Did you have sex before marriage? Either with your husband or someone else? Or maybe several someone elses?
Welcome to the majority. Statistics show that 97% of Americans have sex before marriage. In highly religious groups, that number goes down to 80%, which is quite a difference. However, that’s still 4 out of 5 devoted Christians who didn’t wait until the ring was on the finger, the I Dos were spoken, the deal was sealed.
Waiting for sex until marriage is God’s design and desire, but the reality is that many of us didn’t achieve that goal. And if messing up was the end of our hope, not a single person could make it to Heaven. Rather, there is forgiveness, redemption, and clean slates through the saving work of Jesus on the cross.
But a reader recently emailed me saying that he hadn’t gotten the sense that my premarital promiscuous past came with any real consequences for me or my marriage: “I came to the conclusion that your premarital ‘adventures’ had not affected you at all.”
Wow. If I have left that impression, let me correct it right now. I have not talked about all the specific consequences of my past, poor choices — my sin — because some are quite personal and painful. But having sex before marriage remains my greatest regret.
I do not carry the guilt of my sin, because through the blood of Jesus, I have been washed, sanctified, and justified through Christ and the Spirit (1 Corinthians 9:11). Still, if I could do anything in my life over again, that would be it.
Many wives feel similarly about their past promiscuity. They hate the choices they made, they ache over the consequences, they wish they could go back and do it differently.
Some of that emotional baggage follows them into marriage, like dragging an invisible suitcase filled with heavy heartache. But when these wives try to talk to their husbands about the issue, their feelings are sometimes batted away with “That was so long ago” or “I don’t care about those guys; you’re with me now” or “Why are you dwelling on the past?” The husband doesn’t really understand why the issue still impacts her view of her sexuality and her openness in the marriage bed.
But it does.
For many wives.
So why do you feel worse than he does about premarital sex? Why is easier for him to move on from his past? Why doesn’t he understand what you’re going through?
Apparently, there’s a gender gap in sexual regret.Apparently, there's a gender gap in sexual regret. Click To Tweet
Looking specifically at teen sex, one study cited that 72% of girls who engaged in sexual intercourse wished they’d waited. That’s nearly three-fourths of young ladies who regret the sexual choice they made. But what is the percentage for teen boys? 55%. While still a majority of guys, that’s a substantial drop.
What about adults? The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Texas at Austin together interviewed 853 Norwegians and 466 Americans. They wanted to know if religiosity influenced sexual regret after casual sex, with Norwegians representing far less attachment to religion than Americans professed. They didn’t find much difference on the religiosity scales (although I could argue with what they defined as “religiosity”), but they discovered an interesting outcome that women experienced far more sexual regret than men.
Then there’s the National Marriage Project, which surveyed a thousand single Americans and then studied them for five years. Among the 418 who got married during that time, 23% who only had sex with their spouse prior to marriage reported higher quality marriages than those who had additional sexual partners in their past. Even more revealing was that the more sexual partners a woman had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be. But the researchers didn’t find the same thing about men.
So are our husbands all too happy to collect sexual partners before marriage with no regrets at all? No, I don’t think that’s true.
Plenty of husbands also say they wish they’d waited for their wives. But they don’t always carry residual regret the same way.
I suspect that’s more about how men target their focus and compartmentalize events. Many husbands don’t feel their prior mistakes or sins have a bearing on how they feel about their wives. Simply put, they’re often better at putting the past behind them with a that was then, this is now attitude.
That’s a great thing when you consider that husbands are not comparing their wives to other women from their past. They’ve flipped that page and moved on.
Now I’m not at all trying to diminish the weight of sin. Because that is what our poor choices were. But I am saying that there’s a gender gap in sexual regret likely based on gender differences in our brains.
But that doesn’t solve this disconnect — that she continues to carry baggage from her promiscuous past and he doesn’t fully understand. What can a wife (and husband) do?
Admit your sin.
The first step in clearing your state is being honest about your failings. That may sound like I’m encouraging you to dwell in the past, but nothing could be further from the truth. Admitting our sin is simply a first step. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That’s a big if there at the beginning, one we’d be well-advised to heed.
Embrace His forgiveness.
I was recently asked if there was an aha moment for me in my marriage — that moment when I let go of my past baggage (as awful as it was) and embraced a different future for my marriage. For me, it was finally, fully understanding this passage:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Ah, the beauty of that past tense. The sexually immoral is what I was, but I also was washed, sanctified, and justified in Christ Jesus. Believe it, cling to it, embrace His forgiveness.
