The effects of pre-marital sex –
I’ve not touched another woman sexually in what is soon to be 28 years. I can’t and won’t say I haven’t thought about it. Some of those thoughts I feel remorseful of, others not really. The remorseful ones are the ones I had control over. Like a bird, you may not be able to keep them from lighting on your head, but you can keep them from building a nest there. I let too many nests grow in years past.
As I have given thought to why one may struggle with this, my mind goes to a purity example and hormone connection example that is used – in fact I have even used it in a teenage boys class about purity. It is the old tape analogy. You stick tape onto something one time and it adheres the best. You pull it off and re-stick it to something else and the adherence is lessened. The more you stick and re-stick, the less it adheres each time. This can be loosely compared to the emotional/hormonal connections of sex – though I know it is not directly analogous – lest I would not have been able to be physically monogamous for the last 28 years.
But – I have not been mentally monogamous during all of this time. I struggled with sinful lust before and after marriage. I know that lustful thoughts are universal, so much so that Jesus addressed them directly, so I’m sure a virgin at marriage might struggle with that as well. But how much? I was very active with many before marriage. So I was wondering how much easier it may be for those who were not sexually active before marriage to keep their thoughts in line or in their marriage?
One can’t change the past and can only partially change the future. I have heard it said that memories never leave our brain, they just get harder for some to be brought forward. But I wonder how they may also serve to clog the good pathways God intended our minds to develop around our spouses. How much sticky have they truly taken from the tape?
So I guess my main questions is this – for those who were fully virgins before marriage, and have had a reasonably good sexual marriage – do your thoughts about sex only, mostly, or occasionally revolve around your spouse? I suppose I am asking this to men mostly – because I KNOW men and women are NOT THE SAME. 😉 (but females are free to respond 🙂 )
I have an outside reason for asking this. As my children approach the age and time they are earnestly seeking mates, the opportunity to find another virgin is fleeting and slim. I have told them both that to do so is of course the way God intended it and therefor preferred, but also, God had the ability to redeem anyone and THAT is something that should not be overlooked either. To the best of their ability, they should judge someone’s heart along with their past. I thank the Lord that my wife showed that wisdom herself, lest she would have left me on the side of the road. I have told both my children that very thing. So I hope they go in search of a mate without blinders on or standards that cannot be met. But I only have my experience to draw from on this. I know two virgins being God’s design does not remove personal responsibility or free will so it doesn’t guarantee a perfect union. But shouldn’t it make it easier? Does it?
I can ditto what SC said about struggling with occasionally wishing I had more experience; I’ve never even kissed anyone but my DH. (He had only one other kiss.) We have even talked about some what if scenarios as they pop up before us: in a movie someone came up to a total stranger and kissed them so suddenly there was no time for the kiss-ee to comprehend what was happening and resist; if we ever got back into amateur acting and were presented with a kissing scene; some older people we know kiss EVERYONE on the lips and we wondered what if we met someone younger who does that. I think it must be normal to wonder if it wouldn’t be nice to have a little more experience, but OTOH, how many people can say: “I have never even kissed ANYONE except my spouse?” As for sex, it’s so freeing to know that no matter what new STD drug commercials start popping up on our favorite shows we can ignore them all, because we are each other’s only-ever. This was particularly peace-giving in the earlier days of AIDS because it was so terrifying but I could simply write it off as N/A–Not Applicable. (Yes I know there are a couple odd ways of getting it, but I counted those as the same as any number of other odd ways to die that most likely won’t happen to me.) There’s no worry of how I compare to any old girlfriends, and I don’t have to constantly soothe his male ego and assure him that he’s worlds better than any old boyfriends. There’s no worry of him having un-known children floating around out there and I don’t have to worry about secret sex tapes.
So to answer your question, Yes. I do believe it is easier to not lust after something outside the marriage when you have not experienced anything else, in part because the exclusivity itself is like a rare and priceless gem, but also because if my DH has never had a Victoria’s Secret model, he doesn’t know if I’m not as satisfactory. 😉
BUT YOU ARE RIGHT that God is a God of redemption and I know many marriages that are not blessed with the same blank slate that we were that are thriving and healthy and Godly.
Just tell them to look for someone who loves Jesus with all their heart and soul and mind and strength, and whatever is in their past will be as far as the east is from the west.
Answering as a woman….this question has me pondering. I didn’t become a Christian until a few years before I was married. Before that I had had consensual sex with my first fiancé, been sexually molested and sexually assaulted. When I became a Christian, I was very connected to other young adults at my church. I confessed to a male friend that I was committing myself to a life of celibacy, as I didn’t see how any good, Christian man would want me, and I refused to go back to what God had rescued me out of. This friend didn’t go into detail, but shared that he had a long sexual past from before he became a Christian. He had prayed for God to purify him, and God was, to the extent that many memories had now become fuzzy. I believe he longed for God to do this, and played his part, not dwelling on any thoughts, quickly turning from lust, not watering the soil.
