Sex Counseling For Christian Couples

There are several idealistic ways for a Christian couple to seek sexual counseling. For the couple that feels they benefit from reading, there are many books authored by Christian doctors and writers that focus more on intellectual and spiritual content rather than visual. Many books on sexual counseling and other tips can be found at any major chain of bookstore such as Borders or Barnes and Noble but don’t always carry titles found in the more segregated Christian only stores such as Family Christian Stores. Materials can also be purchased online at shops such as Amazon.com and eBay.com.

Great books to read:

Intended for Pleasure – Written by Ed Wheat M.D. and Gaye Wheat. An easy to read reference book with many facts and statistics on sexual health and getting the most out of your sexual relationship as a Christian couple. In the third edition, Intended for Pleasure combines biblical teaching on love and marriage with the latest medical information on sex and sexuality.
Sacred Sex – Written by Tim Alan Gardner and Scott M. Stanley. Is a great balance of scriptural truth, challenge to change, practical wisdom, reverence of the Marriage Bed, and God-honoring fun. Christian couples should buy it and read it together to celebrate oneness the way God intended.

Another great way to receive sexual counseling is to speak with a medical professional, face to face. This allows a doctor who has studied both Scripture and sexuality to gear key points directly aimed at a couple’s concerns. You can find a therapist, psychologist, or another form of medical doctor at counseling centers. Many of the larger churches offer a list of sorts where their members can find day to day businesses and professionals that have a strong Christian affiliation. One might find a lawyer, doctor, even a psychiatrist who adheres to Scripture in their career. Search online in your city for counseling centers that are of Christian mind.

However, not all professionals have a degree. Some of the happiest Christian couples experience a healthy sexual relationship the way God intended. Sometimes talking with an older Christian couple in a mentoring environment who has gone through the same struggles as you have can do wonders. They may have had the same questions as you and were able to overcome the same obstacles. They also may be able to guide you in the direction of more in depth help if needed.

The second most important person to ask for guidance and advice is your preacher or pastor. Many spiritual leaders are often mediators to several members of their community and church. Sometimes sitting down with someone and talking things through is the best therapy and medicine.

Of course the most important person to talk to is God. Prayer can do powerful things and a couple who prays together stays together can overcome the most drastic obstacles.

Breaking the Vicious Spell of Sexual Addiction

One might have fantasized about the gorgeous women they ever laid their eyes on but if someone went ahead to conquer each and every such woman in an endless but a methodical quest then such an individual might be considered to be prone to sexual addiction. Though, it may not sound like a life threatening situation but the social and the psychological implications of this condition will make you think otherwise.

Sex addiction has a major difference than other types of addictions like alcohol or drug addiction as it involves the act of sex which is a normal activity that is performed regularly unlike consuming alcohol or drugs. However, sexual addiction is basically all about engaging in a relentless pursuit of sexual pleasure despite the knowledge of its consequence to oneself and others. It is an addiction that can permanently damage a person but just like all other addictions it too can be cured with the right treatment.

An essential key to the right treatment of sex addiction lies in understanding the key reasons behind the addiction. There can be various causes like early exposure to inappropriate sexual activity or materials or physical, sexual and emotional abuse especially during childhood or the adolescence period. Growing up in rigid and disengaged families also can contribute to the development of sexual addiction in an individual as such families tend to ignore, restrict or make the child feel inadequate and as a failure. Thus in such circumstances the child tries to escape from his family issues and resorts to sexual fantasies like masturbation or engaging in covert sex early in life to escape from the tensions.

Addiction recovery in such cases starts with helping one to stop that behavior first. All this can be done by attending these recovery oriented support meetings or to maintain a support system via a therapist or a support group with the back up of a sponsor. Also some professional doctors can offer counseling and therapy in cases of sex addiction but the role of family and friends in encouraging and supporting the individual is instrumental in faster treatment. Also, the infamous 12 step sex program for treating addictions states sexual addiction as the most difficult to master is it would involve an extremely dedicated approach to treat the addiction. However, one of the most effective ways to conquer sexual addiction is by counseling strategies like individual counseling, group counseling, counseling of the addict’s partner and couple counseling. The motive of these counseling sessions is to help not only the addict but also the partner or the spouse who faces trauma due to the addiction.

Prior to treatment a person caught in sexual addiction might perform sexual acts to feel safe, comfortable and accepted but it is one condition that separates an individual from everything in life that a person holds dear. And the only way one can break out from a situation that will destroy one’s social structure is by going through addiction recovery. While alcohol and drugs have to be bought, sex is a normal experience and this recovering from an addiction based on a routine act is difficult without help.

