When Tonya asked me to partner with her in writing this series on Sex God’s Way, neither one of us was prepared for the number of responses we would receive from women who were struggling because their husbands were not interested in engaging in sex with them! Much of our experience and study had prepared us for WOMEN not being interested in sex, but MEN?
Weren’t they supposed to be complete sex-mongers?
As we read the comments and private messages from these women, one common theme began to stand out: most (but not all) of these husbands had dealt – or were still dealing – with an addiction to porn and/or masturbation, or some other form of sexual sin. I find myself grieving for these women who so want to share this intimate expression of love with their husbands but are not afforded the opportunity.
Oh, how Satan has abused and broken this beautiful gift our Lord created for us! And I have prayed in earnest for these husbands to be freed from their bondage and enabled to love their wives with heart, soul, mind and BODY! And so it is through prayers for wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit that I write these thoughts: Sexual Addiction is a VERY real thing. We don’t want to look at it the same way we do an addiction to heroin or alcohol or gambling, but it is no different! It creates a very physical craving for more and more stimulation, each act requiring more stimulation to achieve the level of pleasure that was achieved the time before. It involves chemical reactions in your mind and body, alters the brain, and it involves a mental and emotional addiction as well. These men have trained their bodies to need A, B, then C to achieve orgasm.
More importantly, men who are addicted to sexual stimulation have been put in Spiritual bondage by our enemy the devil. When they have been involved with porn or masturbation or other ungodly sexual activity, Satan has chained them through this sin. They MUST face their addiction, calling it what it is and confessing it OUT LOUD, and then they must invite Jesus to break these chains. They need Godly men and women to pray with them, pray for them, pray over them to gain freedom over the long-lasting effects of their sins.
Sexual addiction is too often hidden away in the secret places of our lives, but it must be brought out into the open and dealt with. My husband has a close friend who was a closet alcoholic for years, and it wasn’t until it was forced out into the open that he was able to face it and deal with it. Sexual addiction works the same way. Jesus came to se the captives free, ALL CAPTIVES in all areas! HE is the key to breaking free from this bondage.
A person fighting to gain freedom from sexual addiction will also need someone to walk alongside them through the struggle. Think of it like an AA sponsor, only for sex. This person must have total access to the addict’s life; he’s got to be allowed to ask the addict ANYthing and know that he’s going to get an honest answer. It’s kind of like an accountability partner, only it’s that plus SO much more.
If men are used to having erotic stimulation such as porn in order to achieve and maintain an erection, they may need to take a “fast” from any and all sexual stimulation. This means TV, ALL internet access, magazines… they will ALL have to be purged from their homes. They will have to be HIGHLY intentional about guarding their eyes in surroundings outside their homes. And then they and their wives will have to commit to NOT initiating anything sexual for a period of time. It won’t be fun for either one, but it is with a purpose.
As 1 Corinthians 7 instructs, they must use this time for prayer…together…about their sex life! Just like a person who has been living on junk food… the good, healthy stuff just doesn’t taste good…UNTIL you purge your life of the junk. After NOT eating the junk for a good long time, the real stuff tastes really good! And after a man completely purges his life from the junk and re-trains his appetite to enjoy Godly sexuality, his wife should more than arouse and satisfy him. I know that not every man’s inability to have sex or disinterest in sex ties back to a porn and/or masturbation addiction, but I think that many do.
Even once a man no longer views the porn, that sin still has a hold on him until he fully surrenders it to the Lord. If it’s not porn, it may be some other sexual issue that is still wrapping guilt around the whole idea of sex. Even someone who was sexually abused is often burdened with guilt over something that was never his fault. Guilt will always stand in the way of true intimacy!
Wives, here are some thoughts for you as you support your husband in his pursuit of freedom from sexual bondage: Imagine your husband in chains and shackles, locked behind the bars of a prison cell. This is what Satan has done to him through his addiction to ungodly sexual stimulation. Let that image compel you to have compassion and mercy on your husband, and let it drive you to your knees in prayer for his release. Your husband is not the enemy; Satan is. Take the pressure off of him to “perform.”
If you have tried unsuccessfully to have sex, know that your man probably feels really low about himself. That’s his MANHOOD we’re talking about, you know?! So relax for a while and don’t try to push him until he’s ready. While you’re waiting on him, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! I’ve said it before and I’ll just keep saying it…PRAY about your sex life! Take the responsibility off of yourself and your husband and wait on the Lord to lead you!
