I recently wrote that how you see your husband may be shaped by what you learned about men during childhood. We carry other negative lessons into our marriages as well. Sadly, our own sin is what sometimes teaches us those lessons.

This post is written for women who engaged in consensual premarital sex. Dragging around baggage that we ourselves created is an odd burden.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my husband and I had sex before marriage and that I had sex with other men before I did with him. My premarital sexual experiences shaped my sense of self as well as my views about marriage. My own sin created some of the baggage I dragged into my marriage with me.

I used my sexuality casually, in premarital relationships and in encounters that I guess would be called hookups now. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but even then I knew that what I got wasn’t it.


A New York Times article, “In Hookups, Inequality Still Reigns,” reminds me of some difficult truths. It reminds me of the illusions I created in order to convince myself that I was becoming empowered rather than bedraggled by premarital sex. It reminds me of a time in my life when negative patterns were laid down that shaped my marriage and my sense of self for years.

When my children were very small, my husband connected me with a women’s prayer and support group at church. Most of the other women were pillars in the church. I would find myself praying earnestly for them while thinking, If they only knew the real me, they wouldn’t want to be in my presence. They are so good, so holy. They know the Bible better than me. They talk about applying it in their lives without even blinking an eye.

I don’t remember now what triggered it, although I have a vague recollection that it was guilt about sullying them simply by being near them. I told them I had to make a confession. I just knew these women would look down on me, but I felt like I was lying to them by not sharing who I was. So I told them about my sexual past. I didn’t tell them everything, but I hit the highlights lowlights.

I sobbed and sobbed, and those lovely ladies surrounded me with their own tears and hugs. One woman put her hands on my cheeks and said, “God has forgiven you. Now you need to forgive yourself. You need to accept God’s forgiveness to do that.”

She was so right. Unfortunately, by then, we’d been married for four years, and I had already unpacked my premarital baggage and made it part of my home. The damage had already begun.


My previous sexual encounters had taught me many things about sex.

  • Sex is about power.
  • Sex is about control.
  • Sex is ordinary.
  • Sex is about a man’s orgasm.
  • Sex is a physical experience.
  • Sex is just two ships passing in the night.
  • Sex is quick.

These lessons about sex were laid on me before my husband and I even met. Our shared premarital sexual encounters complicated these lessons a bit, but the sandy foundation of sexual lies was already in place.

When we married, I knew sex would be part of that. However, because of those premarital lessons, I also believed wrong things about my husband’s interest in sex.

  • His sexual interest gave me power in our marriage.
  • His comments that sex was important were an attempt to control me.
  • Sex was just sex and was not making love.
  • Sex was about my husband having an orgasm.
  • Sex was what our bodies did and did not involve our hearts.
  • Because all these negative things were true about sex and sex was part of marriage, all these negative things were true of marriage as well.
  • There was no point in taking our time.

Illusions of Intimacy

My casual use of my sexuality before marriage taught me other lessons as well. These lessons were ones I learned about myself. They shaped my self-esteem, my sense of worth, and my ability to experience sexual or emotional intimacy.

  • My sexual prowess (the ability to provide a man with a satisfying orgasm) gave me more satisfaction than my own sexual response did.
  • The thrill and spontaneity of casual sex was quite arousing–but with no orgasm and no resolution of that arousal, it always led to frustration.
  • When I engaged in casual sex, I experienced no orgasms, no man devoted to figuring out what pleased me, and a sense that my value was only in providing orgasms for a man.
  • The article says, “[M]ore than sex, hookups are often much more about two people giving each other the sense of intimacy, however brief, they need to get through the week.” Hookups allow people to create an illusion of intimacy, with no substance at all. Every time I added another layer to this illusion, I drew myself even further away from a sense of what true intimacy was.
  • Premarital sex within the context of a relationship created an illusion as well. It was make-believe. The relationship was real, but the sex was added on. It was not in a shared space, or in a shared life. Even with the man who would be my husband, the sex we experienced before we married was an illusion of what sex can and should be. (Additionally, it taught me some lessons about my husband.)

Is it any wonder that it took me so long to understand that sex is for me, too, not just for my husband? I didn’t understand that sex served a uniting and pair-strengthening purpose in marriage.

New Lessons

It took me a long time to recognize that my premarital sexual activity had any effect on my marriage at all. How is your marriage affected by your own premarital activity?

Did you learn negative lessons about sex, or about yourself, as a result of your own sin? Have you confessed this sin and accepted God’s forgiveness? It is far too easy to let our own negative lessons get in the way of intimacy with our husbands.

For years, when I experienced any difficulty with sexual intimacy in our marriage, my internal response was something along the lines of, This is my punishment. I deserve it. Because I hadn’t accepted God’s forgiveness, I was still stuck in a cycle where the sin defined everything that happened to me.

