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Pre-Marital Sex

Question:

As a child, I was brought up very strict. I was taught that pre-marital sex was wrong. I stuck to this rule. Being a male, I’m sure it’s hard to believe. I would never voice my opinion on this subject for concerns of being ridiculed. My problem is that 11 years ago, I met a woman with whom I fell in love and eventually married. She told me about her past (9 guys including a one night stand). While it always upset me, I tried to keep the hurt to myself. In the past month or so, I let loose and have begun to question; WHY? She gets very defensive and the answer is always that she had low self-esteem and didn’t want to be lonely. I feel this is just a bad excuse to try to get me to feel sorry for her and leave the subject alone. She swears she never enjoyed any sexual experience before me. But these aren’t the answers I’m looking for. I’m not even sure what I’m looking to gain by asking “why?”. I just know that it hurts, and the situation is putting a big strain on how I’m feeling about her and our marriage. I was hoping that maybe you had some thoughts on the subject of “pre-marital sex” that might help me understand my pain a little better.

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Answer:

What is it you expect her to tell you when you ask about her past? Is there something you would like to hear? You probably have a lot of ideas about the kinds of reasons people have for engaging in pre-marital sex. Are you dissatisfied with her answer because it doesn’t fit with what you expect to hear? Although you are asking “why,” it may not be an explanation you are after, but some response that will reconcile your idea of your wife with your idea of someone who would have pre-marital sex. Perhaps you are looking for some other response, but regardless, I suggest a different approach. First of all, let your wife know that you are not going to judge her as a person, even if you feel compelled to judge her actions. Her defensiveness most likely stems from fear of losing the one good relationship she has had after a string of bad ones. Tell your wife that, although it may be difficult for you to understand, you want to know more about why she related to men is such a self-destructive way. Ask her about the other things that were going on in her life so you can better understand what she was going through. Believe her. This will probably be very difficult for her to talk about, not only because it was probably a very painful time for her, but also because she knows that it is important to you and doesn’t want to mess up your relationship. Try to be as patient with her as possible. If you find that it is too difficult to communicate with her about this, or if you find that either or both of your feelings on the subject are too strong to deal with, you may want to try couples counseling. Whatever you do, though, I am sure that you can work out these difficulties and find that your wife is still the same wonderful woman you married, even though she is imperfect. Best of luck, – Anne

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Comments
  • Writer #2

    I am in a similar boat with your struggle (writer, not Anne haha). I am also a whole-hearted Christian, with all my faith and life given to Jesus. Baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, and in pursuit of not just any marriage, but a dream marriage and one that is Godly and models Christ's love for the church. I enjoy having a good time, laugh a lot, would regard myself as a very healthy person physically, spiritually, etc. for the most part, but I am definitely human.

    Differences: I am not even yet engaged, but will be soon (100% certainty), and married soon after. Year and a half til marriage. After reading the above, realize that I'm also human and make mistakes! My girlfriend and I fell into sin about 2 months ago, (slippery slope toward it before that) and ended up having sex for a couple days, then re-committed ourselves to purity and have been pretty stable in not even making out since then.

    I was Extra-Virgin Olive Oil before I met her. She had also had multiple boyfriends/possibly even many one-night stands (haven't even asked) before me, and sex with more than 10 of those boyfriends, and stayed with many of them for the same reasons as you describe above (original writer). She also says that I'm the first person she ever really enjoyed sex with, in fact, and I hope this isn't going too far for this website, but she says I'm the first person she's ever... cough... climaxed with.

    My struggle lately has been similar to yours above, trouble not really with forgiveness, because she had all the grace in me the minute she told me she wasn't a virgin. But even though I have the ability to forgive, I've been praying for God to show me how to make it as if I've forgotten (as He has that power).

    I want it to be as if I've forgotten, but I really want to know everything about her past! Yeah it doesn't feel great, but it's a part of what made her who she is, and I love her so much, so unconditionally, and want to know all of her past. I want to know HER, past, present, future, and the love God's given me for her is a lot bigger than anything else. There is nothing from her past, and nothing that she could do to change my love for her. Ever. It's from God. But, this sex stuff is causing some inward strain on my heart. Admittedly, I am struggling with faith to believe she's telling me the truth about only having really enjoying it with me, "of course she tells you that" - (satan taunts). Also having trouble just with past images/movies being played in my mind of her with these past boyfriends. She's given them everything physically that she could ever give me, nothing is her first time. If you've read Gary Chapman's "Five Love Languages" ... guess what my #1 language is? Physical touch ) - so that might help in understanding why this stuff has been painful to me.

    In all truth and sincerity, I'm not personally insecure with my ability to please her sexually, or anything along those lines. But maintaining our purity with a positive attitude has been tough. Questions are popping up in my mind, doubting... managing decreased sex drive, as a result of purity... Anne, have you dealt with/counseled people in this position before? I won't delve into all my haunting thoughts, etc. but I will if I feel like it will be constructive. Just an example, one fear I have is that I won't get past this, and 11 years into my marriage I'll still be having these issues as the above writer has struggled with, and our sex life won't be all that I worked for my whole life to make it. I set up a fortress around my purity at a young age, hoping to have the greatest sex life in marriage ever, and I never anticipated God bringing my wife to me and dealing with this stuff. Sex is a huge deal to me! Praying for guidance, maybe there is some for me here.

