Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Your Sexual Past Doesn’t Make You Damaged Goods

Your Sexual Past Doesn’t Make You Damaged Goods


“I’m sorry.” “I can’t tell him.” “What if she breaks up with me?”

There are a few practical things to remember for those embarrassed by their sexual history. First, don’t play the comparison game. Lack of a sexual history does not equal purity of heart. That’s just not the way the heart works (Matthew 5:28). Nor does lack of sexual history bring relational security. To seek the person with the “cleanest” story is an attempt to control a future—it’s not a search for holiness, but a divine coup d’état, striving to micromanage our own safety and power. It can also belittle the sovereign and sanctifying grace of God. Your history says less about you than an accuser might have you believe. If you’ve truly put your hope in Jesus Christ, and given yourself to a lifelong pursuit of his holiness, your history cannot condemn you anymore.

Second, guard your own heart against another’s manipulation. Your past sins were not against your partner in a way that allows them to coerce you into more sexual immorality. Yes, your sin has real-time implications for them, and you may eventually need to apologize for it. But David insists of God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4). Often, shame can be a seedbed of further sin. It is essential to be aware of that.

Third, your sin has been canceled and covered in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:13).


“This is my past. Deal with it.” “Why can’t you just get over this?” “It’s not a big deal. Just trust me.”

Your partner has a reaction to your past: They’re hurt and insecure, and they’re asking an overwhelming number of questions. Their hurt feels resentful, bitter, judgmental, dismissive and unwarranted. Embarrassment can make you feel cornered and enraged. Their insecurity feels like a prophet of your rejection and humiliation. Fear lies at the root of the worst sorts of frustration and impatience. There are a few things to keep in mind.

First, previous reactions people have had to your sexual history don’t dictate how the next boyfriend or girlfriend will receive it. Give them the very benefit of the doubt that you want from them (Luke 6:31).

Second, be patient with them (1 Corinthians 13:4). Get honor.

Third, guard yourself from pushing the envelope physically in order to level the playing field—that is, to give them a sexual past that you can hang over their head. This is epitome of selfishness, and the height of sin’s deceit, attempting to deal with your own guilt by drawing others’ into sin with you. Do not repay “anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Don’t let the haze of shame or pain or insecurity become the ground for walking into more sin.

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Paul Maxwell (@paulcmaxwell) is a PhD student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and philosophy professor at Moody Bible Institute. He writes more at his blog, paulcmaxwell.com, and pretends to like coffee.