Many times, I would think back to the notion of accepting God’s forgiveness. It took me a long time to even be able to call what I did “sin.” I said that I made mistakes. I did. I said that I was a stupid 19-year-old. I was. Until I was able to name my mistakes and stupidity as sin, I was not able to accept forgiveness for that sin.

There is great freedom in accepting forgiveness for premarital sexual sin. When the women in my prayer group surrounded me, holding me, recognizing my pain while reminding me that I was forgiven, a piece of my heart began to heal. It took me a long time, but that was the moment it began.

The process of forgiving myself required me to lay my sin down at the foot of the cross and accept the forgiveness I’d been given long ago. Only when I had accepted that forgiveness was I able to begin to step away from the negative lessons I’d learned about sex.

These negative lessons about sex have now been replaced by good lessons about married sex as God designed it.

  • Sex is about power sharing.
  • Sex is about control connection.
  • Sex is ordinary special.
  • Sex is about a man’s orgasm mutual pleasure.
  • Sex is a physical experience AND an emotional or spiritual one.
  • Sex is just two ships passing in the night one ship on a life-long journey.
  • Sex is quick worth spending time doing.

Happy are those whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. Psalm 32:1

Images courtesy of sippakorn at

9 Thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Premarital Sex

  1. trixie1466 on December 6, 2013 at 6:51 am said:

    This tells my story as well. I pray that all women that are tortured by their pasts can find this post.
    To their husband’s: This is the post you should risk sending to your wive’s today!

  2. Christiner on December 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm said:

    I have spent a majority of my life regretting my sexual sin. I have confessed them and asked forgiveness BUT this post made me realize that I had not accepted the forgiveness given to me. Thanks for writing this – I really needed to be reminded that I need to forgive myself.

    • I’m glad the post helped. Accepting forgiveness for this sexual sin healed my heart in a way I didn’t even know it needed. I still regret my sexual sin. I always will. The difference is that I now no longer let it define me and drag me down.

  3. ngamarju satumari on January 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm said:

    I was really touched, I’m unmarried and i havent forgiven myself for my sexual sins. The man who disvirgned me wants to marry me, but when we had problems i slept with other men. Lost my self worth, I’ve asked God to forgive me, i have asked him to forgive me, but i cannot forgive myself and accept his proposal. I’ve even told myself that i dont deserve a good man coz of my sins… please advise me, pray for me.

    • Oh, sweetie. You are in my prayers. That sin does not define who you are in God’s eyes. He sees your whole heart, not just the part of your heart that sinned.

      One thing did was to write down the names of the men I’d slept with as best as I could remember. I burned that piece of paper, praying that God would heal those men and their marriages of anything related to my sexual activity with them. I prayed for my sin to be dead to me like ashes, blown away. Have you learned anything about yourself as a result of this sin? Is there a way you can use what you learned to help other women? Have you taken this to the foot of the cross and asked for help in accepting forgiveness?

      Accept this man’s proposal if you believe it is what God wants you to do–but work on yourself first. I’ll pray for you.

  4. Kristi on March 30, 2014 at 6:38 am said:

    Thank you for your article. My husband and I are both believers, yet failed God and had oral sex before marriage. We knelt and prayed together for forgiveness. He stated we need to go ahead and get married. We have been married for almost two years and he still walks in guilt and shame and tells me that King David repented yet conflict never left his house and that our house is doomed with conflict now forever. My husband states that God has not released him from the sin.
    He states that he sees me as the temptation and associates me with sexual immorality and his life is just existing.

    I have searched my heart and continued to confess my sin. We are in counseling but he says God has placed judgement on our marriage.

    I asked him about the cross. He states sexual sin is different. I’m just at a loss.

    • I can’t imagine how painful this is for you. What does the counselor say about how to move forward?

      Have you and your husband talked with a pastor about this? I don’t understand why we treat sexual sin as if it is bigger than every other kind of sin. The longer your husband sees you as a temptation rather than a gift, the harder it will be to overcome.

      You are in my prayers.

    • Your plight burns a hole in my heart. In my search to rebuild my own marriage, one of the most common problems I noticed are christian couples that just don’t know their way around the scriptures. Even then, knowing the scriptures and applying the scriptures is different.
      You say you are both believers. Does his attitude reflect the views of your denomination? If not, then as ForgivenWife suggests, definitely approach your pastor with the problem for some down-to-earth scriptural counseling. Secular counseling will not resolve scriptural issues.
      Examine Hebrews 9:24~28, with particular attention to Hebrews 9:27.

      Gist:There is NO judgement until AFTER death. Until that time, repentance and forgiveness is possible through faith in the ransom of Jesus Christ.

      You know your husband best. But I recommend him meeting a pastor. This scriptural reference is for you, so that you can draw strength from God for your ordeal. In his current condition, your husband might not listen if it comes from you. You will need to be the rock in this case, but with love, faith and help from God, you will be steadier than Gibraltar.

      Our prayers are with you.

  5. Pingback: One Year | The Forgiven Wife

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