Sex With an Ex Husband or Ex Wife

Yes, I know, this is a controversial subject, and trust me when I say that I wish it wasn’t one I’d ever have to deal with now or in the future. But the reality is that we are often posed the question of whether a person should have sex with their ex-husband or ex-wife. Is this something God would sanction since they were once married? So here goes.

In broaching this subject, first I need to say that I realize there will be many who will say that divorce is not an option. They reason that there are no “exes” involved, which spiral the question into a whole different direction. And yes, if you don’t recognize divorce as something that is permitable, then I can see why you would think that.

But I am not going to go into that issue here —not now or in any other part of this web site.

Won’t Debate

At Marriage Missions, we don’t and won’t debate that issue. We stand firm on Scripture knowing that “God hates divorce.” But we are also operating in the “real world” where people (including Christians) DO divorce. Also, God gives grace, and so do we. Divorce is NOT an unpardonable sin, so we should not treat it as such. Most often, there are many, many spouses who fight and do not want the divorce. If God embraces them, are we to do any less?

In prayerfully considering whether someone should divorce or not, we believe that divorce and remarrying is something that is between them and God. We are not their judge, God is. It is also our belief that we are called to put forth warnings about possible consequences to consider. We encourage the person and persons involved to take all their concerns to God, and work them through with Him.

Human counselors, advisers, mentors, educators, and such are important to consult. (For insights, please see the articles, Scriptures Dealing with Seeking the Counsel of Others, and the article, Applying the Gleaning Principle to Human Advisers.) But they aren’t all knowing. Be wise and talk to counselors, but ultimately, ask for God His wisdom on matters of concern.

But Should They Have Sex Together After Divorce?

With that said, I have to say that when we are asked whether or not a person should have sex with their ex, our prayerful answer has been that we don’t believe they should. If they believe God has told them that they can divorce, even though they didn’t want it (their ex made it happen), having sex after the divorce is problematic.

That is why I was excited when I came across an article, which addressed this subject. It confirms what we believe, and is written so well that I want to share it with you.

Dr Roger Barrier, who used to be our pastor when he lived in our town, is the author. You can read it by accessing the following link:


Please let me add a few additional points to all of this. I believe that making love, is a wonderful gift God has given to those who enter into the covenant of marriage. Within the sanctuary of marriage, it is an exciting way of connecting physically, emotionally and spiritually. It can truly be a God-given gift. But when you open this gift outside of marriage, God’s blessing is not upon it. It’s as pure and simple as that.

And when you do something without God’s blessing there are complications, which are put into place.


1. When God is not in it, you will not receive all of His benefits. You don’t go against God’s ways and expect that He will bless it.

2. When you’re making love with an ex spouse, you’re giving yourself to someone who is not fully committed to you. You are giving one of the “benefits” of marriage to someone who will not be there for you through the good and the bad.

His or her commitment to you is only “as long as.” As long as you do what he or she wants, that part of him or her is available. But when you need more support through difficult situations, it’s questionable as to whether you will get it.

Those who martially cleave together, work with one another through the good and bad times. If you put yourself out there —expecting less, you will get it. That can leads to all kinds of complications of the heart and emotions.

3. If you are hoping to someday reconcile with your spouse, you are putting that hope in jeopardy. As the old saying goes, “Why buy the cow, when you get all the milk you want FREE?”

Yes, I know that is crude, but the principle behind that saying is true. If a spouse can sexually have you and yet have the option to have sex with others (because of your divorce), why should he or she go back into marriage? That, in itself, puts complications into place. One of them is that you are exposing yourself to the possibilities of contracting S.T.D.’s and AIDS and such.

There are other reasons, as well, to consider (which I hope people will add in their comments). But for now, please consider the following scriptures, as they pertain to this issue.

They are:

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” –Hebrews 13:4

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?-Proverbs 6:27

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.-1 Corinthians 6:18-20

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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Filed under: Marriage Blog Sexual Issues

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69 responses to “Sex With an Ex Husband or Ex Wife

  1. After 25 years of marriage my husband had an affair with his ex whom he had divorced and got an annulment. I tried to forgive because of our vows for better or worse, with one of the conditions he end all contact. Her threats of suicide and ocd issues have kept him going back and the affair continues. She is Very religious and believes it is not an affair or sin because they had earlier vows. I know my husband has free will to make his own decisions, but find it frustrating to my faith that there are people like this who think they are such good Christians because they go to church every Sunday, but do not see a problem with adultery.