Male Sexual Arousal – How Lap Dances and Strip Clubs Affect Male Sexual Desire, Arousal and Behavior

A man has been lying to his wife. For months he has been secretly going out at night to exotic dance clubs, hobnobbing with strippers, and getting lap dances (which he chooses to believe are “innocent” and “harmless”). He has been enjoying his own secret little world that brings him a sense of sensual arousal and illicit overall body pleasure. He tells himself he is “not cheating.” Inevitably however, after some indefinite amount of time, his wife discovers what he has been doing. To his surprise, dismay and disappointment, his spouse is not so receptive or accepting. She is enraged, furious, hurt, devastated and maybe even feeling and behaving out of control. He may be at risk of losing everything – his marriage, his home, and his family.

At this point, the man often feels, “I’ve got to find a way to turn this around. I am attracted to my wife. I love her dearly. She’s beautiful. She’s been good to me. She takes good care of our children. I don’t want a divorce. I want to find a way to make it up to her. I thought I was being real ‘cool’ going to these clubs. I realize now how immature I was.”

Then, the question arises: Why have you been going to see strippers? Why are you paying for lap dances when you have a beautiful wife at home, who you say you love?

The answer, if the man is being honest, sometimes goes like this. “I’m attracted to my wife, but she expects me to “perform” for her or she expects me to always initiate sex. She thinks I don’t desire her because I have not been so interested in being intimate with her lately. Truth is, I’m sometimes afraid of her. She expects me to always be ready and to satisfy her. Lately, she gets angry if I fall short of her expectations – especially since she knows I have received gratification from some of these other women.”

So what is it about strip clubs, strippers and lap dances that causes some men to eagerly return for more while neglecting his readily available wife who he claims to love?

A typical male response might be: “At the dance clubs, I can relax, be myself, have a few drinks, listen to music and watch some beautiful bodies moving slowly, seducing me into a state of arousal. I might invite one of these beautiful young ladies to my table. She might smile at me, perhaps touching my arm, or whispering something seductive into my ear. She might call me honey or baby, offering to make me feel good if I want to dance with her.”

At home, when it comes to sexual desire, some men will say, “I often feel like a frightened child about to be scolded by his angry mother.” They might share that at the club they have sometimes overheard other men say: “I have to go home and do my old lady,” as if it is some chore or drudgery to get through, instead of the pleasurable experience that true intimacy can be.

What do strippers and exotic dancers do that men are craving but not receiving at home?

First, the man is totally receiving. There is nothing he has to do but be there. The woman does all the flirting and seducing. She moves her body seductively. She may gradually remove some of her clothing. She may arch her back and stick her butt out, “an acceptance position” known to trigger sexual arousal in male mammals. Some strippers will not touch the guys at all, but will come very close to touching the men’s faces with her breasts, her crotch, her butt, etc. However, most strippers will touch and do allow touching, even if they are technically not supposed to. It is all about what will make them the most money. Then there are the special “Champagne rooms.” For a very high hourly fee, a man can spend some time in a very private room with the woman of his choice. Here, she may offer additional sexual favors that she claims to only provide for “special” customers.

Second, the exotic dancer’s goal is to stimulate the man, tease him, act as if he is a master at arousing her, and to continually promise him greater and greater pleasure. She makes no demands, appears to have no expectations of him, and gives him no arguments. But there is also no real back and forth communication (except allowing him to voice his unhappiness and frustrations with his life, his marriage or whatever) and there is no love. Sometimes a man begins to feel “love” for an exotic dancer, but what he love is only the image she is presenting and the way she is pleasing him. He most probably doesn’t have a clue about who she really is.

The truth about exotic dancers is this. The girl is there to: support a habit, support her family, earn some money for a specific goal, or as a quick fix for an uneducated, unskilled woman to earn a hefty sum of money. This is a recession proof business – and it is a business, big business. Men have needs, and when times get tough, these needs are often exacerbated. Some men will seek a way to escape and feel good, even if only for a few hours.

Behind their smiles, erotic movements, and seductive words, many of these women actually feel disgust for the men. They don’t like the way these men “get off” on total strangers. They despise the men for “cheating” on their spouses and significant others.
And their only goal is to get as much money as they possibly can by keeping each man aroused and coming back for more.

The man who frequents strip clubs is getting his own narcissistic needs met for attention, arousal, stimulation and praise. He is actually depriving himself of the opportunity for true intimacy, closeness, communication and unraveling of his deepest childhood fears and insecurities. His wife suffers from that same lack of intimacy.

Sexual Addiction – Help For the Sex Addict’s Spouse – Part 5

Can the spouse of a sex addict find help individually for the effects of the sexual addiction on their lives? Sure. Much of the time, however, it is the crisis of discovery of the acting out, or some other related crisis that brings the sex addict and spouse into treatment. They usually seek services at the same time, if the spouse gets help. Unfortunately, many times only the addict is treated.

Although there are inpatient and outpatient treatment services, many sex addicts and their partners have a difficult time finding an appropriate treatment provider. Couples may seek marriage counseling and no address the sexual addiction.

Possible reasons for this are varied, but couples often come to counseling with a variety of relationship complaints that may not be immediately identifiable as sexual addiction. Addiction-related behavior or problems may be hidden intentionally or unintentionally from the therapist and the couple may not understand the connections between the sexual behavior and their other presenting problems. Additionally, many treatment providers have a general lack of knowledge about sexual addiction. Sexual addiction demands treatment.

