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.

Print Post

Filed under: Marriage Blog Sexual Issues

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


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

  1. I am a Christian, was married to my husband for 8 yrs; we divorced, but remain friends. I really wanted the divorce due to we were on to different pages spirituality. He was not supportive financially and it became clear he didn’t want to be there because he started staying out late and at times all night. My dad was a pastor (rest his soul), but he didn’t want counseling with him.

    To shorten this up we have slept together several times and I feel convicted each time. He is convinced it’s ok because we used to be as one. The Bible says study to show thyself approved. I love him but not enough to go to hell and I’m tired of feeling bad and disappointing God. I know that I cannot say I am a Christian exercising SIN and I certainly don’t want to be a hypocrite. Thank you.

  2. Even in the secular world a contract is a contract, just like a Covenant is a Covenant. Period. Once you were married you entered into a Covenant. When a divorce occurs you and the other person don’t belong to each other any longer. While you were married Paul said that Neither one of you Owned your Own Bodies anymore but the other partner Does. But since you *DID* own it The word “DID” means *in the Past*. So. The other person is just like they were BEFORE the COVENANT, just a person trying to date you and convince you to marriage etc., to do the CONTRACT of Marriage *Before* when you were single and not yet married. And sleeping with ANYONE whose not your Spouse is SIN!! I know it hurts but this is what the Lord told me when I was trying so hard to make it right to still want to have sex with my ex-wife.

  3. This really spoke to my heart. I’m in tears because I’m divorced but have been sexually active with my ex husband hoping that would bring him back to me because I wanted the divorce, not him. I realized I was wrong and wanted him back. Now it seems like that is all he wants from me. He tells me he loves me but he’s not making any moves to reconcile. This has been going on too many years.

    I’m so depressed because the Bible also states that a woman shall not leave her husband without a cause. I’ve been trying so hard but nothing is working. I also have temptations from the world, but I don’t give in to them. I’m so confused because I’m lonely and tired of being on my own.

    1. I know that feeling! – I’m in the space of a second divorce; I only wanted to be separated, not divorced. I want back in my marriage to be a family along with our 11 year old son. She’s not there…and wants to explore her “options”. Waiting stretches you. I don’t wanna do anything out, feeling lonely and horny without an explicit green light. Have lots of temptations like you said. Stay prayerful and wise. There are good people all over but the right one is from God. Do nothing without that clarity. Peace.

  4. Thanks for the eye opener. I want to please God. My ex divorced me over 2 years ago and now he says he wants his marriage back even though he has married someone else. I love him that leaves me at a serious crossroad. Pray for me.

  5. My husband and I had to divorce because my children were taken away due to a stupid decision he made after drinking. The only way the state would give me my children back was thru a divorce. We are still deeply in love and totally committed to each other. Do you feel that God will still bless us as a married couple? We plan to remarry as soon as the state is out of our lives…this is a huge question for me as I am planning to start a nonprofit ministry and I want to ensure to be able to receive all of God’s blessings…Thanks

    1. Kk, I really don’t know what the situation is that you are describing. Are you living together and deceiving the “state” with him living in the house? Are the children in danger or in a bad situation in some way? I’m not sure. Kk, you really need to talk to a good Christian counselor that knows you and your circumstances to give you the best advice on this. There are too many missing pieces here for anyone to say for sure how to advise you. I’d love to say yes God will bless you, but I really don’t know because there are too many things that I don’t know. I’m not, nor is anyone else the “know it all” as to who God blesses. But certain circumstances can raise red or green flags.

      You may want to talk to a counselor at Focus on the Family (they can talk to you personally over the phone). You can fill them in on the “stupid decision” and other details, plus the desires of your hearts so they can give you prayerful, wise counsel. You can find their contact info at I hope you will contact them. It seems that you need good, wise, godly counsel to proceed in wisdom –not just feelings. I pray for you and your husband and your children. May God speak wisdom to each of your hearts.

  6. I left my husband two months before our 30th anniversary. We have been apart for 11 yrs now and divorced for 8. My husband was very emotionally abusive and a few times physically abusive. I did not respond kindly after about 20 yrs of this. I had stayed during those first 20 yrs because of our daughter and that I still loved him. After our daughter grew up and moved out, we both really tried to enjoy each other again. That didn’t work out for long, but I stayed another 10 yrs. During those 10 yrs I really didn’t love him any longer. The main reason I stayed those 10 yrs is because I didn’t want to kick him while he was down. He cared for his dad the first five yrs (his dad was a double amputee and had Alzheimer’s). After his dad died I so wanted to leave but stayed because again I didn’t want to kick him while he was down. I truly had hoped that this life changing event would soften his heart and things would be different. They weren’t.

    Sadly my ex was totally surprised when I really did leave. He had threatened many times that he was leaving, but by his own admission, really wanted to scare me into being/doing what he wanted. I talked frankly with him and promised if he said he was leaving one more time, one of us would leave. I later found out that he didn’t really believe me, he thought I was just trying to get back at him. I feel I had died inside, my heart was ugly at that point, I had sooo much hate. I knew I couldn’t go on that way because I would be totally destroyed. Instead of turning to God my heart and actions just made me further from him.

