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Posts tagged ‘Human sexual activity’

Enjoying Sex God’s Way.


(iStockphoto.com)

The Bible‘s prohibitions against our misusing our sexuality are there to protect us, not to punish us.

As a Christian gynecologist, I have had the privilege of treating thousands of women during the last two decades. Many of them have had the courage to ask questions about one of the most private aspects of their lives: their sexuality. The issues have ranged from the values of virginity to sexually transmitted diseases; from wedding night romance to the challenges of geriatric sexual relations; from birth control to plastic surgery.

The majority of couples struggle with these sensitive and important issues of marriage in a spiritual vacuum. They wonder how their faith in Christ and their human sexuality can peacefully coexist. Sensing that there must be more to their sexual lives than they are experiencing but wondering if God really approves of these secret desires, they ask themselves: Is sex the forbidden fruit?

Sex Is God’s Idea

Of the many hundreds of questions I have been asked, the fundamental theme remains: What does God think about sex? The answer I give is the response I received from my pastor in my youth when I asked the same question: It’s God’s idea!

God created the sexes and sexual intercourse. He instilled the sexual drive into our bodies, knowing it would work its way into our thoughts and minds. He is not ashamed of our sexuality, nor does He regret creating it.

From the second chapter of Genesis throughout the pages of Scripture we can read about God’s plan for our sexuality. And from one passage to the next, the theme is one of pleasure, joy and fulfillment within the boundaries He has created.

Yet many Christians mistakenly perceive that the few hedges of protection God placed around our sexuality indicate that God is against sex. The truth is, our sexuality is God’s gift to us, not just for reproduction, as many in the church seem to believe, but also for intimacy and pleasure in the comfort of marriage. And yes, He knows how much fun it is. He made it that way!

But for so long, the church has looked at the way the fallen world has expressed itself sexually and closed its doors to all discussions of sex, seemingly fearing that the influences of the secular world will corrupt the holiness of the church.

The sometimes irresponsible approach of the church to human sexuality has left many sincere Christians sitting in their church pews each Sunday wondering if God is for or against sex. Is God condemning them as they struggle with questions for which they desperately need answers and for feelings that threaten their very walk with Him? The answer is, absolutely not!

I can tell you on the authority of the Bible that God is definitely interested in your sexual life—and not just so He can say, “Don’t do that!” He longs for you to experience all He has created you for from the beginning. Though we may not achieve what we would have had in the Garden of Eden, we can surely take hold of a lot more than we currently enjoy, and we can do it without the guilt and condemnation that has so often hounded the sincere Christian.

Consider God’s motivation for creating a companion for Adam and His ultimate design for their relationship. During God’s creation process, He said: “‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'” (Gen. 2:18, NIV). Then, according to Scripture, “The Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’…For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (vv. 22-24).

It was God who created a beautiful woman and brought her to Adam as His precious gift to him. When Adam saw how Eve was made, he also learned how his body fit together with hers. The two became one flesh, which is how the rest of us got here!

In fact, God’s first command to them was to “‘be fruitful and increase in number'” (Gen. 1:28). In other words, God told them to have intercourse; it was their first assignment as a couple!

Boundaries for Sexual Activity  

Clearly, God is the one who initiated sex as an activity to be enjoyed between two people who are married to each other. However, He states in His Word that it is not to be engaged in outside this parameter. Whole chapters in the Old Testament are devoted to the regulation of sexual activity (Lev. 18; 20).

In the pagan cultures that surrounded the people of Israel, sexual activity between father and daughter, mother and son, brother and sister, or men and animals was not uncommon. Homosexuality was also a problem. So God established boundaries for His people and commanded them not to engage in these types of sexual activity.

The few rules He established were designed to distinguish the Israelites from the pagan cultures around them. But they were also a hedge of protection around the sanctity of the family in places where sinful sexual practices had destroyed the foundation of those cultures. God did not want the nation of Israel to fall victim to the same fate.

But some Christians read chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus, in which the punishment for sexual sin is specified as death by stoning, and conclude that God is fierce and vengeful, ready at any moment to strike them down if they sin sexually. They forget that God is also a God of grace and forgiveness. The boundaries still exist to protect us, but forgiveness is ours for the asking because of Calvary.

New Testament heroes reveal little information of their marital lives to us. But Paul teaches us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy unto God (Rom. 12:1). He reminds us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we must strive to honor God with it (1 Cor. 6:18).

So how does one honor God with his body, be an acceptable temple for the Holy Spirit, live holy before God, and yet experience the joys and delights of sexual union? Many of us have thought that when the Bible says to present our bodies as living sacrifices, it really means sacrificing a fulfilling and exciting sex life.

We find ourselves envying those television and movie “role models” who seem to enjoy sex with guiltless abandon. Some of us escape into the fantasy world of romance novels, soap operas or worse, pornographic videos, to become spectators of a dark and lonely life from which we have been set free. This dilemma seems especially difficult for those of us who carry memories of a pre-conversion sexual life that was fulfilling.

Though the secular world has, admittedly, pushed the envelope of sexual exploration to extremes, we as a church have been robbed of our inheritance in Christ. The lack of proper scriptural interpretation and explanation of God’s true design for marriage hinders a mutually satisfying intimacy with our spouse.

We have had too few champions from the pulpit to encourage us to reclaim what has been stolen from us. Much preaching that touches the topic of sexuality has emphasized the sins of sex with little, if any, reference to the joy of sex that God ordained.

A New Look at Biblical and Medical Truths 

Thankfully, a new generation of spiritual leaders is dedicated to reclaiming the sexually broken and to teaching young adults a godly pattern for beginning their marriages. We are living with an epidemic of divorce, adultery, fornication, sexually transmitted diseases and pornography.

Yet God has given wonderful promises in His Word to all who would hear and be set free by its truth. And, perhaps surprisingly, the Bible reveals beautiful examples of the pleasures that proper sexual expression should bring to our lives.

The Song of Solomon is undoubtedly the largest and most detailed biblical example of the beauty of sexual life God intended us to share. But it is by no means the only example. The Book of Proverbs warns against adultery while extolling the pleasures of intimacy in your own house:

“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. … Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love” (Prov. 5:15, 17-19).

This passage contains a simple instruction about enjoying sexuality in a healthy way. In the New Testament, Jesus quotes from the Book of Genesis regarding God’s intention for marriage:

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Mark 10:6-9).

Jesus reminds us that from the very beginning it was God’s intention that man and woman come together sexually and become one flesh, a condition that occurs only in intercourse. This drive to unite is so strong that a man will leave the comforts of home and all that is familiar to begin a new life with his wife. This bond is so important to God that He commands that no man separate it.

The undeniable truth is that God wants you to have great and satisfying sex; it’s His idea. By following specific and appropriate boundaries, we can have a life and marriage that are not only satisfying to us but also pleasing to the One who made us.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.


Scott FarhartM.D., the author of Intimate and Unashamed, from which this article is adapted.

Don’t Allow Touch Deprivation to Creep Into Your Marriage.


