Sex After Divorce

Moral Revolution Team

Divorce, Healing & Restoration, Sex

I remember talking to a friend right before I moved from my hometown and away from my marriage. “If there’s one piece of advice I can give you,” she said, “it would be to not rush into another relationship.” I assured her this was the furthest thing from my mind, but she insisted. She had thought the same thing when her previous relationship had ended, she explained, but she had surprised herself with becoming sexually free very quickly. At the time, I thought her advice was unnecessary. But looking back now, I’m wishing I had taken her comments to heart.

My husband and I were in our early 20’s when we married. We both came from Christian families and had both, miraculously, saved ourselves for marriage. Divorce was the furthest thing from our minds, let alone sleeping with anyone else, but within a few short years this became a reality and let me tell you, it was not pretty.

I’ve come up with all the excuses in the book for why our marriage ended. We were too busy, I was depressed, we were stressed financially, he was controlling. But really, it all boils down to the fact that neither of us was truly maintaining our relationship with the Lord. Our faith walks were religious, not personal. If God had been our focus and our passion, the worldly definitions of success wouldn’t have widdled us down and exhausted us. If God had been our center it would have been easier to fight through the dark valley we were struggling in.

To separate myself from my husband, I moved to a new city and started my life. I thought the new, carefree world I had created for myself was where I was supposed to be. My focus remained on the worldly definitions of success and happiness which quickly influenced my new relational status. Three months later, I found myself in bed with someone I should not have been with. This was the first of many casual relationships that I would enter into in the following two years of rebellion, none of which were satisfying or long lasting.

I’m surprised, looking back, how easy it was for me to jump into the lifestyle of promiscuity. I had never been that girl and it went completely against my morals and even my desires. I pretended for a while that this part of my life was fun and exciting, but deep down I knew something was wrong. Even though these encounters lead to fun girl-talk with my friends, I would cry myself to sleep at night, my heart aching for something more meaningful. I had never felt more alone, empty or directionless.

Finally, my hardened heart became soft for the Lord, and I listened to the instructions I knew He had been giving me all along. God grabbed me back with a vengeance, and I am so grateful for His unconditional grace and love.

Sex after divorce is such a difficult subject. Even if we had saved ourselves for marriage, our bodies are now awakened to the sexual world, and it’s hard to turn that tap off once it’s been opened. Even though your sex drive is a very powerful part of you, I’ve realized the drive I’ve felt after divorce goes even further than that. Sex is attractive, yes, but intimacy is even more attractive.

“Sex is attractive, yes, but intimacy is even more attractive.”

I had realized it was the search for intimacy that was driving me to get involved in casual relationships so quickly. I was craving that closeness, to be known and appreciated by someone like I had been with my husband, for my heart to be felt by someone else’s heart. It was a long and painful, even damaging, learning curve to see that these relationships wouldn’t bring anything close to the true intimacy I was actually searching for.

In coming to this realization, I knew that I had to withhold myself from sexual relationships outside of marriage. Not only was God asking me to do this, but I knew that logically it was what I had to do if I wanted to find a truly intimate relationship. God was asking me to abstain, not to enforce a rule, but because He knew how destructive non-intimate relationships were on my heart and how they weren’t where I would find what I was looking for and what I truly needed.

The world defines intimacy as a sexual encounter, to be ‘intimate’ with someone. But really, casual sex encounters have no intimacy in them, and I would argue that any sexual encounters outside of a marriage hold very little intimacy, if any. I’ve had sexual interactions within marriage and outside of marriage both in casual relationships and committed relationships. From first-hand experience, I stand firm on the opinion that sexual intimacy outside of marriage in any form cannot be compared to what it is within the boundaries of marriage.

It’s unfortunate that I had to experience this first hand in order to learn the importance of waiting for sex within the boundaries of marriage. Yet I do know that I am forgiven, and grace has been poured over me. My past sin has been erased, and I am clothed in pure white before God.

I still struggle with being a sexual creature, I am still tempted, and I will admit that I have fallen to that temptation even after God has shown me the truth of my actions. I share that honestly with you because there are so many of us who are now divorced and trying to navigate this new world of relationships. It is a difficult path but with God’s strength helping us, it’s not impossible.

-Katie Smith, 33, British Columbia, CA

35 Responses to “Sex After Divorce”

  1. Me too!!
    Thank you for being so real. Thank you for being honest. Thank you!
    I can’t tell you what it has meant to me to read this post and know I’m not alone in my struggles.

    • Katie

      You’re so welcome Nicole! I’m so glad you found it encouraging! Please feel free to find me on FB @bringgtg where I share more of my heart and testimony along these lines. You’re in my prayers!

  2. Thank you for sharing. This is so true. It is discouraging when you can’t be in a relationship that is serious for marriage as a Christian.
    I think this is what the enemy had planned. But I have seen the Lord bless it’s just the waiting and not knowing when and having to trust God to work it out for His will.

    • Katie

      So true Lucy! Satan loves divorce and the confusion and hurt it causes. God is so full of grace and gentleness, He has a plan for our hurt and will turn evil into victory!

  3. I share the same story. I have been focused upon the Lord for 4 years noe & the growth is amazing. I know at the right time the Lord will fulfill the desires of my heart of sharing true intimacy with a Godly man.

