Between Us Guys parts 1, 2, 3this article is the continuation of Post #6: Lust

Today’s post is divided into 4 sections . . .

(1)   Thoughts and Considerations

(2)   Masturbation Inventory

(3)   Pornography Use Self-Assessment

(4)   Overcoming Sexual Compulsive Behavior

In the Lord’s name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing evil. They continually want to do all kinds of evil.Ephesians 4:17 – 19 (New Century Version)

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:1, 2 (English Standard Version)

Christ suffered here on earth. Now you must be ready to suffer as he did, because suffering shows that you have stopped sinning. It means you have turned from your own desires and want to obey God for the rest of your life. You have already lived long enough like people who don’t know God. You were immoral and followed your evil desires. You went around drinking and partying and carrying on. In fact, you even worshiped disgusting idols. Now your former friends wonder why you have stopped running around with them, and they curse you for it. But they will have to answer to God, who judges the living and the dead. The good news has even been preached to the dead, so that after they have been judged for what they have done in this life, their spirits will live with God. Everything will soon come to an end. So be serious and be sensible enough to pray. Most important of all, you must sincerely love each other, because love wipes away many sins. – 1 Peter 4:1 – 8 (Contemporary English Version)

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Masturbation & Pornography.

When was the last time you heard a sermon or was involved in a Bible study/class that addressed these topics? Many people are painfully aware of the problems. But churches have generally done a miserable job in the practical education and support of people who are trying (or want) to resolve these (and other) issues. Personal self-examination, self-education, the cultivating of a gracious and loving heart (along with being open to the Lord and those who are contending with these sexual issues) go a long way towards understanding and reaching out to others.

Habitual or compulsive masturbation with SSA fantasies is an area many guys with SSA struggle. Furthermore, several men who have same-sex attractions have sexual addiction traits. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying we’re sex addicts. But I am saying there tends to be varying degrees or levels of intensity depending on the person. Like SSA, the issues of pornography, masturbation and sexual addiction are complex. We can’t process through them alone or in isolation. My goal in this post is to get us thinking (and hopefully moving) along toward healing and redemptive actions.

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(1) Thoughts & Considerations

  • The often-cited sin of Onan (Genesis 38:6 – 11) was not masturbation. He withdrew from Tamar and ejaculated on the ground. He was disobeying a specific Biblical law.
  • For children and adolescents, masturbation is a part of self-exploration and self-discovery. Even though many male teenagers and adults usually resort to masturbation to relieve sexual tension, the behavior becomes even more problematic if one depends on it to deal with insecurity, broken relationships, the lack of fulfilling relationships, psychological pain and loneliness. (See ‘Masturbation Inventory’ below.)
  • Struggles with sexual sin and brokenness often start when we are teenagers (and times even younger). The younger a man was when he was first exposed to sexuality, the deeper the wounds and the tighter the cords that bind him.
  • Take another look at Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:27, 28. We know that looking at someone lustfully encourages the creation of sexual images in the mind and causes sexual arousal. The sexual fantasy (or stimulation) leads to intent and one usually acts out sexually – either with another person or through masturbation. And even if a tiny percentage of masturbation does not involve sexual fantasy or pornography, the vast majority does. It is a form of idolatry. The words of Christ are centered on lust and the attitude of our hearts.
  • As a Christians, we do not have the freedom to use our bodies anyway we want (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 – 8).
  • Masturbation usually progresses from a habit into a compulsion. Habitual masturbation consistently creates distance and separation from God. Sin is always progressive (Isaiah 30:1; Romans 1:18 – 32; 1 Corinthians 6:12). A person’s emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual growth (health) will be hindered. It is God’s will that Christians should not be enslaved to destructive habits.
  • Masturbation does not fulfill the God ordained martial functions of sexuality: procreation and mutual pleasure/satisfaction/edification (Genesis 1:28; 2:23, 24; 1 Corinthians 7:1 – 7; Ephesians 5:22 – 33).
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(2) Masturbation Inventory

Do you use jerking off as a way to avoid real issues? Dr. James Phelan’s inventory can help us monitor our behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Answer each question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

  1. Is masturbation a stress release?
  2. Am I trying to avoid or medicate a feeling?
  3. Am I responding to someone I saw, or an image or thought?
  4. Will I want to keep this behavior a secret?
  5. Is this a legitimate way of relating to others?
  6. Am I confused about what I really want?
  7. Would sex in a committed monogamous relationship be better than this?
  8. Do I have to masturbate when I am horny?
  9. Will I feel guilt or badly afterwards?
  10. Am I afraid my closest friends would not understand this?

