A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sexual Addiction - What They Don't Tell Men

I've been contemplating posting this for a month or so. I came across an article on sexual addiction in the March issue of Christianity Today. In it, the author states:
A widely recognized authority, Patrick Carnes, author and executive director of the Gentle Path program at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Mississippi, estimates that 8 percent of adult men and 3 percent of adult women become sexually addicted at some point in their lives (this article will focus on the greater problem, male sexual addiction).
It doesn't surprise me that the article acknowledges a focus on "the greater problem, male sexual addiction." Do you think we will ever see an article on "the greater problem, female frigidity in marriage relations" (which violates 1 Corinthians 7:1-5)? No? And why the exclusive focus on male sex addicts, anyway? Let me just say that I suspect a lot of people have a great of deal of interest in continuing to stigmatize male sexuality while portraying women as innocent, angelic beings.

This is not to take away from the valid concerns that the article poses. Sexual addiction in men is a problem. However, after hashing out the issues, identifying the problems, sharing case studies, and pointing to solutions, I believe a fundamental truth is getting ignored. It can be best summed up in the following words which were posted at the Church for Men board:
Merely focusing on men's sexual addictions is ignoring the underlying issue. The underlying issue is that male sexuality is suppressed or exploited. Society puts forth the noxious whimp/barbarian paradigm where a man is labeled, if not expected, to take one role or the other. If he is not an outright, macho jerk, then he is expected to constantly apologize for his masculinity. Society (and especially women) cannot tolerate men being complex and not so easily pigeonholed. The nice guy is not allowed to explore his own dreams and desires without first playing the part of the macho cowboy or thug.

Another thing to note is the hypocrisy of it all. Yes, sexual sin is intolerable, but when we constantly tell men that they can't live meaningful lives without women and that men are worthless without women, then men will get their conquest one way or the other in order to "feel like a man" (whether it be one-night stands, playing pretend with beautiful women on some porn site, etc.). A man who is confident in his masculinity to the point that he doesn't need a woman to validate it is less likely to look to sex to boost his self-esteem. But, alas,in feminized, estrogelical churches that are marriage-crazed and beat up on men, it is verboten to talk about having a worth apart from women. We can't have men be too much in control of their desires, dont'cha know.
Let me conclude by saying that modern evangelical church talks out both sides of its mouth about male sexuality. Men are told that most of them have a duty to pursue a wife, and yet they are demonized for doing this very thing, as one blog poster so clearly and painfully shows.


Anonymous said...

I think it is overstatement to say that all churches demonize men for seeking relationships... but those that do this do a very bad thing. I have encountered it both as a young man and an older man; and I don't mean to minimize its signifiance. .... I just don't think it's the prevailing zeitgeist.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

I'm glad I checked back on this blog and have added you to my links (at http://tunasafedolphin.blogspot.com)

Yes, we see this all of the time. Men are blasted for viewing porn, but how often do you hear admonitions for women not to covet diamonds or the oppulence they see on their TV shows?

The bottom line is that, like everything else in this world, our sexuality is somewhat broken. Men AND women are sinners. Let's find ways to equip people with ways to live within God's will, whether they are unmarried or married. We will be imperfect, but we should be lovingly encouraged and corrected, not cruelly dismissed or ridiculed.

(I fixed some typing mistakes, hence the deletion of my previous comment.)

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