    Sometimes when I start fantasizing about the future with my wife (current girlfriend, almost fiance), I get taunted by Satan, and sometimes instead of me being with her, it's one of the past guys in my mind. If not that, I often just have painful thoughts about the fact that she's already had sex with multiple guys before me, and there's nothing special about any of it. It's not reserved, it's not new, it's not unique. I feel sometimes like my battle for my own purity before I met her was all in vain, and the thing I worked so hard for was lost...

    I want to move past this stuff to a place of freedom and excitement about sex with my future wife. I don't want to go 30 years into marriage with these issues. I want great sex, and great marriage. As important as sex is to me, I would still be excited about marrying this girl even if we only had sex for procreation (how crazy is that, knowing how much sex means to me? God has truly given me a lot of love for this girl...)

    Thanks so much for your desire to help people.

  • Blake

    That's a tough boat to be in. Being human we all have expectations and desires, as well as let downs and regrets. Satan will constantly remind us of those let downs and regrets because he wants to take us far away from that happiness that comes from marriage. Now, I have no experience in the catagory as I'm only 18 and still a virgin, but just remaining a virgin has been one of the most difficult things for me to do. If it wasn't for my personal relationship with Jesus, I would surely of lost it a long time ago. That's the thing though, I've been strong enough to save it, but all the girls I've dated so far have had some sort of physical experience from touching to full on sex. I've touched girls, and that alone has been a big struggle for me, because it tainted that purity, but to imagine the thought of having a wife that has been sexually active before you, well that's just a giant let down for your heart. It's hard being celibate, it's hard looking at girls and wondering if they have the same morals as you, and then having this sinking feeling when you figure our their dark past. You search the internet for answers, maybe go to chat rooms, if you're brave enough, you talk to a friend about your insecurity, I've been there before. You'd think that you relationship with God would help, but that deep sunkin feeling in your gut hasn't even lifted a little.

    So you asked your wife and now you're having a hard time, to tell you the truth, I don't know if I could ever of had the strength to marry someone with a past like that, so obviously you have strength, and that must come with a deep connection with Jesus, that's the key my friend. Satan is always going to be breathing down your back, telling you and reminding you of your wife's past, and all you can think is how much anger and frustration as well as hurt and remorse it brings you. You lose that feeling of being special, like your relationship is cheap, your wife seems more undesireable. I can only imagine your pain bro, that sadness that it brings, the feeling of being alone, not knowing where to go with this. I've only got one answer . . . Jesus. You've probably prayed 1000 times, but I'm saying pray 1000 times more, right now, focus on that intimacy with your wife, whether you feel like it or not, try hard. Go back to why you originally loved her, it obviously wasn't for her past. As humans, we don't have the ability to forget like God does, but we still forget a lot of what things were like, feelings die, emotions fade, eventually whatever your wife felt for those men will deminish to nothing more than a tiny memory, even if it's a time bomb in yours. I know that feeling and only Jesus can repair that broken gap in your relationship. Talk to your wife, but do it with compassion, don't jump into the topic expecting her to come flat out with everything, she obviously feels horrible about it, that's why she doesn't want to be as open. She cares for you, she has strong emotional feelings for you. Whether it was true about the climax she talked to you about, she wanted you to believe it because she wants to make you feel special. I think that's pretty precious right there, she feels she has nothing to give, but tries hard to make you feel special anyways, that's the intimacy you need to focus on, not the horrible past. I read this quote once,

    "What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."

    - Leo Tolstoy

    Those are definitely words of wisdom. Right now you guys have a gap, and like two pieces of wood, you need some sort of glue to bring you back together, so that the two pieces can hardly be seen separated, that they look like one whole piece. Jesus is that glue, although it will be a struggle, because being men, we're jealous and prideful and we feel insecure when we can't be in control of something. Our hardships bring strength when we pull through, and just like Job we'll eventually be refined into that gold, job 23:10. Your wife wants to make you feel special, she just doesn't know how. Everytime you feel vounerable, pray and ask for Jesus to fill your heart with love and that he fill your marriage with love. Satan is trying desperately to tear you apart, but God is longing for you to turn to him. One leads to happiness, the other leads to pain and hurting, it won't say it will be easy, but I will say that with God anything is possible, and that means a happy marriage without the anxiety of the past. Don't just forget the past, but learn how to fill your future with things that make the past not worth thinking, that's my quote, I'll be praying for you bro :)

    Matthew 6:25-32

    You don't ever have to worry, God will take care of us.

  • Abike Richard

    Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. At the last count, I have had over 10 sexual affairs and never went far with any of the guys despite my best efforts. I recently got engaged to a guy who have had quite a number of sexual experiences but which robbed him of a relationship with a lady who shares the same faith with him. Upon dating, I was put off by his iinsistence to tell me the number of girls he had slept me because he does not want me to find out later and leave him like his former fiancee did when she discovered he had had quite a number of girls which is frowned upon in their religious organisation. I, on the other hand, felt compelled to keep mum since I had also lost a promising guy when I, willingly, told him about my past sexual affairs. However, when my current guy insisted, I had to tell him, still witholding less damaging ones, but I realised he is willing to forgive and we have had a great relationship. However, he still can't help but refer to those issues once in a while and it is taking me extra effort to retain my confidence in the relationship. Sometimes, I really wish he had not bothered to ask at all.

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