Is oral sex before marriage ok?
When people want to justify a behavior that deep down inside themselves they know they shouldn't do, they will redefine terms that cast their actions into a better light. I've noticed in recent years that people, young people especially, are making the definition of sex more specific so that what they are engaged in doesn't fall under condemnation. Most people have at least heard that sex before marriage is sinful, so they state that foreplay (heavy petting) is not really sex. Surveys now show that many teenagers are convinced that oral sex is not really sex, even though the word appears in the phrase. Even President Clinton tried to avoid the charge of engaging in sex with an intern by stating that sex didn't take place. If the evidence presented is to be believed, he engaged in oral sex, but since it wasn't vaginal intercourse and it was done to him and he claims he didn't do it to her, therefore, in his mind, it wasn't sex.
To address this question, let us first establish that in the Bible God states that sex is reserved only for married couples. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). The phrase "the bed" is very similar in Greek as it is in English. It can refer to actual sleeping arrangements, but it can also refer to sexual intercourse because it also takes place in bed. Even today, people will say "they slept together" when the fact is that sleeping wasn't the activity they were engaged in doing. The Greek word is koite and literally means the place for lying down to sleep, but it can be used as a figure of speech for sexual intercourse. For example, in Romans 9:10 says, "And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac." The word "conceived" is the same Greek word koite.
The word "adulterers" in Hebrews 13:4 comes from the Greek word moichos. It refers to a person who has broken the marriage bond by engaging in sexual activity, either with a person married to someone else or, being married, with someone who is not his spouse. Think about this for a moment: if you were married to a man and discovered that he was engaged in oral sex with another woman, would you think nothing of it or would you be upset that he was unfaithful to you? Even in today's society, I think the vast majority of people understand that oral sex in these cases would be adultery.
The word "fornicators" in Hebrews 13:4 comes from the Greek word pornos. In classical Greek, it referred to a person using the services of a prostitute, but by the time of the New Testament, its meaning broadens to refer to anyone engaged in sexual activity outside the realm of marriage.
Thus, Hebrews 13:4 says that sexual acts in marriage are proper but sexual acts between people who are not married as husband and wife are condemned.
Let me be frank, "sex," as we are using the word, are those actions that generally lead to orgasm, and for males the release of semen. It does not have to be restricted to a man's penis entering a woman's vagina. Oral sex and anal sex are still acts of sex.
Oral sex has become popular among the unmarried because there little chance for pregnancy and, therefore, little evidence that improper behavior was being done. (I should warn that pregnancy is not impossible when engaging in oral sex; however, for it to occur the semen released by the man must be physically moved to the woman's vagina. The odds are low, but not impossible.) You might as well argue that intercourse is not really sex so long as a condom is being used -- a foolish argument, indeed. Pregnancy or the chance of pregnancy does not define whether sex has taken place.
What most teenagers don't understand is that oral sex does not decrease the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Most of these diseases are spread by extended skin-to-skin contact and by the exchange of bodily fluids. Saliva does contain bacteria and viruses. A man with syphilis can put the bacteria in a woman's vagina just as easily with his tongue as with his penis. Since the skin in the vagina and the skin on the penis is very thin and contains numerous blood vessels just below the surface, diseases are easily transmitted whenever the penis or the vagina is in contact with another person or another person's bodily fluids. Oral sex can be just as dangerous as vaginal sex as far as disease is concerned. Thus the warning about adultery in Proverbs includes adultery committed by oral sex, "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away" (Proverbs 6:22-23).
Under Old Testament law, uncovering a person's nakedness was frequently used as a euphemism for engaging in sexual activity. For example, see Leviticus 18:6-19. I believe this more general "picture" is used because most sexual acts involve access to intimate areas of the body. The laws in Leviticus against incest are described as uncovering a person's nakedness to emphasize that God doesn't just mean a man inserting his penis into a woman's vagina. Oral sex involves exposing the genitals to another person. It would be included as uncovering a person's nakedness. "Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers ..." (Ezekiel 16:36).
Finally, there is the matter of lust. Lust is generally defined as a strong desire, especially a strong desire for something that is sinful. Oral sex arouses all the passionate desire for sex, but sex with a person to whom you are not married is a sin. To strongly desire (to lust) for the body of a person you are not committed to in marriage is fornication or adultery. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Jesus is saying that there is no real difference between lusting to commit a sin and actually doing the act. The results of both are equally sinful. Speaking of the wickedness of false teachers, Peter states, "They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls" (II Peter 2:13-14). Oral sex easily matches this description. "Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves" (Romans 1:24).
There is an answer to a previous question that I would like you to examine because it takes your question a step further: "Is foreplay wrong if it doesn't lead to sex?"