I know what God’s design is for marriage. But, I have a read a wide range of premarital activities between couples on this forum from those who didn’t even kiss to those who had regular sex before they married. I am really interested in the couples who had sex and now are married. Was it with your current spouse? Do you feel it helped or hindered your marriage bed? How did you work through it? What problems arose? What advice might you give to those going through engagement right now?
Was it with your current spouse? Yes, we met in college and started out with just kissing and making out, progressed to petting, and then to full blown intercourse. We both felt horrible about it initially, but then gave into our wants and desires and continued to have intercourse until our wedding day.
Do you feel it helped or hindered your marriage bed? I would say that it GREATLY hindered our marriage bed and still does to this day. Soon to be DW seemed to be open and ready for sex at anytime before we were married. In some ways, I think her drive was greater than mine. She was initiating sex just as much or more than I was. After our wedding day, she became a refuser/gatekeeper. I felt like I had been duped.
How did you work through it? It’s a tough process and we’re still picking up all the pieces to this day. We’ve had to talk about it a lot and have gone through marriage counseling to work through some of the situations.
What problems arose? Like I said, after our wedding day, DW became a totally different person in the bed. It’s like a switch flipped and sex was off the table. She wasn’t willing to explore new positions (or positions we had done in the past) or try new things (or even things we did before such as oral sex). Even kissing was (and is still mostly) taken off the table. And that’s very hard for me since kissing is like another intimate language for me. It completely confused, angered, and saddened me that we went from sex all of the time and kissing and making out all the time, to me having to beg for sex and getting just light pecks on the lips.
Before we were married, I remember thinking, “I wonder why so many guys are complaining about women not wanting sex? I must be one of the lucky guys who found a woman who actually likes sex!”
After years of refusal and gatekeeping, I lost my nerve to initiate confidently. After hearing “no” or “maybe later” so many times, it wears you down. Our marriage became like 2 roommates who shared a bed.
To this day, I find myself getting angry at times and have to reign myself in. The anger is at myself for not being strong enough to say no and spoiling what should have been a great thing. Also, there is some anger toward her past refusal/gatekeeping.
We didn’t get to enjoy a first time seeing each other naked and experimenting on our wedding night. Our first time was a spur of the moment thing in the pitch black dark that we both didn’t plan on. We didn’t get to enjoy a honeymoon phase that others have. And now I’m getting older and my drive is waning some (hopefully mostly stress related right now) and I feel like an entire piece of what should have been great in our marriage while we were younger was given away in an instant due to our childishness.
Not all the problems are related to our pre-marital sex encounters with each other. There is some abuse in her past that has added to the complexity as well.
What advice might you give to those going through engagement right now? Talk and create boundaries for yourselves and RESPECT those boundaries. If you don’t have those boundaries while dating and being engaged, I can guarantee that there will be some unexpected “boundaries” that show up later while you’re married that will become tough roadblocks to overcome. You may not even come across those roadblocks at the start of your marriage, but eventually, they will be there. Whether it’s resentment harbored toward your new spouse or lack of trust in each other and yourself. Learn to TRULY communicate now so you will continue to communicate after you’re married!
I think how one defines “sex” will be important here. My natural tendency is to think and speak of sex as intercourse (PIV), while other sex acts are sexual in nature. We did not have IC before marriage but we were very sexual and did other things. As I have looked back I know that guilt followed me into the marriage. There was a negative impact from feeling the pressure before, and swinging to the other side to try to correct post-wedding, and resisting any pressure, to a fault. It really crumbled the foundation of seeing my husband as the spiritual leader, because he didn’t protect us, and I couldn’t trust that he was there to keep us safe and to do the best for me and for us. Overall, it definitely hindered not only our marriage bed, but our marriage.
Something a little different from what you specifically asked, I started masturbating as an older child, and as I have looked back, I think that has had a positive impact on our marriage bed and my sexuality. I know how my body responds and have had the ability for orgasms with my husband, from the very beginning. I also believe it has opened the door to my own sexual freedom.
