SIDEBAR: When Sexual Sin Isn't Sexual

by Fred Stoeker

A handshake was never enough for Justin, as he’d just grab your hand and pull you in for a big hug. Warm and engaging, Justin wasn’t a mere Christ-follower. He was a passionate lover of Christ.

That’s why his phone call took me by surprise.

“I’m having some issues. Can you meet me at Starbucks next Tuesday?”

Since Every Man’s Battle came out, “having some issues” usually meant “struggling with sexual sin.”

Justin had been porn-free for years. His wife was crazy in love with him, both inside and outside the bedroom. What could be the problem?

“I don’t believe it!” he began at Starbucks that day. “I’m trapped again! I step into my office at work most nights to catch up on paperwork, but now I’m slipping over to the porn sites, too. I haven’t been watching trashy stuff. Nothing’s changed. Yet here it is again. I feel like such a loser.”

“How’s your spiritual life?” I inquired.

“I’m not spending as much time in one-on-one worship with the Lord, but I love God like crazy,” he offered, perplexed.

Since that wasn’t it, I asked the only other logical question left.

“Tell me, how is your business going?”

Justin later told me this question made him furious. I’ve just poured out my heart in tears about my sin, and he’s casually asking me about business?

I knew what I was doing. I found he was practically bankrupt, as the business had taken an unexpected turn outside his control, and he only had two weeks left of cash reserve to feed his kids. Terrified, his sense of manhood was gone.

“Justin, I don’t think you have a sexual sin issue,” I said. “I think you have a financial trust issue.”

He looked like I’d just dropped a coconut on his head.

I explained that a guy’s natural language for intimacy with women is sexual. The foreplay of porn and masturbation provides a very real sense of intimacy and connection, and the orgasm brings a sense of manhood, dominance, and control, even though it is fleeting.

“That is a pretty strong draw to a frightened man who feels like a loser,” I said. “You thought this sexual sin came out of nowhere. It didn’t. It came from your lack of trust, and you are salving your fear with porn.”

The confusion was clearing.

“I’ve always given God my full trust in spiritual things, but because of my background, I’ve never trusted anyone with my finances but me. I’ve always shouldered the full responsibility alone.”

I suggested he ignore the porn symptoms, and instead focus on that lack of trust in God. I told him to turn to God in prayer and one-on-one worship whenever that fear arose, rather than click to another computer screen. Within weeks, the sexual sin was gone. That’s no surprise, because his sexual sin wasn’t sexual in the first place. Justin was simply using his sexual apparatus to medicate the pain, rather than turning to God for healing.

Fred Stoeker, Des moines, Iowa