Sexual History: Why You Need to Address it Before Getting Engaged

There are many reasons people avoid discussing their sexual history: fear, shame, and feeling intimidated by tough topics are just a few.

What happens when a couple enters marriage and they don’t really know each other? Of course, engaged and newlywed couples can’t possibly know each other to the degree they will after years of marriage. Wise pre-marital counseling usually addresses important issues like family history, faith, finances, children, sex, roles, etc. However, often people marry having avoided a critical component of their story: sexual history.

 

When a woman and man commit to marriage, it mirrors God’s eternal, exclusive, united-together relationship with his people (Ephesians 5:25-33). The unique one-flesh relationship (Genesis 2:24[1]) of marriage refers to a concept broader than sexual intimacy. Marriage involves two people becoming one in sharing all of life, and of an intimate knowing of each other.

What happens, though, when a couple enters marriage and they don’t really know each other? Of course, engaged and newlywed couples can’t possibly know each other to the degree they will after years of marriage. Wise pre-marital counseling usually addresses important issues like family history, faith, finances, children, sex, roles, etc. However, often people marry having avoided a critical component of their story: sexual history.

Sexual history refers to experiences of sexual activity with another person, with self, mediated through technology, sexual fantasy, etc. Knowing a person’s sexual history includes understanding what the struggle has looked like as far as length of time, frequency of giving in to temptation, attempts to fight and overcome sin, and a willingness to be transparent and accountable with others. Sexual history also includes traumatic experiences of being sexually harassed or abused.

There are many reasons people avoid discussing their sexual history: fear, shame, and feeling intimidated by tough topics are just a few. Private sins like porn and masturbation sometimes seem to fade out when a dating relationship is going well.  Some unwisely say things like, “Let the past be the past; move on into the future with this person you love and start fresh!”

Why it’s wise to discuss sexual history before you get engaged.

Most brides begin wedding preparation within days of getting engaged. It’s an exciting time as engagement communicates, I’m committing myself to marry you, as is. Before a couple gets engaged, they should be able to say, I know your strengths, weaknesses, temptations, sins, and the pattern of your life. I want to marry you knowing what I know.

When dating and engaged couples hide the real deal of their sexual history and current struggles from their loved one, they set the stage for broken trust, and future broken hearts.

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