Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 1—Tangled
Friday, April 19, 2024 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.  

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Previous Posts

Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 3—Transformed
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Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 2—Frustrated
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Confronting the Realities of Pre-Marital Sex: Part 1—Tangled
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