I don’t think God does the same thing for each of us, but He will help us and strengthen us to have victory over sin. We have to do our part, we have to long for God to change and mold us and we have to want it more than the sin we are turning from. I think this matters more than our past. I have seen many virgins come into marriage and STRUGGLE with lust
I was a virgin, and even a porn-virgin (not sure if that’s a phrase) when we got married four years ago. I was pretty ignorant of what went on in the bedroom besides PIV until I started reading sex books a few months before our wedding. (And I was pleasantly shocked at how sex-positive my normally-shy bride was!) Now, when I see sexy ads or women wearing too little, it makes me think of my wife. It just makes me want her, because she’s the only one I associate with sex. Of course sometimes I’m tempted to lust, but it’s honestly not that hard to channel that back to my wife, because sex equals her.
I don’t mean to brag; I have plenty of other problems. I’m still often selfish and work too much and let the connection fade when I work too much. But I hope my experience in this area contributes to the discussion.
LBD, you pose several different questions. lustful thoughts and one which I’ve been pondering how to pose as a question or a poll, the effects of premarital sexual play and relations.
As a male, from my observation and experience, lustful thoughts take root in the soil they’re planted in. How do you care for soil? Weed it…till it…fertilize it…add better soil…water & feed it. While some are probably predisposed to certain things based on personality and addictions and upbringing and earlier exposure to sexual stimuli and impression experiences, we all have a choice to make and our spouse can play some role in our minds as well.
What are we feeding our minds? What are we filling our thought life with? When a sexually stimulating image or person is in front of us, how do we respond? Will we acknowledge the beauty of God’s creation and remind ourselves that that person is God’s along with someone’s daughter, girlfriend, spouse, and a child of our King, and then move on & celebrate the spouse we have and the good things we have in our marriage bed (admittedly, some do not but that’s something different to address)….OR will we replay the image? Wondering what’s underneath their clothes? What it’d be like to be in bed with them? Wondering if certain activities and desires would be in their sexual play & repertoire? Etc. We have to weed our minds of the lustful thoughts, taking captive of our thoughts, and fertilize it with Scripture and thoughts about our spouse.
As a female spouse, do you give your husband wonderful experiences and memories to fill his mind and let him play those tapes and memories over and over as needed? Do you give him NEW memories regularly so that he’s not using old tapes of yesteryears? Those experiences can give a husband something new to remember and get excited over. It’s like fertilizer and changing the soil of a man’s mind which makes it easier to focus on his lover and what he’s got at home waiting. Song of Solomon talked about that!
Personally, sometimes when someone or multiple bouncing breasts are placed in front of me during the course of certain things, I have to take those thoughts captive, celebrate God’s creative genius, remind myself of whose they are, recite Scripture, and redirect any thoughts to my wife at home. She deserves all of it and that’s what I’ve promised to do. When I come home when something like that has happened, I’ll confess those things to her, and ask for her help and ask to see, touch and kiss her breasts. She lets me see her naked every day, touch her often, we regularly make love, talk about sex and our satisfaction (or not) with what’s happening in our marriage bed, and we remain kissing and playful outside and inside the bedroom. That’s my wife’s part in watering, fertilizing, weeding, and seeding the soil of my mind and our marriage bed garden.
Regarding your other question about premarital sex and play, I would like to ask how many people who have engaged in premarital sex play (from dry humping to MS, OS, etc to intercourse) end up with difficult marriage beds, including gatekeeping and near-to or completely sexless marriages?
From my personal experience in a previous marriage to the married couples I’ve talked to and the ones I’ve heard about over the years IRL and on TMB, my observation is that early sexual bonding short-circuits communication and then impacts the marriage bed.
My DW and I have talked about this before we got married since we blew it while dating in our first marriages in various ways and didn’t honor God in our respective dating relationships. So when DW & I started dating, we were adamant from the start of our relationship about what we would/wouldn’t do this time around AND put boundaries in place to help avoid sinning. We believed that if we ever crossed that line it would be the end of our relationship and certainly our respective employments. We made it without sinning and she was proudly able to say to her pastor when he asked that I’d been a gentleman and maintained her purity. (Our honeymoon was an amazing experience and a wonderful unveiling, naked and unashamed, to each other after 13 months of dating, completely guilt-free.)
When DW & I have discussed our experiences and observations as to why it seems this seems to occur, one of the reasons we believe is one of respect for oneself and for the individual as well as male headship/leadership in the relationship and home. It’s hard for a woman to respect a man who won’t protect her and when a man selfishly “takes sex” for love, it’s a lack of respect and care for the woman. Like wise, a woman who “gives sex” to get love, may feel used or abused and now there’s a lack of respect for herself as well as for the man. Maybe even sinfully enjoys the balance of power and control of sex over a man? This then enters into the marriage and marriage bed. It can also play out for a woman who “lands her man” with the use of sex and doesn’t need to get his attention anymore after marriage so she puts the stop or significant limits on many bedroom activities. For whatever reason it occurs, now some husbands or wives feel trapped and as Christians, now want to honor their vows in a relationship that started on a rocky foundation. (I know did in my first marriage.)
OK, there’s more I could add but that’s enough to contribute to the discussion for now.
