Perspectives from a Christian CounselorIf you’re honest with yourself, how often do you have sexual fantasies? Of those times, how many of them are followed by feelings of guilt?
As a being created in the image of God, you have the ability to think creatively. However, the effects of sin have tarnished God’s gift, leading us to use our imaginations for evil rather than good. Part of growing a healthy marriage is to nurture healthy sexual imaginings.
This may seem to go against what many Christians have been led to believe. Isn’t it lust to be dwelling on sexual thoughts? And isn’t lust a sin?
Not when you’re thinking sexual thoughts about your own spouse.
You are allowed to have sex with your spouse, right? Then why shouldn’t you be allowed to think about it?
The thoughts only become sinful when your sexual fantasies somehow harm or disrespect your spouse, or when your fantasies are about someone other than your husband or wife.
According to the book of James, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” – (James 1:14-14 NKJV)
To keep sin from gaining a foothold in your life, here are some tips for avoiding sexual temptation:
How to Avoid Sexual Temptation and Relationship Problems Don’t let your gaze linger.
In his book, Celebration of Sex, Dr. Douglas Rosenau writes, “Keep your gaze moving rather than lingering.” As a married person, it’s not wrong to think that other adults are attractive. However, the attraction becomes a sin when it draws your thoughts away from your spouse.
Seeing someone and noticing their appearance is one thing; locking your eyes on them and soaking in the sight is another matter. Rosenau suggests sticking to a “one-second” rule.
Avoid movies, television shows, books, and music that promote ungodly behavior.
Sexual messages are everywhere – but so are ads for alcohol, and that doesn’t mean you do a shot every time you see a beer commercial. Stay away from books, movies, TV shows, or music that encourage sinful relationships such as adultery or casual encounters. These sources rarely reflect the intense heartache that follows after such choices.
Do not fantasize about anyone other than your spouse.
Don’t ever let your mind wander into fantasies about someone other than your spouse. Just don’t do it, whether you know the person or not. As James 1 pointed out earlier, sin starts in the mind long before your body carries out any action. The more time you spend imagining sexual relations with people other than your spouse, the easier it will be to justify cheating on them. Steer clear of this dangerous road.
Focus on the positive and attainable.
Don’t get lost in dreams your partner cannot fulfill. As Dr. Rosenau explains, “Continued fantasies about women with big breasts, or men with muscular shoulders, are stupid if your partner is small. The same can be said about not taking the energy to allow your mate to be erotically attractive to you and fantasizing that you are making love to someone else.”
Instead of dwelling on all the characteristics you wish were different about your partner, let your mind wander to the qualities you find attractive. What first drew you to your spouse? Was it their sense of humor? Their brilliant mind? Tell them what you love about them and see where it leads.
Add to your repertoire.
In his book, Dr. Rosenau offers the following exercises to stimulate your mind toward fresh and exciting sexual experiences with your spouse:
- Write down/describe aloud a sexual fantasy. What would you do? What would your partner do? Where? When? Why does this turn you on?
- Share them with one another, each taking a turn while the other partner listens without interrupting.
- Build on your partner’s fantasy with your own embellishments. Go ahead and laugh together, then share why you both might enjoy this idea.
- Are there any elements to your spouse’s fantasy that don’t make sense to you or that you don’t think you would enjoy? Explain why. Be honest, but loving, as you discuss your feelings.
- Make a list of all the fantasies that sound like fun for both of you. Next, plan a time to implement at least one of them.
How Christian Couples Counseling Can Help Your Sex Life
Maintaining and strengthening your sexual relationship can be difficult. It may feel awkward to talk about what you like and don’t like in the bedroom. Meeting with a neutral professional may help to make the communication process more smooth. Try making an appointment with a professional Christian counselor in Spokane. Their biblical and clinical approach will help you establish biblical principles about sex within the context of your marriage.
“A Celebration of Sex” by Dr. Douglas E. Rosenau
All photos courtesy of Unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain Licenses
“In My Dreams,” courtesy of Yoann Boyer; “Remember When,” courtesy of Josh Felise; “My Fantasy,” courtesy of Azrul Aziz