There are probably many people, I don't know the percentages, who reject Christianity because they chaff at Christian sexual ethics. They find Christian sexual ethics too restrictive. Right now I'm not talking about homosexuality, but heterosexuality. In particular, premarital and extramarital sex.
They think that to be a Christian, you must practice sexual self-denial. And there's an important element of truth to that. But it's exaggerated. And ironically, there's a sense in which the opposite is more often the case.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that we temporarily bracket the issue of morality and just respond to them on their own grounds. Let's say your priority is to maximize your opportunities for sex. What's the most reliable strategy?
There are some men and women who have great sexual magnetism. For instance, Warren Beatty, in his heyday, was a notorious lady-killer. Apparently, few women ever turned him down. At least, the kind of women who moved in the same circles he did. And not just women in general, but beautiful women. And, of course, there are some women whom few men would refuse.
For a Warren Beatty, Christian sexual ethics would drastically curtail his sexual lifestyle. However, most men and women don't have that kind of sex appeal. Most men can't pick up a beautiful women whenever they please. Most men can't attract a new sexual partner every night. Same thing for most women. Most of us just aren't irresistible to the opposite sex.
For the average man or women, marriage, far from hampering their sexual opportunities, is the most reliable setting for them to have sexual relations on a regular basis. Marriage makes sexual opportunities available to them in a way that playing the field does not.
Even Warren Beatty eventually settled down and got married. Perhaps, as he began to age, he lost his magic touch.
Or consider the plight of Richard Carrier. He dumped his wife to be openly promiscuous. But what does he bring to the table? The charges of sexual harassment are hardly surprising. On the face of it, he doesn't have much to offer. If he waits for women to seek him out, it will be a long wait.
For the average man or woman, if you wish to maximize your opportunities for sex, marriage is your best bet. It is, of course, true that in a Christian marriage you must forgo extramarital liaisons that happen to present themselves unbidden. But unless you're a Warren Beatty, you don't have a reliable supply of one-night stands. Many nights you sleep alone.
Admittedly, that's a crass way of putting it, and I'm not suggesting that that's the ideal way to frame the issue, but right now I'm going head-to-head with people who think in those terms. Even on those terms, they have far more to gain, and little to lose, when it comes to Christian sexual ethics. Honestly, you're not someone who scores that often when you play the field. And as you age, opportunities dwindle.