Is my married sex life ruined because I had sex before marriage?

Jay Dee

Is my married sex life ruined because I had sex before marriage?

Feb 03, 2015

Christianity teaches that sex should be reserved for marriage, that this activity should only be for a committed, married couple to share.  But, many of us don’t make it to the wedding day as pure white as the wedding dress symbolizes.  Many have sex, many

Is my married sex life ruined because I had sex before marriageChristianity teaches that sex should be reserved for marriage, that this activity should only be for a committed, married couple to share.  But, many of us don’t make it to the wedding day as pure white as the wedding dress symbolizes.  Many have sex, many more push the boundaries of what is appropriate, advisable or safe.  So, what about those who don’t make it to marriage without succumbing to this temptation?  Are we doomed to a mediocre sex life as punishment?

I have seen this question come up throughout the comments section, anonymous questions, emails and from some of my coaching clients.  I’ve been meaning to write something about it for a while, and finally sat down and did it. So, here are my thoughts on the matter.  As is our practice, my wife, Christina, will be putting in her $0.02 in purple.

God is compassionate

Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.
– Psalm 78:38-39

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
– Psalm 147:3

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
– Romans 5:6-9

God knows we’re prone to sin.  He created us, and it’s my belief that He did it knowing we were going to fall.  Yet, throughout the Bible, we see a message of compassion for the struggles we’re going to face, and promises of restoration, of salvation.  I don’t think these only have to do with Judgement Day and His hope that we’ll join him in heaven.   I think this has implications on our day to day life as well. It allow us to experience a little heaven on earth.

I believe God can restore us in this life.  I believe that repentance and forgiveness can bring about new life, even while we still live, we‘ve experienced it in our own marriage.  So, no, I don’t think we’re doomed if we have sex before marriage.  However, I think there are some steps that need to take place.


Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out

Acts 3:19


The first step in healing is in repentance.  We need to accept that what we did was wrong.  The acknowledgment of the sin is a crucial part.  We need to accept that God’s plan for sex is for our own good, and when we break it, we not only damage our relationship with Him, but also we risk our own well-being.  I think often, we try to rationalize it away.  We say “oh, well, I was young”, or “it was only once”, or “I didn’t know it was wrong”, or “well, I ended up marrying them anyways, so it’s okay”.  These are all attempts to rationalize away our sin.  But we can’t rationalize them away.  We need to accept that what we did was wrong. The feeling you get from acknowledging what you’ve done was wrong gives you an amazing starting point in reconciliation. It feel good to know that what this starts is the road that will get us closer to our spouse and to God. 


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

– 1 John 1:9

The second step is confession.  We need to confess that it was sin, and that we’re sorry.  We need to confess to God.  The Bible is clear that we can speak to God, directly, whenever we want and/or need, through Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5), and He will hear us.  Not only will He hear, but is is faithful and just to forgive us.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

– James 5:16

But we also need to confess to those we’ve hurt, even if they don’t know it.  I think it’s important for spouses to come clean about their indiscretions to their spouse, because, whether or not they realize it, they’re going to be dealing with it.  Knowing what’s going on can help making dealing with the fallout much easier.  If you have a spouse who is suffering from a ton of guilt over not being a virgin when they married, and you have no idea why they keep refusing to have sex (because of this guilt), that can cause a lot of damage.  However, if you both know, it might hurt when you tell them, but in the long run, you’ll both be able to deal with it together. And that is how you grow together. It can hurt to confess, but the love of God will carry you through.

Oh, and for those spouses who have to hear this confession, I have a verse for you too:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

– Colossians 3:13

Acceptance of forgiveness

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:29-30

Lastly, and I think this is where a lot of Christians stall, we need to accept forgiveness.  Forgiveness is given to all who ask, but not everyone accepts it.  A lot of Christians walk around carrying this burden of guilt, refusing to let go of it.  This is not what Christ intended when He came to take our burdens from us.  Continuing to hold on to guilt is rejecting God’s forgiveness.  It is rejecting His gift, His Son, and what Christ did for us.  A continuance of guilt is a rejection of all that Christ came to do.  It’s a rejection of Christ.  Stop holding on to your guilt.  If you’ve repented and asked for forgiveness, then accept it, and let it go.  That Colossians verse above (3:13), the Greek word for “one another”, includes yourself! It might not be easy to accept it right away, you feel like you have to pay for what you did, that it can’t be so simple. Realize though, that it is! Whenever you feel guilt just remember God took it and buried it in the deepest ocean, it’s there, forgotten, so accept Christ’s gift for you and your spouse.