If you have more ‘yes’ answers than ‘no’ answers, I would suggest that you talk to someone and develop an action plan. I came up with a partial list that we can consider (see below).

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(3) Pornography Use Self-Assessment

Do you have a problem with Internet porn?

These questions highlight some things to watch out for that may be signs of a pornography problem.

  1. Are you spending less time with friends and family?
  2. Are you lying to friends and family about your online behavior?
  3. Have you given up on what would appear to be healthy relationships with others?
  4. Do you engage in random sexual relationships?
  5. Do you get behind on schoolwork, fail to meet the requirements of a job and/or have you reduced your involvement in other activities?
  6. Do you find yourself becoming depressed or anxious due to shame about your use of pornography?
  7. Have you experienced increased emotional isolation, secrecy and lowered self-esteem?
  8. Do you often spend excessive amounts of time online?
  9. Do you lock the door or shield your computer from others while online?
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(4) Overcoming sexual compulsive behavior is difficult but not impossible.

The suggestions below are primarily for guys (of any age) who can understand (or at least appreciate) one or both of the following. . .

  1. the seriousness of porn addiction and sex addiction
  2. the importance of the stewardship of our sexuality from a Christian perspective
  • Make the decision that you will not wallow in self-pity, guilt and shame. These negative thought patterns are counterproductive and ultimately adds fuel to the fire. Take specific actions to understand and reframe your thoughts about yourself.
  • Repent, confess and acknowledge the problem to yourself and God. Maintain your prayer and devotional life.
  • Make consistent, firm and strong decisions that live up to God’s standards.
  • Maintain active and ongoing relationships with positive and gracious Christians.
  • Do what is necessary to avoid being entrapped by temptation and sin (Matthew 5:29, 30 and Hebrews 12:1, 2). Acknowledge and avoid tempting circumstances that lead you to lust and sexual fantasy.
  • Identify how your emotions, your behavior, your relationships and various media affect your sex drive.
  • Take steps to starve the flesh and to feed the Spirit (Romans 8:5 – 8; Galatians 6:7, 8). We are always sowing seeds and a harvest is always coming in.
  • Share you life with others. We need to replace the time, money and energy spent on sexual gratification on healthier and more constructive activities. Replace negative influences with positive ones. Become involved in new interests; strengthen old relationships and develop new ones.
  • Consider having an emotionally and spiritually mature Christian (male) friend (or a small group of male friends) consistently encourage you, pray for you (and with you), challenge you, and walk with you through this process. (Acts 20:35; Romans 15:1 – 3; 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4; Galatians 6:1 – 5, 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 3:13; James 5:13 – 16). If you choose this route, your accountability partner or group must be spiritually mature, emotionally mature and stable, responsible, trustworthy and able to keep confidences.
  • Investigate the assistance of licensed, professional and competent counselors, programs and ministries that specialize in this area. To get started, I would recommend the Sexual Recovery Institute, a well-known treatment center in Los Angeles, California that offers online self-assessment resources and referral information: www.sexualrecovery.com
  • For your added convenience, I have included the link for the Sexual Recovery Institute’s blog in the left column of this blog. Check out these two articles from their website:

For Gay Men With Sex Addiction

Gay Men and Sexual Addiction

  • Sex addiction expert and founding director of the Sexual Recovery Institute, Robert Weiss outlines several characteristics of sexual addiction and intimacy disorders (as well as treatment and recovery options) in this 4-minute video.

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Summary:

  • In your obedience to God, where is your heart?
  • What are your motivations?
  • How has SSA (and its related issues) manifested itself in your thought life and sexual behavior?
  • What role(s) has masturbation and pornography played in your homosexual attractions?
  • How are pornography and masturbation affecting your healing and recovery?

Jesus knows the pains, sorrows, fears, anxieties, longings and groans that are in your heart. While porn will smother that pain for a brief time, it cannot heal it, or strengthen you to be the man God beautifully designed you to be.

He is your designer and your healer. If you haven’t already, will you take the courageous steps to be honest about your broken-heartedness, with God and a trusted person in your life? Out of my concern for you – don’t deny God the chance to tend to your needs.

Click Here To Go To Part 3: The Truth About Pornography (Video Lesson)

Questions:

How old were you when you first realized what pornography was? How did you react to it then? And now?

How were (are) the topics of pornography or lust treated in your church (or religious community)?

Your comments regarding one or both questions are welcomed below.

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© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited (the exception is noted in the right-hand column of this page). Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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