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4 Reasons to Open Up About Your Sexual Past

Seen, Soothed, Safe and Secure -these are key elements for a healthy relationship and 4 Reasons to Open Up about your Sexual Past.

But when it comes to your unwanted sexual behavior; it might feel like a secret you should just keep hidden.  Is your relationship secure enough for you to tell your boyfriend or husband about your sexual history?

Do you really want your girlfriend to know about your addiction to pornography?  The dangerous truth is while we keep back the darker parts of our lives, we deny ourselves real intimacy and continue bringing that deep need to illegitimate sources.

As you’re moving closer to relational intimacy and marriage, opening up about your sexual history or sexual habits is important. Every person longs to have someone see the full scope of who they are and be loved. 

You and your loved one deserve each other fully and wholly.

Here are 4 Reasons to open up about your sexual past.

Highlights:

Bringing yourself means bringing your whole self not just the best parts.

You can not walk in sexual integrity if you’re not willing, with safe people, to open yourself and let them see the truth about what’s been going on.

“I love you. I love what I see and I want to come closer.” That’s the cry of our hearts. It longs for real intimacy.

Extras:

“Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain” by William M Struthers

More on Oxytocin with Dr Struthers

If you want to learn more, check out Josh’s latest musing on this topic at, When Do I Tell My Significant Other?

