Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Allowing the Past to Ruin our Present and Future

Often I hear husbands and occasionally wives share how the wives have difficulty in the marriage bed because of guilt over premarital sex they had either with the husband or with other men. Many wives cannot seem to shake the guilt even after they marry. It is as if they feel a need to spend the rest of their lives in “penance” because of what they have done.

The other day while scanning through Intimate Issues by Dillow & Pintus I came across a passage which I had not read in a while where they address this very thing—“guilt of past sexual sin”. I read it and thought, “How many wives have memories of past sexual sin regularly plaguing their minds, preventing them from enjoying sex and preventing them and their husband from having a healthy marriage bed?” If this was a poll I dare say that many of us would be shocked.

In Chapter 8 of Intimate Issues, Dillow & Pintus have a list of “guilt indicator” questions which could be useful for those dealing with unresolved guilt from past sexual sin. I have included the questions below. If you feel that you or your spouse could easily answer “yes” for any of these questions, take some time to discuss them together. This type of guilt is not usually resolved overnight but do allow these questions to help you begin on a journey of healing.

If you or your spouse have been battling with guilt from premarital sexual sin, please be proactive by reading the book and/or getting professional help. Do not continue allowing your past to prevent you from enjoying your marriage bed. You can learn how to deal with the guilt, put it permanently behind you and then move on to better things.

The questions from Intimate Issues:

*Do you believe sex with your husband can be exciting and wonderful, but don’t give yourself permission to enjoy it because you feel guilty about things you did in the past?

*Did you feel ashamed walking down the wedding aisle in front of your family wearing white?

*Was your first night together as husband and wife a disappointment because you knew each other too well?

*Do you ever feel angry at yourself or your husband because you compromised your sexual boundaries?

*Do you fantasize about other men while you are making love with your husband and feel remorse that what’s going on in your head is more exciting than what’s going on in your bed?

*Do you sometimes feel incomplete because you gave part of yourself to other men through sexual intercourse or intimate touching?

*Do you frequently feel sex is overrated, that you could get by fine without it?

5 comments:

bunnyhunch said...

*Do you believe sex with your husband can be exciting and wonderful, but don’t give yourself permission to enjoy it because you feel guilty about things you did in the past?
Yes, guilt from past experiences was partly to blame for my hesitation to explore new things with DH. Feeling the need to be a 'good girl' after being 'so bad' kept me from being okay with most sexual activities. On top of that I pretty much believed that all sexual activity was automatically sinful unless proven otherwise.

*Did you feel ashamed walking down the wedding aisle in front of your family wearing white?
No - the worst thing happened before the wedding, when bridal gown shopping. My mother embarrassed me terribly in front of my soon-to-be mother-in-law by remarking that she hoped I wasn't planning to wear white, given that I wasn't a virgin. I was mortified!

Given that I already had a young son (not DH's biologically), there was no point in pretending to be pure. I wore off-white, but because I thought it looked best on me. Unfortunately, my mother's hurtful and insensitive statement definitely followed us into our marriage bed.

*Was your first night together as husband and wife a disappointment because you knew each other too well?
It wasn't all it could have been, but it doesn't haunt us.

*Do you ever feel angry at yourself or your husband because you compromised your sexual boundaries?
As it relates to DH and me: Not angry. Disappointed, yes, since we really could have waited. The biggest guilt for me stems from the fact that while I am DH's one and only, he was not mine.

*Do you fantasize about other men while you are making love with your husband and feel remorse that what’s going on in your head is more exciting than what’s going on in your bed?
There has never been anything more exciting in my head than what has gone on in our marriage bed, especially since our awakening. However, I regret that any thoughts of intimacy with another have reason to exist; they don't belong there. My memories should be of my husband alone. Thankfully, I have been freed of them.

*Do you sometimes feel incomplete because you gave part of yourself to other men through sexual intercourse or intimate touching?
Not anymore. Again, I've been freed.

*Do you frequently feel sex is overrated, that you could get by fine without it?
There was a time when I would have definitely said "yes" to that question. The answer today is that sex is far underrated! It helps keep me sane, keeps our marriage strong and vibrant - what doesn't it help? It is unfortunate that I ever allowed myself to feel that way, just as it is unfortunate for others who don't understand what an impact a vibrant sex life can have.

Had I been asked these questions even a couple of years ago, the answers would have been much, much different. 'Tis good to be set free.

verticaldistance said...

1. No. My sexual past has nothing to do with my husband.

2. No. I loved my wedding dress :)

3. No. I was celibate while I was dating in my early twenties and while I was dating my husband.

4. No. If there's something I am against sexually, I tell him and I stick to my guns.

5. No. There's no sense in it.

6. No. My sexual past has nothing to do with my husband.

7. Yes. I am LD. I don't bond through sex *shrug* I bond through sacrifice. When my husband does something for me that's primarily for my benefit or to make my everyday life better, I feel closer to him. I don't get that way through sex.

Wow. I'm surprised more people haven't answered this post.

Ancient Mariner said...

These questions are asked from a woman’s perspective, but I wanted to respond with a man’s point of view.

The questions are prompted by regrets stemming from our Christian values, and the feeling that we have fallen short by not staying “pure” until marriage. While these feelings are understandable, we should all remember that God is a merciful god, and that if we seek forgiveness, we will receive it. After all, if Jesus could forgive the woman caught in adultery, he will also forgive us.

Neither my wife nor I were virgins when we married, but we are faithful to each other now, and thoroughly enjoy all aspects of our married life. Dwelling on the past, and on what might have been, is fruitless and counterproductive, so we have properly moved on. I agree with Gemma; everyone should strive to do so. We were saying just yesterday that we believe we were destined for each other: we are from different cultures, and she is several years older than I. If she had not taken time off from college, we never even would have met! Yet in spite of these differences, we fit perfectly together.

I was wondering: is this (premarital sex guilt) something women have more of a hangup with than men?

Gemma said...

Ancient Mariner asked:
"I was wondering: is this (premarital sex guilt) something women have more of a hangup with than men?"

Oh yes, I believe so and the reason-- Most of us wives were raised with parents constantly sending us the message of, "You need to be a good girl when with boyfriends and if not you will be considered as a whore."

How many of you husbands out there were told the same thing by your parents? I'd be willing to bet that many of your parents had the attitude of, "Boys will be boys," or.... "He's just doing what comes naturally to young men."

Blondie said...

It is interesting how people cn over analize. Looking for sin as Gemma put it. I suppose if people are not into something it is easier for them to say it is sin. If they are into it they will be looking for some justification in their discussions. The trick is to have your own conscience to a certain extent and if you are happy with what you do and don't condemn yourself then you have that faith.