How does sex before marriage lead to sexual problems in marriage?

The Epidemic of Bad Sex in Marriage

An estimated 40 million women in America complain about their sex lives (Oprah, 6/00). They hate having it, sex feels like a chore, there is no enjoyment, no intimacy—these women have lost the desire for sex. WHY? The answer is not easy, and certainly is not the same for every woman, but it unfortunately affects their husbands and marriages. Although there can be many explanations for the trend, sex before marriage can only contribute to this sad phenomenon.

The two stories that follow were made public on “Oprah”, in June 2000.

One frustrated woman describes…

“Before marriage, we had sex 3-4 times a week; but after marriage, it became like a chore.”


Before marriage, the woman admitted that sex was used as a tool (to get a man to commit for her own personal comfort). In this situation, the act of sex was used inappropriately. Sex inside marriage is designed to be an emotional experience that bonds a couple through good and bad times. It is not meant to simply “comfort” a relationship. Individuals often become misguided as to the role of sex in a relationship and it is only through a great deal of effort, forgiveness, time, and healing that people are able to discover the beauty of sex in marriage.

When someone uses sex in a certain way (whether it be for personal pleasure, or to get a person to commit) that becomes the reason to have sex. Now that the woman had the permanent commitment, what is the reason to have sex? It’s not an intimate bonding experience for her, so she has lost the desire to have sex anymore.

Sex Before Marriage…

…destroyed her ability to bond with her husband and enjoy sex as an intimate experience in marriage.

One frustrated man describes…

“My wife doesn’t fulfill me when I’m having a hard time. She doesn’t make love to me when I want it, when I need it. Our marriage is falling apart.”


This man is familiar with having sex when he wants it and using sex for his own personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Sex is created to be a completely giving experience…to give the best, and all, of yourself to your spouse, so as to fulfill them. If someone has sex outside of marriage, they often use it for themselves, even if they believe it is a loving thing to do for their relationship. The wife in this situation does not enjoy sex because it is done for her husband’s satisfaction, not as a gift of self to one another.

Sex Before Marriage…

…ruined this man’s ability to become a gift for his wife through sex and his ability to sense her needs as more important than his own. Sex before marriage also ruined his marriage.

These certainly are not isolated situations. Such lack of intimacy happens on a regular basis in many marriages. Movies don’t usually show this, and so many couples are afraid to publicly talk about it. But, you know as well as I do that it is real—you know the divorce rate in this country, it’s depressing!

Sex Before Marriage…

…allows us to make habits out of sex that are not the habits we want to have once in marriage. Such habits or motivations can ruin a marriage, even before the marriage begins. You cannot be completely self-giving in sex outside of marriage because there is no permanent commitment which allows you to give all of yourself (heart, body, spirit, mind). If you gave everything of yourself in sex outside of marriage, you risk losing everything, because that person might walk away the next day, month or year. So, we train ourselves to not give away all of our “heart and soul” in sex. We hold back emotional or intellectual attachments that we don’t want to be harmed. We condition sex to be more of a physical than emotional act, or simply for it to fulfill our immediate needs. Then, when we get married, we wonder why sex isn’t totally giving, beautiful and bonding. It is simply because we chose to turn sex into something it is not. We abused the gift of sex.

Sex should be a place where a couple grows and connects and discovers each other better, not a place where old baggage, motives and comparisons keep spouses divided and frustrated.

What do you want to bring into your marriage?

Do you really want to habitually use sex out of context, out of God’s plan? How much of your marital intimacy do you want to endanger for sexual moments now?

You’re making that decision now. God wants to bless your marriage with awesome sex, as a totally bonding and giving experience. It’s your choice—what do you want?

And there’s good news. It’s not too late to start over through the gift of secondary virginity. And, if you want to know how to have great sex, start by choosing chastity today. Here’s some good ideas about how chastity leads to great sex!

By Heather Gallagher
The REAP Team