Sexual Addiction: Roadblock to Intimacy

  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…… 

Road block to intimacy

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From Dale

Just tuning in? Please start at the original post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises. 

Written September, 2011.

  Hi, it’s Dale. I am here today because I feel I owe you an explanation and an apology. As you guys come here to read about my family every day, you are investing your time and your heart in to our family.

I know I’ve disappointed you. I hate what I have done to Tonya, to our family and our beautiful life. If you’d give me the chance, I’d like to take this opportunity to say I am sorry to you as well. I made a foolish decision that day, but God is a God of grace and forgiveness. And Tonya, amazingly strong Tonya, has allowed me to stay and win back her heart and re-earn her trust.  She is the most Christ-like example I have ever known, giving me grace and love when I deserved none.

I went to the 1st Men’s Encounter  because I knew Tonya wanted me to go. (Click that link, and read the challenge she gave, not knowing what was coming!)  I am so glad I did, because it forever changed my life. God used Encounter to break down walls I’ve had built up around me since I was just a kid and to bring forward my ugly secret. I knew it needed to come out, it was eating me alive. But it was worth keeping the poison in me, because I was so sure it was better hidden than hurting Tonya, if that makes any sense.

This article written by Rebekah Lyons, says it better than I could:

“We become slaves to our secrets.

The thing is, Satan DWELLS in the secret, in the haunting, hidden brokeness. The longer we keep that secret, the more power he has to speak lies into our own identity. We have a crisis of faith; we don’t truly believe that God will hear and lavish us with his love upon our confession. We don’t REALLY believe that we will be made new. So we keep it and hide it and cover it and die from it.

A friend told me recently that she kept her secret of infidelity from her husband for 3 years. Another woman told me recently, she held her secret for 5 years. Another discovered her husband’s secret after 10 years. And yet, another after 18. Overtime, life becomes more about keeping the secret than saving the soul.

The secret often wins.

Perhaps a new day is dawning. Perhaps walls are coming down. Tears are streaming and confessions are starting to pour out like hope reborn. Do you know the main catalyst for this revolution of the heart?

You guessed it. Someone shared their secret.

Someone gave voice to their secret and in doing so, gave permission for another person to share theirs. Naming the one thing that held them captive for years rendered the secret powerless. All at once, the church at large is beginning to echo the chorus of confession. We all begin to bear witness to the bondage that is breaking by secret-sharing. The naming is bringing healing, and healing is bringing freedom. A freedom many of us are experiencing for the very first time. This secret-telling is what’s actually saving us. And this new normal is exactly what will keep us in the light.”

  As I have come out of the darkness, and into the light, the Lord is doing a work in my heart. One of the big things He is working on now, is helping me find my true worth.
My parents divorced when I was 12. I didn’t let it get me down, but I never did understand why my mom left my dad for what to me felt like no apparent reason. What I didn’t know, until recently when the Lord revealed it to me, was that it was going to create a need in me for the rest of my life.

A need to please. A need to fit in. A need to be whatever I needed to be to be accepted, so I wouldn’t be “left”:

If I was with my church friends, I was a good Church boy.
If I was with my party friends, I could drink with the best of them.
If I was with a girl I liked, I became whoever she thought I was, whoever she needed me to be
.

What I didn’t know, was I was going to take that into my marriage too. That this need to be accepted, was going to one day be what brought me to my knees before God and my wife, begging for understanding and forgiveness.

Remember that dream Tonya shared with you about the horses?

I loved the line where our mentor said:

A lot of times, when we think of Broken, we think… broken in a bad way.
In the world of horses, if you’re not broken, your value is less. Brokeness is a precious word to the Lord. He desires our brokeness.

I come to you, Broken. Broke from addiction, broke from a shroud of secrecy, broke from lies, broke from infidelity, broke from pride, broke from financial security and self-sufficiency. This entire year has been a breaking down process of ME.

I needed to become a broken vessel before the Lord, so I could admit I needed Him now more than ever in every aspect of my life.

I had to learn the hard way, that my worth cannot be determined by my paycheck.
My worth cannot be determined by what car I drive.
My worth cannot be determined by who I think I am or who I strive to be.
My worth is found in the Lord Jesus Christ….and the blood He shed for ME, a filthy sinner. He would die for ME if I was the only one in the world to save, because I am so very valuable to Him. I am His and He calls me by name.

It kills me that I hurt Tonya in my selfishness. It breaks my heart to see her with tears streaming down her cheeks and knowing that I caused her this unbearable pain. Tonya is a strong, Godly woman. She is God’s gift to me and I blew it. She has been nothing but faithful to me from her first purity pledge at age 13 on….I don’t deserve her, I know this. But she has trusted me with her heart again, and I swear, I will NEVER take that responsibility lightly.

I didn’t even REALIZE that the devil was drawing me away from first my Lord, then my wife, but when we don’t chose God every moment of every day, we automatically default to satan.

Think about that for a moment.