So, are those of us who had premarital sex doomed to a mediocre sex life?  Not if we

  1. Repent of our sin
  2. Ask God and our spouse for forgiveness
  3. Accept the forgiveness and let go of the guilt

Your Turn

Are you dealing with this in your own marriage?  What step are you hung up on?

Looking for help?

24 thoughts on “Is my married sex life ruined because I had sex before marriage?”

  1. Jerry Stumpf (@JerryStumpf) says:

    Good information and a workable plan for folks to find peace.

    This segment is most like the hardest due to our own weaknesses:

    3 – Accept the forgiveness and let go of the guilt

    Keep up the great writing!

    Jerry Stumpf

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I agree, I think that’s where most get hung up.

  2. Jeremy Hehl says:

    I agree with everything you said… Its hard to stay pure in the culture we live in today, but it can be done if both people draw on the strength God has given each of us as believers. My wife and I struggled with temptation when we were dating, we both knew right and wrong, what God’s word said about sexual temptation, and it wasn’t easy sometimes. Although we never had sex before we were married, we did take things a little too far a few times and I caused both of us a lot of guilt. What helped us was to have people we trusted know of our struggles and having that accountability to someone who we could go to for help and prayer when we felt like the temptation was getting to be to much. Even to this day, almost 20 years after we were married, the guilt of how I treated her still bothers me at times but I know we have both been forgiven, and we have had almost 20 yrs of happiness in our marriage because of that forgiveness and because we took responsible for our actions.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      It’s hard to let go of that guilt, isn’t it?

  3. Crystal says:

    Is it normal to feel insecure of your spouse cheating after more than ten years of marriage? Even though you would never have questioned his fidelity in the past. He’s never given me a reason to question him, but I feel this insecurity and its strong, like the enemy knows when to strike. I had a really good conversation with my husband and I told him I forgave him for his mom reaking havok on our marriage when we should have been building the foundation for our marriage. I think I feel this way because if my husband chose his mother over me than who’s to say he wouldnt choose another woman over me again. Help! By the way he did choose me in the end my mother inlaw no longer lives with us and we are working hard at getting us back but how do I get rid of this insecurity?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Is it normal? I honestly don’t know. However, I’d guess that if you are feeling insecure, it’s due to a lack of intimacy in some, or multiple, aspects of your marriage: physical, spiritual, emotional or intellectual.

      How are they going? How are your conversations? Do you talk about deep, meaningful things, like beliefs, goals and failures? Are you open and vulnerable with each other? That’s what grows true intimacy.

  4. Dan says:

    Accepting forgiveness. That seems to be the tough part. Even when we are able to give it to others, we find it so difficult to receive it. Liz Curtis Higgs wrote “Embrace Grace,” a good book addressing this for women but it naturally applies to men too.

    Edited to add: I felt I should clarify that I don’t feel that women should be the only ones asking for forgiveness and repenting about premarital sex. I just happen to have read and like that particular book.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks for the book tip!

  5. J. Parker (@HotHolyHumorous) says:

    Been there, done that. You did a great job outlining the process. And I can say unequivocally that God has redeemed my situation, and I’m experiencing great blessings in my marital intimacy — despite a broken past.

    A passage I’ve kept close to my heart is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral . . . 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.” With repentance, confession, and acceptance of God’s grace, I’m not defined by my past, but rather the washing, sanctification, and justification of Jesus Christ.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks J. That’s a great passage!

  6. John Wilder says:

    The church has corrupted God’s plan (well the churches and society) In biblical times kids got married between 13-15 because they were recognized as adults at 13. God’s plan was for them to marry early so that they would be able to handle their raging hormones by being married. This is further documented in Proverbs 5:18-19 where it says to rejoice always with the wife of your youth. The Hebrew word for youth was young teen.

    Now we tell our kids to wait to get married until after they get out of college. That puts them in total temptation for a whopping 9 years during the highest sex drive they will ever experience. The kids lived with their parents until they could afford to move out on their own.

    Even as little as 75 years ago kids in our country got married between 15-19 which is still too long but not as bad as 22.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I got married at 20, and I agree, it should have been sooner.

      That said, it’s now harder to find a spouse as well. The pool of eligible Christians shows shallower and shallower every year. I fear for my kids and their choices for mates.

