Posts tagged Sexuality

Best of 2012: The Sex Olympics

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Best of 2012_Sex OlympicsThis was the third most read post of 2012, and it was published during the Olympic Games. It deals with a shadier side of the Olympics which intersects with where our culture is morally.

Odds are good that at some point during the Olympics  you tuned in with over 3 billion other people to watch the Games. The Olympics are inspiring to watch, as you witness records being broken and mankind pushing physical strength and agility to their limits. The world looks on in wonder at the accomplishments made and cheers for their country with pride.

Recently, reports were given on what occurs within the Olympic village. Behind the scenes is an extreme party scene filled with debauchery. Reports say that the Olympic village will be stocked with 100,000 condoms during the course of the games. Apparently, the Olympic athletes engage in copious amounts of sex. According to world-record-holding, American swimmer Ryan Lochte, about 70-75% of Olympians engage in what I am terming, somewhat tongue in cheek, “the sex Olympics”.

Honestly, I find this disheartening. When watching the Olympics we get an image of people who have so much physical control and strength, but lack these same qualities when it comes to morality. Instead, if reports are correct, many feed their sensual appetites and show limited control.  Yet, this is becoming the norm. The sacredness of sexuality is increasingly impugned, yet at what cost?

Working with both individuals and couples, I can tell you that the emotional consequences of casual sex can be astronomical (much less the unexpected physical consequences that are so often the case). Having sexual partners previous to marriage often causes difficulties within marriages, sometimes without the couple fully knowing that this is the case.

So what does this mean for us as Christians, both single and married? It means it is our sole responsibility to promote a healthy sexuality grounded on a biblical perspective. It is up to us to hold ourselves and one another accountable to what God’s word says about sex. It means we keep our hearts and minds pure. It means we help our spouse guard their hearts along with their eyes. It means that we dress and behave in ways that will not contribute to those around us stumbling. It means that we have conversations, even if it isn’t always comfortable to do so. It means that the church must be willing to talk openly about this issue and engage our morally depraved culture.

We were created as sexual beings, but our sexuality was meant to be maintained within a proper context. Just as Olympians exhibit focus and self control when it comes to athletics, so also can we maintain a proper focus and self control in matters of sexuality and lust. It is up to the Christians to redeem sexuality and keep it sacred. Are we doing that? Are we keeping our minds pure? Are we meeting our spouse’s needs and keeping open lines of communication about sexual struggles? Are we holding one another accountable? Are we speaking truth even when it is uncomfortable?

“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. There is (not) anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. . . (but) you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” – C.S. Lewis

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

The Sex Olympics

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Odds are good that at some point this weekend you tuned in with over 3 billion other people to watch the Olympic Games. The Olympics are inspiring to watch, as you witness records being broken and mankind pushing physical strength and agility to their limits. The world looks on in wonder at the accomplishments made and cheers for their country with pride.

Recently, reports were given on what occurs within the Olympic village. Behind the scenes is a extreme party scene filled with debauchery. Reports say that the Olympic village will be stocked with 100,000 condoms during the course of the games. Apparently, the Olympic athletes engage in copious amounts of sex. According to world-record-holding, American swimmer Ryan Lochte, about 70-75% of Olympians engage in what I am terming, somewhat tongue in cheek, “the sex Olympics”.

Honestly, I find this disheartening. When watching the Olympics we get an image of people who have so much physical control and strength, but lack these same qualities when it comes to morality. Instead, if reports are correct, many feed their sensual appetites and show limited control.  Yet, this is becoming the norm. The sacredness of sexuality is increasingly impugned, yet at what cost?

Working with both individuals and couples, I can tell you that the emotional consequences of casual sex can be astronomical (much less the unexpected physical consequences that are so often the case). Having sexual partners previous to marriage often causes difficulties within marriages, sometimes without the couple fully knowing that this is the case.

So what does this mean for us as Christians, both single and married? It means it is our sole responsibility to promote a healthy sexuality grounded on a biblical perspective. It is up to us to hold ourselves and one another accountable to what God’s word says about sex. It means we keep our hearts and minds pure. It means we help our spouse guard their hearts along with their eyes. It means that we dress and behave in ways that will not contribute to those around us stumbling. It means that we have conversations, even if it isn’t always comfortable to do so. It means that the church must be willing to talk openly about this issue and engage our morally depraved culture.

We were created as sexual beings, but our sexuality was meant to be maintained within a proper context. Just as Olympians exhibit focus and self control when it comes to athletics, so also can we maintain a proper focus and self control in matters of sexuality and lust. It is up to the Christians to redeem sexuality and keep it sacred. Are we doing that? Are we keeping our minds pure? Are we meeting our spouse’s needs and keeping open lines of communication about sexual struggles? Are we holding one another accountable? Are we speaking truth even when it is uncomfortable?

“The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. There is (not) anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. . . (but) you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.” – C.S. Lewis

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Marriage Monday: Dirty Little Secret.

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“You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act-that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theater by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?” – C.S. Lewis

To say that the appetite for sex is indulgent within our culture would be a gross understatement. The distortion of sexuality could rightly be labeled a pandemic. Being a pastor and counselor, I have worked extensively with people and families who have felt the destruction that comes from viewing pornography. It ruins marriages, distorts minds, contributes to abuse, disrupts families, leads to premature sexualization in children, and causes spiritual fragmentation. I cannot exaggerate the danger of viewing pornography. It is something that must be addressed in marriages (and families) across America.

