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Sex, Shame, God, and Truth

Updated: May 1, 2023

Let’s address this idea that is so widely spread in the Christian community that if you have sex before marriage you are somehow now damaged goods, and not worthy of a good Christian man or woman. It carries this stigma that it is somehow a more severe sin in God's eyes than many of the others. This is complete bullshit, or as the apostle Paul would say, "dung."

I believed this nonsense with every ounce of my being, and this really messed with my head for years in numerous ways that I slowly uncovered. I’m still recovering from the trauma that the Christian community put on me in this way.

Before my first marriage, while no sex was had, my ex (who was my first boyfriend ever) and I fooled around a little. Despite being committed christians, we were normal teenagers with hormones and the desire to have sex in general. However, because of this, I thought I was tainted and only good for him. This impacted why I got married.

My ex-husband was and is an incredible person. We met when I was fifteen. We grew up together. He was my best friend. I did and will always love him and cherish all we did and went through together. The problem was that I loved him like my best friend. I didn’t understand the difference between a romantic love and a best friend love.

The naïve little Christian girl I was thought that when we got married, sex would fix whatever was missing in our relationship. Surprise surprise, it didn’t.

After just under a year of marriage and trying to make it work, a man I worked with started aggressively pursuing me. I really liked the attention and was very attracted to him. This broke my heart, and with tears in my eyes, I went to my ex-husband and told him. He told me it was biology for people to be attracted to other people and as long as I didn’t act on it, he didn’t mind.

I didn’t act on it, but the feelings kept getting stronger and stronger. I knew something had to be done. The only person who knew at all that anything was up in my marriage, was my ex-husband, but he did not know the extent of what was going on inside of me. Out of immense guilt and shame, I hid what was going on from every single other person in my life.

I felt lost, and it was one of the loneliest things I have ever experienced. Eventually, after months of agony, anxiety, and depression that lead to unhealthy weight loss, I told him we needed to get a divorce because this wasn’t fair to him or me. This sweet, hardworking, big hearted, intelligent human needed to find someone who respected and cherished him in the ways that I just couldn’t.

At twenty-three years old, I found myself the youngest person I knew divorced, besides my brother, who had strong Biblical reasoning for his divorce. The shame and embarrassment was more than I could bear. I couldn’t stomach telling my Christian friends and family that I had failed so miserably and in such a dramatic and public way.

The only person I felt comfortable talking to after the fact was my brother who many Christians would have considered the black sheep. All growing up, Frankie was “rebellious” and did not conform to our religion. For this reason and to escape the temptation to be with the man who was pursuing me, I moved in with Frankie who lived in North Carolina with a house full of Marines.

My brother was the only person I knew up close and personal who truly lived from his heart. My decision to get a divorce was the first time ever that I chose to follow my heart (God in me) instead of my religion.

I was extremely angry at the Christian community. Following their rules and trying to be the perfect Christian got me into this mess. If I didn't have the shame surrounding sex before marriage, I wouldn’t be where I was getting divorced at twenty-three years old and about to be harshly judged by those whose ludicrous standards I was trying to uphold in the first place.

When I moved to NC, I decided to just be an open book. I gave up on Christianity. I told God, if He was real then He needed to find me. I was done with Him and done with the judgmental and hypocritical Christians. I remember going on a date with this Marine who asked me what my religious beliefs were. I told him, “I don’t have any.” It felt foreign and like I was a whole new person saying those words as being a “good Christian” made up my identity until that point.

I went on a messy journey of finding myself without religion. I turned to partying with the Marines in North Carolina. Then, when I moved back home, I turned to alcohol, drinking mugs full of straight fireball alone in my apartment and keeping myself ridiculously busy and distracted with everything and anything. I also turned to finding my self worth in men, and I made some terrible and self-degrading decisions.

In the midst of keeping busy, I started doing yoga several times a week. This was pretty much the only quiet time I had in my life. It was there on my yoga mat that God had an opportunity to speak to my heart. Somewhere along the way, I found the essence of my own heart which lead me straight to the heart of God.

Little by little things came full circle. I went back to most of my original ways and beliefs, but now, not because my religion told me to, but because my heart and experience did.

One thing I had trouble grasping my beliefs on was sex before marriage. When I was a model Christian, the pendulum was at one end, then when I was determined to not have another failed marriage due to following some dumb rule, the pendulum swung too far the other way. I had sex with numerous people that I did not truly love, and I regret giving myself to those people in that way.

My brother always says, “nature seeks balance.” I knew what I grew up thinking was not right, and in seeking balance, I went too far the other way. I kept thinking, I didn’t feel quite right about the way that I was operating. I was using sex to make sure that I had chemistry with a person to determine if they were someone I could marry. Something was wrong. I was giving away pieces of myself to people without mutual long term commitment which hurt me emotionally and wreaked havoc on the abandonment issues I already held from childhood.

As I was silently seeking answers to this, one day a friend at work mentioned in passing that in her single years, she only had sex with people she truly loved and wanted a future with. That resonated with me. This helped me find where my own beliefs lie on the topic. I believe that if you are committed to a person, truly love them, are physically attracted to them, and fully intend on marrying them I don’t think sex is wrong.

