Lust, Pornography and Masturbation (Part 3 of 3)

I am writing this series of posts to and from a male’s perspective.

Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.

Note For Parents and Teachers:

I urge you to review this material to assess its appropriateness for your child (children). Remember to be age appropriate and open the lines of communication early. Consider the cultural, ideological, educational and technological trends (influences). If you think your child is too young to be exposed to these and other topic surrounding sexuality (and gender identity), you maybe the only one.

Review of Parts 1 and 2

In part one of this series, we briefly considered the distinction between (1) temptation & sin and (2) sexual desire & lust. We also considered six attitudes and behaviors we need to start developing if we want to become more healthy, godly and authentic in our sexuality as men. We closed out the lesson (post) by asking ourselves to identify triggers (that spark sexual lust and temptation) and to create preventative strategies and action plans for the purposes of combat and discipline.

In part two of this series, we acknowledged a very unfortunate reality – even though sexual ethics and morality was one of the major issues the early church had to address, many modern Christians (and churches) are very reluctant to engage these issues (among ourselves and within the larger culture). As evidenced by their extensive teachings recorded in the New Testament, the apostles and early Christians certainly did not shy away from the subject.

We also looked at some Biblical/Christian principles that help us to define and put into perspective the nature of masturbation (and its ill-effects). In this post, we will offer some suggestions on how to overcome compulsive sexual behavior.

Masturbation Inventory

Do you use masturbation 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”.

  • Is masturbation a stress release?
  • Am I trying to avoid or medicate a feeling?
  • Am I responding to someone I saw, or an image or thought?
  • Will I want to keep this behavior a secret?
  • Is this a legitimate way of relating to others?
  • Am I confused about what I really want?
  • Would sex in a committed monogamous relationship be better than this?
  • Do I have to masturbate when I am horny?
  • Will I feel guilt or badly afterwards?
  • 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 of options that you can consider below.

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.

  • Are you spending less time with friends and family?
  • Are you lying to friends and family about your online behavior?
  • Have you given up on what would appear to be healthy relationships with others?
  • Do you engage in random sexual relationships?
  • Do you get behind on schoolwork, fail to meet the requirements of a job and/or have you reduced your involvement in other activities?
  • Do you find yourself becoming depressed or anxious due to shame about your use of pornography?
  • Have you experienced increased emotional isolation, secrecy and lowered self-esteem?
  • Do you often spend excessive amounts of time online?
  • Do you lock the door or shield your computer from others while online?

Overcoming sexual compulsive behavior (or sex addiction) is difficult but not impossible.

(1) Don’t wallow in self-pity, guilt and shame. This counterproductive and ultimately adds fuel to the fire.

(2) Repent, confess and acknowledge the problem to yourself and God. Maintain your prayer and devotional life.

(3) Make consistent, firm and strong decisions that live up to God’s standards.

(4) Maintain active and ongoing relationships with fellow Christians.

(5) 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.

(6) Identify how your emotions, your behavior, your relationships and various media affect your sex drive.

(7) 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.

(8) Share you life with others. We need to replace the time, money and energy spent on sexual gratification on healthier and more constructive activities. Become involved in new interests, strengthen old relationships and develop new ones.

(9) 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; II Corinthians 1:3, 4; Galatians 6:1 – 5, I Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 3:13; James 5:13 – 16). If you choose this route, your accountability partner or group must be spiritually mature, emotional mature and stable, responsible, trustworthy and able to keep confidences.

(10) If you haven’t read Parts 1 and 2 of this series, check out the additional suggestions there. You can read/view these posts by clicking the links at the bottom of this page or clicking the “Sex” category in the right column of this blog.

(11) 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.

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.

Closing Thoughts:

In your obedience to God, where is your heart? What is your motivation? 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.

Note: If your concerns are homosexual attractions (feelings), I have included a modified version of this series on my other blog. You can access it by CLICKING HERE.

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