I recently read a brilliant article on the negative effects that masturbation has within marriage. Thank you to Marriage Today and Dave Willis for providing such truthful insight for married folks AND single folks. Great read!!!
In marriage, sex and honesty are like two wings on the same bird. You need both for your marriage to soar.
My wife Ashley and I recently wrote a book called The Naked Marriage which is designed to spark some very honest and intimate conversations between a husband and wife that can help them improve their sex life and all other aspects of their marriage too. We’ve found that one issue in marriage that needs greater honesty and clarity in marriage is the issue of MASTURBATION. Is it helpful? Is it wrong? Is it harmless? I believe these questions about masturbation are more important than many people realize.
As an important clarification, when I say “masturbation,” for the purposes of this article, I’m NOT referring to the self-stimulation or sexual play that happens during foreplay or intercourse with your spouse. Those can be just a fun part of sex between a husband and wife. When I’m referring to masturbation, I’m talking specifically about someone pleasuring himself or herself to the point of climax when NOT in the presence of his or her spouse.
Here are three reasons you may have never considered why masturbation can negatively impact your marriage…
1. It can negatively impact the sexual intimacy, performance and pleasure with your spouse.
We receive a lot of emails and messages from frustrated wives whose husbands have lost their drive for sex because they’re “taking care of it all on their own.” Men, when you choose to masturbate, you may be gaining momentary pleasure, but it’s happening at the expense of your wife’s needs and desires and you’re also missing out! This doesn’t impact men’s masturbation only. Ladies, a recent article in Women’s Health Magazine pointed out that some women are experiencing what they call “Dead Vagina” which is a numbness in the genitals caused from excessive manual stimulation (mostly from vibrators). This is making intercourse with their husbands much less enjoyable and much less frequent. Never let the substitute sabotage the real thing!
In this episode of Pure Gold, Frank talks about three steps you need to be taking along your journey to discover the reason for your sexually compulsive behavior. Discovering the “why” behind addiction is so important for long-lasting healing & success in recovery.
“Healing takes more than time. It takes intentionality. It takes the humility and courage to call what hurts by its name and the resolve to do the work that freedom demands.”
Recently, near the end of the men’s group that I lead, I was getting ready to pray for all the guys in our group. Every man in the group has an incredibly unique story, and so when the time comes for us to pray together in our meetings, I always find these to be powerful moments for God to move within our hearts.
On this particular night, I felt like a specific word was given to me for all of us to embrace: Investigation.
In the journey towards freedom and healing from our unwanted sexual behaviors, I have found that we go through different phases of restoration: Confessing the destructive choices we’ve made, receiving forgiveness from those we have betrayed, and discovering a safe, healthy community we can belong to. These are all critical and necessary steps we must take in order to heal.
And yet, as important as these steps are, I’ve found only one thing to be the glue that holds all of these other things together: Investigating the heart. Discovering “WHY” we medicate our pain is perhaps the greatest step we can take to finding long lasting healing.
How do we discover the “why” behind our addictions and other compulsive behaviors? For this, we have to go back to the word mentioned earlier: Investigation. How does an actual investigation begin? After some kind of crime has been committed, the goal of law enforcement & other investigators is to discover how the crime occurred in the first place. Evidence must be gathered, witnesses must be interviewed, & ultimately, the person who committed the crime must be found and taken in.
Please understand, I’m not suggesting that you try and police your hearts looking for any and every potential cause to the struggles you face. A person could go crazy trying to figure this out. What I am suggesting is that virtually 100% of the time there is a link between pain and addiction. Behind every addiction is a source of pain, abuse, or trauma of which an individual tries to medicate. This is where the journey begins: Venturing into the unknown places of the heart with a flashlight and looking for the places that have been damaged by the actions of others or ourselves.
Sometimes, the cause of the hurt is from an abuse that took place when you were a child. Sometimes, the manipulation of our minds & hearts started when porn was accidentally discovered in our own home. Or it could even be as elusive as a lie or agreement we make about ourselves that works its way into our thinking.
Wherever the source of our pain stems from, we’re the ones responsible to do the real soul work that is necessary in recovery. Where do we begin?
Launch the Investigation — One of the most difficult decisions a person will ever make in recovery is doing the heart surgery required for healing. And while this isn’t easy to do, you don’t have to do it alone. Having a counselor come alongside of you who is certified in sexual addiction therapy is a great start. They can ask the right questions and aid you in tracing the potential sources of any unwanted behavior. Oftentimes, they will help you look at your past and your present.
Discover the Evidence — In virtually every crime scene there is evidence that needs to be discovered by investigators with the goal of leading them to the person responsible. The same is true for our lives in recovery. We have to comb through the places of pain, trauma, or abuse to find what things could have contributed to our addiction. Being involved in community helps this process significantly. And you don’t even have to go far to find it! Small Groups Online offers specific groups that you can become apart of to help you meet others who are walking through the same struggles that you are.
Identify the Suspects — Our ultimate goal is to find where the source of our unwanted sexual behaviors lie. You might think that the the person who binges on porn every night has a porn problem. The reality is that they have a pain problem. And discovering the culprits hiding behind that pain is crucial. Counselors, support groups and many other resources available to you today can help you discover what’s really going on in your life.
I love the words of Psalm 139:23-24, which says “’God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways— the path that brings me back to you.’”
Remember that the recovery journey is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take a combination of time and intentionality on your part to find the freedom you so desperately long for. But rest assured, YOU CAN DO IT. Never give up on becoming the best version of yourself.
If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.
As sort of a follow-up to last week’s podcast (How’s Your Heart?), I wanted to post two incredible videos from John & Stasi Eldredge of Ransomed Heart. I really love this couple and the amazing insights they share here about the importance of guarding your heart!
Has someone talked to you about the importance of community recently?
How about the value of vulnerability?
I bet you’ve seen content on both subjects at least once in the last six months.
Interestingly enough – science has shown the percentage of people in this world without ANY confidants (not even one) has doubled in the last 20 years. Somehow, loneliness is on the rise.
I talk to men regularly who struggle with pornography.
Each of their stories is unique, but one thing remains the same.
The man has felt or currently feels lonely without fail.
Then I ask… what have you done about it?
The answer usually includes one of the following:
-They told a trusted leader and never followed up with them
-No one in their friend circle can be trusted with the details of their struggle
-Tried an accountability partner system and it’s not working
All of these experiences can cause a lot of frustration, but I have a particular bone to pick about the accountability partner system that is so commonly preached.
Almost every guy I talk to that is looking to get free of porn has tried a form of accountability at some point.
Here are some examples:
A client of mine attended a workshop on freedom from lust and sexual sin. In the end, he was matched up with a stranger to be his accountability partner. They texted back and forth for about three weeks and haven’t communicated since.
A university student asked a respected leader in his community to be his accountability partner. The arrangement? He would text him after he watched porn and ask for prayer. The leader would write back, “praying for you!” This lasted for about three months.
A friend created a penalty system. Every time he looked at porn, he had to give a $500 donation to a charitable organization!
The upsetting part is that accountability is a good thing! When it’s done properly, it can be so helpful. But most of the systems out there are so lackluster that they usually make the problem much worse.
Here are a few common mistakes that I see a lot of men making when it comes to accountability.