Happy couple
(© Marylooo | Dreamstime Stock Photos)

Nonsexual touch is extremely important. Even men need to be hugged, kissed and enjoyed physically by their wives. Did you grow up without any of your physical intimacy needs being met? Many people do. If so, you may have a deficit in the area of physical touch, as well as a skewed perception of the value of physical touch.

Fortunately, God often puts an individual who hasn’t been touched together with a spouse who likes to be touched and likes to touch. This gift is not always received well and can even be a source of contention. This was exactly the case in the following story.

Mary Alice grew up in a Mennonite home in Pennsylvania where everyone did their chores, got good grades, walked the straight-and-narrow road and, of course, went to church. She couldn’t remember hugs or kisses from her family as she grew up. Mary Alice met Daniel, a fine Christian man who grew up quite differently. He was hugged, touched regularly and kissed often, even throughout his teenage years. Hugging his mom, dad, sister or brother was normal for Danny.

Danny and Mary Alice fell in love and married after dating a couple years. Soon into the marriage it became obvious that they thought very differently about physical intimacy. Sex was OK with Mary Alice because she believed that was her Christian duty toward her husband, but she wanted no part of Danny’s desire to hug, kiss and be playful.

Three years went by and Mary Alice told him that she felt the only reason he hugged her and wanted her attention was for sex. Although he adamantly disagreed, she sincerely believed she knew “the real truth.” After their second child came along, Danny gave up on trying to be physically close with his wife.

Danny stayed married, stayed faithful—and stayed mad.

His issue wasn’t sex; it was touch. Through counseling, Mary Alice was convinced to try nonsexual touch. Under the guidelines that Danny could not use it to initiate sex, she felt safe to experiment physically. Eventually, Mary Alice not only accepted Danny’s need for legitimate nonsexual touching, but she also began to discover her own need for touch as well.

Touch deprivation is painfully real today in marriages. Some couples touch only during sex. How sad when God has given us the wonderful gift of our physical bodies with which to enjoy one another. Touch is a great way to express intimacy. Fewer things are better than a time of cuddling or massaging or scratching your spouse’s back.

Sexual intimacy is the ability to engage your spouse spiritually, emotionally and physically. This pleasuring and exploring of one another is God’s will and God’s design.

Have you thought about the thousands of changes your body goes through during the sexual act? Your organs become enlarged, fluids change, nerves are excited and pleasure is experienced at an almost traumatic rate. God designed this. He designed our bodies so that we could enjoy the ultimate pleasure within a marriage.

But just as sex within the marital relationship causes ultimate pleasure, problems in the marriage bed cause ultimate pain, especially with men. Issues pertaining to sexual preferences, sexual appetites and sexual differences often come up during marriage-counseling sessions. At these times I like to bring up what I call “sexual personalities.”

Our sexual personalities are often similar to our nonsexual personalities. If you marry a woman who drives the speed limit, doesn’t take many risks and is pretty conservative in her beliefs and behaviors, don’t expect her sexual personality to be exotic or bizarre. She probably won’t be what you created in your imagination as a teenager.

Take a minute here and think about this. Is your wife more conservative in her approach to life or more appetite driven? Is she a risk taker? Is she loud? Whatever her personality is outside the bedroom, it will most likely be her personality inside your bedroom. Accepting her sexual personality will give you a better perspective of your precious spouse.

Let’s look at three basic developmental stages of sexuality. Depending on the individual’s emotional or behavioral development, an adult can sexually be in any one of these three stages. When we discuss a “sexual child” or “sexual adolescent,” we are referring to an adult who exhibits behaviors or attitudes from this stage. This is important, for not everyone who is an adult physically is automatically an adult spiritually, emotionally, financially or sexually.

Stage 1: Sexual Childhood
An adult whose behavior and emotions are consistent with a child’s, regardless of age, will have beliefs about sex that are childlike. Such individuals tend to avoid sexual responsibility in their marriages. They rely on their spouses to initiate all sex and often put it off as much as possible.

They refuse to grow, experiment or explore sexually. They are uncomfortable, awkward and even ashamed when discussing sex. Adults behaving as sexual children make it difficult for their spouses to reach higher levels of sexual intimacy. If you find yourself in these descriptions, try to reach beyond your fears and awkwardness so that you and your spouse can enjoy sexual adulthood together.

Stage 2: Sexual Adolescence
Those at stage two, the adolescent stage of sexual development, are all too willing to be sexual. They enjoy sex, but sex is primarily about them having a good time. This individual refers to the sex act as “it,” “some” and other object-type terms. When sexual needs are not met when this person feels they ought to be, he or she may pout or get angry.

Those stuck at stage two are often disconnected emotionally and spiritually during the sex act. They are capable of one-dimensional only. One-dimensional physical sex is what I call “squirt gun” sex. It’s simply two bodies having physical sex, but their spirits and souls are not connecting.

Three-dimensional sex is what I call “atomic bomb” sex. The intensity of all three dimensions of your beings touching and experiencing sex is explosive, and will make you want to be spiritually and emotionally close regularly. This kind of sex will keep you together for life, and it gets better and better over the years.

Stage 3: Sexual Adulthood
Mature sexual adults accept their sexuality. They understand that sex is a normal, ongoing and committed part of an adult marriage. They accept their fair share of sexual initiation in the marriage. Sexual adults give themselves spirit, soul and body and receive their partners’ sexuality as well.

A sexual-adult couple recognizes that they will enjoy sex thousands of times throughout a lifetime together. Mature sexual adults learn to communicate their sexual needs, desires and preferences, and they can be creative during sexual encounters within the limits of their personalities. Feelings about sexuality can be discussed without shaming, blaming or belittling the other spouse.

Of course, reaching sexual adulthood—as with spiritual, emotional or financial adulthood–takes time, correct information and a willingness to grow. But all things are possible in Christ Jesus. He can carry us from stage one through stage three into sexual adulthood. His grace, love and patience are with us as we ask Him to change us, and they are available to all who ask.

Don’t use this information about the stages of sexuality as ammunition to aim at your spouse. Instead, use it for your own self-awareness. If areas of your spouse’s sexual struggle have been revealed, use this information as points of prayer, not points of manipulation.

Sexual intimacy is a journey, not a destination. As you walk out that journey together, learning to balance your sexual personalities, personal preferences and sexual maturity, you will soon discover that you never arrive. Sexual intimacy is a constantly evolving, wonderful journey of exploring and celebrating each other all the days of your life.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

DOUG WEISS

Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor; the founder and the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Centers in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and author of several books, includingSex, Men and GodThis article was orginally in New Man eMagazine.

Want to Be a Sexually Successful Husband?.


Happy couple sexual
(© Melis82 | Dreamstime Stock Photos)

I believe that God wants every Christian man to be sexually successful. He desires all of us to enter into the holy of holies where spirit, soul and body intimacy occurs with your wife on a regular basis. His desire is to equip each one of us with the skills to be spiritually and emotionally intimate outside of the bedroom so that we can be sexually successful inside of the bedroom.