  2. Isn’t formication and lust still a sin? Even when is it involves someone you were previously married to, it would still be considered premarital sex. Is that correct? If there may be a possibility of the former couple to reconnect then they shouldn’t have a problem with getting reacquainted with one another emotionally and spiritually. Sex is a bonus after man and woman say “I do.” It can cloud judgment and that may lead to more heartache. Proceed with caution and prayer. I hope I’m correct. I am quite familiar with the subject but I am choosing to witness to my ex husband instead of doing things that can affect my salvation. If this is a true reconnection after the years of hurt then it’s best to let God lead the way. Put it in His hands and let it stay there. Pray for the ex and yourself. I do. It really does work.

    1. My ex wife and I are going through a situation that we’ve never gone through before and I’m curious to know if we have sinned because we’re divorced and we had sexual relations with each other one time. We are working on fixing our relationship and thinking about getting back together and getting remarried in the future, but my ex wife doesn’t feel good that we had sex 1 time when we were wanting to wait until we got remarried.

      I want to wait the same as she does so we’re refraining from having sex again until we’re remarried because we don’t want to make God upset with us at all during this time of us trying to start fresh and have the relationship and marriage we want with each other.

  3. I commented on having sex with an ex husband and wife. I wanted to know why it is so wrong when you forgive a person and you become best friends again and both of us have changed with time and we are older, wiser and tired. I always said if you love someone let them go; if it’s true love they will come back. After 34 years my best friend is back. I’m very impressed. I feel relieved because I’ve been waiting so long for a good man and he has been there through everything.

    1. Angela, I’m so glad that you and your ex husband are best friends again. 34 years is a long time. Praise God you have been able to reconcile your differences. However, if you truly are best friends, and he is such a “good man” and wants to be intimate with you again, why don’t you marry? Having sex together is not designed by God only for play time. It is for deep, God-blessed intimacy and connection. But it isn’t God-blessed if you are not married. With God’s blessing it can be wonderful to make love to your spouse. But without God’s blessing within the sacredness of marriage being involved, you are just participating in animalistic, paganistic behavior. It may appear to be special to you and your ex, but it is not special to God. And that is why it is wrong. That act of having sex together will always be tainted.

      We are told to follow the laws of the land, and this includes marrying. If you just play around and you don’t make it legal, you and your ex do not have the same type of testimony that you can give as a legally married couple. When you remarry you can lift up your relationship as one that will give hope to others who have been waiting for their ex to come back to them. Without marrying, you will allow questions to pop up in the minds of others as to why you don’t do what it takes to make the step of putting God’s blessing upon your living situation. You give the enemy of our faith a toehold in the door of a victory. The enemy will work it to put doubts in the minds of others that total reconciliation isn’t possible.

      If you truly love each other, and are committed to each other, beyond just having sex with each other, then get married again. What is holding you back? If other present spouses are holding you back, then there you go. You are violating present marriage commitments, and you must stop having sex with each other. If there are no present spouses standing in the way, then give yourselves totally to each other as God would have you… get married, and THEN make love to each other with God’s blessing. Please prayerfully consider what I am saying here. I pray for you as you do.

  4. If a couple gets a civil divorce, but not an anullment from the Catholic church, and many years later start dating again, are they still allowed to have sex, even if they can’t get married again because one of them is on disability and if they were ‘re-married, one of them would lose a lot of their disability check? Would it still be against God if they had sex once in a great while, or at least slept in the same bed once in a while without having sex?

    I know a few people that don’t want to lose their disability but still want to be intimate. Please let me know what the Catholic rules say about this particular situation so I can let them all know one way or the other. I am kinda curious as to what the answer might be myself…in case I am ever in that same situation in the future.

