Truths to Remember When You Regret Having Sex

Photo by Sylvie Tittel

Photo by Sylvie Tittel

I talk to a lot of couples who are struggling to maintain their sexual purity before marriage.

Women in particular often tell me, “I’m really struggling with the sexual part of my relationship because we don’t want to go that far.”

That’s a very real hardship for many Christian couples.

Recently I sat down with a couple who shared in depth about their struggles in this area. They want to keep healthy physical boundaries in their relationship, but they’re having a hard time doing so. As is often the case, it’s early in their relationship and emotions are high.

One half of this couple feels a lot of shame. This person is afraid they might already be in a physical situation that doesn’t line up with God’s heart for them, even though they haven’t actually “had sex.”

Our time of ministry was so beautiful because God is awesome, and He’s about love and forgiveness and really making it clear to us that the moment we repent, He takes all our shame.

In this article, I want to address important truths to remember when your heart is grieved and you regret getting sexually involved with someone.

Carlos’ Story

Leon and I met “Carlos” a few years ago. As a teenager, he decided to abstain from sex before marriage. His church talked about sexual purity and he thought it was a good idea—he had a strong desire to do what God wanted him to.

But despite his best efforts, that wasn’t what happened.

“I mistook my girlfriend’s need for affection as a sign that she wanted to have sex,” he told us. He interpreted her desire to make him happy and be close to him as, “Let’s have sex.”

Eventually out of guilt, he decided to end his relationship with her. Somehow he’d found himself in the very position he’d tried to avoid. This was not what he wanted.

But something important happened as he dealt with his feelings of failure.

Over the next few months, Carlos became very close to God and really delved into studying His Word. Jesus became real to him in a new way, and Carlos began to feel a greater passion for living and relationships—his life changed.

Several years later, Carlos felt God tugging his heart a certain direction, so he took a risk and began to pursue someone—a different woman than the one he’d dated in his early twenties. They started a relationship, and both of them committed to staying pure before God and each other.

Carlos and his wife have been married now for many years, and they’ve seen the faithfulness of God in their lives again and again. He’s been so very good to them!

I am convinced that part of the reason they’ve experienced such blessing in their marriage is that they both want to be close to their heavenly Father.

When Carlos realized he’d made a mistake with his previous girlfriend, he chose God’s heart for him. He didn’t listen when the enemy told him, “Oh, you’ve really messed up now! You might as well give up.” Instead he turned and sought his Savior, and he listened when God called him into a deeper relationship with Him.

In matters of dating, marriage, and any other deep desire of the heart, James 4:8 (NIV) is an important verse to keep in mind: “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Carlos got to see the truth of this verse firsthand.  

What’s the solution when you know you’ve made a mistake?

Based on my friend Carlos’ story, here are three important truths to remember when you regret sleeping with someone:

1. God doesn’t despise you and push you away when you fail.

What would have happened if Carlos had turned away from God instead of seeking Him?

If you’ve made a mistake, don’t do what Adam and Eve did in Genesis and try to hide. The most important decision you can make is to put all your focus on God, who loves you more than it probably feels like right now.

If you feel you crossed a line, repent and know you’re forgiven—that’s it (1 John 1:9). Your heavenly Father wants you in His life. He doesn’t make people jump through hoops in order to come back to Him.

When we mess up, He doesn’t get rid of us—we’re His kids. His treasures. Focus on that truth and draw close to Him. He will respond in kind and draw close to you.

2. It’s okay when things take time.

Carlos didn’t try to jump into a new relationship right away. Instead he chose to make God the most important thing in his life.

Our hearts need to be healed and, in most cases, healing takes time. Leon and I always tell our mentees to fall in love with Jesus before they pursue a new relationship.

If you’ve been feeling “distant” from God, pursue His heart because He wants to show you what He’s really thinking and feeling about you.

3. Expect God to show up and answer the desires He’s put in your heart.

Sometimes we fall into the enemy’s trap and start to think God’s promises don’t apply to us for whatever reason. Or—if those promises seem to be taking a long time—we assume God didn’t really mean what He said.

Oh, beloved child of God—get ready! He has GOOD plans for you.

One More Thought About Sex

It’s important to remember that feeling sexually interested in your boyfriend or girlfriend is normal. God made you a sexual being, and these feelings are not evil or a sign of hidden wickedness. They just need to be “channeled” in a good and healthy way.

[Click here to read Salomé’s article on setting strong boundaries in your relationship.]

Try to have your physical boundaries in place before you actually need them. Think about boundaries early in the relationship, and talk about them with your partner, coming to an agreement about what boundaries will look like for the two of you. “This is what we’re going to do because we want to honor God in this way.”

When you have a plan in place, it will be that much easier to follow what God has put on your heart.


Interested in reading more? Here are a few other articles from Salomé on related topics:

For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.

You can also order the book in Spanish. Click here.


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