Affirm your husband and his manliness without attaching it to anything sexual. Let him know you appreciate how he takes care of you and your family. Applaud his achievements at work, his involvement in community service or church activities. Remind him that you love him!
Did I mention that you should PRAY for him?
Realize that you can’t fight this battle for your husband. HE has to make the choice to pursue freedom through Christ. And understand that it wouldn’t matter how beautiful or sexy you were, you wouldn’t be enough to draw your man away from the addiction. Not because you aren’t gorgeous, but because Satan has convinced him that the sin is better, that the counterfeit pleasure is better than the real thing.
Satan is SUCH a liar!
One more thing: PRAY! (I think you’re starting to get my point…)
My sisters in Christ, don’t give up on your husband or your pursuit of an intimate relationship with him. NOTHING is beyond the reaches of our God’s mighty power, and I firmly believe He can and will restore intimacy to your marriage. Be persistent in your prayers and compassionate in your love, and may God’s tender mercy trade your ashes for beauty and your brokenness for restoration.
“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.” Psalm 90:14-15
I’ve shared this on my blog today too, come on over!
~Angie, from My Heart
www.xxxchurch.com has some excellent resources as well as an online “detox” program you can take part of.
The Sex-Starved Wifeby Michele Davis, is not a proclaimed Christian read, but is used by many Christian counselors.
Head on over to Post 2 for more Resources to pick up on Saving Sex for Marriage, Intimacy in Marriage and more……
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I hate to be the “Well, actually” Guy, but: They just published the first study on sex addiction last week, and it’s probably not a real thing. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/07/sex_addiction_study_ucla_researchers_find_that_sex_and_porn_might_not_actually.html
Fair enough. But just like anything on the net, I think we could find a “scientific study” to back both sides of the coin. http://www.netnanny.com/learn_center/article/153
Christian based websites offer many, many more articles stating the same. The Your Brain On Porn series actually breaks down what happens chemically inside the brain when porn is viewed. http://yourbrainonporn.com/your-brain-on-porn-series
Internet searching aside, believer to believer, I know we can both stand on the truth in God’s word that there are many many other issues that come from opening your mind and heart to the world of pornography, and sex outside of marriage. And that’s really what this is all about.
I have to say, I have a hard time swallowing every new study that comes along. Rarely do two different studies agree on their findings. That aside…
Maybe science doesn’t support the idea of a sexual “addiction,” but experience and the testimonies of others have spoken volumes to me about how things like porn and masturbation enslave men and women. The people I have talked to tell me how each experience creates a “high” of sorts — whether it’s an adrenaline rush, the release of endorphins, or just the simple pleasure of the sexual experience. They find their thoughts controlled by the desire to find the next experience, planning how they can make it happen. Or maybe they turn to it when they’re angry or hurt — a defense mechanism much the same as food to a compulsive eater or liquor to an alcoholic.
Bottom line, Satan has distorted sexuality and sexual experiences and has convinced men and women that they can happen outside of marriage. Call it addiction, call it spiritual bondage…the truth is it is real and it is ruining marriages. And it’s time to face it head on and MAKE IT STOP.
I Thank you so much for making this subject part of this series. As with most trying and hurtful things happening in our lives it’s good to know we are not alone and there are those who care. Of course we can trust that God never leaves us and cares, but as I say sometimes its good to have God with skin on. That is the ones writing this series and those brave enough to share their struggles. Blessings to all. May we never give up the fight to expose sin and its destructive power. We need a holy revolution in our country and the world. Let us continue to run the race fellow believers.
I think there is a distinction in all that and I think that distinction is really important.
Anything that causes pleasure — chocolate, alcohol, humor, sex, cocaine, winning — releases dopamine in the brain. So people can become habitual users of anything that causes that release of dopamine. In that way, you could say they are addicted.
But that’s different from something that is clinically addictive, i.e. it gets your brain to demand its specific chemical components. I don’t know if you read the story on the sex addiction study, but the science in question indicated that people who develop porn habits aren’t addicted, they’re just horny by nature.
I thought the key quote was this:
“Bader provocatively argued that ‘the addiction made me do it’ is merely an excuse for people who want to avoid the difficult psychological thought and introspection required to address the real issues behind sexually compulsive behavior.”
I have to respectfully take issue with your citation of netnanny.com as a scientific study. That link didn’t indicate any scientific research had been done or that any of those statements was anything other than the writer’s opinion. That looks like a promotional item for book. As for the other link, I didn’t have time to watch that guy’s YouTube series, but poking around his Web site it looks like the evidence he’s citing has a lot to do with that release of domanine and the process of desensitization to certain substances and behaviors.