Identify your baggage.
Be honest about what messages and concerns you’ve brought into your marriage based on your past. Much of what we think about ourselves, our husbands, and our sexuality can be tainted by our prior sexual experiences. What errors in thinking and behavior have you adopted based on your previous sexual choices and how you were treated by those other men?
To replace your erroneous thinking with God’s truth about sexual intimacy in marriage, you need to know where you’ve bought into lies. Here’s a common lie: That you don’t deserve full pleasure and intimacy in the marriage bed because you screwed up before. Not true. You are in a married wife now, pursuing God’s plan for sexual intimacy, and He longs to bless you and your husband.
Share your struggle.
Your husband doesn’t have to fully understand, and he may have a different way of looking at past promiscuity. But explain your own thoughts and feelings as best you can. You might also want to use a line I once used with my husband when he told me, for the millionth time, not to worry about something: “I literally have no idea what that looks like.” I went on to explain that while he can shove something in a mental box and tuck it away, I cannot. It’s just not how the female brain typically works. If your husband can begin to understand, you can enlist his help to push through your sexual regret and enjoy the full blessings of a healthy marriage bed on the other side.
Husbands: Support her journey.
All of my other tips are for the wives, but this one is for you men reading. Research has shown that women struggle more with this, so please recognize it’s not some flaw in your wife that she can’t quickly and easily let go of the past. If you want to really help your wife, don’t belittle her feelings, dismiss her struggle, or shut down conversation. Rather, reassure and comfort her, help her embrace a new perspective, and make sexual intimacy a beautiful experience for her too. Just be her Barnabas; that is, her encourager as she journeys toward a healthy and holy view of sex in your marriage.
Do sex God’s way.
For a while after I embraced God’s design of sex, I still struggled. I ruminated about my sinful past, carried personal labels like slut in my mind, and felt a fair dose of heartache from time to time. But over time, my husband and I logged so many positive, one-flesh sexual experiences that those outweighed everything that came before. The scales tipped, and “sex” in my mind became equated with this holier and deeper version of sexual intimacy. In some ways, “just do it” is good advice. And by it, I don’t mean sex itself, but sex God’s way.
Have you struggled with your premarital promiscuous past? How have you embraced God’s way instead?
WaitingTillMarriage.com – 4 Cool Statistics About Abstinence in the USA; Statistic Brain – Abstinence Statistics; PubMed.gov – Trends in premarital sex in the United States, 1954-2003; Verily – Sex Regret Isn’t about Religious Guilt as Much as Biological Instincts, New Research Shows; Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Teen Attitudes Toward Sex; The National Marriage Project – Before I Do; Verily – Regret Is Not the Same as Slut-Shaming
53 thoughts on “Why You Feel Worse Than He Does about the Premarital Sex”
I am so grateful that I have pretty much no past to speak of and my husband has some but little. We talked enough of our pasts before we were married to acknowledge together that what’s in the past helped us get to where we are today, and God not only redeems but makes new. (We were open with each other, but I had no need to hear specifics and he told me what was on his heart but not too much or so much that I ever even think about it now.)
I love your thoughts on this, J, and so appreciate what you’ve written here, especially the Bible verses you used. I know you can’t put in all the ones you like, but this is one that has been an encouragement to me:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
For me, childhood sexual abuse (statutory) led to a several year long mutual relationship with my abuser. Thankfully, the Lord saved me out of that relationship (I was already a believer) and He has graciously led me a wonderful, godly and supportive man who is now my husband.
It’s been decades, but I still have dreams and flashbacks and regrets. Like you, I know it’s behind me, that it does not define me, that the blood of Christ covered it, *but*, it’s still ‘there’ for me.
My husband and I have an amazing sex life, although there have been many hard things we’ve had to go through to get us here. I wish I had a “switch” to turn off the pain of my past, but I don’t. However, it has been worth every effort to work through it, and get as far beyond it as I can.
Many blessings to you and your family, J, and all that you do for our marriages.
Oh my, Gracie! I’m so saddened you were taken advantage of in your past, but truly glad that you have moved past it. I pray that God continues to heal all of your broken places. Many blessings to you and your husband!
Gracie, I can totally relate. Those “flashbacks” are very discouraging. I even find myself reliving them in dreams. It’s awful. I find my past sneaking up on me every now and then too, especially when I think I’ve managed to bury it and burn it. Unfortunately, I now know that throughout life these memories (because they made such an impact) will continue to pop up occasionally. However, like you, I have a very supportive and loving husband and our intimacy – sexual and emotional – is the most wonderful thing. I’m glad to hear that other women are fighting the same battles I am, and that we are overcoming because of Jesus Christ and His merciful grace. Praying God’s continued blessing on your marriage!