    Forward a couple of years after the divorce and we decided to be cooperative because of our daughter and grandchildren. After a year of that, we actually became friends again. We each felt that we still loved each other and only wanted the best. But we weren’t “in love” with each other in a wife and husband way. I/we have both dated and had sex with another person. Right now he is seeing a girl. I don’t know why, but during a conversation a week ago, we both admitted we would like to give it another try. I asked him not to break up with the other woman before we had a clue where this is going. I don’t want him to be alone again as he doesn’t thrive emotionally being alone. We have had sex one time. After having sex that one time I know that I can’t totally recommit my heart to him in a wifely way.

    I’ve prayed real hard the last couple of days and feel The Holy Spirit has convicted me to put a stop to this. Problem is I don’t want to hurt him again. When I originally had left my ex went off the deep end, threatened to kill me, stalked me etc. All because he couldn’t deal with me leaving. He was close to having a breakdown. My problem now is I’m wavering between what I feel I’ve been convicted to do and my sexual desire plus just wanting someone to hold me when needed. I’m so confused. I’ve fallen into my past pattern of not wanting to hurt another, but will probably cause even more hurt with the longer it takes to end this.

    I really in my heart feel I’m not being true to myself, but want to fight that because of my desire to have someone hold me when I’m sad or lonely. I sure don’t want to be enemies again and am afraid we will be because I hurt him. I’m looking for suggestions or another’s wisdom right now. I have been told that in addition adultery, abuse is an acceptable reason for divorce. Thoughts on that point? Sorry for the book I’ve written.

  7. My friend foolishly continues to disobey God and have sex with his control freak ex wife. She divorced him and was involved in adulterous affairs while still married to him. I warned him about what God says but still chooses to disobey Gods commands. I found a scripture that commands me to end my connection with him as his friend based on his continuance in sexual sin. The article was very helpful and spot on correct from Gods perspective!

  8. What a horrible dilemma. If we are both Christians and dissolve our marriage, then you are saying either stay single or be reconciled to each other. But you are also saying that sex is a sin unless we are married. I don’t see it as cut-and-dried as that. For me, there are gray areas. My own answer has to be in seeking God with all my heart. I tried reconciling with my ex and we did sleep together. He still continued to act abusive towards me and I prayed all the harder for wisdom and insight and discernment. 3 days later, he pocket dialed me and I heard him having a conversation with his son about his ex-wife the one he was married to before me. It was clear, he was still in love with her and had been throughout our marriage.

    I did not have scriptural grounds for the annulment I guess but he slept with other women after the annulment was final and I stayed faithful to him. So we did not have grounds to dissolve our marriage but after the marriage was dissolved he was unfaithful. I have sought reconciliation with all my heart and have worn my carpet out calling out to God praying on my knees. I believe the pocket dialing was a clear answer that this man is not God’s will for me. Remarriage? I do not believe that God would put the desire in my heart if it was not meant to be. Adultery? I don’t know. I begged my ex on my hands and knees in public to restore our marriage and I begged him to allow me to set aside our annulment. It is too late for that now and he rejected me every single time.

    I guess some things only the grace of God can cover and I am dealing with enough heartbreak as it is. I will trust in God to show me His will. I have a clean conscience knowing that I tried to reconcile with a man who was very abusive to me. It was a brave act but I wanted to make amends to him and to God for filing the final paperwork because at the time I did not have scriptural grounds. I may have done the wrong thing, but it was for the right reason. In the end, I think it is a highly individual set of circumstances for everybody, often times with no clear sense of right or wrong. I pray for everybody in similar situations. I feel God has called me to peace. I know that I gave it my all and I could not force my ex to reconcile with me anymore then God can force us to reconcile with him. He gives us free will. I am sad that things didn’t work out.

    I wish I never had filed the final papers, but not because I wish the marriage could have been saved. Knowing what I know now, it was a disaster and my ex was very underhanded and abusive, and he didn’t love me. But I am deeply sorry to God for filing the final papers. I should have just waited for my ex to do it. Although he signed those papers, and gave me an ultimatum, it still was wrong for me to file. I have done everything in my power to correct that wrong and repent. I suppose I am lucky my ex did not want me. At least now I can move on with my life knowing that I tried to correct a mistake and relying on God’s grace to see me through. God is merciful, and I am glad that he miraculously allowed me to understand not only the situation it is, but the situation of why my marriage did not work.

    He didn’t love me. He loved and loves his ex. I take comfort knowing Jesus knows exactly how I feel. After all, it was his own people that rejected him. I refuse to beat myself up anymore over the situation. God doesn’t want me to live in heartache, grief, and condemnation. I firmly believe that he will send me a Christian man who will love and cherish me. If and when he does I will marry him. GRACE . . .

