Stay Away from the Edgeby Mark Gungor
In a previous post I talked about the Damage of Sexual Promiscuity—more specifically, the “imprinting” that happens during a person’s initial sexual experiences.
People have read the article or have heard me talk about his and contact me after they realize they have been improperly “imprinted” on—especially through lust-filled, elicit sex and the use of pornography and masturbation—and they want to know if and how it can be reversed or erased. They wonder if it’s possible to go back to a clean slate–kind of like the old Etch-a-Sketch toy where you could turn the knobs and a little line would appear on the screen so you could draw pictures. Then when you wanted to start over, you just tipped the thing upside down and shook it to make all the lines disappear—all was erased and you would have the blank screen again. They ask if it’s possible to get back to the blank screen when it comes to sex.
This was the case with a young man I recently heard from through my radio show. He was one of those people, like so many, that had been affected by his early exploits with lust-filled sex. Since then he had gone on to be a born-again believer, who loves God and is doing all he can to live for Jesus. He wrote to me explaining that he and his wonderful wife of ten years were having some issues. He was still struggling with the desires and “pictures” in his head after all this time and wanted to recreate those things of the past to make their sex life more interesting. That is the power of sexual imprinting.
His wife did not have those types of early experiences, was much more conservative in her approach to sex, and uncomfortable with what her husband wanted. He didn’t force her into anything, but felt the pull to go back and relive those things that were so very exciting in his past. There was frustration and tension between them because of this and he wanted to know how to fix it. This young man—as many people wonder—wanted to know “how far” he could go and still have it be “ok”. Where was the line on what constituted lust? My advice to people who are struggling with this is to stay as far away from the line as you can. Be very deliberate to avoid anything of the lust-filled nature and aim to be as conservative as possible. You won’t get free if you just “cut back” or keep “toeing the line”; you need to stop it all together to break this.
It reminds me about a story of a wealthy man back in the horse and buggy days who was looking to hire a carriage driver. There were three candidates and he asked all three of them the same question: How close to the edge of the cliff can you drive and not go over the edge? The first guy said he could get within two inches and not lose the carriage. The second guy said he could get within a half inch. But the third man wisely said, “I stay as far away from the edge as possible.” He’s the one who got the job and was thinking the right way. Why take the risk? Why push the boundaries? Why do something if it makes the passenger nervous and uncomfortable just so you can have the thrill?!
It’s not about how much you can “get away with”. You need to steer clear, learn to key off your spouse and do what she likes. You must not make it about all the things that are a part of pornography and the promiscuity of your past, rather make it about pleasing her. Men should be lovers to women in the first place. It’s not about what she does to you. Pornography has turned men into selfish pigs who have lost the art of making love to a woman. People who struggle with this can be changed through prayer and with God’s help, but they must be very deliberate. The bible tells us we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We need to change the way we think so that sex isn’t about being selfish and your spouse isn’t there just for you to be satisfied.
If you are “bored” or find that sex is a “drag”, try doing a sex fast for a week or two—maybe even a month if need be. This goes for both men and women—it’s not as common or talked about as frequently, but women can and do have the same issues with lust. Allow your desire to build during that time and concentrate on only your husband or wife. No porn, no masturbating—think only of him or her, focus on that one man or that one woman. Give them your time and attention; flirt with each other to let the sexual tension build until you can retrain yourself to respond only to your spouse without needing all the other garbage to arouse and satisfy you. It will change your life and set you free.
Know that “kind of” staying away from the lust or “cutting back” won’t do it. You need to stop it. For men and women who are Christians, nothing is more miserable than being stuck in a lustful world you know you shouldn’t be in. Dangling dangerously close to the precipice doesn’t work…be like the wise carriage driver and stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible.