Discussing sexual history

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lolo89
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Discussing sexual history

Postby lolo89 » Sun May 18, 2014 4:43 pm

Newbie here. I've been lurking a bit, it seems like you all have some great wisdom to share and I'm hoping you can help me.

My FH and I are waiting to have sex with each other until we're married, but unfortunately we've both been sexually active in previous relationships, before we knew Jesus and repented from sexual sin. We haven't talked about it in detail, but we've both confessed to not being a virgin. The thing is, I get the impression that he's only had one or two partners, whereas I have had...more than that.

I know that I have been fully forgiven for my sins, and I've left them in the past and found healing in Jesus. But now I'm wondering if we need to talk about it in more detail before we marry. I find it disgusting to even think about, and I'm afraid that telling my FH the ugly details will hurt him needlessly, or that he wouldn't be able to get those images out of his mind. I don't even know how to have that conversation, or what words to use. Is this something that we would have to talk about in premarital counseling with our pastor? Or is it better left in the past? Any thoughts or wisdom you can share would be very much appreciated.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby Leah » Sun May 18, 2014 5:03 pm

Welcome to the boards.

I don't think you need to tell details, but I would make sure you all work through everything in premarital counseling.
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“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby OldBear » Sun May 18, 2014 5:27 pm

Fully agree with Leah on working through a qualified and quality Christian counselor. Preparing for marriage includes understanding many areas including communication tools, preferences and deferences, family structures, etc. including TMB.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby C_Brown » Sun May 18, 2014 7:44 pm

Working it out with a counselor is a good idea. He does need to know. I would say go on the assumption that at some point after the wedding he'll know everything, and when he gets to that point you don't want there to be anything where he says he wishes he knew that before the wedding or that leaves him feeling he was tricked or manipulated into the marriage by you withholding information he feels is important. The level of detail should be set by what he feels he needs to know about it. He will likely have questions that are important to him that he'll need answered.

But don't just tell him the bad things you did, tell him how you came to see those as mistakes, how you paid a price for doing them and your struggle to find forgiveness. You have taken a journey passing through some bad spots, show him the whole trip to where you are today. He needs to know that you are not the same as you were then, that you have changed into somebody who knows better than to do that any more. Since he has not been perfect in this area I expect that will help him to be forgiving, but secrets will eat at your marriage like acid so don't keep any.
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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby lolo89 » Sun May 18, 2014 10:26 pm

Thank you all for your honest advice. I appreciate it so much. We are currently looking at options for counseling in our area, as we start the first stages of planning the wedding.

So my next question is, do we wait to have this conversation until we find a counselor we're comfortable with, and the counselor leads that discussion? Or should I get it out in the open as soon as possible? I know my FH is a wonderful and godly man, and he's shown that he desires to love me as Christ loves the church. He's been very understanding and forgiving as I've worked through some difficult personal things recently. But I'm terrified of a broken engagement, if this talk doesn't go well. So is it better to have this talk one-on-one sooner, or to have it later when we have a counselor?

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby seeking perspective » Mon May 19, 2014 4:45 am

lolo89 wrote:My FH and I are waiting to have sex with each other until we're married, but unfortunately we've both been sexually active in previous relationships, before we knew Jesus and repented from sexual sin. We haven't talked about it in detail, but we've both confessed to not being a virgin. The thing is, I get the impression that he's only had one or two partners, whereas I have had...more than that.


My husband and I both came to each other with sexual experience, and we did *not* wait until marriage to have sex with each other. I had more partners than he did.

Although details are probably not necessary, I am inclined to think that there should be more communicated than simply the fact that you are not a virgin.

Here are some things I would suggest you both consider sharing with each other. I think it is important to be honest about each of these things. Previous sexual experience brings baggage into the marriage bed, and you both should be aware of what you are bringing.

...The general range of your "number." If he has the impression that you've been with two partners and then finds out five years from now that it was twelve, that's a pretty big difference inhis mind. I found out twenty years into our marriage that my husband had lied to me about how many women he'd been with (he had said it was more than it actually was), and I found that I was questioning a lot of other things he had told me as well.

...The nature of your sexual encounters. Were these all relationships, or was it a combination of relationship sex and casual sex, or was it all casual sex? Were some encounters forced or coerced, or were you fully consenting? If any of your encounters were associated with negative experiences and might be trauma triggers for you, he should know that.

