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Dangerous Sexual Secrets
By Barrington H. Brennen
May 1, 2002

There are at least two sexual practices we do not talk about but which perhaps constitute the greatest secret sins of our time. These sexual habits are anal sex and masturbation. There is even another great secret sexual problem that may well be an outcome of the first two mentioned. This secret problem is sexual addiction.

We are now learning that there are a surprising number of Christians who engage in anal sex, active masturbation, and who are sexually addicted. They bury these daily habits in their external facade of so called "holy living." They are often very critical and judgmental of others. One would never know of their dark, secret habits.

ANAL SEX
It is not uncommon today to hear of teenagers actively involved in anal sex. Many participate in anal sex for at least five reasons: 1) They mistakenly believe they cannot get pregnant. Although you cannot get pregnant through the anus, the risk of sperms reaching the entrance of the vaginal entrance is real, thus increasing the possibility of pregnancy. 2) They foolishly believe they can avoid getting sexually transmitted diseases. Anal sex provides the greatest risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases. 3) Some believe they will still be virgins as long as there is no vaginal penetration. This is false. Virginity is a total body and mind experience and lifestyle. 4) Others do it because they are male homosexuals and feel they must satisfy the sexual drive this way. Although there are more heterosexuals involved in anal sex than homosexuals, it is still a risky, common preferred method among homosexuals. 5) Then there are still others who engage in anal sex because they do not know better or they are simply amoral and seek to satisfy their animal passion any way they choose.

There is a greater risk for infection with anal sex than vaginal sex. The health risks of anal sex are well documented but poorly publicized. The delicate columnar epithelium of the rectum makes it highly susceptible to syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV and other viral infections predisposing to anal cancer. "The penis and the vagina are clean passages, which are free of disease producing microorganisms. The anus/rectum, on the other hand, is a highly contaminated passageway. When the penis enters the rectum, the urinary and reproductive tracks of the man are invaded with the germs from the rectum of the woman. If the man enters the woman's vagina after having entered her rectum, her reproductive passageways are then contaminated. Both can incur chronic infections like prostititus, vaginitis or a pelvic inflammatory condition" says Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner. Studies have shown that about 50 percent of married men and 25 percent of married women, 18 to 35, have tried anal intercourse at least once, says James C. Achtzehn Ph.D., a retired sexuality professor from Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. Anal sex is certainly not a healthy practice for Christians or non-Christians.

MASTURBATION
Is masturbation all that bad? Well, research tells us that many single Christian teenagers and young adults are feeding the sexual appetites through masturbation, thereby increasing their risk of sexual dysfunctions during marriage. Let met explain the stages or types of masturbation. The first stage is the discovery stage, which some may not call masturbation. This stage involves little boys or girls discovering their body parts. The attitude of parents during this time will determine whether or not this discovering turns in a habit. The second stage is the pressure release stage when one is fully aware of body functions and may attain sexual gratification from masturbation. This is also the stage or type of masturbation used for therapeutic or medical reason that may be considered healthy. At this stage it is not a habit. However, this is the risk stage when the habit is formed. Stage 3 is the exploitive stage. It is definitely a habit and sexual fantasy is involved. Stage 4 is the compulsive stage when the individual is compulsively addictive. He/she is trapped with the mental and physical addictions of masturbation and finds him/herself in a cycle of repeating a behavior that seems impossible to break.

Masturbation is dangerous because it is addictive. No form of sexual addiction is healthy. One gentleman told me that it was easier for him to stop the use of marijuana than to stop masturbating. God never intended for the sex act to be a solitary experience served through masturbation. God designed sexual intercourse to be shared between a husband and wife as the highest expression of intimacy.

Should Christian single men and women use masturbation as a means of releasing sexual tension to avoid fornication? Certainly not. With the addictive element and lust thoughts and transitory nature, I cannot recommend masturbating as a method for an occasional release of sexual tension.

SEXUAL ADDICTION
Loneliness is one of the main factors in sexual addiction. " We do know that at least 81% of sex addicts were sexually abused as children, 74% were physically abused, and 97% were emotionally abused. Most, if not all were deprived of physical touch, love, nurture, and affirmation." Dr. Mark Laaser.

There are several reasons people get addicted to sex. First, some use sex as medication. It can be used as a "mood elevator or relaxant." If an addict wants to feel a certain way, he then goes to have sex to achieve it. Second, the brain gets use to it. Brain chemistry adjust to whatever chemicals we put into it. "These include the chemical produced when we think about or engage in sex. Over time the brain will need more and more of the same chemical to produce the same feeling. Sex addicts will need to think about or be sexual more and more over time."

LEVELS OF SEXUAL ADDICTION.
According to Dr. Laaser there are three levels of sexual addiction. The first level includes the building blocks of fantasy, masturbation, pornography, prostitution, and affairs. The second level includes voyeurism, exhibitionism, phone sex, inappropriate touching, bestiality, and fetishes. The third level includes rape, incest, molesting, and using authority to gain sexual access. Dr. Patrick Carnes talks about the narcotic element of sex in his book Sexual Addiction. He gives the phases of sexual addiction as: preoccupation, always thinking about sex; realization, serving the habit regularly through masturbation, sex, etc; compulsion, the losing-control stage, the must-indulge phases. The last phase is despair or guilt -- lots of if -- relieved only by re-entering the cycle at the starting point. This describes what many people experience who engage in habitual masturbation.
 
THERE IS HOPE
Perhaps the first answer to sexual addiction according to clinical psychologist Dr. Mark Laaser is finding fellowship. He says that loneliness is the major emotion that drives sexual addiction. Fellowship with other Christians is the antidote. One of the major principles is that fellowship is equal to freedom from lust. Sex addicts must find healing from the trauma of their pass. They should be encouraged to find counselors and therapists who can help them to do this.

I would suggest as a method of overcoming the sexual addiction, one should enter a personal contract of abstinence for thirty days. If you are married, arrange this with your partner. Take a pen and paper and write out a contract and sign it. Renew it every thirty days if you are single.

These dangerous sexual secrets are eating away loving relationships, personal integrity, and our spiritual connection with Christ. Seek help through prayer and professionals in your area. If you are sexually addicted or struggling with masturbation there is help.

Previous articles by Brennen on Masturbation  Releasing Sexual Tension Par 1    Releasing Sexual Tension - Part 2    Other Links:  Help for Sexual Addiction    Online Assessment Tests of Sexual Addiction

 
 
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Permission is granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your  personal use, friends,  seminar, or meeting handout.  You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary.    Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form. Or you call at 242-327 1980.  Copyright 1999 Sounds of Encouragement. All rights reserved.   Articles written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist, Marriage & Family Therapist.  P.O. Box CB-13019,  Nassau, The Bahamas.     question@soencouragement.org