It truly is everyman’s battle! It does not matter what a man’s persuasion is – rich or not, from the South, North, Westside or up North, married or single, black, white, Latino, Asian, African, and it certainly does not matter if he is a Christian or not – everyman is susceptible to either those passing or the long term bouts with “sexual frustration”. Yet, in the church, how a man copes with his “battle” is rarely if ever discussed. The silence or lack of real open dialogue leads to men either suffering alone in silence or adopting solutions that don’t consider Christ.
At EYM, we focus on living “Elevated” marriages and lives, where we look “up” to Christ as we live through our lives here on earth. So, let’s talk about it, how do Christian husbands (and their wives) handle a common challenge to all men with the uncommon strength and wisdom of Christ?
What is Sexual Frustration?
When I refer to sexual frustration, I am speaking of the frustration, depression or generally irritable state that anyone can find themselves in, when their sexual expectations or “needs” are not met. Although, we are talking about the fight a man goes through, women can also struggle with being sexually unfulfilled. However, it is fair to say, men seem to struggle more frequently and perhaps even more intensely in this area. Whether it has been a few weeks or years, there is a real fight that occurs when a man is not having sex as often as he believes he ought to. It is a fight that can lead to paths that put a man face to face with everything from depression to anger to forms of sexual immorality – such as infidelity and pornography.
The reasons for why a man is “challenged”, range from physical/biological reasons to emotional to relationship concerns, and in the end – regardless of cause or reasons – a man has to take a Christ centered approach to fighting this fight.
I am not a doctor or psychologist, so I am not going to get into why it is or where sexual frustration comes from, at the level of a trained professional. However, as a man for 41 years, with a pretty diverse array of male friends at different points of life, I feel comfortable in saying that sexual frustration is real, the places that a man’s mind goes are real and if not taken head on, sexual frustration can destroy a marriage as well as a man’s credibility. So here are a few things that the Christian man can do, to fight the fight of faith to their God and their wife at times of sexual frustration.
- Prayer. If it seems like to every problem prayer is somewhere in the discussion, you are correct. Prayer is the most powerful weapon that we have as Christians when facing the most powerful problems. Prayer does not make anything just go away. However, if a man starts praying and he is angry with his wife because they are not having sex enough, prayer may change his feelings, but it may not. What prayer does do, is allow us to see God in our challenges and line us up with God. Sometimes prayers are the end point of our struggle. Other times, prayer is a bridge that gets us through the struggle. And honestly, we don’t know which is which when we are in the middle of the storm. Just keep praying 1 day to 20 years – just keep praying.
- Read the Bible. Another common offering. But again, it is what God gave us to get through this life. Coming across a passage that says, Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world, on a day when the girl in the office is flirting and your wife is preoccupied with a big project at work, might just save your marriage. Knowing and having the word in time of life’s frustrations, comes from reading the word of God. Your word I have treasured in my heart,That I may not sin against You. Psalms 119:11
- Be Honest. I find that many men keep their wife in the dark – way too long. A man’s wife is to be his best friend, but not his mind reader. Tell her that you struggle with temptation, fantasies, pornography, etc…when the two of you don’t have sex frequently. It in no way moves the blame to the wife. A man is still responsible for his own actions. The point is to put it on the table, admit it, so there is an opportunity to deal with it together, side be side, not alone in dark shadows.
- Talk in terms of x+y = z. This is something that I picked up from Dr’s. Les and Leslie Parrott’s DVD, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. It basically goes like this, “When you do “x” + “y”, it makes me feel “z”. For example, when we don’t have sex on a regular basis (x), I begin to struggle with pornography (y) and it makes me feel angry or depressed (z). Again, this does not place the fault on the wife, but it is the concrete information that your wife needs to come by her husband’s side and walk with him through the problem.
- Be wise. Your temptation and depression will be at it’s highest when your frustration is also at it’s highest. Remember the old G.I. Joe cartoon character that would say, now you know and knowing is half of the battle. In the same way, knowing that when your frustrations grow and emotions toward your wife start changing, it won’t be long before a challenge is going to jump on your back like 2 tons of bricks, and knowing this is half of the battle. Godly wisdom is knowing that these are the times to become more entrenched in your relationship with Christ – read the Bible and pray more – arm yourself.
- Get surrounded with other men. Admitting that you and your wife are not having sex as often as you like, is typically not that shocking to other men (or women either), it is the sentiment of quite a few men from time to time. It does not make us, less of a man, instead the man that stops hiding behind their frustration just might find strength in other like minded, strong men of faith. Find or form an accountability group that is a place, that you can just say what the real deal is, without worry about judgement, chastisement or it being retold. Find men that you can trust, it does not have to be a formal group. But there has to be an established agreement about boundaries in place – never to be broken.
- Ask God to Deal With It. I mentioned prayer at the start. But there is a specific conversation with God that needs to be had. If we men could deal with bouts of sexual frustration on our own, we would have – long ago. Ask God to take away the urges and to provide strength to stay in line with His will for you. Sexual frustration feels like, life is out of control. But God has control over all things, even our enemies and sources of our weaknesses… check out Isaiah 54:16-17 “Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin. “ No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.
Again, sexual frustration doesn’t discriminate, it knocks on every man’s door, but a man in Christ has the armor of Christ on his side – use it. Only God can give a man strength to maintain integrity and fidelity to his spouse and God. It is a fight, so fight the good fight of faith.
How about you EYM, how do you think that a relationship with Christ empowers a man to overcome the emotional and physical challenges during times of sexual frustration?