...Pregnancy or STI scares or experiences. If there were pregnancies, what was the outcome of each one? What STI risk, if any, do you bring?

...Unusual activity. I have mixed feelings about this one. Naming specific acts might make it too easy for your future husband to question his performance in some area or avoid a specific act because it was something you did with other(s). However, if you discovered that you enjoyed being tied up, it might be helpful for him to know that this is something you would like to try with him--or that you have a distaste for it and if he wants to try it, you'll need some time to work with him toward that activity. Also, if any of your encounters were with women or multiple partners, that is a prett big thing to keep from him.

I would not recommend waiting until premarital counseling unless you know that it will be specifically addressed there. We addressed sex in general, but our pastor was much more interested in whether we'd had sex with each other. Our other sexual experience never came up.

My husband and I were up front about all of this very early in our relationship, and it's hard for meto imagine what it is like to be at the point of engagement without having shared all this. Maybe it needs to be more than one conversation. And no matter what your number is compared to his, you need to know what sexual baggage he is bringing as well.

lolo89 wrote: But I'm terrified of a broken engagement, if this talk doesn't go well.


Frankly, this concerns me. No one wants a broken engagement--but I have known people who have been so terrified of it that they have allowed deception (intentional and otherwise) to stand. If you cannot be honest with him now, then your marriage will be built on a shaky foundation. You will always know that you aren't fully known by him. This can damage a marriage.

A marriage needs a climate of honesty of it is to be healthy. While that doesn't require every detail, you each need to know that if you do have specific questions, you can ask and trust.
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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby alaska bob » Mon May 19, 2014 7:06 am

lolo89 wrote:I know that I have been fully forgiven for my sins, and I've left them in the past and found healing in Jesus. But now I'm wondering if we need to talk about it in more detail before we marry. I find it disgusting to even think about, and I'm afraid that telling my FH the ugly details will hurt him needlessly, or that he wouldn't be able to get those images out of his mind.


I definitely don't think you need to go into specifics with him, but as someone else suggests, I think he needs to know more than just that you aren't a virgin. I would definitely be proactive about it rather than waiting for counseling. My suggestion would be to tell him you are ashamed of your sexual past, wish it were different, but that you don't want him finding out about something years from now that will make him wish he hadn't married you. Let HIM decide what he wants to know, but unless he specifically asks for names and numbers, I wouldn't offer them up.

Personally, I think the "number" has less and less significance as it goes up. I mean the difference between zero and one previous sexual partner is pretty big, the difference between 2 and 1 previous sexual partner is less significant. In my mind, any number over 5 would just be "a lot".

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby Hiswifeagain » Mon May 19, 2014 7:31 am

I would be careful about how much detail to give. That could put pictures in his mind that could be difficult to get past. And no names. That's not helpful at all.
If you know things you really can't do because of your past he deserves to know about it, but he doesn't need any further details, imo

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby InGodsGrace » Mon May 19, 2014 7:40 am

I don't believe in carrying around shame for our pasts. Sure there are things we do we aren't proud of. Should we be ashamed of our pasts? I don't think. When we look at our past and see where we are now, we can be amazed.

I do however think you need to disclose your past. There was a recent poster (the husband who felt lied to, because the wife let some details out). Keep generalities, I do think a ballpark number would be good. Or if you want to disclose the full number do so. I'm going to be the minority and say you should give the full #. I believe in full disclosure, that way there is no doubt in the future. No, I didn't know how many he/she slept with etc.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby CandC320 » Mon May 19, 2014 7:46 am

Personally, I would not want to know details. It would be enough for me to know that DF was not a virgin but was now born again and forgiven. Often the more details that are revealed, the more questions they engender.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby seeking perspective » Mon May 19, 2014 8:17 am

alaska bob wrote:In my mind, any number over 5 would just be "a lot".


There's a vast difference between bringing a history with six and bringing in a history with 75.

A spouse should know information about things that may be helpful in medical situations down the road, and sexual history can be part of that.