The study I referred to was trying to isolate the reason for that. So they found some people with sexual behavior issues, hooked their brains up to a computer and showed them porn.
“We expected the brain response to sexual stimuli to be consistent with other drugs of addiction, or even other behavioral addiction studies,” said Prause. “But we just don’t see that at all. We weren’t able to find evidence for any relationship between the measures of high-frequency sexual problems and the brain response to sexual images.”
In other words, their brains reacted to the sex because the human brain is wired to seek sex as an essential function of the body.
That all said, people all over the world are getting treated for what they call sex addiction every day. I don’t think this study is trying to suggest compulsive sexual behavior doesn’t exist, but it does seem to me that we shouldn’t say pornography and heroin are similar substances. I don’t think that’s helpful for someone with a porn problem.
I don’t want to be too crass, but the reason men look at porn for the first time is that one of the first signs of male human development is the deep yearning to see a naked lady. It’s basically what separates babies from boys. There is no built-in human desire for heroin. The brain has to be re-wired in order to want it.
So I don’t think it’s constructive to tell a man who just wants to see some boobies that he’s the same as a crack junkie. Desensitization to sex is as natural as wanting sex in the first place. The feeling of your first kiss can’t be re-created.
Now, I want to be clear that I am not endorsing or excusing this behavior. I hope the perspective of a man who has not lived the cleanest life of anybody he knows can help this dialogue.
Again, I’m not endorsing this and I’m not saying I do any of this. I’m just explaining.
Men look at porn because visual stimuli help them masturbate. Nobody watches pornography without masturbating or having sex with someone. Here is a list of reasons, other than that he’s addicted, why a man might want to masturbate:
Wife is asleep.
Wife is on her period.
Wife rejected his advances.
Wife has rejected so many advances he’s afraid to advance anymore.
FOX News anchor showing lots of cleavage.
Just drank 10 beers.
Cloud kind of looks like a boob.
You think I’m kidding. Men get spontaneous, unexplainable erections until they’re like 20.
I’m not saying pornography doesn’t cause problems in some people’s sex lives. That’s indisputable. I’m not saying it isn’t a problem for any number of reasons. And, again, I’m not saying sexually compulsive behavior doesn’t exist.
It’s just that I think we ought to be careful of telling a hungry person they have an eating disorder, because they might just develop one.
You forgot one other reason why a man might want to masturbate:
Because Satan has convinced him that it’s okay to take care of his own sexual urges, that since his wife isn’t available for one reason or another he is allowed to “take care of” himself, that it really only affects him, anyway.
I still don’t see even one reason — your list or mine — that justifies it in the slightest.
I think you have made some fantastic and valid points, but I feel like we are splitting hairs on the name we are calling this problem. I think the real issues behind sexually compulsive behavior, whether it is an addiction or not, is SIN. Seeking and pleasing SELF first.
As a wife whose marriage almost ended because of “innocent” porn usage, I have to say this is a much larger issue than you are giving credit to.
I would love for said masturbating man, to wake his wife sweetly, to die to self for the 5 days she is on her period, and wait for her to be able to take care of him with intercourse, or maybe she will read this blog series, and remember to loving care for him during her cycle. 😉
When we go to God’s word, we find that when a man looks at a women with lust in his heart, he has committed adultery with that women. So news anchor, porn star, a fantasy girl made up in the mind…..all being lusted after during masturbation, means that husband has now cheated on his wife. So unless you are masturbating with a blank mind, aren’t you in essence betraying your wife each and every time this occurs?
As for my marriage, we have a no playing alone rule. Together or not at all. Anything but together, cheapens then ruins, Gods plan for sex and the marriage bed.
I know you say you neither endorse or encourage this behavior, and that is so great! It is my utmost prayer that you are not someone who finds porn an “innocent” part of marriage or “taking care of business”. To the man who does, I would challenge you to dig into the Bible, check out some of the resources on the resource post, like “Every Man’s Battle”, and have a real conversation with your wife about your needs.
I hope this all comes across in a kind and caring way as I intend it to. I appreciate your conversation today.
Thank you so much for sharing on this topic! I commented on a previous post about my husband and I dealing with this issue so I greatly appreciate your insight, advice and help. I believe that God will work in my husband to bring him to complete freedom and healing and restore the intimacy that was meant to be shared between us! Until that time I am going to check out the resources you have suggested and absolutely continue to pray for my husband! God will make a way where there seems to be no way!!!
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