Should I tell my girlfriend about my past problems with pornography?

Last updated on December 11, 2022


Hello Mr. Hamilton,

I am very thankful for your website and the biblical guidance you provide.

Here is my question:

I am 23 years old, and I am in my first serious relationship. My girlfriend and I have been dating for six months, and I intend to marry her. I love her very much. I value and respect the fact that she is concerned about maintaining her purity before marriage, and she wears a purity ring to symbolize this. I am also committed to maintaining sexual purity in our relationship. However, my past is not as pure as hers. From the ages of 11 to 15, I was addicted to pornography. By the grace of God, I overcame that addiction, and that is no longer who I am.

I do not intend to hide this from her, but it has never come up in conversation. However, I feel like she deserves to know about my past, especially considering her own commitment to purity. Is this past addiction something that I should discuss with her?

Sincerely and with thanks.


You make it sound as if past sins leave a permanent stain on who you are.

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (I Peter 1:17-23).

By becoming a Christian, all your past sins are forgiven. Sins committed since becoming a Christian can also be fully forgiven. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (I John 1:7-10). There is not one person, your girlfriend included, who doesn’t have sins in their past. But for the forgiven child of God, they are past and not present. Being forgiven means you are pure.

What I suspect is that you feel like you don’t deserve the joy of having a girlfriend as nice and good as the girl you are dating. It is not a matter of deserving but appreciating the gift that God has brought into your life. You need to let the past go. “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Where you came from is not nearly as important as where you are going. Thus, don’t dredge up the past. If she ever asks, tell her much as you told me, “Yes, between 11 and 15 I had a problem with pornography but God was gracious to help me overcome the problem. I’m no longer that boy that I used to be.”

However, I suspect that the reason the topic hasn’t come up is that you have shown yourself to be a dedicated Christian. That is what is important.


Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.

I truly appreciate your time and guidance.