Are you wondering what a sexually successful man is and how you can become one? Let me be perfectly clear. Sex is by far one of God’s best ideas! Don’t you agree? I imagine the Creator could have made procreation a behavior that brought little pleasure and only engaged our bodies, completely detached from the wealth of a soul and spirit experience. What a bummer sex would have been if that were the case.

Thankfully our Maker decided to be very creative con­cerning our sexuality. Not only does your body go through the greatest physiological changes, but when engaging successfully in sex you also experience the highest chemical reward possible for your body.

As a therapist, I have counseled with thousands of men regarding sexuality issues. During this time, I have learned that many men are not sexually successful. I have “clocked in” years of my life listening to men as they share varied stories of their lack of sexual success. These men and their wives want to be sexually successful, but even after several decades of marriage, they have not achieved sexual success.

Why haven’t many men experienced sexual success? Although there are different answers to that question, there are several broad sexual deficits that have commonality among many men.

The first deficit stems from the fact that many men have never received reliable information about true sexuality from their fathers. While traveling the country speaking at men’s conferences, I often ask men how long their sex talk with their fathers lasted. Over 95 percent of the men questioned stated that it was less than three minutes long. You can understand how such a deficit of information from a sexual expert—your dad—would force you to launch your own quest to discover successful sexuality.

The second-largest deficit perpetrating the lack of sexual success is the source from which most young men acquire their sexual information. For boys 14-16 years of age, their main source for sexual information is usually other 14-16-year-old boys. They may never have had sex, but they lie about that also.

For many young men today, pornographic literature, the mainstream media, prime-time sitcoms, movies, magazines and, more recently, the Internet are primary sources for learning about sexuality.

The good news is that regardless of whatever deficit of information you have suffered in your past, you can have a phenomenal three-dimensional sex life that will reach a plane of sexual success and satisfaction you never thought possible.

Like many men, I was misinformed early on about sexuality, and I had experiences that could have kept me from sexual success. But I kept searching until I found the information that we must have in order to become sexually successful and to maintain that success throughout life!

Once you experience sexuality as God intended it, you will never be able to settle for less again—I guarantee it. It is an incredible journey that offers awesome rewards.

This journey, which I call Sex, Men and God, involves a process—there is no magic bullet. If you choose the process, ahead of you lies a journey during which equipping, informing and for many, healing will take place. When you reach the end of this journey you will be a sexually successful man who can be fearless in prayer, a threat to the enemy of our souls and a spiritual blessing to your wife, family, church and community.

God’s gift to men is our sexuality. It is a divine gift that we have from birth to death. Yet, as men, we are misunderstood many times because of our God-given desire to consummate our marriage regularly.

I also believe that when men appropriately understand their sexuality they will experience three-dimensional sexuality that is wonderful and productive.

The ability to connect with your spouse in three God-given dimensions—spirit, soul and body—can satisfy you so profoundly that you do not even desire sex the next day. Imagine being that sexually satiated on a regular basis; that is sexual success!

Realizing the value of your sexuality will help you avoid the pitfalls of misusing it—pitfalls that result in damaging yourself, your relationship with God and even future generations.

The enemy of our soul has concentrated his attacks against God’s gift of male sexuality. He is fully aware that this gift, if misunderstood or misused, can lead to conse­quences that extend through family lines for generations to come.

Likewise, God knows the blessing of a man of God who understands his sexuality and submits it to the lordship of Christ. The blessing of a sexually healthy man also impacts his sons and daughters for generations.

Understanding that male sexuality is God’s great design can motivate every man to exert whatever effort is required to complete his personal journey to sexual success. God offers to every man who chooses to complete this journey the wonderful reward of sexual success.

I have studied the Scriptures for almost 20 years and have clearly seen that God’s Word addresses what I call the two sides of sexuality. By this I mean that He clearly communicates the reality of our external sexuality as well as our internal sexuality.

By the term external sexuality I refer to the actual sexual acts that you participate in with your physical body. These sex acts fall basically into two categories. The first category is comprised of sex acts approved by God in the context of a monogamous relationship with your wife. The second category includes sex acts that are disapproved and discouraged by God. These include sexual acts with anyone prior to marriage and outside of marriage.

Internal sexuality involves your sexual feelings, thoughts, fantasies and impulses. Internal sexuality is what you do with your eyes, your heart and your creative mind. This side of sexuality is also a gift from God.

This internal dimension of your sexuality can function undetected by those around you. You can lust after another woman’s body without anyone knowing or condemning. At least that’s what many of the Christian men I have talked to believed in adolescence. They rationalized that as long as they only looked and didn’t touch, they were good boys.

As adults this now may sound immature, but when you’re a 14- or 16-year-old, this faulty reasoning is to be expected. The problem is that some men remain stuck at that level of thinking all of their lives because neither they nor their spiritual leaders have adequately addressed the important issue of their internal sexuality.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Dr. Doug Weiss is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. This article is adapted from Dr. Weiss’ Sex, God and Men (Charisma House). Click here to purchase the book. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, http://www.drdougweiss.com, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at heart2heart@xc.org.

An Open Letter to ‘Gay’ Teens.


Matt Barber
Matt Barber

Who am I? I’m a husband and a father. More importantly, and by the grace of God, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.

This is what motivates me to write you.

You don’t have to read on, but I pray you will.

What I write is with the purest of aims and with your well-being in mind—physical, emotional and spiritual well-being—both now and for eternity.

You will read truth here, not because I say it’s true—I’m nobody—but, rather, because the Creator of the universe, the very God Who wove you together in your mother’s womb made it true.

His truths never change.

I have three kids: a boy and two girls. My son will soon enter his teenage years. I’ve had many people ask me what I’d say to my children if one of them came to me and declared: “Dad, I’m gay.”

Here’s what I’d say. I’d tell them exactly what I’m about to tell you.

I love you. I neither judge you nor condemn you. I accept you and I would die for you.

But you are not “gay.”

Yes, you may be physically attracted to people of the same sex, but how you act on those attractions is entirely your choice. Who you are—your identity—is not defined by your sexual feelings, temptations or behaviors. The difference between who you are and what you feel or do is as the difference between night and day.

Here is who you are: You are a wonderful, beautiful, precious human being created in the image and likeness of the one righteous and Holy God of the universe.

You are priceless.

But you are flawed—you are a sinner.

I am flawed—I am a sinner.

We are all flawed sinners—corrupted beings in a corrupted world. We are all tempted by sin.

Those temptations manifest themselves in different ways for each of us. We are all on equal footing, however, as to how we react to those temptations.

Homosexual behavior is always wrong—demonstrably and absolutely wrong.

Period.

Every major world religion, thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology declare this objective reality from the rooftops.

Though your heart may deceive you, something deep within you knows this to be true. Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jer.17:9)

Some say, “But Jesus never mentioned homosexuality.” First, we don’t know this. We have no record in Scripture of Him specifically addressing homosexual sin, but neither do we have a record of His addressing incest, bestiality or other sexual sins.

Jesus was clear. He condemned all sexual immorality as detailed within the moral law. He was clear that any sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage between husband and wife is sexual immorality—sin.

