Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sexual Addiction: Roadblock to Intimacy



Guess what!  This week you get an extra installment of:


When Tonya Ferguson asked me to partner with her in writing a 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 nicotine 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, and it involves a mental and emotional addiction as well.
Men who are addicted to sexual stimulation have been put in Spiritual bondage by our enemy the devil.  When men 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.
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.  And 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 retrains 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

Want to read more? Check out this Resource List that Tonya and I have compiled!

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