Sexual Secrets - Article by Barrington H. Brennen

Sexual Secrets
By Barrington H. Brennen
May 1, 2002, Updated July 9, 2019, 2021, August 2022

There are at least two sexual practices we do not talk about but which perhaps constitute the greatest secret vices of our time. These sexual habits are anal sex and excessive and compulsive 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 excessive 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.  Let me define excessive masturbation.  It is masturbating at least five time a week, several times a day, everyday you cannot get it off your mind.

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. It is important to now that there are some homosexual who do not engage in anal sex because they they feel it is repugnant. 
  5. Then there are still others who engage in anal sex because they do not know better.  It's a popular thing to do.  Some are simply amoral and seek to satisfy their sexual passion any way they choose.

Many believe that anal sex is only done by male homosexuals.  This is far from the truth. Research indicates that some homosexuals do not engage in anal sex.  They think it is repugnant.     In the research document titled "Prevalence and Correlates of Heterosexual Anal Intercourse among Men and Women, 20 U.S. Cities," presented by the National Library of Science states:

"Heterosexual anal intercourse (HAI) is not an uncommon behavior with 36% of women and 44% of men 2544 years old in the United States reporting ever having HAI in their lifetime. There is evidence that the prevalence of HAI may be increasing in recent years, which may be due to a true increase in the behavior over time or heterosexuals becoming more comfortable reporting the behavior."

I have not been able to find scientific research on the topic of HAI in The Bahamas or other Caribbean islands.  However, anecdotal research indicate that heterosexual anal intercourse is prevalent in these countries, even among married partners.  [ View a Jamaican research that indicates attitude but not behavior ]

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.

Research indicates 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.

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.
Stage 1 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.

Stage 2 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 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 without disciple can be a doorway to addictive behavior. 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.  A major challenge with masturbation is that for most people it involves pornography.   Pornography introduces a number of other concerns--objectification of women, moral issues regarding multiple sex partners, the trivialization of sex, and much more.

In the article "What is the impact of pornography addiction and masturbation on your health?" by Dr. Riddhish K. Maru, states:

"The easy availability and dependence on internet porn to get a quick fix of dopamine through sexual pleasure have resulted in patterns of addiction among many people. Porn addiction is a phenomenon that has been exacerbated by the easy availability of pornography on the internet. It has not only affected sexual habits such as masturbation but has also caused hindrances in the daily lives of people and has become a mental disorder as well."  

Should Christian single men and women use masturbation as a means of releasing sexual tension to avoid fornication?  With the addictive element and lust thoughts and transitory nature, I cannot recommend masturbating as a method for an occasional release of sexual tension.  However, I must be practical and real.  There are some women and men who have been sexually active for years with multiple sex partners or children to different partners.   Some of these choose to cease their sexual escapades and live a more simpler, sexually pure life.  They soon discover however, that their sex drive dose not diminish.  It is my view that it may be wise for these person to use limited masturbation rather than having multiple partner.  Also, if the fact of masturbation itself is so wrong or sinful, happens when a sperm count is needed after a vasectomy, or when it is done between married couples (we call foreplay).  

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."

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.
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.

Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist.  Send your questions or comments to  or text 242-477-4002 (Cell or WhatsApp) or call 1-242-327-1980.  You can also book an appointment for couple or individual therapy:

Previous articles by Barrington Brennen on Masturbation  Releasing Sexual Tension Par 1    Releasing Sexual Tension - Part 2  






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