By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling
References “A Celebration of Sex” by Dr. Douglas E. RosenauYou do not stop being attracted to good-looking people after you get married. But you do not have to beat yourself up every time someone who’s not your spouse catches your eye. It’s not your feelings, but your actions based on those feelings that proves your commitment to the integrity of your marriage.
God gave humans imaginations. However, sin has crept in and turned God’s gifts against us, causing us to use them for evil instead of good. Spouses find themselves daydreaming about sexually degrading or dominating their spouse, or replacing their spouse with someone else. Part of nurturing a healthy relationship is nurturing healthy sexual imaginings. This may seem to contradict a lot of what Christians have been taught. Isn’t thinking about sex lust? Isn’t lust bad?
Not when it’s about your spouse.
You are allowed to have sex with your spouse, right? Then why shouldn’t you be allowed to think about it? It’s no more wrong than thinking about mowing the yard or grocery shopping.
It becomes sinful when your fantasies somehow harm or disrespect your spouse. Or, when your fantasies recast your spouse with someone else. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-14 NKJV) So, to help you beware of letting sin gain a foothold through otherwise harmless pastimes, here are some tips for avoiding sexual sin.
How to Avoid Sexual Temptation and Relationship Problems
• “Keep your gaze moving rather than lingering.” (79)
There is nothing wrong with thinking other adults are attractive. When you find yourself attracted to someone else, you re just doing what comes naturally. However, it becomes a sin when it draws you away from your spouse.
Avoid checking out people you are not married to. It’s one thing to see someone and notice their appearance, it’s entirely another thing to look them up and down, lingering over the parts you like best. Rosenau suggests sticking to a “one-second” rule.
• Beware of media that glorify ungodly principles
Sexual messages are everywhere. But so are ads for alcohol, that doesn’t mean you do a shot every time you see a beer commercial. Stay away from books, movies, or TV shows that encourage sinful relationships such as adultery or casual encounters. Media often neglect to give equal screen time to the heartache illicit liaisons leave behind.
• Do not fantasize about anyone other than your spouse
This is like asking a woman if she’s pregnant. Don’t ever do it. I do not care if she is giving birth in front of you. Do not. You should cling to this rule even more when it comes to people you have access to. Do not fantasize about people you know who are not your spouse. As James 1 pointed out earlier, sin starts in the mind long before your hands carry it out. The more time you spend imagining sexual relations with people other than your spouse, the easier it will be to justify cheating on them. Avoid heading down this road.
• Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative
Don’t get lost in dreams your partner cannot fulfill. “Continued fantasies about women with big breasts, or men with muscular shoulders, are stupid if your partner is small. The same can be said about not taking the energy to allow your mate to be erotically attractive to you and fantasizing that you are making love to someone else.” (79)
Instead of miring down in dissatisfaction over all the characteristics you would change about your partner, daydream about their qualities that turn you on. And not just the physical charms, do they have a great sense of humor? Did you marry them for their brilliant mind?
• Same old gets old
You wring a sponge enough, it’ll dry out. Fantasies are the same way. Daydream new sensual experiences for you and your partner to add to your repertoire. Rosenau offers the following exercises:
1. Write down/describe aloud a sexual fantasy. What would you do? What would your partner do? Where? When? Why does this turn you on?
2. Share them with one another. Each taking a turn while the other listens without interrupting.
3. Choose a few aspects of your partner’s fantasy that strike your fancy and add to them based on your own fantasies. Take a minute to laugh and share why you both might enjoy this.
4. Are there any elements to your mate’s fantasy that don’t make sense to you or you wouldn’t enjoy? Tell them why. Be honest, but loving, as you explain your feelings.
5. Make a list of all the fantasies that sound like fun for both of you. Next, plan a time to implement at least one of them. How will you carry it out? What might get in the way?
How Christian Counseling Can Help Your Sex Life
Working out the kinks in your sexual relationship can be difficult. You and your spouse may struggle to talk about what you like or do not like. It is so easy to hurt one another’s feelings talking about such a touchy subject that is can lead to problems in your relationship. Make an appointment with a professional Christian counselor. A counselor is prepared to help you both say what’s on your mind and soothe any ruffled feathers. Their biblical and clinical approach will help you distill Godly principles from mainstream culture’s teachings about sex.
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