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Saint Athanasius the great has a wonderful analogy to contrast sexuality within and outside marriage. He tells us, If a soldier goes out to war and kills twenty of the enemies soldiers, he is decorated. But, if in the time of peace he goes out in the street and kills one man, he is condemned. It is the same action, done in different circumstances with completely opposite outcomes.
"I am sorry my dear, I have just sinned by staring at that attractive woman over there and wishing you looked like her".
It is enough for a potential partner to be honest - well before marriage and at the point of engagement - and say, 'You should know that I have had a/some sexual partners before'. There is no need at all to be explicit.
They do not need to know details. Perhaps the number of partners, and whether or not full sexual intercourse took place. But no details.
What matters more, in my opinion, is whether or not the person has any sense of repentance for such actions in the past.
If the person has repented then they are forgiven by God. We are all of us sinners. We are sinful people when we become engaged and sinful people when we are married. But a faithful Christian is always seeking to become more holy, more loving, more gentle, more obedient, more Christ-like.
There is certainly something special about two people who have not had sexual experience marrying each other. But it cannot be a universal experience, nor does it seem to me one that we can demand. If we have been forgiven by God and received absolution by our priest then we are restored to purity.
It is not good for us to look down on others because they have sinned (I do not mean that you are). Just as it is not good for us to sin in the first place. I understand that there is a wider Middle-Eastern culture around this issue, but it is not always Christian. What will happen, as has been posted here before, if thousands of Americans and British people become Christians in our Churches, a great many of them with sexual histories - who would dare to say that they are second-class because of it.
There seem to me to be two elements here. On the one hand we must preserve ourselves so that we can offer ourselves in purity to a prospective partner - but even more so that we may be blameless before God who knows our hearts. And on the other hand I do believe that we must be much more open-hearted towards those who fall into sexual sin. It is not the end of the world - IF THERE IS REPENTANCE. (I say this from the point of view of being generous to those who have sinned, not being easy going on ourselves).Our Lord Himself is very strict with us. To look lustfully on a woman IS THE SAME AS HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH HER. I say it in capitals so that it is clear to us all. The sin is in the desire not in the act. By the time we act out our desire we are already committed to sin, we have already turned from God. Let us examine our own hearts. When we tut-tut because a good boy is going out with a bad girl who slept with a boyfriend some years ago and has repented and tried to be a good servant ever since, let us remember every drawn out and lingering glance which condemns us as adulterers. We should be afraid to demand that our prospective partner tells us all about her boyfriend, because we know that there are not enough hours in the day to recall all of our own hidden and private sexual sins - how can consider ourselves pure just because we have not had a girlfriend.Surely we should preserve ourselves, and be forgetful of the absolved sins of others. I know this is hard in many cultures, and it is perhaps a sign of spiritual maturity when it is possible. But I know for myself that I am a great sinner and have no right to judge anyone else, least of all my wife who has put up with me for 21 years. Is she a sinner as well? Of course. But the Lord is her judge, not me. Should there be some disclosure before engagement? Yes, of course. It is reasonable to share that a person has had some sexual experiences. (But not to go into detail). It is reasonable to share that a person has been in prison, or bankrupt, or lost their job for various reasons. A partner needs to know the sort of person they might marry, and what we have done with our lives. But the details of our sins are best left to God and our FOCs. Otherwise we must be constantly telling our partners of our sins in a way that would be destructive of a relationship.
In terms of bringing a marriage date forward, that is a good idea in some situations and a bad idea in others. Within marriage, as much as outside of it, our sexuality is to be preserved in chastity. This means that marriage is not an excuse for any exercise of sexuality at any time. If someone is so burning with sexual desire that they feel the need to get married just to exercise that desire then their spiritual life is unbalanced. I would suggest that they have still lessons to be learned. One's partner is not a sexual object, but a sister/brother in Christ, with whom we are to grow in Christ together. If the main reason for getting married is to be able to have sex legitimately then I think I would have to say that such sexual practice would verge on the sinful even within marriage.
Nevertheless, once a couple have agreed to marry, and all other things in balance - job, somewhere to live, a degree of maturity - then there is not much good in a long engagement. I do agree with you that learning self-control before marriage, before engagement, and before dating, is the best option for all concerned. Even within marriage there is a need for self-control, and we are called to abstain from sexual relations at certain times. This is very hard if there is no self-control in the relationship.
God bless us all as we seek to perfect our relationships with others in love
As I have said several times, it is appropriate for someone to tell a prospective partner that they have been sexually active, and it would be reasonable to have a medical checkup on that basis. But I see no helpful or beneficial reason at all to go into great detail about what exact sexual experiences a person might have had.
The reason it would be sensible to have a medical checkup is so that the prospective partner can be aware of any sexually derived illnesses which might be present. But as I have also said before, that does not seem to me to be an absolute requirement, and is a pastoral matter.
Our Church might well counsel honesty, since it would not be helpful for a person to lie about having a sexual history. But the Church does not counsel being as honest as possible, in the sense of going into great detail about sexual experiences, since that would almost certainly damage a relationship, even if a prospective partner asks for great details. If we have been absolved then it is sometimes completely right for us to say I sinned in a sexual way, but only twice, or whatever, and I repented and was forgiven by God so that is all in the past and I do not even want to think about it. I only want to think of the future that you and I have together.