In fact, homosexual sin is expressly identified in both the Old and New Testaments as being among the list of sins that, if committed without repentance, will prevent you from “inheriting the kingdom of God.”

That is to say, yes; unrepentant homosexual behavior is disobedience to God. If we rebel against God and refuse to repent and ask His forgiveness, then we have chosen our own fate—we have chosen to disqualify ourselves from heaven.

We have chosen hell.

I know, it’s not easy. Temptation is not easy.

To sin, however, is easy.

Still, to endure the consequences of that sin, both here and throughout eternity, will be more difficult than our limited minds can fathom.

Romans 6:23 admonishes: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin can lead to physical death; but it also leads to emotional and spiritual death.

If you are caught up in homosexual sin, you know—intuitively you know—that such conduct is wrong, that it is both immoral and unnatural behavior.

Truth is truth, even though we may deny it.

God has written His law on your heart. You are a physical being; but, more importantly, you are a spiritual being. When we sin, we create separation between ourselves and God.

God’s word also says that when we sin sexually, it’s particularly egregious because our bodies are the temple of Christ. This separation from God—a natural result of sexual sin—can lead to depression and even despair.

If you feel such despair, know this: it is not “homophobia” causing it, as adult enablers might tell you, but, rather, it is the sin itself that causes it (or struggling alone, absent Christ, with the temptation to sin).

You are being used. Adult homosexual activists with a political agenda are using you as a pawn to achieve selfish goals in a dangerous political game.

You’re just a means to an end.

They may have convinced themselves otherwise, but they don’t care about you. They don’t love you. They can’t. Their version of “love” is built on lies. It’s devoid of truth.

Love without truth is hate.

If you continue down this wide, empty path, make no mistake: it will not “get better.”

It gets much, much worse.

Consider, for instance, that according to the CDC this path will lead you, boys, to a one-in-five chance of contracting HIV/AIDS. The CDC also found that 64 percent of all syphilis cases strike “gay” males and that homosexual behavior leads to astronomical risk of nearly all other forms of STD.

Even more startling is the fact that, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), “[L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is eight to 20 years less than for all men.”

Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences. “The wages of sin is death.”

But there is hope.

Jesus loves you with a love that no human can fully grasp. This is true not because of your so-called “sexual orientation,” but, rather, it is true in spite of it.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

Kids, take your sexual confusion—your struggle with sin—to Christ.

No one else can give you rest.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MATT BARBER

Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action.

How to Deal With Sexual Fantasies.


Editor’s NoteThe following is a report on the practical applications of Shannon Ethridge’s new book, The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Being Sexual Thoughts (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

The sexual fantasies that pop into your mind can trouble you, but you can’t avoid having those fantasies. Sexual fantasies are natural for everyone, since God has created all humans as sexual beings. What you can do is deal wisely with the fantasies you experience, learning from them so you can heal from the emotional pain they reveal and enjoy healthy expressions of your God-given sexuality. Here’s how:

Ask God to give you His perspective on your sexuality. Since God is the one who created you to be a sexual being, trust God to show you what your sexual fantasies mean and how you can use that information to use your sexuality in healthy ways that will bless you rather than harm you.

Recognize that sexual fantasies are normal and not always wrong. Sexual fantasies are a normal part of life, and they’re not necessarily bad. Fantasies are simply windows into your psyche, giving you valuable psychological information and about your thoughts and feelings. You can use your sexual fantasies for either bad or good purposes; sometimes they lead to sin and destruction, but if you use them to create sexual energy in your marriage, they can lead to a stronger marriage. So pray for the wisdom to know when you should guard your mind against unhealthy fantasies and when you should open your mind to fantasies that can enrich your marriage.

Understand the three different types of sexual fantasies. Autoerotic fantasies are random sexual thoughts that occur naturally without external stimulation. You shouldn’t feel guilty about them, and you can easily manage them. Erotic fantasies those that arouse you and your spouse within your marriage. As long as you both approve of them, there’s no need to feel guilty about them. Illicit fantasies are those that God or your spouse would not approve of because of the context of the relationships reflected within those fantasies. The illicit fantasies are signals meant to draw your attention to emotional wounds you’ve suffered, so you should pay attention to what they can teach you about yourself and pursue healing for the wounds they reveal to you.

Examine what your fantasies may mean. Reflect on the sexual fantasies that pass through your mind and ask yourself key questions about them, such as: “Who are the faces in our fantasies?”, “What roles do they play?”, “What role do I play?”, “What primary emotions do these fantasies elicit and why?”, What event in my history created the need to experience such an emotion?”, “How does this fantasy medicate emotional pain from my past or present?”, “Could there be an even deeper spiritual longing beneath my sexual longings?”, “What can I learn from my fantasies?”, “What driving forces are operating within me that often lead me to toward destructive relational patterns?”, and “How can I heal the pain that is causing me to fantasize destructive directions?”.

Know that your illicit fantasies never stand in the way of God’s love for you. Don’t worry that your struggle with unhealthy sexual fantasies will ever cause God to love you any less. God loves you deeply and unconditionally. Because of God’s love for you, you can count on the grace you need from Him to empower you to heal from the wounds that your illicit fantasies reveal.

Break free of pornography. Realize that pornography is always unhealthy for you to use, because your fellow human beings are abused in order to produce porn, and because porn damages your ability to experience genuine sexual intimacy within marriage. If you use porn to fuel your fantasies, ask yourself what types of images you’re more attracted to, and what underlying emotions you’re trying to quell, amplify, or balance with fantasies about those images. Then consider what messages those emotions are trying to send you, and ask God to show you how you can best pursue the emotional healing you need.

Look to God (instead of other people) to meet your needs. God is the only one who can ultimately fulfill all of your needs, such as those that you may fantasize about another person meeting (satisfaction, provision, and comfort). So don’t barter with your body to try to get other people to meet your needs (such as by fantasizing about people as mother figures, father figures, or spiritual idols, or keys to unlocking the fountain of youth for you). Recognize that what you may have been desperately searching for in others, you already possess in God, through your relationship with Him – and all you need to do is turn to God to claim what you’ve been searching for. Once you’ve learned how to trust God to meet your deepest emotional needs, you can learn how to express affection toward other people in healthy and holy ways.

If you’re married, invest your best efforts into your marriage. God has designed marriage to be the only context in which sexual energies can be expressed in healthy ways, and when you focus your sexual energies on your spouse, your marriage can grow stronger. So if you’re married, do your best to develop healthy intimacy with your spouse. God can show you how to use your fantasies to energize your marital sex life, drawing you and your spouse closer to Him and each other.

If you’re single, direct your sexual energies toward other pursuits. If you’re single, there’s no healthy way for you to express your sexual energies through sex until you get married. So while you’re single, direct those energies into healthy pursuits, such as exercise and creative work.

Expose the roots of fantasies about taboos. If you fantasize about gay or lesbian sex, rape, incest, recognize that such things go against the natural order of how God has made creation and will harm you and others if acted out. If you fantasize about bondage, sadism, or masochism, understand that it’s never God’s plan for sexual pleasure to involve anything that causes others pain.

