Maria: My fiancé has been sexually active prior to our engagement


Dear Ron,

My fiance was not a virgin when we met. I didn't think it was that big of a deal at first, but lately, I keep feeling like he's going to compare me to the two other women he's had sex with, and find me lacking in some way. He swears he won't, but I don't know how to get past it.

Any advice?




While it is, of course, preferable that you are both virgins at marriage, we know that doesn't happen often enough.  Having said that, there are many, many examples of non-virgins who go on to make extraordinary and faithful marriage partners.  There are also many examples of virgins who are unfaithful, inattentive or otherwise not good partners, sexual or otherwise, after marriage.  In my experience, it is the behavior after engagement and marriage which matters most.

How can that be?  Well, while we are designed for monogamy (that is biblically AND scientifically true), we do tend to get attached to the things, people and thoughts we have during orgasm.  Many 'virgins' are consumed by their people watching, including media images and/or pornography, and many fantasize about those images when they masturbate.  These men (and yes, some women), become attached to the soothing they receive from these thoughts (even if masturbation is not present).  Without change, this person will likely not be a good and faithful partner after marriage. 

So let's get to the solution.  Each partner must learn to become progressively more chaste as marriage approaches.  This means each partner must learn to avoid looking at others in any lusting and or sexually admiring manner.  And this, of course, means that masturbation, pornography and sexual thoughts must not be indulged.  For some people, this will be an easy task as they are not already significantly attached to sexual thoughts and images.  For others, this will be a more difficult task and may require some program and/or professional help.  Unfortunately, I deal with many men, women and marriages which suffer significant dysfunction because people did not learn these important lessons (or thought they knew better).  I beg, men and women preparing for marriage and reading this, don't ignore this advice if you want a beautiful marriage.  Hopefully you detect my passion on this topic.

After marriage, learning to become healthily sexually engaged is an absolute necessity.  This means not only learning to be chaste but also learning that your marriage partner is not a sexual play toy.  I am not at all prudish and believe that healthy marital sexuality is integral to having a great marriage.  OTOH, I have observed that not learning these important principles routinely leads to marital dysfunction.  There are many factors which help to determine how well a marriage will work, having been sexual prior to marriage is not often one of them.  Being unfaithful in any way is always assuredly a major determinant.  I recommend Greg Popcak's book, Holy Sex! as an excellent resource on the topic of healthy marital sexuality.  

Maria, I wonder, is there some other reason which is making you feel less secure about this matter?  Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

Ron Kaufmann, MA, CO LPC #11336, EMDR Clinician
National Certified Counselor #267299
AASAT Certified Sexual Recovery Therapist
Recovering Hearts Counseling

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