First, some statistics:
-1 in 3 porn viewers are women
-70% of men, aged 18-24, visit porn sites in a month
-12% of websites on the internet are pornographic
-Nearly 25 million pornographic sites are in existence
-Every second, over $3,000 is spent on internet pornography
-Over 28,000 internet users are viewing porn every second
-40 million Americans are regular users of porn sites
-25% of all search engine requests are pornography related
-68 million searches are conducted a day that are pornography related
-35% of all internet downloads are pornographic
-There are 116,000 searches for child pornography daily
-The average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11
-Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.

Sexuality is sacred, but it has been distorted, defamed, and massacred. I believe it is tempting to think that surely, these numbers can’t be representative of a Christian population, but research shows that at least half of men sitting in the pews of churches struggle with the use of pornography. No one is immune. Everyone is capable of having their sexual appetite fed with the poison of pornography. From my experience, I would suppose the percentages of Christians consuming pornographic material to be much higher than 50%. It is such a habit plagued by guilt and shame, which individuals do not want to readily admit that they struggle in this area. It is also an area that isn’t dealt with as often in church.

Though we might not want to think that we or our spouse could struggle with pornography, this issue must be dealt with in marriages (and families). There must be open dialogue about this topic.  Have you discussed the potential problem of pornography with your spouse? Are you taking safeguards in this area? Need I remind you that 7 out of 10 men and 3 out of 10 women struggle with pornography? Should I point out again that 50% of Christian men struggle with pornography (although I argue this
statistic is much higher)?

Let’s not live in denial. We must not be passive. Let’s chop off the snakes head before it continues to grow and devour. Pornography is a difficult addiction. It thrives in secret. Sexually explicit material is readily available. One need not even leave their home. It meets a physical drive that is powerful. It forms a behavioral ritual that is commanding. It releases chemicals in the brain that also feed into the addiction cycle. Pornography is a savage beast that is indifferent to the plight of your marriage and is extremely difficult to escape from, but it can be done.

Are you struggling with pornography? Do not think that you can beat this alone. There is no way around asking for help. First things first, tell someone else. Get some information about sexual addiction. Have several people hold you accountable. Remove any source that can feed your addiction. Participate in marriage counseling and get to the root of the problem. It will not go away without drastic intervention.

Have you and your spouse had a discussion about pornography? My wife and I are not so naïve as to think it could never develop into a problem in our marriage, so we take proactive steps. Internet history is always there for the viewing. We have one another’s passwords to every account. I do not flip through channels haphazardly at night. We have an open relationship that I could go to my wife if I ever felt temptation in this area. I have also pledged to my wife that I will tell her should I ever view pornography. We guard one another’s hearts and eyes. Devon doesn’t watch anything on television that could lead to lust.

Our marriages are too valuable and sexuality too sacred to be destroyed by this vicious beast. As long as it remains a “dirty little secret”, it will continue to thrive. If left untreated, it will be your ultimate undoing. Choose to sin, choose to suffer. Let’s keep the lines of communication open about this topic with our spouse.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Best of 2011 – Number 5

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Since it is the last week of the year, we are counting down the most viewed blog posts of 2011, beginning with the fifth most popular post.This was part of the Facebook Friday series entitled “Have Your Private Parts Become Your Public Parts.”

How recognizable is this picture? The “ever so casual, hold my camera from above, and lean over a bit, exposing my cleavage, but not focusing exclusively on said cleavage, so people will find me attractive, but not overly trashy” shot. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a picture like this on Facebook I could afford to have my own Island built somewhere in the South Pacific and stocked with a never ending supply of pastries (bear claw anyone?) and Diet Coke.

We get it. You have breasticas. Just like the other 3.5 billion women in the world. Just because you have them does not mean everyone wants to see them. I wish we could all understand the chasm that divides love and lust is vast. Ladies, you do not have to show skin to get attention. Guys, our lustful lust is crippling our ability to truly love and have a true connectedness with women. I work with so many men all the time having to untangle problems in their relationships because they never figured out how to love. They only learned how to lust. Lust promises something big and under-delivers in a colossal way.

I wish I could say it is only adolescents (with their crazy out of control hormones) that post pictures that devalue themselves. I wish it was only the teenage guys that have a lust problem. Truth is, this post applies to people of all ages. But surely Christians don’t struggle in this area? I wish that were the case. Brothers and sisters, lets get this whole love/lust thing figured out because it is killing our capacity to truly loved and be loved.

Speaking as a guy and a counselor, I know so many men that desperately struggle to keep their hearts pure. I can’t count the guys I have talked to who deleted their Facebook account because women (yes even Christian women) were posting pictures of themselves that made it easier to lust. Sure, when a man lusts it is his choice and his problem. I get that. But please don’t make it easier. My wife knows not to bring cheesecake home if I am trying to watch what I eat. It is my choice if I eat it, but that would be setting me up for failure.

Guys, what if we gave women the respect they deserve? What if we related to them as sisters. What if we worked to keep our eyes straight, our minds clear, and our hearts pure. What if we served women instead of serving ourselves?

I realize women lust too (as a matter of fact 17% of women struggle with a pornography addiction) but again, I am speaking as a guy. So ladies, please keep your private parts just that, private. Guys, don’t let your eyes linger. Maybe if we fixed this love/lust problem our lives would be different. Our relationships stronger. Our walk with God closer. Our ability to truly love intact.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. – Ephesians 5:3

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.
Josh

Disclaimer: I felt dirty posting this picture.

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