  4. Jessica

    I have thought many times that this topic needs to be addressed. You said it perfectly though the lens of our true struggles and of grace and forgiveness. I have brainstormed ways to discuss this but honestly sometimes it’s easier to just isolate from the subject and keep it hidden. But that’s exactly what the enemy wants. Thanks for your boldness.

    • Katie

      Thank you for your encouragement Jessica! This is such a tricky topic to discuss, I do understand that. But being honest with our past and allowing God to be our voice-box is bringing light to the dark places and exposing the truth. I’ll be praying for you in your walk in this!

  5. Rebecca

    Thank you! I never find anything in this moral revolution stuff that relates to me. This is almost exactly what I have been through! Been struggling to stay pure for 8 years and have my temptations too. I wish there was more out there for those men and women in out position.

    • Katie

      I’m glad you found it helpful! I will be working on putting more of my writing out there. Helping divorcees in this situation is a huge passion of mine!

  6. This was very timely and I feel it was something that was needed right now for so many of us to hear, and have more clarity on. Whether it’s divorce, or the loss of a spouse, or just singleness. Since we say we believe The Word then asmy Pastor has said:”The same Grace that saved us,also empowers us to overcome.”
    Thank you 😊

    • Katie

      I’m glad you found my writing timely, Robin. I definitely agree, it is a topic that needs to be covered more consistently in the Christian community. You can check out my FB page for more of my testimony and links to my writing on this topic @bringgtg.

  7. Thanks for speaking up! Look how many of us can relate! I went down that wayward path as well. We learn from pain don’t we…and yet God’s grace is overwhelming. Our second chance (marriage, kids, life…) will be a testimony to His goodness…and proof that He knows the desires of our hearts! Our story is always for someone else’s sake once it’s been redeemed. Keep up the encouragement and don’t stop challenging people around you!!!

  8. Katie

    I cannot wait for my second chance at the married life and living passionately for the Lord within it! I’m so glad you enjoyed this article. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  9. Stacy

    I walked down the same path you described you never thought you would after divorce. I never thought it would happen to me after the divorce which I also never thought would ever take place in my life as a Christian my whole life.
    I was crying out to Jesus silently tonight and said your blood washed me clean but the world will never see me the same. And, your story spoke to my heart. I am going to let Jesus carry me. Maybe in Him I might still have a second chance. Now, I have hope with others whom have been down this path but longing to be restored. Jesus, restore us. Thank you from my heart for sharing your story. Hope in Him.

  10. Stacy

    I never thought I would experience the same path you described after my divorce. As a Christian my whole life it’s just too hard to except such a life style I would ever experience. Tonight as I was crying out to Jesus in my brokeness your story gave me so much hope. Thank you.

  11. JannaG

    Bless you Katie. Thank you for sharing your message.

    After over 6 years of abstinence, I craved human contact. A hug, an arm around my shoulder. At this point, my hormones had also revved way up. Nonetheless out of a desire for non-sexual touch, I found myself becoming good friends with a guy who also has touch as his love language. After a few months, I gave into the temptation I’d been avoiding for over 6 years. A few months later, we went back to being just friends. A few months after that, I gave into temptation with the same guy again. I’ve now been abstaining again for over 2 years. I find it gets easier over time. I felt like I was going crazy abstaining the first few months. Setting good boundaries with men has helped me stay pure.

    • I completely understand that part of your journey Janna! It’s such a difficult part of being divorced. It’s definitely something God is still helping me through! Keep going, He has a plan for us and can fill this void you’re feeling!

  12. Boy…I feel like I have just read my story! I never thought I would be divorced either and now I find myself struggling to remain pure and abstain. I am also struggling with deep loneliness and fear of abandonment. I am so glad you wrote this. I wish “singles groups” at churches talked about this issue because there is a huge void, especially with the divorced group. No one talks about how to turn off that “tap” and go back to being “virginal”. The cat is already out of the bag and you cannot put it back in! There is no good dating tips for the divorced, especially if the church feels re-marriage is a sin. There is a deep need for this type of honestly in the post-divorce singles world.

  13. Thank you!! Your story is so similar to mine. My ex and I were both virgins when we married and I was very strong in my faith at the time. I don’t regret waiting at all. We were married for 20 years but he cheated on me and basically forced the divorce although I knew it was time to release him. I’m ashamed to admit that even before the divorce had gone through, I had a rebound sexual relationship with a guy who pretended to be a friend and nice, but in hindsight, I know he just wanted one thing and he cloaked it in pseudo-intimacy. I was longing for intimacy and my sexual urges were strong because I had been deprived in my marriage for so long. Thankfully, he moved away which eliminated temptation. (He even used the Bible to convince me that sex after divorce but before marriage was okay. And I believed him.) Then, recently, I got involved with another man who pushed for the physical way too early in the relationship. I’m so, so grateful that the pastor’s wife took me under her wing and counselled me, showing how I was looking for intimacy through sex. That I should rather wait for the man to meet my other needs (including lifelong commitment in marriage) before giving myself to him sexually. I’ve since broken it off and I’m full of relief and determination to only find a true Christian man who regards purity before marriage as a priority. If we both have that standard, it will be easier to remain pure, but I know how hard it can be. It’s much harder than when I was a young, unmarried person. I really wish I hadn’t given myself to those two men. I feel sick inside – especially because of the first one as he was a real jerk, but I know that I’ve learned a very valuable lesson through all of this. I’m growing spiritually so much and I’m now dedicating my body and life to the Lord! I actually think God has used my mistakes to draw me closer to him.

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