  5. My ex husband is an alcoholic, committed adultry once. We ended in divorce but maintain a relationship from our separate homes. We’ve had no other in our bed and feel we are still married under God’s eyes just not under man’s. We are there for each other, actually better now then before. We recently started having sexual relations again an I need to know if I’m committing a sin. I’ve prayed, but no answer yet.

  6. Question, what if your ex-wife are both close intimate friends right after a divorce, lives with one another as Close Friend/Mother of Children/Christian Couple AND We both have full integrity/daily relationship with God/Jesus AND don’t sleep/fornicate with others not sexually sin with Pornography (just us), co-parenting under same roof with even more love now because we have an intimate relationship together with God/Jesus? Is that scenario a sin?

    Me and my wife are about to go through a divorce and don’t want to sleep with anyone but each other, no using one another, FULL RESPECT for each other and bodies and want to love each other this way too. She still wants a divorce and our only marital problems we had was my PTSD from Afghanistan (Disabled Veteran). She took care of me for over 11 years now as a Care Giver and loving/caring wife.

    I don’t sleep with her out of lust but because of love for my soon to be ex-wife and she feels the same. We have had a strong love life for 14+ Yrs now and that part of our Love always stayed true. We never cheated, nor do we lust after other or pornography. For the last 12 days since my wife told me she wanted to divorce after we sold our home and paid our debt due the emotional damage of my PTSD/TBI (anger outburst and anxiety), we have not been fighting nor any outbursts, just love, talking about our past problems, working through all this with God and Faith alone!

    We are at peace but are conflicted with certain emotions of full trust and being in-love right now. I want to work things out and rebuild under God; she wants to build under God, not be bonded by marital/legal contract and still be sexually intimate. We are both OK with it but would God be (is it a Sin if we stay true/honest/love one another as ex’s and still have sex if living under the same roof/house)?

    Thank you for your time, this one may take time to digest… God told my Wife to Divorce/Separate me so I would start a consistent intimate relationship with Jesus and God, and she is obeying God. We both have been praying constantly the last 12 days and we both feel God is allowing us to be physically intimate within our current marriage right now. We are currently in the state of mind to stop having sex after we mutually divorce uncontested.

    Her reason is she doesn’t want anymore negativity and trauma from me; she has had a very abusive past prior to me so she has PTSD too. I constantly pray for her and our Marriage to work. She prays for me too but I don’t know if our marriage can continue but every choice and talk we have had so far we have grown beautifully through God/Jesus and nothing negative so far the last 12 days. I surrendered my life to Jesus the night of the bombshell.

    She loves me, obviously enough to still have physical intimacy and she does love me. I can feel it with her words and when she embraces be in hugs and kisses. I would do anything for her and she the same. As a matter of fact she still wants to care for me. So please help me and my wife (I’m praying she won’t be my ex-wife daily and constantly). Thank you & God Bless Always!

    1. Not sure why you have to get a divorce & instead don’t just live separately (even in the same house). The same goals can be achieved that way and yet the door is open to intimacy if you both stay exclusive and work to be safe for each other. My Aunt and Uncle lived separately for a number of years (they both are deceased now). They just couldn’t live peaceably with each other and decided to live apart in separate households and be together when it worked for them. They were also (like you and your wife) exclusive with each other and definitely loved each other, but living under the same roof just didn’t work for them. Up to that time I had never thought about that kind of a marital arrangement. But it worked well for them. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend it (because you can’t be as bonded when you’re living in separate households; also, it is more tempting to cheat on one another when your households are separate). But again, it worked for them, and it might work for you.

      I’ve been thinking and praying about what you wrote here and this is definitely complicated. Some people would say that you aren’t officially divorced yet so it’s okay. And that’s possible. But once you are officially divorced, then it might be a sin if you continued to be intimate with each other. I’m just saying.

      So, why not just set up separate households for a time and see how that goes? Or live together as you are with the intention of continuing to work on your issues. Why rush into divorce–especially with the way you both want to continue being intimate and loving with each other? Give yourselves some grace and space and then revisit other options later (hopefully not… but at least wait for now). Here’s a link to the article, “A Healing Separation With Goals” that I highly recommend you both prayerfully read (along with the other articles we link to within that one): Pray, read, glean through the info, talk, and ask the Lord to help you get to a healthier place in your relationship with Him and with each other.