There are some what I would call Tony the Tiger GRRREAT comments. I grew up in a home that resulted in being very naïve about marriage and sex even though pre-marital counseling was offered. You didn’t touch yourself to explore or experiment. Consequently there were lots of guilt feelings around erections and thoughts about girls. I married out of college because there was an underlying expectation that’s what you did right after graduation. We were both virgins, young and inexperienced, which caused it’s own set of tensions. Other prevailing circumstances resulted in an affair that was not sought after, but just happened. Divorce followed as did remarriage. She also was not a believer, the combination of sex outside of marriage and not equally yoked created lots of problems. She wasn’t just a gatekeeper, she was Fort Knox. Eventually she left me and I remained single for a number of years. During that time God did a real work in me where I was led to Psalm 51. After a time of sobbing confession felt the cleansing freedom of His forgiveness. Several years later after a recommitment of my life to Christ, I remarried someone whose commitment to walking with integrity before the Lord. We did not engage in any sexual activity prior to our marriage and we would both say that it was the best decision even now after 17 years. We made the decision to stay the course before marriage to show respect to the other and she was looking to me to be the spiritual leader she thought I was when we first met. Had I made any attempts to cross the line, she would have bolted. I’m glad we waited because I have a gem worth cherishing.
I was not a Christian when we married. I was experienced to say the least. Wife was not in any way. We partook of it all prior to nuptials. Long story short – I wish it were otherwise. Lots of baggage comes with all of that and it is better avoided. We’ve soon to be married 29 years, but I would hazard to say there have been a lot of potholes we would have avoided had we (mainly me) done things differently. There would have undoubtedly been other troubles, but guilt and comparisons, which are BIGGIES, would not have been among them. Those are hard to work through and can form lasting scars as some have eluded to.
I remember a conversation my wife had with a close friend of hers at that friend’s wedding to which DW was MOH. She shared it with me and I have never forgotten it. They were talking at the reception and the friend said to my wife “Let’s get this thing rolling! I’ve been married for 2 hours and I HAVEN’T HAD SEX YET!” How I wish DW and I could have shared that excitement and anticipation. Our honeymoon was just sex again in a different bed. I still remember it fondly, but the memory is mixed with regret with what could have, should have been.
There is a problem however that is developing in this country’s culture and I see it even in the church. People are getting married later and later. When one used to look at “holding out”, or staying “pure” till your 18-20ish. Basically 4-7 years post puberty. Now your looking at 25-30 quite often. That’s a much different ask on a single person. Especially in this sexually charged hook-up culture that basically tells girls that they are either something to be used or some kind of purveyor of goods. The women control the supply, men the demand (most often), and the women get to decide what it’s worth. So if the females give it away, this creates perpetual adolescent men not having to grow up to get what they want. That’s what you get when sex is a cheap commodity. Simple economics. The women have demands too, such as security, so they too feel pressured to give to get. None of that lends itself to a highly successful marriage that exudes joy and Godliness.
Was it with your current spouse?
Yes. I had had PIV sex with 2 girlfriends prior to DW – I thought the 1st was “serious” even though I wasn’t her first, the 2nd was “recreational” for us both. I had a real issue with PE with both girls and the actual IC was so-so, but I enjoyed exploring the female anatomy. I was anxious to escape my FOO and my relationship with DW was one of the few things in my life that “seemed right” at the time. DW was a virgin. She did not yield to my request for IC until we had been exclusively together for about 18 mos and were engaged. We were away at different colleges (a 5 hr drive and 3 states apart) so our frequency of IC was intermittent until the summer before our wedding which was in August… and even then I honored her desire to “wait” except a few times that our passions overtook us.
Do you feel it helped or hindered your marriage bed? What problems arose? How did you work through it?
It’s hard to say. Unlike some who have replied, DW’s enthusiasm for ML did not decline after we married – if anything it increased until our children came along. About 12 years into our marriage we renewed our commitment to Jesus and each confessed our sin and asked God for forgiveness. I believe that I have been forgiven and don’t let it bother me but DW will occasionally express lingering guilt even though she believes she’s been forgiven. That said, I can’t point to a specific consequence of our sin on our MB over the years.
At that time I also asked God to forgive me for my prior relationships and for “using” those girls even though they “used” me in the same way. I have never asked those girls for forgiveness but I have prayed for them to be saved and for God to bless them and their families – even if I could find them, contacting them now could cause problems on both ends.
Once, about 8 mos before our wedding her period was late. I was committed to her and knew I wanted to be married to her and we were preparing to elope when it finally started. Having an abortion was out of the question for both of us but God was merciful to not let us face that temptation to conceal our sin – it would have crushed her parents and extended family. (And I pray that women who chose to terminate a pregnancy in circumstances similar to ours and who now realize the consequences of their decision come to Christ and accept His forgiveness.)
What advice might you give to those going through engagement right now?