Wow, this is a packed post of many nuances, angles, sub- questions, etc. A very good post/question!
After nearly 50 years of marriage to my one and only girlfriend and wife there is no regret, only gratefulness and deep satisfaction. We dated for years before being married in college, and it was very hard to remain purely virginal! Although we never engaged in PIV sex before marriage, we took it to the edge.
Neither of us had any other experience other than a kiss with a casual date. There was no pre-marital foreplay or sex with anyone other than between ourselves. That said, lust is a reality. A beautiful woman can catch my eye and has done so. Have I imagined more than I ought to? Yes! Many, many years ago I had an EA. Have I acted on that EA or lust to be sexually unfaithful to my wife? No.
None of us is immune to sexual temptation. I don’t think that pre-marital sex makes one more or less susceptible. As monogamous heterosexual married couples, we need to constantly depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
A very good question, @LBD. I have often wondered some of these things, myself.
Raised in a very conservative household, guys were pretty much off limits. Many years ago, an old timer in the family lineage had this saying, ‘hands off, lands off, lips off’. This saying was faithfully passed down. I didn’t know how to even relate to the opposite sex, and I still am learning. Neither did I expect anyone would ever fall in love with me. I planned to be single all my life.
DH and I were virgins all the way around. No kissing until our wedding. We were hardly allowed to be alone. (DH lived many miles away, so we hardly saw each other, anyway. )Yes, it sounds pretty strict and maybe it was. However, most, if not all, the people I know that got too involved with premarital stuff before marriage, are not happy today. Too many aren’t together, anymore. Others are, but it isn’t working so well. We can’t tell you how glad we are that we waited. There has never been a single regret for either of us.
We had a few things to work through, like most marriages do. I am positive the problems and resentment would have been a lot greater, had one or both of us, not waited until marriage. I would have always felt that DH preferred someone from ‘back there’ and held it against him, especially when things were rather rough for awhile. Or, for myself, I would have never been able to forgive myself and felt even more like I didn’t deserve my DH and like he was so much better than me.
But, @LBD, I am like your wife. Maybe its my upbringing, maybe my great mistrust, who knows. I am never tempted by the other side of the fence. Nothing about it has tempted me, that I remember. DH has said that he knows he never has to worry about that. (Don’t worry, I have many other things that plague me!)
That all being said, I totally believe that God can and does, forgive any premarital stuff that went to far. However, I just know my tendancy would be to hang on to it and not forgive myself, or DH. Thank God, He spared us of that.
I know you are asking men, and I know there’s no way to truly compare, because everyone has different histories, different personalities, different weakness, different sins/temptations, etc..
I don’t know if it’s this way with men, but my biggest struggle was “the grass is greener”. I have had times I wished (regretted) I had “experienced” more of life, that my husband wasn’t my only experience. I also am very logical and can counteract my own thinking with spiritual truths and seeing the potential consequences that was prevented, but that doesn’t prevent the flesh from it’s tempting desires.
You mentioned the adhesiveness of tape… I know that in the Passport2Purity we took our kids through, it uses glue. You glue two different colors of paper together, and then you try pulling them apart, and you can see you how one sticks to the other, and vice versa,,,also you can’t pull them apart with out some destruction to each piece. I have also heard that used to help explain “soul ties”. Something that is enmeshing us with another….maybe more biblical words would be “strongholds” or “bondages”? Those can be broken, or severed. But because it’s a spiritual thing, it takes a spiritual act to break them as well.
Interesting thoughts ladies, on the “grass is greener?” question/struggle. I would say that question/struggle is amplified for those of us who have tasted the grass in multiple pastures and know it doesn’t all taste the same.
I have asked my wife this and she claims that she has no interest in the other side of the fence, none at all ever. Never even looks at it. I guess I believe her. She never had any compunction against kissing a guy, and she admittedly kissed many once she was in college and started dating (never dated at all in HS.) But mine is the only penis she’s ever seen or touched in real life. The only others she’s seen has been in the random picture or scene unwittingly viewed (human that is.) She has always avoided watching love scenes on movies or TV. I’ve watched her fast forward past lover scenes even when she didn’t know I was watching. So I believe her when she says she doesn’t notice or think about any other man. Sad thing is, I don’t think she thinks much about me in that way either – at least not for years. It’s only the occasional anomoly otherwise.
Something none have mentioned yet is the lingering guilt from premarital sex that can be damaging and ultimately debilitating on a marriage. It can be hidden but deadly still. I know I have struggled with it. I am pretty sure my wife has as well.
Yep, we’ll said manalive.. Exactly my point. When we regularly have sexual relations with our spouse, they are the one we associate sex with so why would we think or want to go elsewhere. Sadly, many women do not associate this with their husband.
Occasionally, it’s flipped gender-wise (when a man is lower drive) but that seems to be more about emotional connection when it becomes an affair, not about the missing sex. The woman just wants to be loved, desires, and valued. Ironically, this can in some cases, also start sometimes occur a woman who is a gatekeeper of sex in a marriage which creates distance in the couple, she eventually feels disconnected and dissatisfied and seeks out something/someone that helps her feel alive and the affair happens.