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Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 3—Transformed

5/3/2024 11:45:00 AM BY Donna Cameron, PhD

Welcome to Transformed, Part 3 in a 3-part series, Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex. For my complete story, check out Part 1 and Part 2, Tangled and Frustrated. There, you’ll learn about a time when my heart and my mind were jumbled up and confused, and I lived a life that was disappointing and inconsistent with beliefs I valued.

Now, let me share how I moved from tangled and frustrated, to transformed.  


My sexual behaviors had become unmanageable, and I was powerless to do anything to fix it. 

I was POW-ER-less!!! Repeat after me: powerless!!!

My promises to live consistently with my values were, as one Christian writer put it, like ‘ropes of sand.’  

Change Begins

After several years of engaging in sexual intimacy outside of marriage, I finally dragged myself into a fellowship of other people who were also struggling with unhealthy relationships. In those meetings and conversations with the members, I finally started to believe that God had enough grace, forgiveness, love, and power to change people—even change me.  

Because I am also a musician, song lyrics also reminded me that I could transfer my uselessness-masquerading-as-power to the Higher Power I call God. Divine help was “Just a Prayer Away” (Yolanda Adams).

“If you don’t have a willing heart, ask Him to give you one. If you can’t seem to make a start, trust in His power. For the Lord of love is watching you. He sees what you’re going through. He will make a way—if you want Him to. Do you want Him to? Then tell Him so.” (Willing Heart, Kelly Willard) 


I took the challenge. I started to pray. I told God I wanted to do better, but I just couldn’t do it alone—not in my own strength, willpower, education, or culture.  

He came through—God accepted the job of helping me overcome my powerlessness. Now I’m under new management. 

I was transformed—Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIrV

This is what it feels like to wake up free and forgiven!

  • God gave me a life companion—freedom from hiding; sexual enjoyment God’s way; acceptance of my defects of character; and opportunities to learn, grow and change in a committed relationship. 
  • God gave me the joys of parenting—and grandparenting! 
  • God helps me believe the things He says about me. 
  • God helps me silence nagging self-defeating thoughts and words. 
  • “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” (John 3:16–17, MSG
  • God gives me peace of mind—I marvel at the way this gift transforms my everyday life.  
  • God is doing for me what I could not do for myself! 

Let me end this post by sharing a coveted gift from God. 

Knowing how much I love colors, fabrics, creative expressions and beautiful design, God gave me the gift of curating stylish outfits, from thrifted pieces no less! Skillfully choosing interchangeable pieces to create countless looks and outfits! Compliments galore! Wearing my faith! Shining with elegance, not sexiness! What an amazing assortment of gifts!  

A New Me

In Tangled, Part 1 of this series, I told you about some distortions I had about God that led to wrong thinking and behaving that were not consistent with my values.

In Frustrated, Part 2, I revealed some consequences of these distortions, including experiences with sex outside of marriage.

But best of all, in Transformed, Part 3, I share with you just how freeing and joyful it feels to go from Tangled and Frustrated, to Transformed in and with the power of God. TFT!

I was transformed—Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIrV)  

God has transformed me. God is transforming me. And God will continue to transform me.

He can do the same for you. I wish you well on your journey, dear Reader.

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Copyright © 2024 Training for Transformation, Inc. All rights reserved.

Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 2—Frustrated

4/26/2024 11:45:00 AM BY Donna Cameron, PhD

Welcome to Frustrated, Part 2 of a 3-part series, Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex. Check out Part 1, Tangled, to read about some distorted Christian principles that shaped my views and behaviors about sexual intimacy.

In this post, I share about some high costs associated with sex without the benefit of the marriage commitment. Somewhere along my life’s journey, I discovered that some of my distress around sexual intimacy was based on what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance”—discrepancies between my intellectual commitment (i.e., wanting to live in ways that honor God) and my behaviors (i.e., satisfying my basic needs for love and affection in ways that were inconsistent with my “stated” values)

During those years when I was engaging in sexual intimacy outside of marriage, I often felt at least two pervasive emotions: deep sadness and shame about my choices, and fear of being found out. Here is how each emotion manifested itself. 

Deep Sadness and Shame

Sometimes when I felt lonely, I would look for a way to satisfy my needs for security and love with a sexual experience. Even though I said I wanted to honor God by living His way, instead I chose my own way to meet my needs. The “return on my investment” was only temporary pleasure, followed by loneliness—the morning after left me alone again, and my heart ached with deep sadness. 

Here’s an example. During my sexually active days, I might engage with someone for a period of time. After a few dates and good times, I would say to myself, “This just might lead to the security and committed relationship I long for. It seems like he’s really into me.” (No pun intended.)  But then, fade to black. I was disappointed with myself for not living up to the values I had claimed were mine. And I felt abandoned.

The shame surfaced when people said nice things about me—something I said or did. I welcomed their praise and thanked them. However, I felt ashamed about my double life. I thought, “If they really knew what I was struggling with, they would most likely condemn me instead of praise me.” 