  7. Ricky says:

    Everyone has different routes for how they get where they are. My wife and I had sex before we were married. We’ve had multiple partners. I’m completely content and greatful for both circumstances. There’s no wonder what else is out there, am I good in bed, is my spouse good in bed. I DID justify my actions at the time, since we lost our virginity in highschool to each other, that the bible isn’t realistic in the world today. We’ve talked and shared how we feel about those decisions we made and we are both glad we had those experiences and honestly we have a phenomenal sex life in my opinion. There has never been any guilt or set backs because of it but it didn’t feel wrong at the time either. We both grew up in extremely religious households but have a lot of questions or feelings about stuff that’s in the bible and how it compares to the world today. I’m not saying we were right for these choices because I know what the bible says however, I think it’s a mind game of what your taught your supposed to feel. Especially if you let a choice that feels so natural and right become something bad and negative.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Well, you don’t feel the Bible is applicable today…no wonder you don’t believe in it’s counsel.

  8. Ricky says:

    It doesn’t mean that I do not believe in its counsel but not everything in it is applicable to life today man it was written how many thousands of years ago. And to be honest there’s a lot of stuff in the Bible that’s just simply not okay like owning slaves I can’t just on a slave nowadays so obviously somethings are as applicable as they were back then. I understand exactly why the Bible wanted people to wait because then they save themselves for each other and it’s pure and honestly if I had done that that I probably wouldn’t have multiple partners but I was going through a stage of rebellion back then. My answer was basically no I don’t believe if effects your self life once your married at all. The only way I could see it causing an issue is if one party wanted to have sex before they were married in the other you didn’t but in my case that wasn’t the case.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and
      And forever Hebrews 13:8

  9. Sally says:

    I confessed this sin to God over and over again, until one day, when my husband apologized AGAIN for something that I had truly forgiven and wanted to forget, I realized God probably felt the same way about me. 🙂 I quit telling God I was sorry for that sin. But I still felt guilty.

    Fornication is a sin against God, but the blood of Christ is grounds for forgiveness with God, and because of that I am free of my guilt towards God. And that is a wonderful thing! But I think the reason I held on to the guilt for so long is that fornication is also a sin against one’s own body (Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body, 1 Cor. 6:18.) Being also accountable to myself, I had no grounds for my own forgiveness. It took me MANY years to let that go.

    Premarital sex didn’t ruin my marriage, but my guilt sure did damage it for a long time. When I let go of my baggage, my marriage got a new life. It’s great and getting better every day, and I’m looking forward to another 25 years with the man I love.

  10. Andrea says:

    For me it’s the opposite, I waited until I was married and sex for us is…… a waste. I often wish I had not waited and would have explored with other people. Sex is totally awkward, after 13 years we are still clumsily trying to connect sexually. At this point, we both avoid intimacy as we’ve realized we have 0 sexual chemistry

    1. Jay Dee says:

      What have you done to try and resolve the awkwardness?

      1. Anonymous says:

        We have tried so many different things, usually relying on Christian references (books, blogs, marriage seminars). At this point I thinks it’s matter of sexual incompatibility…thing is we love each other and are well-suited for each other in so many ways…just not sexually. I am just hoping that he just never brings the subject up again, as I am all out of answers

  11. boo says:

    For all the scriptural references made in this article, there is not one referencing specifically that sex before marriage is a sin. I would suspect that is because there is none

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Well, the Bible doesn’t contain a word in Hebrew nor Greek for sex before marriage specifically. In Greek, sex outside of marriage is a blanket term. So, that’s not a point for or against the argument.

      However, this verse is pretty clear:

      But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. – 1 Corinthians 7:2

      In other words, the cure for sexual immorality is to get married. Therefore, sex before marriage is immoral and sex in marriage is moral. Ergo, sex before marriage is a sin.

      As well, there’s this verse:

      Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. – Hebrews 13:4

      Now, in this verse, adultery uses a specific term for a married person having sex with someone not their spouse, whereas sexual immorality is all sex outside of marriage. If fornication (sex before marriage) isn’t something that is defiled, then this verse makes no sense.

      Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

      A man and his wife become one flesh. Not a man and a woman. That’s pretty specific.

      So, yeah, there’s no verse that explicitly says “sex before marriage is wrong”, but it’s pretty clear that it is.

  12. Greenbean950 says:

    I couldn’t agree more on the necessity to confess your sins to your spouse. My wife lied about who she was prior to our meeting. She quickly decided that I would not be interested in her if I knew how she had acted promiscuously. She was correct, I had saved myself for my wife and didn’t want to date a girl who had been promiscuous. Once we were married, our sex life was abysmal. She was unable to be intimate physically or emotionally with any regularity. I am convinced that she struggled with her guilt from her deceit and from the changes that the uncommitted sex caused (by the release of oxytocin without the supporting permanent relationship). Now after 29 years of marriage we are taking small steps to correct this. She is fighting each new step, but I cannot continue without hope.

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