father's as far as I can tell.
Plus it just plain makes sense. My first marriage was destroyed in part by the false doctrine that sexual pleasure must be abstained from during courtship. My ex wife and I did not even so much as look at one another sexually until after marriage. We then found out that we were never able to enjoy sex together. We simply did not find one another attractive sexually in any way. We tried for four years. Since being divorced, we have found others that we can and do enjoy sexuality with.
That is four years I cannot get back. On top of that, how many years were wasted prior to my first marriage! I spent my first 26 years being "pure", casting aside relationships simply because she wanted to be intimate before the wedding. Any number of them could've ended up being as wonderful as the Song of Solomon.
I can not be a part of a Christian church that would teach my children that which has caused me so much pain, and, potentially, destroy so much of their lives and relationships. But even more importantly, no early Father and no passage of Christian Scripture teaches what you're telling me, so I don't want my children to be taught it either.
False traditions teaching people to abstain from this or that when God never said so plagued Judaism and have long plagued Christianity. I know orthodox priests that teach young people to even abstain from dating! They think marriages should be arranged. Sorry... if it isn't in Scripture and isn't in the early Father's... I"m not buying it.
Call me a troll if you want.