      Whatever you do, don’t rush into any divorce decision right now. Pray and pause and then keep praying, talking, and working on the issues that you need to work on–some separate and some together. You both have PTSD issues, so make those issues a priority. Work to be a soft place for you both to fall (because we all fall at times and need support to get up again). Ecclesiastes 4 emphasizes that, among other places in the Bible.

      My heart goes out to both of you with what you have suffered from in your past. (And thank you for serving our country… we SO appreciate your service… so sad for you both that it took you to such a crippling place.) It sounds like both of you need to work through some traumatic memories to get to a place where you aren’t triggered so easily and suffer from reliving those horrible memories. I hope you will both make that your goal. Also, I hope you will lean heavily upon the Lord. Each of you needs to make your relationship with the Lord a top priority. He can help you to get to a place of healing. Also, as you grow in the Lord you will have more compassion, and NOT hurt each other to the same degree. In marriage we WILL hurt each other at times. But we can learn to have more constraint and also the Lord can more readily help us not to do permanent damage as we grow in Him.

      Right now, as you are BOTH making it a priority to have a personal, growing relationship with the Lord, you also need to give each other more grace and space. So, you may need to separate for a time until you are both safe for each other. What that looks like, I’m not sure. But I definitely don’t recommend divorcing right now. If that comes up later, then deal with that at that time. But for now, you don’t have to do that to give each other the space that is needed for healing (even if it takes years… give it the time that is needed). Talk about healing separation–whatever that can look like for your relationship. It might change in the future. But work together to establish goals and then work with them.

      As far as being intimate with each other, as long as you are not divorced and you both agree with it, why not? It’s not a sin to be intimate with your spouse. Neither of you are an “ex” yet to each other. So, do what will best work for your marriage relationship. And don’t be afraid to have a marriage that looks different than other marriages. Right now your goal is to be in a healing mode. Please lean into the Lord to help you through that journey. And don’t rush things. I hope and pray you will.

      “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ —to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

  7. My husband divorced me …I didn’t want to. I still love him very much; its been 16 months. Now that I’m gone he wishes I were back. We have totally committed to each other in every way only seeing each other. Is it a sin to be intimate since we have reconciled but not remarried?

    1. I’m not sure if it’s a sin, but is it smart? There is no commitment here, just playing together. And yes, that can be fun, but is that the type of commitment that God would expect from both of you? He WAS your husband, but is he now your husband? You may feel it in your heart, but God expects more. Intimacy within marriage is sacred; intimacy in this situation is a temporary satisfaction.

      I can’t tell you what to do, but I wouldn’t open my heart for more hurt by just playing around. I’d hold my standards higher and expect more from him than this type of situation. If you “have totally committed to each other in every way” then what’s the hold up to remarrying with higher expectations from each other as to the sacredness of marriage? What’s going on here doesn’t speak that you are both “totally committed.” Just saying…

  8. This topic of sexual relationships with your divorced spouse is very timely. I want to know if feeling sexual desire for your divorced spouse is regarded as lust.

    There are many reasons for divorce and there are few divorced persons who are still in love with each other. My question is if God does not condone divorce why is remarriage not a sin? The Bible speaks of the divorced woman as an adulterer.

    1. You’ve got some great questions to ask God on the other side of Heaven. I’m doubtful that you’ll figure them out on this side of Heaven, so don’t spend too much time thinking about it all. You could just be spinning your wheels. Just ask God for the insights He wants to give you on these issues and then move on to other issues.

      I’m reminded of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change [or understand], courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

  9. My husband and I have been separated for 8 years; he’s living with someone and I’m living alone. We still have sex on occasions. Are we committing sin?

    1. From personal experience, no, because he is still your husband but he is using you as a door mat. And he will continue to come and go and play with your heart and you until you put a stop to it. He can’t have his cake and eat it too. There is no rush to come home if he can have access to you both.

  10. I am a woman that has been divorced twice. My question is, am I still married to my first husband? I divorced him because he was a drug addict at the time. He has remarried but he is still telling me we are still married. We have been sexually involved as well because I am a little confused. Please help me to sort this out. Thank you in Christian love, Jasmine.