Once sexual addiction has been correctly diagnosed, the addict’s number one goal would be abstinence from the compulsive sexual behavior(s). A first step in achieving that goal is to define “abstinence”. Although abstinence in drug addiction treatment is easily defined, that is not necessarily the case with sexual addiction. A lifetime of abstinence is not usually recommended, but treatment for sexual addiction will often involve complete sexual abstinence for a period of time (often 60-90 days), Spouses should be part of the discussions about definitions of abstinence and any expectations of abstinence within the marriage for any period of time. This is important because couples often assume that they agree on something when it has not even been discussed.

Treatment for the addict and co-addict would involve education about sexual addiction. The importance of using all recovery resources available, (i.e., sex addicts anonymous (SAA), sexaholics anonymous (SA), Co-SA (co-dependents of sex addicts), group counseling, individual and couples counseling would be discussed. Therapists would also usually make reading recommendations.

What kinds of issues would the spouse of an addict work on in counseling? Many spouses initially have the attitude that it is the addict only that has “the problem”. But when you look at the devastation in your own life that is associated with the sex addiction, you begin to see not just the benefit of counseling but the importance of it.

A line of communication begins, with assistance in learning effective, non-acting out dialogue. Couples learn fair fighting and active listening skills. This assists in a more comprehensive disclosure about the sexual compulsivity. The addict usually feels some relief about getting the secrets out into the open. But both the addict and spouse usually feel overwhelming shame. Both may feel grief. The spouse or co-addict may grieve the loss of the fantasy marriage. The addict may feel grief over the loss of the addiction. The spouse inevitably feels betrayed and very angry. Painful issues are uncovered. Couples need good communication skills in order to talk about these painful experiences and feelings. Although the couple may be talking about these issues with each other, they may still be withdrawing and isolating from other family members and friends due to shame. Self esteem takes a hit in early recovery but usually recovers during the process of recovery over time.

Couples usually need help with rebuilding, not just the trust and intimacy in their lives, but with damage to infrastructure, like finances. Some of the negative consequences of sexual addiction are loss of job, financial devastation, and an arrest or other legal consequences (i.e., sexual harassment). These are issues that require the processing of feelings, and problem solving skills. Partners need help working through the emotional damage of the acting out, with working through hurt feelings and betrayal, rebuilding trust, and recovering a willingness to risk letting down their guard with each other.

The spouse needs therapeutic attention of his/her own. Treatment goals for the co-addict would probably involve a frank discussion of feelings about the acting out, with an assessment of the damage to the spouse from that acting out. Spouses often blame themselves for the acting out, believing that if they were pretty/handsome enough, smart enough, sexual enough, etc. that their spouse would not be acting out. They may feel guilty about not seeing it earlier and/or not recognizing the problem so that it could be solved.

The spouse usually needs help with learning to let go of responsibility for the addict’s recovery, to stop inappropriate caretaking or enabling, or to stop trying to control the addict. The co-addict is assisted in empowering themselves to make decisions based on strengths rather than fear. Self-esteem is a focus of therapeutic attention.

Co-addicts often discover in the process of recovery that they had their own issues before the sexual addiction issues surfaced. Similarly, the addict usually has the beginning of their sexual addiction before the marriage. A lot of co-addicts (and addicts) uncover addictions of other family members, and unresolved family of origin trauma, like childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect. These are issues that need to be addressed and treated in order to be able to truly be intimate in relationships.

Just as the addict needs to change their core beliefs in recovery, the co-addict must change some core beliefs about themselves and their own competence in recovery. As recovery continues, and time passes, the co-addict can eventually regain the trust for their addicted spouse. This is not a short process, and the addict often gets frustrated, angry, and resentful when the spouse continues to bring up the past, and discuss and process negative feelings. Counseling helps facilitate this process with assistance in talking about it and reminding the addict that it takes the spouse this long to work through those feelings.

The spouse’s ability to regain trust for the sex addict is in part dependent upon their perception of addict’s performance in honesty, consistency, dependability, and sensitivity to the co-addict’s feelings. Identifying and working through one’s own issues, along with increase self-esteem and self-confidence, helps facilitate the recovery of trust.

Other important therapeutic work of the spouse is development of a plan for how they would deal with relapse. Through their own hard work they learn to determine for themselves what they are willing to live with and what they are not. They learn to define and declare their bottom lines and to set boundaries about relapse accordingly. They learn to reject unacceptable behavior and take care of themselves. Co-addicts can learn to trust their own opinions and reality and make decisions appropriate to being responsible for their own health, welfare, and happiness.

Treatment is not just for the addict. Even if the addict does not recover, the spouse can, if they are willing to do the work. Just divorcing the addict, usually does not solve the problem for the co-addict. Without work, the emotional baggage that you carry around from one relationship to another just keeps getting heavier.