Put fantasy in its place. Defuse the unhealthy power that fantasies have over you by: focusing on other things you’re passionate about, trusting your God-given instincts more than you do other people, refusing to rationalize stupidity, trusting in God’s grace to avoid sin, strengthening your marriage so you won’t be as tempted to have an affair, and trusting God to lead you and your spouse into deeper levels of sexual and spiritual connection.

Adapted from The Fantasy Fallacy: Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts, copyright 2012 by Shannon Ethridge. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tn.,www.thomasnelson.com.

Shannon Ethridge is an international speaker and certified life coach. She has a master’s degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University and is author of the million-copy, best-selling Every Woman’s Battle series. Learn more at www.ShannonEthridge.com

By Whitney Hopler

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels@aboutguide.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: December 28, 2012

A Secret Shame.


sad, ashamed woman
(© J0sefino/StockFreeImages.com)

Many men struggle with sex addictions. But in the United States today, a growing number of women also are falling prey to pornography and perversion.

Marsha is a 32-year-old woman who appears to have a perfect life. She is the attractive, healthy wife of a successful doctor in town and the mother of a terrific little boy. She began our first counseling session by saying, “I have everything going for me, but I have a problem I am so ashamed of that I can hardly tell you.”

Through tears she told me her story, which included numerous rotating affairs and one-night stands with men. “I know it’s wrong, and I’ve tried to stop,” she cried. “I’ve repented many times, but I still do it over and over again.”

Some of us would classify Marsha as simply an “adulteress” while others would pass off her problem as “just sin.” But is it possible that Marsha struggles with sexual addiction? We’re quick to assume that sexual addicts are always men, but recent studies indicate that in the last decade more and more women, including Christians, are struggling with sexual addiction.

What is sexual addiction? It is using a sexual activity as a way of coping with or “medicating” the emotional pain of one’s past or present. This behavior becomes compulsive, oftentimes at the expense of loved ones or responsibilities. The sex addict, whether male or female, goes into a sexual fantasy or sexual behavior in order to find solace in his or her life.

Why would a woman need to escape? Many sex addicts—44 percent—are survivors of sexual abuse. Sixty-five percent say they were raped, and 53 percent say they were raped more than once. For 96 percent, their first sexual encounter had a direct impact on their sexual addictive behavior. Other statistics include the 79 percent who say they have had extramarital affairs.

The list continues: 48 percent have contracted a venereal disease; 59 percent have had an abortion; 52 percent have eating disorders; and 50 percent have alcohol problems.

Soul Pain
Female sex addicts are often women with severe emotional pain and low self-esteem. They view themselves as sexually damaged and feel as though they are limping through life. Their “soul pain” often begins in childhood or adolescence, and sex becomes the “medicine” for their hurting hearts.

There is also a physiological process accompanying their sexual behavior. Most sex addicts don’t realize that during sexual release the highest level of endorphins and enkephalins are transmitted to the medial preoptic nucleus in the brain. In essence, the brain gets a strong chemical reward that attaches to whatever or whomever the person is looking at—whether real or imaginary, pornography or fantasy.

As Christians, we can understand why God intended to reserve sex solely for marriage—so that husband and wife attach only to each other.

Often the sexually addicted woman becomes addicted to the sexual high from this fantasy. She becomes “hooked,” so to speak. This makes sense when we read Paul’s words, “All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18, NIV). The sex addict is setting up a biological device that is unhealthy for her and destructive to her faith.

Even a Spirit-filled woman who regularly prays and reads God’s Word can have a sexual reward system that moves her into desiring what she knows is wrong. Internal struggles occur as her body desires her conditioned behavior, even though her spirit desires purity. Some of these women may feel God made them defective and unworthy of any real love.

Setting the Captive Free
Thank God for Jesus, who came to set the captives free! Many of the sexually addicted women and men who fly from all over the country to our office are Spirit-filled believers.

How can that be, you ask? Most of them need healing in their souls.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul encourages us to sanctify our spirit, soul and body. Sexual addiction can be rooted in any or all these areas within the body.

I remember vividly when I accepted Christ as my Savior at 19 years of age. He instantly delivered me from alcohol and drugs. Yet I continued to struggle with sexual addiction.

I was in Bible college, attending church and chapel several times a week. I memorized Scripture, prayed and regularly fasted for what I thought was just a spiritual problem.

Years later God started to heal me and showed me practical steps to take that would allow Him to begin healing my soul. As I obeyed these principles God set before me, I was able to break free and remain that way.

What does this freedom look like today? It is freedom from ongoing lust, freedom from the fear of someone finding out about the secrets, freedom to enjoy the real joy of intimacy with my spouse, and freedom of having a clear conscience before God and men. Plus, it’s my greatest joy now to be able to help others get and stay free.

God wants every woman and man to have such freedom in their lives. He wants them to be free from the kinds of secrets Marsha was struggling with.

How does someone like Marsha get free and stay free? It’s a process that involves several components. Not all sex addicts need to participate in each of these processes, though most women who are sexually addicted have to work through the list.

1. Honesty. She must be honest about herself, which means she can’t have any secrets. Some women even go so far as to take polygraph exams so their husbands can know for sure that they are not engaging in sexual behaviors outside their marriages.

2. Accountability and support. Another component of this healing process is the need for accountability and support. Few churches have support groups for female sex addicts, though church would be a great place for this type of ministry. Some sexually addicted women attend a secular 12-step support group called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Others locate a support and accountability structure with other Christian women in their church.

3. Spiritual growth. Another aspect of the healing process requires a daily regimen that fosters spiritual growth. Reading God’s Word, praying and fasting are great disciplines for those with addictions. Reading literature about recovering from female sex addiction is a crucial element in understanding the addiction and the recovery process. The Secret Solutions Workbook has more than 100 practical exercises that female addicts can walk through along with a female accountability partner or therapist.

4. Christian counseling. Christian counseling can also be very helpful. Unfortunately there are few Christian counselors who deal with sexual addiction. In my office I am blessed to have a female counselor who is a recovering sex addict and who offers telephone counseling and three-day intensive workshops for female sex addicts.

Safe People, Safe Havens
Women such as Marsha can get free and stay free by following a lifestyle of honesty, accountability, support and spiritual growth. I have seen so many women, including former prostitutes, break free from their sexual addictions.

It’s beautiful to see God restore a woman to her original grace and giftedness. As she gets free from her sexual behaviors, she often senses a spiritual calling.

In the research we conducted for the book She Has a Secret, we found that women who overcome sexual addiction are twice as likely to start regularly attending church and become active members. Without shame or fear they can lift up holy hands and worship God with sincere adoration. My experience is that those who are forgiven much, love much—just as Jesus said about the woman who washed His feet with her tears and hair.

I encourage churches to start Freedom Groups, which are accountability work groups for men and women to break free from sexual addiction. This is a vast plague facing the church today. If the church is deaf to these cries, sex addicts will have to seek secular help. Today’s church can take the lead in healing the brokenhearted.

