The next step in healing is being able to understand a man’s sexuality, so that you can better help him to overcome his battle with sexual sin. Again, this material is taken from Every Heart Restored: A Wife’s Guide to Healing in the Wake of a Husband’s Sexual Sin, by Fred & Brenda Stoeker. All quotes are from the aforementioned book.
Men are different then women. I know that it is obvious, but when you are dealing with your emotions it is easy to gloss over this fact so that you have more ammunition for your anger and resentment. This post is not to give men permission to use their differences as excuses for sin, but as a way to understand men so that we can help them to move past this addiction in their lives.
“Men come hardwired with certain qualities that make it very tough to remain sexually pure. We don’t need a date or a mistress- our male eyes give us the ability to sin just about any time we want. All we need is a long, lingering look at a partially clothed or unclothed female body to receive a jolt of sexual pleasure.
We aren’t picky either. The jolt can come just as easily from staring at the tight sweater on the girl on the bus to work as it can from a romantic interlude with our wife. In short, we have a visual ignition switch when it comes to the female anatomy, and it takes very little to flip it on.”
Women, on the other hand, need touch and a relational connection to be stimulated in the same way.
Fred goes on to state that this “visual foreplay, without conscious discipline, is rarely confined to the marriage bed, and that’s when it becomes detestable. With abundant sensual images so close at hand, men naturally and easily engage in this visual foreplay and fall to sexual temptation- simply by being male. That’s why God gave us an unusual command when it comes to sexual sin and lust of the eyes:
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)”
“So why doesn’t marriage stop the habit? A man must train his eyes to flee. If he doesn’t, they’ll just keep doing what comes naturally. Victory wasn’t granted with your husband’s signature on the marriage license. He must fight his battle for purity, and if he doesn’t, he will have to pay the price at the same toll bridge as the rest of us did.”
“What does fleeing look like in practice? Simple: it is cutting off those sensual images that create that mental pop. While every man has the visual hardwireing, not all men choose the path of lust every time they see an attractive women. Perhaps they were protected from perverted, unhealthy views of sexuality while growing up and never began to objectify women as sex objects. Perhaps they were delivered by God’s grace, like myself.”
Fred goes on to discuss the fact that this “pop” is not in itself an act of lust, but a natural reaction because of the hardwiring of a man. So that begs the question, what are men to do with these pops? He goes on to outline 2 options:
“Does that sexual pop really matter in the battle for purity if it falls short of conscious drooling-at-the-feet lust? Should we try to eliminate it, too?” He cautions that each time a man is exposed to this “pop” he must make a decision about whether or not to lust or not. “Men can’t even envision complete victory over sexual sin because of always having to make that difficult decision about what to do with those sexual pops.” Fred goes on to say that he “had to engage the battle fully. To me it no longer mattered what it would cost me- it only mattered that I would win and win decisively. In short, I moved from the ‘How far can I go and still be considered a Christian?’ mode to the ‘How holy can I be?’ mode.”
The question should move away from “Am I lusting?” to “Is what I’m doing with my eyes costing me anything with my relationship with God and my wife?”