Thank you, Aleisha! I’m sorry that you went through similar things.
I am thankful to know that you and your husband are experiencing close intimacy in your marriage!
Know that I am praying for you, too!
As far as men and baggage go, they probably seem less affected from past experiences because men are generally self-centered when it comes to sex. Sex is usually a mechanical act done in the guise of love. Women, as you know, are generally more relational, desiring to “make love.” Unfortunately, even most married Christian men continue in this self-centered approach to sex. I assume this is why the frequent admonition in the Bible is for husbands to love their wives. That said, thanks for sharing your feelings and helpful perspective.
This struck me as a very pessimistic view of husbands: “Sex is usually a mechanical act done in the guise of love.” Particularly when you say that most Christian men continue in this way. I agree that some do, but I wouldn’t say a majority. I believe God made men to desire intimacy and that Love of Your Life as well. But yes, the admonition in the Bible may also serve to ensure that husbands aim for the design God desires.
The reference was to men having sex outside of marriage. As for married Christian men, the continuance of man-centered sex is usually done in ignorance. Nevertheless it is widespread. The Church has focused primarily on teaching wives to submit in all areas, sex included, rather than point to a problem with husbands. Your teaching ministry fills a very critical void.
Thanks for clarifying.
Isaac didn’t get a licence or have a ceremony before desiring then “Loving”Rebecca. By God’s design the two became one without being “Politically correct”. It’s the so called entertainment that did away with “Common law .marriages” and pios churches agreed. Sure. get the license to “Qualify” for her name change and “Legal” class as wife, have an “Official” Church ceremony and reception. Just acknowledge the moment of “Marriage” in Gods eyes when the “Two became One”.
It’s not just for political correctness that we have ceremonies. There are several references to weddings in the Bible: Genesis 29:21-22 (Jacob), Song of Songs 3:11 (Solomon), Matthew 22 (parable of the wedding feast), John 2:1-11 (wedding at Cana that Jesus attended), Revelation 19:6-9 (marriage supper of the Lamb). Yes, the engagement and ceremonies were quite different in biblical times, but they didn’t just slide into marriage with no public recognition of their union. Marriage occurs before God, but with His people as witnesses as well.
Sure wasn’t much time between Isaac seeing Rebecca then taking her to his mothers tent.
@Dale & Gale – Among the Jews marriage was a covenant, and there is no covenant without a public ceremony. The expectations in the Bible don’t mean it’s okay any more than Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and having sex with him are okay. Sometimes the Bible is strictly narrative without telling us something was wrong. If we should already know it was wrong, we may just get the story.
Thanks, Paul. Very true.
I’m sure you mean Israelites since the term “Jews” term isn’t in the scriptures til Babalonian captivity of the Southern Kindom 609 BC and doesn’t include the Northern Kingdom. of the majority of Israelites.
Oustanding post, J!
Let me suggest one other reason women feel worse about premarital sex. The men wanted to have the sex, while women are far more likely to go along or do it because they think it’s what they have to do to get a husband or just to get another date. For him it’s desired sex, for her it’s often self-coerced. That’s a big difference, and it’s going to come back to bite her.
^^ This! Or just plain not knowing how to say no or even realizing that was an option. Maybe that sounds strange, but about 90% of my sexual activities prior to marriage were pushed on me and I felt like I needed to go along. While I do regret not standing up for myself and listening to my gut that said stop, I oddly found it easier to forgive myself and move forward when I finally was able to say, “I did not want that sexual attention. It was not ‘all my fault'” as I had been telling myself it was until then. I had been carrying guilt that wasn’t necessarily mine to carry.
Or they were very interested and sexually aroused only to end up with … THAT WAS IT? I comprised my beliefs for that?
Premarital sex is a mixed bag of goods and it affects men and women differently.
It causes people to know a small part of a person while masking the true whole self.
The purpose of the relationship is skewed toward orgasm not real love and growth in a relationship.It can be the source of diseases some fatal or produce prodigy too early in a relationship . If you have dodged these bullets consider how blessed you are and from now on live with an attitude of gratefulness.
Our society tends to convey the message that, “getting lucky” adds an intrinsic value to a male’s masculinity. Where as, there is no such thing as “getting lucky” for a female and her first time actually takes away from her female identity as she has always known it…..she loses her virginity.