And for a people pleaser like me, condemnation was a very heavy burden.

Fear of Being Found Out 

Wanting a loving relationship that would result in a happy, lifelong marriage led to what I call “people-pleasing on steroids.” Empty, lonely feelings robbed me of the pleasures God intended for sexual intimacy between husband and wife in a committed, lifelong marriage, and I ended up not really pleasing myself or my partner for the long haul.

I could only hope that no one would find out about my intense struggle with sex outside of marriage.

Sidebar:  There is something I must add here. It’s about fertility in the lives of many women in their childbearing years. During this season, our hormones vacillate. At various points in the menstrual cycle, the libido LIT UP!!!!!!!!!!  This is normal. However, I had said I valued celibacy. So, the disconnect between my value and my behavior haunted me when they didn’t align. I felt like a failure for not keeping my promises.  

I was frustrated—unsuccessful and disappointed.

As “fate” would have it, my secret longings for a loving, committed relationship resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. (I used the term “fate”, but actually it was the natural outcome of having unprotected sex. But I was in denial that it would actually happen.)

As the days and months went by, it became apparent that a little person was growing inside me. My struggle was showing! While I was excited about becoming a mother, I also felt relieved—now my struggle had become public; no more hiding.  

The pregnancy—and subsequently motherhood—launched me into an entirely new season of life. Read about it in Transformed, Part 3 of this series coming soon.

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Copyright © 2024 Training for Transformation, Inc. All rights reserved.

Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 1—Tangled

4/19/2024 10:00:00 AM BY Donna Cameron, PhD


Many people in faith communities adhere to personal beliefs that prioritize monogamy, commitment, and fidelity within the context of marriage. Engaging in sex outside of marriage conflicts with these values and causes inner turmoil or cognitive dissonance. 

This 3-part series is the story of a Christian woman’s struggle with sex outside of marriage. That woman was me. Now, I Want My Vagina Back!TM 

I hope that last sentence grabbed your attention!  

It is actually the title of a book by Dr Pamela Love Manning, a Certified Professional Life Coach. The first part of the book is a compilation of women’s experiences as same-sex partners, sex workers, and everyday young girls and women who were taken advantage of by neighbors, family members and acquaintances. The second part of the book provides strategies for reclaiming dignity and self-acceptance.

Their stories are not mine. However, their stories do contain elements that are common to most women who have had unwanted sex or, sex as a substitute for a loving, committed relationship. Parts of their stories could also be yours. 

So here is my story—shared in three blogs. Part 1, Tangled, chronicles my background and the culture that influenced my views about sexuality and relationships with myself and others. Frustrated, Part 2, includes my sorrowful lows of sex outside of marriage. But don’t stop reading till you get to my favorite part of the story, Part 3, Transformed, where I share the glorious highs of my life with sex the way it was intended to be. 

In reading my story, I hope you will receive the gift I offer—encouragement and acceptance of your own story and God’s unfailing love, forgiveness, and grace for you. 

Here now is Part 1-Tangled.

My Early Years

I grew up in a home founded upon the Christian principles of my parents. From childhood, my views about God, interpretations of biblical principles, dress, music, and leisure activities were all shaped by my parents and my teachers at church and Christian schools. 

With that history you can imagine why Donald Sloat’s book, Dangers of Growing Up in a Christian Home, was such a surprise to me!  What could POSSIBLY be dangerous about family gatherings to pray and sing, praying before meals, regularly attending worship services, or memorizing Scriptures for prizes in Vacation Bible School?  

According to Sloat, many people raised in Christian homes struggle with distorted views of God. I was one of them.

First, I saw God as someone whose job was looking to judge people as “Naughty” or “Nice.” My goal? Please God at any cost—mostly to keep an A+ ranking on the “Nice” List. My spirituality was not about a relationship with God, but more about how not to get on his bad side. 

Being a People-Pleaser

My efforts to please God overflowed into trying to please people too, especially men. That’s where my sexuality got off track. Wanting to be liked and adored led me to engaging in intimate acts outside of marriage. But the empty, lonely feelings that followed took away some of the pleasure. I ended up not really pleasing myself or my partners for the long haul. 

God Won’t Bless Me

My other distortion of God’s character was believing that God could and would bless anyone and everyone who called upon Him—except me. I thought that my guilt and shame rendered me undeserving of His gifts, forgiveness, and kindness.  


Without even knowing they were distortions, I carried these burdensome views with me for most of my adult life. I was tangled—my heart and my mind were jumbled up and confused.  

Stay tuned for Part 2—Frustrated where I’ll talk about what happened as a result of those distortions from the early days of my religious education and training.  

Join Our Email List on our Home page to be notified when new blogs are posted and receive other TFT updates.

Visit our Online Resource Center for resources on sexuality, wellness, and change.

Contact Us to schedule life coaching, communications, or consulting services.

Copyright © 2024 Training for Transformation, Inc. All rights reserved.