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

A couple years ago, I met a couple who had been married for about a year. And their story went something like this they dated, they fell in love. They were, you know, Christians and in Christian ministry and really excited a lot of people just affirming, you know, where they were headed in their lives, kind of culminated in this beautiful wedding and this great romance. But immediately after they got married, the the new wife found out from her new husband, that he had an intense sexual addiction. He had been looking at pornography since he was a teen, he was still looking at it multiple times a day. He had had promiscuity in his past, it was just intense. And so they had never been sexually intimate, this part of their life was just in shambles. And nobody knew about it. This is a pretty intense example. But I think a lot of people who are dating, a lot of people are moving towards marriage, or a lot of people who want to move towards marriage, and you have a sexually sorted history, whether things they have done in the past, they’re no longer doing or things they’re wrestling with now, and things are trying to grow in now. wonder, Should I tell my significant other? Is it important for them to know? And how much should should they know? I don’t mean all at once. I don’t mean right away. But why is it important? If you’re moving towards closer and closer relational intimacy, if you’re moving towards marriage, potential marriage? Why is it important for you to open up for reasons. And I’m going to give you the four reasons that I’m going to go unpack each one of them. So the first reason is for their sake, for the sake of the person you’re with. Second is for your sake, this actually has benefit to you. Third reason why you need to open up is for the sake of your relationship, the relationship you have with this other person. And then the third is is this might sound kind of pious or religious sounding, but I’ll get to it is for God’s sake, not because he needs this from you. But because he has something for you and for the relationship in the telling of your story and telling of what’s been going on for you. So Jesus, as we dive into this topic today, I pray for each person listening. I pray against shame and fear. But I pray that you’d open their ears, their senses to what you have for them. Lord, I pray this, if there are people listening, have not gone this route. And they listened. They they kind of recognize they should have I pray against any accusation. But Lord, rather than you would kind of open the doorways for us in what you’re asking us to do and move towards in the future. In Jesus name I asked Amen. Alright, so let me unpack each of those. First of all, for the sake of your significant other. So if you’re in a dating relationship, and you’ve been getting to know each other, and it’s getting serious, or it’s gotten serious, you need to tell the other person for their sake, when you get married, marriage is about you giving yourself as a gift, a self gift to the other person, and about the other person giving themselves as a self gift to you. So two things about that one is bringing yourself means bringing your whole self, not just the best parts, not just the parts that you wish were the only thing true about you. But also the parts of you that you’re not that proud about things that are hard for you difficult for you painful for you. Things you’re that may have produced shame, including sexual sin in your life, your sexual history, any current sexual struggles you have, that’s a part of the gift you bring. Now, I’m not saying that your sexual sin is a gift that you bring that part of yourself is a part of the package of what you’re bringing. If you’re other if for this other person to bring themselves fully. If for them to make that decision that they want to bring themselves fully means that you got to be honest about what they’re committing to who they’re committing to, just as you want them to be honest about who they’re committing who you’ll be committing to. So I think you’re about Jesus in Luke, nine 923 is one example. He’s talking to a group of Jewish people and he says to them, the sobering words he’s talking about, he first start talking about what the future holds for him. So they’re kind of recognizing he may be the Messiah, but he’s saying hey, I’m gonna be handed over and killed. So it’s not all rose, you know, rosy up ahead, the roads not gonna be paved with roads ahead. And then he goes on to say in verse 23, If anyone wishes to, to be my disciple, he or she must deny themselves take up the cross daily and follow Me. So Jesus did not sugarcoat what life with him would be like, and we shouldn’t either. Now Jesus, if you read the next verse, you recognize that the Jesus was disclosing this because he he knows there’s life and giving your life away to him. But as an example to us when we’re bringing something difficult to the to the relationship, it’s important that we be honest about that for the sake of the significant other The second reason is for our own sake, for our own sake. Now that might sound contradictory because you know, what good is going to do me to open up and share about this awful part of my life, this terrible thing that I’ve done in the past or this history, that God that’s just so ugly? Or this thing I’m currently struggling with? How is that going to help me? If anything is just going to push the other person away, and I don’t want them to leave? That doesn’t sound like as much help to me. Well, here’s the reality. Our unwanted sexual behaviors, whether past or present, are a form of false intimacy. They’re our attempt at finding some type of relational intimacy and by intimacy here, I mean, I like the definition intimacy means into me, you see, into me, you see, every heart, every person longs to have someone be able to see the full scope of what’s going on in their lives, who they are. And to decide, I love you, I love you, I love you. I love what I see. And I want to come closer. That’s the cry of our hearts that longs for real intimacy. And when we take that, that cry, that drive, to pornography, or to illicit affairs, or wherever else, whatever other unwanted sexual behaviors, part of that is us looking for real intimacy, in places we’re not going to find it. It’s a legitimate need brought to illegitimate sources. Those are versions of false intimacy. Well, what’s the antidote? What’s the healing agent for false intimacy, it’s real intimacy. We’ve been wounded by taking our longings for intimacy, to fowl sources, illegitimate sources. And the healing comes as we invite someone in both God and safe enough others into those places in our lives to to really see us and to choose us. That’s the healing that’s where the healing from false intimacy comes. That’s the antidote, hiding from others, does not produce real intimacy. So if we’re keeping back the darker parts of our lives, we’re not going to move towards real intimacy. And we will continue to bring that deep need to false to illegitimate sources. And so if we want to learn to bring our real needs our God given desire to be seen and loved, if we want to learn to bring that into real relationships, we got we have to learn to be honest, this is a hard part of the journey away from unwanted