Guys gain value.
Girls lose value.
I’ve felt that way too.
Jolie, true. One reason for that is that it is a challenge for a guy to “get lucky”. Women are generally less interested in sex, and are also less eager to “give it up” even when they are interested in sex. It is no easy feat for a guy to “get lucky”. Thus it truly is an accomplishment for a guy to “get lucky”. That’s one reason it adds value to a male’s masculinity.
Yes, I think that’s one reason is may feel like it adds value to a male’s masculinity. But objectively, truthfully, it doesn’t. To me, the manliest men are the ones who respect both themselves and the women they date and who treat sexual intimacy like the beautiful gift it’s intended to be in marriage.
I agree J! My estimation of a man/boy plummeted if he tried to talk me into having sex with him (The one who resorted to calling me a prude because I told him I was not going to have sex until marriage really looked very pathetic in my eyes). I was always most impressed with the manly men who respected me and themselves enough to be as concerned about protecting my virginity (and their own) as I was : and I married one of those tremendously awesome guys!
Oh, right, I take back my last sentence. What I really wanted to stress was the difference between men and women. We say guys “get lucky” when they have sex because they really do get lucky! They have to usually form the relationship with the woman, they have to grow on the woman enough so she wants to have sex with him, and then she has to be willing to have sex with him given all her reservations and/or morals against doing so. Women don’t generally “get lucky” because there is often no luck involved. It is usually much easier for them to get sex.
I do though want to comment about your belief that men that save themselves are the manliest of men. You have that right to believe that, and I see why you believe that, but I also think it’s akin to saying that the most feminine of women are those who NEVER gossip. There are likely very few of these women, and to put them on a pedestal for this is leaving out many women who have incredible fortitude and yet still succumb to gossiping every now and then.
I disagree. There are some women who put value on men who were not promiscuous before marriage. However, I happened to marry a woman who put no value on me whatsoever, and I was in a sexless marriage for 28 years, the first 22 by definition, and the last 6 totally sexless. When my W told me that I was a horrible husband, all of her friends had better husbands, and she could easily find a better husband, I was very much insulted. And when she told me that I had to be happy and fulfilled in a marriage which never included sex, I decided to end the marriage.
So I did things God’s way and ended up losing the vast majority of my sex life. And if you are wondering, I prayed for God to MAKE ME the best husband I could be for 25 years in hopes that someday the abuse would stop. It never did.
My point is this. Even if a man does things God’s way, it is possible that he might marry a woman who puts no value on him whatsoever. That is my situation.
I know I am a downer, but it is very hard not to be bitter about this. I know Heaven will be better.
My husband has helped me heal from a lot of my past sexual promiscuity. In my case, I did it because, through sexual abuse as a teenager, I learned the lie that sex was what I was good for. The “Purity culture” of the 90’s taught me that once my virginity was gone, even if it was without my consent, I was now impure, dirty, damaged goods, and that was that. I figured once that was the case, I couldn’t go back, I may as well go forward full speed ahead. I got told by the men I was with in my twenties that I was very good sexually speaking. . That made it easy to buy the lie that being sexually good summed up my worth as a woman. Totally wrong, of course, though it took meeting my husband to know that, to see the truth. I came to realize shortly before my marriage that Jesus had washed me clean of those past sins, and, next to Jesus, my husband had in the human sense, by showing me what I was actually worth: a worth not based on sex. I chose to wear a white dress for my wedding. A friend of mine told me she was surprised by that, because of course the white in a wedding dress symbolizes the “bride’s purity,” a nice way of saying the bride’s virginity. In my twenties I had given up on the idea of ever wearing a white dress, if indeed I ever married, because of my sexually promiscuous past. In the end, I very deliberately wore that color because in my case, it symbolized that through Jesus’s blood, and my husban’ds love, I was a new woman, cleansed of what had gone before, and I could wear that white proudly.
AMEN. And my dress was white too. (Well, off-white, but still.)
I am so happy that you found a man who showed you how valuable you are!
My wife had one (that I know of) sexual indiscretion before we married but was a virgin on our wedding day. Her and I did have one hat night of heavy petting a few months before we married but we realized we wanted to wait.
I don’t have a wife who feels the ongoing remorse other wives do. No. My issue is different.
You said, “That’s a great thing when you consider that husbands are not comparing their wives to other women from their past. They’ve flipped that page and moved on.”
My issue is my wife won’t let MY past be in the past. She believes I compare her and her “sexual skills” to other women. I’ve never been able to convince her otherwise.