Regularly I am seeing women and men called into this healing ministry. What a great day it is when the sexually broken in the world can go to a church to get and stay free.

My prayer is that any woman struggling with a secret life of sexual addiction will take the next step and tell a safe person. She needs to ask God for direction and to send her someone who can help. Who knows—she may eventually become that safe haven for others who are enduring the torment of a secret life.

What happened to Marsha? She’s doing great! Not only is she a strong, beautiful Christian woman, but she is happily married and sexually pure. She graduated from college and is now helping other women to overcome struggles similar to hers.

Isn’t that just like Jesus, to take a person such as Marsha and raise her out of the rubble of abuse, neglect, pain and shame and move her into a life-giving ministry? I have seen the process of this miracle repeated so often in our office that we’ve come to expect miraculous outcomes when hurting souls walk through our door!

By DOUGLAS WEISS, PH.D.


Douglas WeissL.P.C. is executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center. He is the author of books including She Has a Secret: Understanding Female Sexual Addiction and the Secret Solutions Workbook, both from Discovery Press.

 

‘Fat Pride’ Key to Better Sex for Obese Women.


Despite the widespread attitude in many societies that fat bodies aren’t sexy, plus-size women can have satisfying sexual relationships if they accept their bodies, a small study finds. Overweight women who feel shame about their weight, however, tend to have less satisfying sex lives.

Jeannine Gailey, a sociologist at Texas Christian University, interviewed 36 women who identified themselves as fat. The subjects were classified as obese or morbidly obese based on body mass index, with their weights ranging from 215 pounds to 500 pounds (98 kilograms to 227 kilograms). All of the women were recruited from listservs for “size acceptance” organizations.

Almost all of the women reported that body shame, self-ridicule and numerous attempts to lose weight had affected their relationships and sex lives in the past. However, 26 of the subjects (72 percent) said that they had learned to accept their bodies, which had resulted in better romances. Seven of the participants still were not comfortable with their size; these women all reported either negative sexual experiences or abstaining altogether from sex. (The remaining three women did not fit into either mold: One had a negative view of her body but a satisfying sex life, while the other two reported a lifelong positive body image, as well as a satisfying sex life.)

The results suggest “fat women who are involved in the size-acceptance movement tend to have a better self-image and sexual relationships,” Gailey told LiveScience. [5 Myths About Women’s Bodies]

Why body image makes a difference

An abundance of previous research has linked poor body image to lower sexual fulfillment. Those studies have shown that high levels of body self-consciousness dampen sexual pleasure, arousal, assertiveness and self-esteem, Gailey wrote in the July issue of the journal Fat Studies.

Heavy women are prime candidates for negative body image, partly due to social stigmas against fat. Research published in 1996 documented that fat women are generally viewed as lazy, unattractive and nonsexual, for example.

Subversive acts are empowering, Gailey said, so defying the negative notions about fat allows women to take charge of their sexuality and enjoy sex more. “Going from fat shame to fat pride can become empowering for women who are able to move beyond trying to change their bodies to a focus on developing satisfying relationships with lovers and themselves, despite the tremendous social stigma of fat,” she wrote.

Women in the study who said they had begun to embody fat pride reported finally having the confidence to end negative relationships and “retrain” their partners to satisfy them sexually. “As the women experience less body shame and increased confidence, they also seek out or attract partners who treat them better and truly appreciate them,” Gailey wrote in the paper. “Participants who have begun to see their bodies as beautiful and desired seem to enjoy their sexual relationships and have better experiences than those who do not.”

The subjects who accepted their size reported a predominant theme of feeling better than before, although they still dealt with the daily inundation of negative messages about being fat.

Understanding size acceptance

Gailey used the word “fat” in her research instead of “overweight” or “obese” because it is the preferred term of the size-acceptance movement, which dates back to 1969, when the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance was founded. Today, NAAFA is one of several size-acceptance organizations that target discrimination against fat people and challenge notions that only thin people can be attractive.

“The word ‘obesity’ is a highly contentious word in the size-acceptance community, because it denotes a medical condition and problematizes human diversity,” Gailey wrote in an email to LiveScience. “Fat is the preferred adjective by most because it does not denote a medical condition or suggest that there is an ideal weight, as the term ‘overweight’ implies.”

The new study is one of the first to collect data on fat women’s own perspectives about their sex lives. Research is still needed on the sexual and dating histories of fat women who have not been exposed to or who reject fat pride, as well as on the sex lives of fat lesbian and bisexual women, Gailey said.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.


LiveScience.com
By Jennifer Abbasi, LiveScience Contributor | LiveScience.com 

Media’s Sexual Terrorism Harmful to Families.


watching TV
(FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The recent shooting massacres in Colorado and Wisconsin have again focused attention on the hundreds of thousands of studies on the links between violence in the media to acts of violence in society. The results have overwhelmingly showed that violence in media does influence people’s attitudes and behavior, even more so if it’s children and adolescents exposed to heavy violence in media.

Even so, this posits another question: Can the same thing be said for sexuality in movies?

Sexuality outside of marriage is not only common in America, but is celebrated and encouraged among society’s youth. This has caused increases in pornography, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, and high divorce rates that are actively hurting families. Is this a result of media indoctrination? Does the sexuality in movies really have that much to do with the increase in sexual behavior in adolescents?

Some studies in the past have strongly suggested that, yes, sexuality in the media does shape hearts, minds and behaviors. Dartmouth College recently conducted a large survey to examine the influence of MSE movie sexual exposure (MSE) on youths before the age of 16 and how it affects them in adulthood. The college started by researching the amount of sexuality that popular movies contain. The study revealed that 84 percent of movies released between 1950 and 2006 had some form of sexual content.

“A content analysis revealed that 70 percent of the sexual acts depicted in movies released from 1983 to 2003 occurred between newly acquainted partners, 98 percent included no reference to contraception and 89 percent resulted in no consequences,” the study said (Gunasekera, Chapman, & Campbell, 2005).

The study continued, “Adolescents who watch popular movies, therefore, are exposed to a great deal of sex, most of which is portrayed in an unrealistic and/or risk-promoting manner.”

Armed with this information, the Dartmouth researchers surveyed more than 6,000 adolescents from 2007 to 2012. The research team asked youth between the ages of 10 and 14 which movies from a random list of 50 they had seen. Approximately five to seven years later, the same individuals were asked at what age they became sexually active and how many partners they had. After calculating the amount of sexual content in the top 684 movies, they had some results.

The survey results, as predicted, showed that higher MSE before the age of 16 resulted in a “higher number of lifetime sexual partners and more casual sex” (e.g., Brown et al., 2006). Evidence also suggests that sexual behavior among adolescents is influenced more by movies over other forms of media (television, music videos, etc.). The study also revealed that males with MSE are more susceptible than females to risky sexual behavior. Many participants even admitted to copying love scenes depicted in movies in real life (The Telegraph, 07/08/12).