Frankly, I never cared to look for biblical backing to this, this is just my opinion. However, Erik did a deep dive into exactly what the Bible was saying. He looked up translations and meanings of words and came to a conclusion similar to my beliefs. Maybe I’ll have him guest write a blog with a full explanation one of these days.

When I started talking to Erik, on Facebook dating, we hit it off right away. When I found out he was a worship leader at his church, I instantly wrote him off. I thought to myself, “There is absolutely no way he will want divorced edgy me.” I immediately laid it all out there in a text. I expected him to go running for the hills, and for 40 long minutes, I thought he did. However, 40 minutes later, he sent me a cute little song he wrote and recorded for me. I knew right then and there, I was marrying this guy.

Before Erik, I had several sexual partners. Do I wish my number was less? Yes, absolutely. Do I wish that number was nonexistent? No. There were a few of those people like a southern sweetheart who showed me how I deserved to be treated and loved, and the man who I learned the vastness and capacity of my ability to love with, and how I should feel in love, that impacted my heart and my life in big ways that I most certainly do not regret. With out these experiences, I wouldn't have had the patience or wisdom to know when to end relationships that weren't meant for me. My broken road lead me straight to Erik. Does any of it make me any less valuable or somehow defective? No. Did any of it affect Erik’s interest in me or ability to love me? Nope.

If someone is looking at the fact that you aren’t a virgin or the number of people you had sex with to determine your value, they are not seeing you as a human and an individual with a story. This is not someone who truly respects you or cares about you, so who really gives a hoot (yes, I just filtered myself as to not get peoples’ panties in a bunch any more than I’m sure they already are ;) ) what they think? They are not your person, and it is their loss. Judgers are going to judge. Let em.

This concept that a person’s worth comes from sexual perfection is wildly damaging, and 100% NOT biblically backed. Erik and I both ended up in marriages that never should have been in the first place and divorced because of confusion put on us from our religion. Christians need to mind their own business, stop infringing their sexual views on others, and get the log out of their own eyes.

Erik and I are just two of the countless people who have been confused and put under the law about sex and marriage. It is the religious, albeit, well intentioned people who are doing this to people. The reality is that they have no idea what they are talking about and no business throwing in their unasked for two cents about other peoples’ lives and sex lives in the first place. This is between the individuals, their partners, and their God. No one else should be putting in their input or opinions on something so personal unless specifically asked.

So many people jump all over the sex before marriage sin, yet no one is talking about the fact that over eating is also a sin (Proverbs 23:2). I can think of tons of Christians and pastors who are over-weight. Gossip is a sin (Romans 1:29). The place where I have witnessed the most gossip is in the Christian community, but no one is complaining about the “prayer groups” that double as gossip groups. No one is complaining about the pastor up on stage and all over social media arrogantly boasting about all he's done for the community and how wonderful and godly he is, yet arrogance and boasting are sins (Romans 1:30). No one is complaining about the Godly woman who openly wishes her husband would act more like her friend’s husband. Or the Godly man who openly wishes he had a truck like his friend. Envy and coveting people. Sin (Romans 1:29).Or what about all the Christians who believe in war? Romans also tells us that not being understanding, loving, and merciful is a sin.

The Christian community just conveniently picks and chooses what sins they want to pay attention to and hone in on. Harshly judging some even to the point of ostracization while letting others slide. That is completely unbiblical, and hypocritical. And, Christians wonder why so many people resist God🤯.

News flash: It's not because the world has gone too far from the heart of God. So many people are searching for something. It's because so many people inside the churches don't understand the true heart of God. Thus, He is being misrepresented. Clear thinking people want nothing to do with the judgement, condemnation, and legalism being preached in a lot of modern day churches. They think that His people are accurately representing God, and logically, they want nothing to do with Him.

God doesn’t have a ranking system. Sin is sin. If you are living according to the law, you better be darn sure you’re following all the laws. The whole purpose of the law was to show us that none of us can do it. The Bible tells us that ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God. Again, none of us can do it. Not a single one. We won’t ever be right with God based on works no matter how good we behave. The book of Romans makes it abundantly clear that we are all on level playing ground.

That is the intense beauty of the gift of the cross. Jesus wiped us clean, and we can rest in our divine identity in Christ. We are His beloved.

If we can learn to become relaxed and comfortable in our roles as His beloved, and finally feel safe and secure in His unending, unwavering, unconditional love, we can stop hiding. We can be open and honest with our stories and who we actually are. God can use us to relate to others. God literally always uses imperfect people to do the biggest things.

Let’s take a look at King David. He was an adulterer and a murder, yet STILL he was known as a “man after God’s own heart" and revered in the Christian community.

How can God truly use us if we are faking and pretending? Who’s lives are we going to change, and will it be for the better? Nothing good ever came from secrecy and lies, yet the place where I’ve seen the most secrecy and lies is within the church.

Share your story! Be honest with people! You are not alone. I promise you that people need to hear your truth.

Today, the truth I need to share is the truth I needed to hear as a 22 year old kid. Despite popular Christian opinion, your value does not decrease when you have sex outside of marriage. God does not love you an ounce less if you have sex or fooled around before marriage. You do NOT become damaged goods. You are whole, you are chosen, and you are deeply loved by the Creator of the universe. Don’t believe the lies that tell you anything different.

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Deserae Artis
Deserae Artis
Aug 08, 2023

Completely agree with you!

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