sexual behaviors, but it is vitally important you, you cannot walk in sexual integrity, if you are not willing, at some point with safe people, to open yourself and let them see the truth about about what’s been going on for you. And I want to give you a picture here. I think sometimes or unwanted sexual behaviors are like an intruder in our house. And they’ve taken part of us a legitimate important part of us captive. And when somebody else shows up, they run and hide, you know, they find a room and they lock the door, and they hide in that room. And they’ve taken that part of us there with them, that longing that that need with them. And so when we allow them, that intruder of unwanted sexual behavior to stay hidden, to stay locked away, the other person can’t really see us. And so when we open up about our sexual sin are our sexual pasts, with a significant other with a trusted somebody that we want to move forward in relationship with. And this is true for friendships too, by the way, when we open that when we open that door, we know they’re going to see that intruder. And maybe that’s where the shame is. But that also allows them the opportunity to see that part of us that has been taken captive by that intruder. And our hope is that they’re going to see past the intruder, at least eventually, and be able to see that part of us and care for that legitimate part of us that legitimate longing. This is the road real intimacy. So we do this for our sake, we open it for our sake. Third, we opened up for the sake of the relationship. If we want this relationship to be healthy, we need to open about this. There’s so many reasons for this, that I’ve already described in the first two. Let me give you one more. Dr. Williams. Struthers is the author of a book called Wired for intimacy. And I heard him explain not too long ago about the reality of oxytocin. Now oxytocin is a neurochemical that’s released through real connection with people. It’s released when we have a good cry with somebody a meaningful conversation and it’s released during physical intimacy. That’s oxytocin, it’s called the bonding chemical. It connects two people with each other, but there’s a there’s a dark side to oxytocin. Dr. Struthers says and that dark side is that oxytocin also pushes away others from those intimate places. And in the marriage bed in a marriage, that’s actually a good thing. You know, we don’t want lots of people in that place. So as we’re intimate with in an exclusive relationship between husband and wife We share physical intimacy with just our spouse. Oxytocin works to defend that and say, no, nobody else is allowed here and push other people away. But when we’ve been sexual with more than one person, when we viewed pornography, when we have a history here, oxytocin can actually work against our real relationship, to try to keep out our spouse or our significant other from those places. It’s one of the reasons that that pornography and other unwanted sexual behaviors can be so destructive in relationship. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, you’ve been, you found that when you use pornography, or when you act out in some way, that you get angry, you feel anger at your spouse, you kind of pushing your spouse or your kids or other important people away from you. Well, that’s that darker defensive side of oxytocin at work. And there may be shame and other things involved there, too. But that’s at least part of it. So we want oxytocin working for the relationship not against and that’s another reason that we need to open up and be honest and with our, with our significant other about what’s going on, so they can, they are on the inside, not the outside of that bond. Last thing, we want to also open up out of faith, we want to trust Jesus, this is an invitation just as I said earlier, Luke 924 923, when Jesus says, take up your cross daily and follow Me, it’s an invitation not just to die, it’s an invitation to the life that he offers. And we keep things hidden. We’re basically saying like, I am going to be the source of my life, I’m going to control this. And I’ll find life my own way. Well, we know from the very beginning with Adam and Eve, it doesn’t work, it won’t work for you. So here I think about Jesus in John four with a woman of Samaria, the woman at the well. Jesus calls out her sin. She’s there at the well, in the middle of the day, probably because of her sexual past and the scorn that she received from other women and men when she comes to the well in the morning when other people come to draw. And so she comes by herself in isolation. Jesus meets her there in the light of day. And when he asks her questions she evades, and finally he says to her, I know that the man you’re with is not your husband. And I know you’ve been with multiple people before this. And his invitation in that context is an invitation to real intimacy, to union with Him to living water, she has been searching and searching, drinking and drinking illegitimate water, trying to satiate her thirst. And Jesus is saying to her, I am the source of intimacy, the source of true feeling, the source that will quench your your longing heart, your thirst for intimacy, your thirst for union, your thirst for value and validation. It’s me, open to me. And she’s the first convert in that town, she ends up becoming an evangelist, a bold and an unashamed evangelist for Jesus in her town. Jesus wants this for all of us, He doesn’t want us hiding, he doesn’t want us sneaking to the well, at times of day when others aren’t present. And certainly with those who are our most trusted people in our lives, he doesn’t want us hiding from them. He wants us free from the shame and the secrets that have kept us bound. So we don’t need to fear who we run into. We don’t need to fear that someone’s going to look at our internet history. We don’t need to fear that someone’s going to find out about our past, or someone’s going to check our email or someone’s going to find our phone. He wants us free. And the only way to be free is to walk in the light. So we can look the world in the eye without fear or shame. And we can look most especially the Lord, we don’t shrink away from him anymore. And we don’t shrink away from our significant other or our spouse because we know that they know all about us. We know that we’re walking in integrity. And we know that there’s union, real intimacy between us. That’s the vision. Listen, this is a 15 minute podcast, but I know that this can be a hard road. He need help with this along the way, don’t go it alone. There are people in our staff who would love to walk with you. They can be a tremendous help. In all of this I didn’t talk about when you know this isn’t something you bring up on the first date. This isn’t something that you talk with somebody about who you can’t trust. And so my blog for this week I unpack when do you have this conversation, when is a good time to open up with your significant other about this part of your life? So we’ll have a link to that in the show notes for this episode. Brothers and sisters, all this is for you. God is for you in this. He is a God of light and he desires for you to be fully with him in the light. It will bring him great joy and will bring you joy along the way too.

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