All of this stems from a Hollywood view of love and sex that is both unrealistic and unbiblical. The risky sexual behavior in movies is mostly shown without consequences, but in reality, sexual irresponsibility leads to STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Most adolescents don’t consider the real consequences because they only see what movies tell them.

So what do researchers suggest as a solution? In their conclusion, they said, “Our results suggest that restricting adolescents’ MSE would delay their sexual debut and also reduce their engagement in risky sexual behaviors later in life. This strategy could attenuate the direct influence of media on adolescents’ sexual behavior by limiting the acquisition of risky sexual scripts and/or reducing their likelihood activation” (Wright, 2011).

The study’s conclusion continues:

“One promising approach would involve incorporating media literacy training into sexual education. A recent intervention showed that a peer-led sexual-media-literacy curriculum increased ninth-grade students’ self-efficacy in resisting peer pressure with regard to sexual behavior, reduced their perception of normative prevalence of sexual activity during adolescence, and improved their attitudes toward abstinence” (Pinkleton, Austin, Cohen, Chen, & Fitzgerald, 2008).

These two steps are what Movieguide has been promoting for years.

The first step is teaching media literacy and media wisdom to children. Having media literacy and media wisdom means that we analyze, interpret, build discernment, and create. Analysis is understanding and comprehending the medium of filmmaking and storytelling. If we understand how Hollywood communicates its message, it will help us interpret what that message is.

Interpreting is many times the hardest part because it requires that we understand the definitions of a biblical worldview versus a non-biblical or humanist worldview, and then discover what is the movie or television program’s attitude toward those worldviews. Finally, media wisdom requires teaching children how to discern good from evil. If children aren’t taught from a young age how to discern between good and evil by their parents and other role models, they will likely learn and repeat the lies from the media and the world around them.

The second step is to teach children to create. Being made in God’s image, we are called to create things that reflect all glory to God. Now, not everyone is called to be a filmmaker or a writer, but everyone uses his or her creative imagination to some degree. Creativity helps children analyze and interpret the media because it helps them understand communication through art. These tools will not only help children discern the media but also discern the world around them.

The third and final step to protecting your family from the influence of the media is avoiding movies that have explicit violent or sexual content. We see enough sin and immorality in the world, so there’s absolutely no need for it to be brought into the family living room. Movies should be wholesome and uplifting, but many times they are filled with sexuality, violence, offensive language, and anti-Christian values.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By BEN KAYSER AND TED BAEHR/MOVIEGUIDE

Seven Steps to ‘Sex-cess’.


happy-couple-beachLive in a sex-charged culture, without getting zapped!

Jim is in my office one Saturday morning crying over the lust, guilt and terrible sexual choices that are destroying his life. I don’t know whether to empathize with his pain or kick his butt for going to sleep on his watch!

I remind him that the battle for sexual integrity demands constant vigilance. It’s a wrestling match with Satan, and any time you let your guard down, you get body-slammed.

Our society so bombards us with sex. With our male fascination for visual stimulation and our often-adolescent mindsets, this is very disconcerting.

It is easy to empathize with the early church father, Origen, who made himself a eunuch in a desperate step to achieve greater purity. But, God has also given us a wonderful gift in being sexually alive with exciting potential for deep, passionate intimacy.

The following are practical skills, actually disciplines, men need to practice as they grow up into sexual maturity and intimacy. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7, NIV).

1. Bring Sexual Secrets Into the Light

Several years ago, I can remember having trouble keeping my thought life disciplined around a certain woman who would occasionally cross my path. There was no inappropriate interaction, but I did not like the way she could ring my sexual chimes without even trying.

I finally told a friend of mine about her—the way I had coached others to confess their secret struggles. How interesting that the next time I saw this woman the sexual pull was gone.

Wow! Isn’t it amazing how Satan’s system thrives in darkness and secrecy? It is exciting to practice the discipline of bringing a secret into the light of day and to actually experience its power disappearing.

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible” (Eph. 5:11-13).

What a dynamic concept God created with His emphasis on confession and walking in the light. An important part of this discipline is seeking out appropriate confessors, groups and accountability buddies.

Wives cannot be in that role alone. We need male buddies to help us bring our secrets into the light.

2. Practice Pre-Zone Choices

In sexual addiction there is an interesting concept of being in “the zone.” This is when sexual temptation and lustful desire have headed down the slippery slope and already given birth to sinfully following through on a behavior.

It would take a team of wild horses to stop you once you reach the acting-out zone. “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15).

Carl stated the car had a mind of its own and turned into the parking lot of the convenience store that sells dirty magazines. Of course the car couldn’t be stopped, Carl was already in the zone by the time he got near the store. The time for decisions was earlier.

That morning he could have called a friend for help. He could have called his wife before he left work. But he failed to make any of these pre-zone choices to preserve his sexual integrity.

Christian men often get angry with God and complain that He allowed sexual temptation that they couldn’t stand up under (see 1 Cor. 10:13). No, we simply did not make a series of healthy choices until it was too late.

God didn’t fail us. We failed to take the first choices He gave to keep us from sinning. The quicker you begin making decisions about sexual temptation, the more God can intervene.

3. Discipline Fantasies and Sexual Surges

Men usually think they are more highly sexed than their wives are. It is true that most men think about sex more and are more visually specific as they zoom in on female bodies. But I don’t think it is higher testosterone or our sexual natures that make us more sexually aroused; it is our poor self-discipline of the environmental sexual cues.

Controlling sexual cues is an interesting discipline. It involves several ways of applying the wisdom of “take captive every thought” (2 Cor. 10:5) and “the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light'” (Matt. 6:22).

Practicing the following really helps:

Don’t close your eyes or give free rent. When seeing or hearing a sexual cue (for example, a guy in the locker room talking about a sexually charged movie he saw) keep from closing your eyes and visualizing or fantasizing about the sexual image.

You can’t always avoid the sexual stimulation, but when a thought or visual cue comes into your mind, you can choose not to give it lodging rent-free. God gives us the ability to switch topics in our minds.

Direct your vision and practice the “one-second” rule. Try to discipline your vision to look at women’s faces or see their bodies in a general way—don’t do the elevator routine as your eyes roam up and down, stopping at favorite floors.

When seeing specific visual cues (for example, a tight sweater), do not allow your gaze to linger and further sexualize the cue. Move your eyes and mind on.

Do not run with cues. Noticing the cute runner may be natural. Following up that cue by almost driving off the road trying to check her out in the rearview mirror is a step into dangerous territory.

Now you’re thinking, Wow, what a build! You are off and running in your mind as you take one cue and build it into seven. Choose to stop with one cue.

4. Work Inside Out

Do you sometimes believe God doesn’t hold up His part of the bargain with changing our sexual behaviors? You try so desperately to uphold the right sexual behavior and yet always seem to slip.

Quit trying to work outside in. Instead, start with God working His deeper changes in your heart and creating true freedom and redemption.

Real sexual integrity is not about what you aren’t doing; it is about what you are doing. You may have stopped masturbation but haven’t dealt with the deeper heart lust issues. Go deeper than the behavior.