    1. Jillian, I honestly feel your pain. As I was married to my then wife for 14 years I really loved her and everything we put our hands to; we were ” what I thought doing great.” Then trials came up and we began to sink. The enemy did his damage to our union and we ended up divorcing. We seperated for a year, then divorced shortly thereafter. It was my ex wife’s second marriage to me and my first.

      I do not have any biological children, but she had an 8 year old daughter when we married. Her ex husband was not even in the picture. I tried and tried and still have been trying to reconcile but her heart is not with me. Matter of fact, I don’t know where it is. I always felt like I was like number 8 on her list of priorities. Her Job and family and church and everything was before me, but she was definetly a top priority to me.

      God is showing me now how to begin to love myself more and place everything at His mercy. And yes, I do live the Lord. But my heart is broken. Sad to see what was one time a wonderful and happy marriage all come tumbling down.

      1. Ian. I’m getting a divorce after 18 yrs. I too felt very low on my wife’s priorities list until I decided actively seek other priorities than her. So she stepped up her neglect game to retaliate and also distanced me from my kids. Bottom line, I should’ve left 5 yrs ago before she was able to do more damage to me. When a woman stops respecting you and putting you last, you become one of her children to deal with and not a MAN that you were intended to be. Read Ephesians to see how importantly God wants a wife to respect her husband.

        1. Dan, Thank you so much for sharing. I will read Ephesians just as you said. Take care.

    2. Thanks for sharing this! I have been on both sides unfortunately- there are days I just hate being a [sinner] human being, as much as I appreciate THE GRACE OF GOD! Just too many heartaches and heartbreaks!!!

  9. Divorced my wife after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and found out she had two affairs in a span of 30 days. We were married 8 yrs. Part of the agreement is that we both live at the house until it sells. I am trying to buy another home but being at the house allows old feeling/ habits to flare up. My sexual drive kicks in and I begin to look for opportunities and give in to compromising situations. We have kissed and almost had sex twice. I feel for her because she has always been dependent but I know our marriage is over. I want it to stop but I can’t afford to move out and am waiting to close on this small property I put an offer on. We also have two small children we share custody with.

  10. So confused. My husband and I have been separated for over a year. He continues to date other women as I am standing and praying for our marriage and family to be reconciled. He came over a few nights ago and we talked for 3 hours. We ended up sleeping together at the end of it. I’m feeling so guilty for it I guess cause I’m hearing now that he’s still involved with these other women. Please pray for me I’m feeling so lost right now. It was a great night but I feel guilty about the end of it. Needing prayers please.

  11. Ephesians 5 — Instructions for Christian Households:
    21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

  12. This is the best way to put it. Actually, this is an eye opener for me. Now I know what to do with my ex spouse.

  13. My personal trainer and friend is living with her “ex” almost before the ink was dry on their divorce. I believe they are working toward a complete reconciliation. I encouraged her not to give up on the marriage even after the divorce because they did not have biblical grounds to divorce. Perhaps at this point I should stay silent on the issue, but for the sake of discussion and if the opportunity arises what advice should I give her. I don’t have complete confidence that the Lord even recognizes their divorce since neither of them have broken the marriage covenant by sex outside of their relationship. That said perhaps there is a grace period where they have time to get issues resolved that were present in the marriage, but then after a reasonable period of time (perhaps 6 months?? a year??) What do you suggest??

    1. Jim, it sounds like you are a very good, caring friend who has the right motives for trying to help this couple reconcile and put their marriage back together. If you were to go back into the SAVE MY MARRIAGE section and click on the TESTIMONIES you could see (and so could they if they’d visit the web site) how and what God has done in countless “wrecked” marriages. Of course, one of the best ways for them to repair any damage and find common ground for reconciliation would be to go to a good “marriage friendly” counselor. (we have an article on the web site how to find that kind of counselor).

      Because you said that infidelity did not lead to the divorce, most likely they just stopped investing in their marriage and it got tired and cold. One of the best ways to reinvigorate their love is to regularly do things together that build and strengthen their relationship. There are many good marriage seminars available as well as marriage intensives if they are serious about getting help. We also have a ton of suggestions and helps for them to do the work on their own in the SAVE MY MARRIAGE section of the web site.

      One last recommendation for them. Cindy and I always tell couples who are on the brink of divorce…or even recently divorced…to do one last thing to see if the marriage can be saved: Attend a free Retrouvaille (pronounced Retro-vy) weekend in their area. This is a weekend led by lay couples who themselves were on the brink of divorce but God brought healing and restoration. They have an 85% success rate in keeping marriages together. Check out their program at You will see they have a contact in your state you/they can follow up with to get more information. [NOTE: Don’t be thrown off if you see “Catholic” in the description. This simply lets people know the ones leading this particular Retrouvaille chapter follow the catholic faith. They do not PUSH their faith on anyone during the weekend.]

      I hope this helps you in your mission to help save their marriage. Just remember, you are not responsible for the outcome. Ultimately the decision is theirs. Blessings! ~Steve Wright

  14. You sound very Catholic in this teaching. God bless your wisdom. (Some of our modern leaders aren’t nearly as wise.)