Thing is, like you, not being a virgin for her is also my biggest life regret. Our wedding night was perfect. I wish I could have given her the same gift she gave me. But, alas, the past cannot be changed.
So I’m wondering if her concerns about based entirely on her worries about the past or her own insecurities about herself? Or are there ways you might have communicated appearance or “sexual skills” are particularly important to you? If this is a sensitive area for a wife, the husband should take particular care to keep his eyes focused on her and to reassure her of her sensuality. But then she also has to decide to believe it.
I regret my husband’s sexual history a lot, but only because of our current sexual relationship. I know to a degree how he approached sex before me — he’s mentioned all kinds of different sexual positions, going away to B&Bs with girlfriends for romantic weekend, even little things like bringing condoms on trips. He has done zero of that with me — he wouldn’t even buy condoms (when I couldn’t take hormonal birth control, he didn’t want to have sex without a prophylactic, but refused to buy condoms himself; I finally did after asking him about it for two weeks, and then I bought the replacement box when that ran out).
It makes it really hard for me to process his sexual history with other women when it is so very different than his experiences with me, and it definitely has affected my perceptions of his feelings about me. It also has changed my perception of myself. I apparently didn’t have the experiences with purity culture that a lot of people did, but I did stay a virgin until I was married, and I thought that would be meaningful, if that’s the right word? Like I would be valued by my husband for it? And for sex to be so totally rejected and dismissed by my husband, I honestly cannot imagine why I bothered waiting. (Aside from the obvious sin aspect. I’m talking about in moments when I’m not thinking of sin and redemption.) Virginity had no value (and no reward), and I feel like sex now has no value.
It’s like going to a party that you were really looking forward to and then finding out they forgot they invited you and didn’t really care that you showed up.
I’m really sorry for your situation and I will pray for you. It makes me so sad when I hear about men who ignore theire wife’s. It’s really hard to understand that. While I read what you were saying I started to think about a blogpost from Jay Dee on uncovering intimacy, [in which] he answers a question froma women who said that there husband who was raised as a catholic didn’t think he could enjoy his wife sexually. He had said: “wife is for love and other women are for sex.” Maybe this doesn’t apply to your situation at all and if it doesn’t just ignore all this but could it be that he feels like those other girls just were for sex and now that he is married you are just “for love” if you know what I mean. Here’s a qoute from the post that got me thinking: “Men with this mindset are said to have a “Madonna – Whore complex”. That is, that they are sexually attracted to women who have been degraded and made into a sexual object, but they can’t love them. And so, it becomes impossible to have a wife whom you both love and are sexually attracted to.” Even if he had girlfriends before they were “whores” for him but you are a “madonna” for him and that’s why he doesn’t want to do any of those things. As I said these are just thoughts and maybe these don’t apply to your situation but I hope It can help: I will pray for you!
I have heard that about specific sexual activities that are too tied to previous promiscuity, strip clubs, or porn for men. But I have to say that it would be rather unfair not to do kind things for your wife in the bedroom because of a bad past. I have to wonder if something else is going on (in fact, I suspect it is). But thank you for praying!
I know rejection like that can sting. It is such a worthy thing that you stayed a virgin until you got married. I imagine the Lord is so pleased with your doing that in a world where most haven’t (i didn’t.. wish i had though). I pray that you and your husband are able to work past that hurt and rejection into a meaningful and fulfilling marriage. You are beautiful! Hang in there sister, you’re worth it!
Regardless, when men “get lucky” they add to their intrinsic value of masculinity.
When women lose their virginity, they have lost something they can never get back.
Men walk away from premarital sex ‘more of a man’.
Women don’t walk away from premarital sex ‘more of a woman’.
Actually, women have very little to gain from premarital sex.
“When women lost their virginity, they have lost something they can never get back.” Yes, I was never a virgin again, strictly speaking, but I regained my purity before God. I think society teaching that women lose something irretrievable tends to worsen our sexual regret far beyond what God would want for His beautiful daughters.
I was just reading the replies without much thought (I’m almost asleep), but your last sentence really is a freedom rally. Wow, it struck a good chord. One i didn’t even realize i needed! Thanks
So Jolie, what you’re saying is that society treats women having premarital sex in a way that’s closer to how God thinks of it – he also doesn’t think women walk away from it “more of a woman”.
I agree – when men “get lucky” they add to their intrinsic value of masculinity.
And I agree that women gain less when they have premarital sex.