If we could do it again, we’d both wait for our wedding night. Our sons never asked me or DW if we had waited but if they had I would have told them the truth and tell them that our wedding night would have been more special if we had and that their mom sometimes still feels guilty even though she’s been forgiven.
We did not have IC before marriage, but some experimenting with other basics. I’ll admit that once I was pretty sure she was the one, I felt no guilt at the time and would have liked to play more often, seemed like everyone else was. DW clearly enjoyed some things, but was more reluctant and felt some guilt. I don’t think I ever really pushed her, but was definitely more eager.
As far as I can tell it’s had no effect on our marriage bed. Our “fooling around” experience was limited to only each other and we were very sure about our future by then. Might be different if one of us had experience with others. It would be very interesting to have to think about how to handle it if I were faced with starting over now.
We did everything sexual prior to marriage and I do’t think it caused us any problems. If I could have a do-over, I would wait until we were married.
We had both been sexually active with others before we met, so we were not going to be able to explore sex together as something new, which is the best way, and also biblical.
Because of how other couples behaved prior to marriage, my advice would be to wait until after marriage to start exploring our sexuality. If you have to get married sooner than you had planned because the fires just start burning too hot, so be it, that’s biblical too,
A couple of young men, young enough to be my grandsons, have asked me when they started thinking that maybe they had started dating ‘ the one’ if the benefits of waiting for sex were worth it and I told them it was.
Waiting is not easy, but after marriage, the party’s on. The men and women I have known who were able to have have no regrets.
Like Seeking Change and Tim my wife and I did some sexual stuff before marriage but did not have IC. We did see each other naked. We had two things going on in our lives. One we were engaged and were committed to each other to the point I was making plans to elope. We also talked of getting pregnant to push the marriage earlier. My mom was the only one pushing against us getting married. We did not do anything until I had a regular full time job and we were engaged which happened after I got the job.
Did it affect us in the TMB? No, we learned early that I had PE and I was able to work on that by myself and a bit of help with my wife to be. We wanted our first time of IC to be enjoyable by both. It was and the first 5 years of marriage we had great sex and it started in our engagement as we learned about each other physically, mentally, and emotionally. We basically had to start leaving and cleaving before our wedding because of my mom and her attitude against our relationship. That issue was the biggest hindrance to our marriage which did affect the marriage bed somewhat.
My big advice to those engaged is to keep the engagement short – not over a year like we did. Second realize that you need to really leave your parents’ home and cleave to each other. Third, any sin you commit before marriage (and anytime in marriage) can and will be forgiven if you bring it to God and to each other. Marriage does not just begin on the wedding day. It starts tre day you say to each other yes let’s get married and set a date. Everything you do before the wedding needs to help you build to your lifelong commitment to each other and God. You are going from two individuals to one body. So use t engagement to really learn about each other and to grow tot eh point you are declared one.
>> I am really interested in the couples who had sex and now are married.
Well, we did everything. Although DW (my girlfriend then) was initially keen on us waiting until we were married, we both found the physical desire so intense that eventually, after about a year trying to find alternative ways of pleasing each other (manual stimulation mutual masturbation, etc), we ended up doing PIV.
>> Was it with your current spouse?
Yes, it was.
>> Do you feel it helped or hindered your marriage bed?
Neither. I think initially DW felt a bit guilty about it but we felt very close and things just happened naturally. After we got married, the issue became a thing of the past.
>> How did you work through it? What problems arose? What advice might you give to those going through engagement right now?
There were no real problems, so we didn’t have to work through them. I am in no way advocating pre-marital sex but in all honesty I can’t say it cast a shadow on our married life.
However I think there is a key point here: neither of us had been promiscuous, we were very committed to each other and got married in the end. If our relationship had broken down, I am sure I would now look at our pre-marital sex with regret and shame. It is quite possible because things worked out that we feel relaxed about what we had done.
DW and I waited till we were married and it has been AWESOME!!!
However, both of us didn’t do so in our first marriage and paid a price of varying degrees. Speaking about my first marriage, we didn’t do PIV but we did a whole of other stuff that I regret. After marriage my first wife changed, what was sexually charged was gone. She became completely uninterested in exploring and growing our marriage bed and became a gatekeeper. I don’t remember many arguments after nearly 17 years of marriage to her BUT I do remember going round and round about sex with her. She never wanted to change or improve and no matter what I did to communicate, invest and improve myself and our marriage, nothing changed.
Having done things both ways, it is SOOOO worth the wait and leadership. My now wife respects and trusts my leadership and care for her because I protected her sexuality and soul.