Will I go to hell if I have sex before marriage?

Will I go to hell if I have sex before marriage?

Redemption is always available – no matter what we’ve done.


Hey there Heather,

If one DOES have sex before marriage, will they go to hell? Thanks!


Our Answer

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for writing and asking such an important question. First of all, let me say that God, and God alone, who, as we say in Mass “will judge the living and the dead” is the only one who decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. That being said, it is important to know that sex outside marriage is a serious sin (“thou shall not commit adultery” is in Exodus 20:14, and “fornicators… shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven” is in 1 Cor 6:9-10) because sex outside of marriage not only harms us, but also the people we love and those we date, often in ways we can’t immediately see.

However, no sin is ever too awful for Jesus to forgive; He can – and will – forgive us when we come to him with a sorrowful, repentant heart. He also calls us to stop participating in such sin (see “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more” in John 8:11). In the area of sexual sin, the incredible gift of starting over is given to those who seek forgiveness and commit the rest of their lives to living the virtue of chastity. Through starting over, one can be purified emotionally and spiritually through the grace of God. To discover more about this gift, read Secondary Virginity.

Catholics who have been involved in sexual sin should go to Confession; it is an incredible sacrament we receive in order to complete the healing process that begins when we confess our sins directly to God. We especially need this sacrament after serious sin, as it helps to remind us that we are not defined by our sins – rather, we are defined by what God says about us – we are His children and He loves us with unconditional love!

God wants to cleanse us from all of our sins so that we can become even more filled with His love and become the awesome people He created us to be. When we embrace Jesus, receive His forgiveness, and strive to live according to His teachings on a daily basis, we don’t need to worry about whether or not we are going to hell; rather, we should simply enjoy our ongoing relationship with God, which will last forever!

To find out about starting over, check out What is the Process for Starting Over?

Heather is married to the magnificent Michael and they have five fabulous children - Maria, Gabriel, Dominic, Teresa and Elisabeth. Heather worked for The REAP Team as a chastity educator for over seven years, after 8 years of volunteering. She co-authored a book and still gives presentations on love, relationships and St. John Paul the Great's Theology of the Body. Heather enjoys eating Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, painting and throwing dance parties in her living room.

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