Hiswifeagain wrote:I would be careful about how much detail to give. That could put pictures in his mind that could be difficult to get past. And no names. That's not helpful at all.
If you know things you really can't do because of your past he deserves to know about it, but he doesn't need any further details, imo


I agree that detail about specific acts is probably not too helpful. As for names, I think it depends. I did tell my husband who one of my previous partners was, as it was someone he was likely to run into in social situations. I wanted to be sure he was hearing it from me rather than from the other person.
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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby mamame » Mon May 19, 2014 2:42 pm

Just ask him. Does he want to know the number? Does he know what kind of lifestyle you led?

In some ways 2 long term sexual relationships can cause more problems than 40 hookups.

If the conversation would lead to a broken engagement then you need to know that now. That fear will put a shadow over your marriage that will do much more harm than you can imagine.

....posted from phone


ETA: dh does not know my number by his choice. He knows that he's the only man I've ever loved. He's the one who has ever had my heart and soul. He's the only one I've ever made love to.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby bruinfan89 » Wed May 21, 2014 10:36 am

I agree with asking him what he'd like to know. He should decide that, not you. I also think he has a right to know names and to know if any of those men are likely to cross paths with the two of you. I do not think he needs to know how many times you were with each man or what specific activities really turned you on with each. In short, generally let him determine what information will help him work through it.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby Hiswifeagain » Wed May 21, 2014 11:03 am

I couldn't disagree more. He knows she's been with other men. That's his right to know. Anything else is her choice to share. You can't unring a bell. If he can't live not knowing the details it's likely he won't be able to live with them either.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby bruinfan89 » Wed May 21, 2014 11:53 am

His Wife Again, That is your view. It may not be his. If knowing more information helps him work through his fiance's past, why not let him know the truth? I did stipulate that she did not need to convey specific details regarding each man, but why should he wonder if each man they encounter is someone who was intimate with her? Why not limit his list of inquiries if he so desires?

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby Hiswifeagain » Wed May 21, 2014 1:23 pm

If that's the way he's thinking he should rethink marrying her. Feeling on her past will ruin their future.

ETA: if he doesn't know the men, names won't make any difference. If he does, putting a face on the mental pictures will most likely make things worse, not better.


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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby SeekingChange » Wed May 21, 2014 2:10 pm

I would think one could question marriage to someone who is not willing to be completely open and honest. The past affects the future and if someone is going to unite themselves with another for LIFE, I think full disclosure is the least you can offer. If he doesn't want to know details that is his choice. Anything hidden WILL be made known according to Scripture. I am on the side to be open and honest from the beginning, because who wants to deal with the feelings of betrayal and distrust in a marriage?
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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby Hiswifeagain » Wed May 21, 2014 2:46 pm

I'm not talking about not being honest. It's honest to say I've been with 3 other men. Who they are shouldn't matter. What was done with those partners shouldn't make a difference now. If you have disease you could transmit to your future spouse of course you're obligated to disclose that. If you've tried some sex act and you know there's no way you're ever going to do it again, then disclose that.

It's not betrayal unless you aren't honest about your past. You don't need to relive every sexual encounter from your past to be honest. There is a reason that marriage counselors are very careful with giving any details about what happened when one spouse has a physical affair. The details can cause irreparable damage. I see this very much the same way.

If we believe in the work of the cross then details are not necessary. If you haven't repented and asked forgiveness for those past sexual sins, that would be different. You don't need any specifics to forgive your future spouse for their sexual sin. Sometimes it seems as though sexual sin is seen as worse than other sin. We all sin and we all need Jesus and his forgiveness.

ETA: This may be a difficult thing to really appreciate if you both came into marriage as virgins.
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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby Barbarah-Hephizibah » Wed May 21, 2014 7:53 pm

I think HisWifeAgain makes a good point.

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Re: Discussing sexual history

Postby lolo89 » Thu May 22, 2014 4:12 pm

Thank you all so much for your advice. I am glad you encouraged me to talk about it.

FH and I talked the other night. I put it out there and told him I would honestly answer any questions he had, but he didn't want to ask any questions. He said that he had inferred from other things I've told him that I may have lived a promiscuous lifestyle when I was younger, but he made up his mind long ago that it didn't matter to him. Knowing that felt like a huge weight lifted off of my chest, and FH was wonderfully patient and understanding.

Thanks again, everyone. This is a really great community you have here.


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