I struggled with the guilt, and shame from my sexual past for years, and that is why I wrote this post about overcoming a sexual past.
My past brought great paranoia and caused me to overcompensate my actions so I wouldn’t make any more mistakes in my life.
However, it was these actions I took that created a worse situation for me and created an environment that was not suitable for releasing my pain, guilt, and shame.
Having a sexual past creates long-term effects that we must work through, and in a world that is so sexually saturated it’s hard not to have one.
If you’d like to know the truth I think all Christians should know about this sex-saturated world, click here.
If we don’t acknowledge the issues they continue to haunt and taunt us—and this can affect our marriages, as well as our self-worth.
This post is about to get deep, so be prepared! Let’s begin!
You are Not Alone: My Backstory in Overcoming a Sexual Past
(SKIP TO NEXT SECTION IF YOU’D PREFER NOT TO READ ABOUT MY SEXUAL STORY!)
At a very young age, I learned things I shouldn’t have, and by fourteen I was acting out sexually in ways that led to more problems later on.
I never had sex with anyone, but you don’t need to have sex to feel shame and guilt and to create habits that last a lifetime.
I was the unfaithful type and was also very vulnerable.
At that time I didn’t understand why I did the things I did, but as I got older (like a few years ago older), I began to think back on my past and tried to figure out why I was acting out in such sexual ways.
And…it was my deep need and desire for attention and well, love.
Long story short, I grew up in a household where my dad was absent. He struggled hard with his own demons, and that lead him to neglect his children. I needed and craved my dad’s love. And since I wasn’t getting it from him, I looked for it elsewhere—and that was through any guy I could get it from.
Before I go any further, I do want to point out that my mother is incredible. She gave me so much love, and support, and she still does. But, all the love she gave me, couldn’t fully replace the love I wanted from my dad.
Okay, back to the story.
I wanted a boyfriend. I didn’t actually want to be sexual like I was, I just wanted a boyfriend and someone to call me their girlfriend.
So, I acted out trying to get their attention, so that I could then be called “theirs”.
All those years formed habits that I took into any relationship I had. Meaning, me being unfaithful, lusting, watching porn, masturbating, etc.
It wasn’t until years into my relationship with my husband, (then boyfriend) that I began to realize how messed up my mind was, and my past was.
I had such a misconstrued image of love.
So, one day I went to my pastor for help–and it’s then and there that we began putting pieces together about why I was the way I was, and it’s heavily rooted in the absence of my dad.
However, just because I realized the root of the problem didn’t make all my problems go away.
The side effects of my past still lingered within me—I was still holding onto so much and didn’t realize that the “old self” was still very much a part of me, and showed its face at the worst times.
This is what I need you to understand…
You must get to the root of the problem.
In order to overcome and get over your sexual past, you must figure out what caused you to act out sexually.
This process can be quite difficult, and it requires a great deal of praying, and reflecting, as well as patience because once the realization occurs, is when the hard work begins.
How to Undo the Sexual Habits for Overcoming a Sexual Past:
Now comes the time to process and undo all the damage from your sexual past.
This can mean trying to remain faithful, keeping your eyes from wandering, your mind from lusting/fantasizing, trying to stop a porn addiction or masturbation.
We literally have to retrain our minds, and this takes time.
You have to think, it took you years of forming those habits and we can’t just expect them to go away after just a day or two.
Sex is a powerful action, and when we trust our bodies in the wrong hands, those scars can leave their mark for a lifetime if we don’t work through it.
To start undoing your habits, and carving out those new pathways in your brain, we first must seek God to help us.
This is too big for us to handle on our own.
Pray, and seek His counsel. Read and study His word. Read about other women who struggled with such a past—the best is Mary Magdalene.
Then maybe see a Christian therapist—or in my case a trusted Pastor. I had a double blessing as my Pastor also went to school for therapy as well.
I know this is a cliche’ first step, but keep reading–this has to be first though.
Learning the Triggers for overcoming a sexual past:
Triggers are what are causing you to be tempted.
It could be a certain look, or body type, As well as, it could be the sound of someone’s voice, or how they walk, or their personality.
It could even be an environment. All these things you need to know so that you can understand when, where, and why you become weak.
Knowing your triggers is a game-changer.
Once you are honest with yourself about your triggers you will be able to keep yourself grounded when they arise, so you’re not caught off guard. You can even avoid situations when you know a trigger is bound to happen.
However, you can’t always avoid running into someone you find attractive. So you need to know what to do when you do.
The word cancel.
Yupp, simple as that.
Saying the word cancel out loud sends a direct message to the brain to stop its actions immediately.
This is what my pastor suggested I do, and to this day, I still use the word. And to this day, it works.
The moment you begin to think thoughts you shouldn’t say the word with power in your voice. It may take a few times but don’t underestimate it. Say the word and find something else to think about right away.
You are walking into a store and there is a person inside that is a trigger. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, say the word cancel—if you can do it out loud say it out loud, if not say it in your head affirmatively.
Shelter your eyes to overcome your sexual past:
Acknowledge that this person is a trigger–don’t deny it.
And then avoid looking.
Sheltering your eyes, it vital in overcoming a sexual past.
What your eyes see, causing your mind to carry on in thought. And in some cases, you need to know when to walk away. Walking away is different than avoiding.
Walking away means you understand your mind and your body and know that if you stay, your trigger will then become a temptation you can’t fight.
This means you must be in sync with yourself, and this comes from practice.
Learning your triggers, identifying your triggers, and identifying what makes them so strong in your mind.
Walking away can mean going down a different aisle, or keeping your head turned to the side as you walk past.
You have to fight your body in its natural desires.
Prayer to overcome a sexual past:
But, ultimately, praying is the key to overcoming these habits and concurring your triggers.
In the moment of temptation, or the moment you recognize a trigger, pray.
Pray that God gives you eyes to stay focused on Him and not the person in the aisle.
Pray that God strengthens your mind to be able to carve out new pathways because you don’t want to travel down the old ones any longer.
Also, pray that God guides your steps.
Talking to your Spouse about Overcoming a Sexual Past:
This can sometimes be the hardest and scariest part to do, but it is necessary.
Your spouse deserves to know if you are struggling.
This also gives you an accountability partner as well.
Someone who can check in with you daily and see how the day was for your mind. My husband and I do this too, as we both have had troubling pasts. So, daily check-ins are important for us.
This next idea is key!
In my marriage, both my spouse and I know each other’s triggers.
The reason why we know each other’s triggers is because it allows us to help each other stay on track. And, it creates an openness in our marriage that allows us to not have any secrets.
It also keeps the environment in our marriage open so that we can tell each other anything. So that we know the information we share is in good hands.
It puts us on the same playing field.
Chances are your spouse struggles with these things too, which is why conversations need to be held.
Counseling is also a great option to do with your spouse. Having that third party where you can just speak is more beneficial than you can imagine.
Dealing with and overcoming a sexual past is hard work, but the hard work is necessary and it pays off.
This is a process, but it is a freeing one. It sheds extra weight, allows you to feel lighter, and even helps you to draw closer to our Creator. It allows you to see His grace and mercy and His love for you all the more.
This site also has a great list of ways to help you overcome a sexual past
Overcoming a sexual past can be a hard thing to do, comprehend, and work through…so please email me with any questions or concerns, or requests. Or even to say hi! I love hearing from you all.
You are loved, you are important, and I need you here in this world!
All the best,