How is masturbation affecting you and your relationships? Are you lusting, lazy, avoiding intimacy, feeding an addiction? Go deep into God’s character and the heart of issues, and work inside out.

We will make better choices as God helps us b
ecome appalled at how shallow, ugly, stupid and tragically destructive sexual sins are. Psalm 97:10 says, “Let those who love the Lord hate evil.”

When we lust after another woman or are tempted to have an affair, we can better understand the damage we’re causing by imagining instead an evil we could never see ourselves doing–such as taking a tire iron from our cars and bashing our wives with it.

This may seem over-the-top. But we each need to recognize just how cruel and mean God sees our sinful fantasies and actions.

5. Meet Nonsexual Needs Nonsexually

I recently asked my men’s group: “It’s Friday afternoon, and you got off work early. The wife and kids are not home, and you have time to relax and enjoy. How many of you might think of something sexual as a part of that recreation?”

All of them admitted that it would cross their minds.

We brainstormed on what were they really desiring at the end of an exhausting week: diversion, a chance to let down and play, and maybe some adventure and excitement. Sex can accomplish this, but we started listing alternatives: wandering around Home Depot, playing video games, biking or shooting hoops.

Men long for connection, meaningful physical touch and consolation when stressed. False sexual intimacy can seem helpful, but this shallow substitute can never become the real thing. One of my friends, Mark Laaser, keeps saying that the antidote to lust is good male friendships.

Letting God help us meet our needs, sexual and nonsexual, wisely and appropriately, is a critical discipline for sexual integrity.

We often think that we need sex when we are really searching for something else.

6. Quit Window-Shopping

We can summarize God’s plan for our sexuality quite simply: Every Adam courageously waits for and erotically connects only with his Eve—all other women are his sisters.

1 Timothy 5:2 tells us to treat “older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

A female client of mine recently asked why Christian men do so much window-shopping of women. She stated: “If they are godly men, why are they sizing up women for mental or sexual relationships? Aren’t we sisters?” I couldn’t agree more.

I fondly think of a pastor friend of mine, who upon seeing an attractive woman says to himself, “Thank you, Lord, for this woman.” And then he adds: “But this isn’t my woman, Lord. Thank you for mine.”

7. Practice 3-D Sexuality

God teaches us that sexuality is three-dimensional. It can never be just a body thing (see 1 Cor. 6:13-19) but naturally involves our soul and spirit.

When you are at a mall and notice an attractive woman, look at her face and notice if she is tired.

Observe the packages she is carrying and think, I bet she’s a great mom. Make the woman a person and give her a life.

Body: Look at less common but very feminine features such as hands, smile and ways of gesturing. Let her body communicate her heart, not just her sexuality.

Soul: Honor the needs of her mind and heart for respect and affirmation, not lust. She is very precious to God. Would you want someone looking at your daughter the way you are looking at her?

Spirit: Remember that she wants someone special in her life to connect with—and this is not you!

One of my clients, after seeing a great body and struggling with lust, starts praying for that woman that she will truly know Christ. Giving her a spirit gets him back on track.

Godly disciplines are not easy or natural. Keep practicing because it’s a no-brainer choice. Do we want pain, guilt and failed intimacy, or do we want the fruit of the Spirit with love, joy and peace?

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11). It’s time to vigilantly protect your sexual integrity.


Dr. Doug Rosenau is a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist in the Atlanta area (sexualwholeness.com).

By Dr. Doug  Rosenau.

Americans Split on Whether Being Homosexual is a Sin.


Lakewood church
Joel Osteen on April 30 said he believes the Scripture says that being gay is a sin, and is opposed to gay marriage.

Do you think homosexuality is a sin? Americans are split on the question—and many do not appreciate if a church teaches that homosexuality is sinful. So says a recent LifeWay Research survey.

Forty-four percent believe homosexuality is a sin and 43 percent say it is not. Thirteen percent are not sure.

Being a born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian often corresponds with a negative view of homosexuality. Among those groups, 82 percent say homosexual behavior is a sin while 14 percent say it is not a sin. In contrast, 29 percent of all other religious groups say it is sinful and 51 percent say it is not.

Men and Americans without a college degree are more likely to say homosexuality is sinful. Forty-seven percent of men say it is a sin, but only 40 percent of women. And, 49 percent of those without a college degree say homosexual behavior is a sin, compared with 35 percent who have a college degree.

“When asking questions like this to a general sampling of the population, it is important to note that people’s definition of ‘sin’ may differ based upon their religious background and beliefs. We intentionally used the word, but also know it means different things to different people,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. McConnell noted that in 2011, Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll approached the question of homosexuality asking if it was “morally acceptable.”

“While we find 44 percent believe homosexuality is a ‘sin,’ Gallup reports 56 percent of Americans consider gay and lesbian relations morally acceptable,” McConnell said.

Respondents were also asked the question: “If you were considering visiting or joining a church, would knowing that the church taught that homosexual behavior was sinful impact your decision positively or negatively or have no impact?” Only 26 percent of Americans say it would have a positive impact, while thirty-six percent say it would have a negative impact. Nearly a third (32 percent) say it would have no impact.

Of those who say homosexual behavior is sinful, a slight majority (54 percent) say a church teaching it is sinful would positively impact their decision to visit or join. But, among those who do not believe homosexual behavior is sinful, 74 percent say a congregation teaching it is sinful would negatively impact their decision to visit or join.

“Conversations about sin are inherently religious in nature,” McConnell said. “Merriam-Webster tells us the use of the word ‘sin’ is religious or moral and often specifically refers to a ‘transgression of the law of God.’ It is no surprise, then, that the sharpest negative reaction to a church specifically teaching that homosexual behavior is a sin comes from the least religious, those who do not attend religious services.”

Regarding the effect of a church’s stand on homosexuality, the survey found:

  • Americans who never attend a place of worship strongly lean negative in their response to the impact of a church teaching homosexual behavior is sinful. Those who never attend a place of worship are most likely to say this teaching would have a negative impact on them visiting or joining the church if they were considering it (72 percent) compared to only 21 percent of those who attend worship services more than once a week.
  • Younger Americans take a more negative view of churches teaching against homosexuality. Those 18 to 29 (19 percent) are the least likely age group to say that a congregation teaching against homosexuality would have a positive impact upon their decision to visit or join. Those 65 and older are the most likely age group to say it would impact their decision positively (35 percent) and the least likely to say it would impact their decision negatively (29 percent).
  • Men are more likely than women to look favorably on a church teaching homosexuality is sin. Twenty-nine percent of men and 22 percent of women say it would impact their decision positively. Thirty-four percent of men and 38 percent of women say it would impact their decision negatively.
  • People in large (44 percent) and small (43 percent) cities are more likely to say a church’s teaching against homosexuality would impact their decision negatively than those in suburbs (32 percent) and rural areas (26 percent).

“Americans remain evenly split on the moral and religious questions of whether homosexual behavior is a sin,” McConnell said. “It likely reflects different beliefs about Scripture and different beliefs about who defines sin.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By David Roach/Lifeway.

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