   First I was separated from them by my shame that I looked at porn again.  Then, my pride kept me from seeking help.  Next, came my need to provide for our family with my own 2 hands, not leaning on the Lord at all and then….it happened. The devil got between me, my Lord and my wife, so much that when he laid a trap of lust for me, just 4 short months after I began to look at pornography again, I WALKED right into it.

I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Do you know how angry that makes me? Do you know how STUPID I feel? The Lord has removed the scales from my eyes, put there by the devil himself to blind me. I now clearly see the path of destruction I was on and I THANK THE LORD that He saw fit to discipline me, so I would see the error of my ways before things got even worse.

Listen up, porn is a real temptation. 90% of all men look at porn and struggle with lust. This is real…..this stastistic includes Christian men, we are not exempt. I lied to Tonya and told her it didn’t happen to me because I was a good Christian man, right? It doesn’t happen to family men that go to church.

Guess what, it did. It DOES, all the time. This statistic means 3 out of 4 men in your church pew have a dark ugly secret that needs to be brought into the light.

Do you know that porn latches on to you, even when you walk away from the computer? The jaws of lust keeping you captive without you even realizing it. Even if I didn’t mean for it to occur, even if I wasn’t seeking it out, if a woman with a lustful spirit walked by, my lust spirit attached to her and I followed her with my eyes. Even if I didn’t think sexual thoughts of her, I still turned. I realize now, this is a very real thing that occurs between genders.

Watch a woman sometime, you know the one: She walks by a group of guys in a crowd, waiting for them to roam over her with their eyes before she walks on. She likes it, she feeds off of it. What you see occur is her lust spirit attaching to theirs and vice versa, and once you are aware of it you can actually see and feel it occur. Disgusting.

Praise God after I repented He took the spirit of lust from me!  When a woman walks by, a clanging bell goes off in my head so fast I don’t even have to glance her way. I am thankful my “radar” has been reset, my focus back on my Heavenly Father and my beautiful bride.  My eyes are set to “bouncing” mode, so if a woman comes into my line of sight, I quickly look away.  Men, you may not be responsible for the first look, as media bombards us with images, but it’s the second and third lingering looks that are the problem. When your eyes are set to bounce, you see and look away almost in a split second.  Your trigger finger on the remote gets faster and better as you quickly flip away from images on the screen. This is our call, to be PURE in all things, what better place to start then our eyes.

Wives, pray for your men to be attracted to holiness and purity like a magnet, so that when anything entices us that isn’t holy or pure, we detect the pull immediately and are made uncomfortable enough to completely reject it.

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” I Thessalonians 4:7

The draw of the flesh and the devil’s plans are a lot stronger than we’d like to think. In a moment of weakness, we can end up doing something we NEVER thought possible. Only the power of God, through prayers, can make a difference. Don’t say it can’t happen to you, Tonya and I said the same thing. Satan loves to use this against us as he sneakily gets between us.

One day when we were going to counseling, we found this plaque at a Christian book store. It went along exactly with what I was learning at Men’s Encounter, and I knew I needed it to reside in my home:

001

What can you do with a dull sword? NOTHING.

002

This plaque resides on my dresser so I never forget again that I need to daily sharpen my sword in Gods word, so that when the devil attacks, and he will, I AM READY.

Psalms 34:17-19 “Yes, the Lord hears the good man when he calls to Him for help, and saves him out of his troubles.  The Lord is close to those whose heart is breaking.  He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.  The good man does not escape troubles – he has them, too.  But the Lord helps him in each and every one.”

I am proud to tell you that, after last year, I no longer get on the computer to feed that ugly addiction, and I am seeking counsel to make sure this problem doesn’t return. I am putting on the armor and this new purity ring, DAILY. As I leave our home, there it is, on my right index finger.  A constant reminder of my pledge, my 2nd chance at a life of integrity.  It has a cross wrapping around it, and THE ARMOR OF GOD, Ephesians 6:10-15.

4 little Ferguson readers, I stand before you today, broken.

Broken before Christ.

He had to break me to let me see the truth, to look back over my life and have my eyes opened to the lies I was living. He had to break me so I could feel His tender mercies on me, which are new every single morning.

So, don‘t look at “broke” in a bad way, because it’s not:

Broke in Christ is a good thing….to become BROKEN is actually to become WHOLE.

The Lord used Men’s Encounter to break me, to clean my temple, my “house“ if you will…..He stripped me of all the junk I had in there, and filled it up again, with HIM.  He made order of the chaos that reigned there and took control of my life.  I write you today to give Him praise.

I know I don’t deserve Tonya. I know you all think I am a jerk, or worse now, but please, hear my heart on this. Know that if you could see me, you’d see the sorrow written on my face. I was so foolish and so wrong. I knew better, I did and I was stupid. I was stupid enough to think I could play with fire and not get burned.

It’s hard for me to see Tonya hurting, struggling, crying. I have to face what I did to her each and every moment of every day, and it kills me. She is so strong, and I have never loved and respected her more. She is taking the steps of forgiving me, by fighting for our marriage each and every difficult day.

So now I ask you, please, forgive me?

Dale

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

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