So you think God made entirely different rules about sin for men and women? That somehow having sex outside marriage makes a man better, but a woman worse? Not buying it! That’s not how my Creator works. “Getting lucky” outside marriage does not “add to [men’s] intrinsic masculinity.” Society may have taught that, men may have embraced it, but that’s not at all what the Bible says. And God’s Word is the foundation of what we should believe about sexuality.
This is really interesting. I have thought the same thing for the couples I talk with. It really does seem to bother the ladies more then men.
I have four young daughters. What I see in them is a tendency to think more highly of men in general than they should. In many respects they are naive. They want to believe that any guy that comes in their life is honest, their BFF. They fail to recognize that men in general are driven by lust and a hyper sex drive. In general, a guy will act any way necessary to get want he wants — sex. Just browse Amazon.com and see all the books written to men for this explicit purpose. Ladies tend to fall too easily for this deception. Men continue on in life having played the part of a successful salesman. The women on the other hand play the part of the one sold a bag of rocks.
So I agree with this to an extent, but I also think it paints men in a very poor light. Is that really ALL a guy wants? I don’t believe it is. Yes, they want sex, but they also want love and laughter and meaning. Also, what’s a single woman to do with her high sex drive? Is it all on HER to keep BOTH of them from sinning? That’s a pretty tall order. Thoughts?
To continue the sales analogy, yes, it is primarily on the woman to guard against a raw deal. We could wish the law would prevent greedy salesmen, but that isn’t reality. I realize not all men are like this, but they are the relatively rare exception. The single woman and man have to realize their sex drives can only be unleashed in marriage. Marriage is the key. Many women think giving into sex will keep a man. In actuality it will usually lower them in their eyes. Resisting sexual temptation until marriage will only raise a man’s estimation of a woman, inspite of what he may say to the contrary. If a man has really come to an understanding of what it means to love a wife like Christ loves the church, he will act it out. If they are hot for sex, he will propose and get it on. This is what I’m teaching my boys.
Interestingly enough, I ran your comment by a couple of men before responding. Because this viewpoint still doesn’t strike me right, as it honestly lowers our view of men. What I heard back from those two is that it’s partially true, in that the physical aspect is a strong driver for young men, but it just isn’t the whole story. They also want more in terms of relationship, and one said he was raised with the idea that girls didn’t have nearly as big of a sexual drive, and when he found otherwise he felt like the error cheated both genders. I do agree with your conclusion that a man must learn to love his wife the way Christ loves the church, but we’re all sexual beings who need to figure out how to act within God’s design for sex in marriage. Many blessings!
While it may seem that women carry disproportionate effects of guilt from fornication into their marriage, I wonder if men just carry a different type of “baggage.” In our work with couples over the past 25 years, we often see men who were sexually active before marriage – taking what wasn’t rightfully theirs – struggle after marriage, by essentially continuing to “take” what isn’t rightfully theirs via pornography. The seeds of sexual immorality planted before marriage continue to produce bitter fruit after marriage and the effects of their emotional and sexual immaturity continues to haunt them more than their wives.
That’s a great point. I think they definitely have baggage, but less likely in the form of “sexual regret.” Thanks!
Why is it that if two people who aren’t married have relations it’s considered lust but married couples who do it it’s love?
Two people having sex before marriage might well be acting in love, but they are also acting outside the God-given parameters of marriage. The Bible says that premarital sex is, simply put, sin. Although there are other reasons, as well, to abstain before saying I Do (see Sex Before Marriage Part 1 and Part 2 and Waiting for Sexual Intimacy).
Truth be told, though, if we’re being quite honest with ourselves: Many sexual encounters before marriage are driven more by lust than love. But I agree that’s certainly not true for all. Christianity says that if love is the driver, then out of love you wait until the vows are said and you are in covenant relationship.
Thanks J. You have no idea how helpful this is.
You’re welcome. Saying a prayer for you.
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I am a man and thought of my future wife having a sexual past really bothers me. I’m a virgin and in my early 30’s. I’ve had to come to terms with reality that at my age, my future wife will assuredly not be a virgin. It sounds pessimistic, it is what it is. However, it would greatly hurt me knowing I could never be her one and only. I would also devastate me if she gets flashbacks of previous encounters or if she compares me negatively to other guys she’s slept with. I think this borderline irrational fear stems from feeling not good enough due to me having been rejected by women my whole life. I couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to please her sexually the way the guys in her past did.
I have no doubt that God has redeemed your past. But as someone who has a sexual past, do you have any insight on my predicament? I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on this matter. Because I want to break free from this mindset.
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