Giving Up My “Weapons of War” in Exchange for Sexual Sobriety

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal (“How Often Should Married Couples Have Sex?”) about a couple in Utah trying to deal with the age old problem where the husband wants more sex and wife’s “repression” causes her to want less. It actually described some men’s behavior as toddler-like when they don’t get sex, which was funny and true.

While the piece talked about ways couples can communicate and take care of each other’s sexual “needs” (well, I guess it would mostly be the man’s “needs”), they never addressed how men can grow up and actually forgo sex for any duration of time without having an emotional breakdown or secretly taking care of their urges–which the article, of course, didn’t address at all.

Is Lust a “Weapon of War” I’m Willing to Give Up?

Drawing by Albert Racinet (in the public domain)

Drawing by Albert Racinet (in the public domain)

On a related note, I was just reading in the Book of Mormon the other day where the Anti-Nephi-Lehies allowed themselves to be slaughtered rather than taking up their weapons of war.

Mormon wrote in Alma 24:18:

And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.

In the context of sexual sobriety, I kept thinking about my addiction to lust as my own “weapon of war” and how rather than take it up again in any form, I’d give up my own life (perform service or duties at home, church, or work), and rather than take from a brother (insert any relationship), I would prefer to give of myself.

Sexual Sobriety Has Helped Me Grow Up

Instead of throwing a fit when my wife doesn’t want to have sex, God has given me in my recovery the ability to go without and remain emotionally stable. Instead of begging, manipulating, sulking, leaving, or becoming irritated, I try to spend more time at home deriving real pleasure from playing, serving, loving, surprising my family with good deeds. You know, good ol’ fashioned quality time that doesn’t involve a television.

I no longer wish to spend my “days in idleness”, but rather “labor abundantly” with my hands. I’m thinking about working another job to help my family’s financial situation, or doing projects or other things around the house. Bottom line is, if a person really is willing to give up his life as we are so often asked to do in the scriptures, what time will we have for lust-driven behavior like masturbation? And perhaps more importantly, what desire and/or “need” will we have for it? Sexual sobriety is a pretty great place to be!

P.S. To be clear, I am not advocating marital sexual abstinence as some kind of “higher law.” The point is that I and other people who live with lust addiction ought to be able to deal with our emotions in healthy ways instead of acting out, especially in marriage.

Comments

Giving Up My “Weapons of War” in Exchange for Sexual Sobriety — 4 Comments

  1. Thank you for that, I have never thought of my addiction as a weapon of war, but that totally makes sense, but these weapons not only destroys others but also ourselves. We need to bury them, but just as your comparison with muck, they can burn underground and pop up at later times. I guess the trick is to not dig them up, and let the Lord handle the rest. Right?

  2. What about the wife of a pornagraphy addict who would actually love nothing more than to have a loving sexual relationship with her husband. I have been missing that for 20 years. He has ruined his ability to have normal intimacy with me. I’m angry and sad and at a cross roads. He is not honest with me about any part of his addiction. He told me about it ten years ago and has mentioned it once since… Only a confession meant to hurt me. I desperately miss having trust, security and a physically loving relationship. Is it time for me to move on? I’m so spent and lonely.
    Mormon wife

    • Hi Jenni,
      First, you are not alone, unfortunately. I am in the same position as you are almost exactly, the only difference is that you actually got a confession from your husband albeit just to hurt you whereas mine has continuously denied it for 20 years. I have plenty of proof proving otherwise but he has continued to deny it. The first time I discovered “the problem” was 2 weeks after we had gone to the Temple with our toddler and her infant sister, a sealing that I don’t even feel was a legitimate ordinance since I have no trust that he was even worthy of the recommend. This is truly sad to say because we had spent over 3 years getting him restored after being excommunicated due to his improper behavior in his first (Temple) marriage. I was a new convert and didn’t really understand the gravity of that action. Of course, it wasn’t his fault though, she was a real shrew – just ask him. I have asked her actually as we have become friends and she confirmed that they had a lot of the same exact issues that we have, funny how that works. Of course, his excuse for the last 20 years, as you can probably guess, is that it’s my fault that he does this garbage. I used to believe it but I know that it isn’t my fault and that he is sick. I was diagnosed with MS only 4 years into our marriage and that has caused problems of its own and has been a convenient scapegoat for his behavior. He has been mad since the first month I got sick which makes it that much harder on me because of all of the stress that he puts me under. I totally understand the betrayal of trust issue which he just refuses to acknowledge but is very difficult for me. First was the trust betrayal with my discovery of the porn/sex addiction the first time and then he acknowledged that he treated me like an a**wipe (his words) for the first year that I was sick (and for the next 15 years – and it’s continuing) so my trust was betrayed again, and then many more times with the lust addiction. It has destroyed my trust in him, our marriage, my faith, our family, pretty much everything I held dear. He also has a bad temper and he is abusive. I left our home 3 weeks ago and spent 2 weeks in a domestic violence shelter until last Thursday when he agreed to try marriage counseling and asked me if I wanted to come home. He has already started putting conditions on what he will tolerate as far as therapy goes (no bashing him, blah, blah, blah) so I don’t hold out a lot of hope that his heart is really in this. This isn’t even about him getting help for his addiction yet. I went to S-Anon meetings several years ago and I have decided that I need to go back for me, I can’t do his work. I am also attending a domestic violence support meeting that I started while at the shelter, again for my mental health. I know that he has a disease, like mine there’s no cure for it, and I hope he will get help for it. I can’t remain in this stressful environment for much longer due to my health, physically and mentally, so I hope that my husband will agree to get help and do the hard work. If not for the sake of our marriage and family then for his own sanity. He is miserable and he has been for years but it’s easier to blame others than to admit his problems. His childhood was a nightmare (untreated paranoid schizophrenic and alcoholic mother and volatile, mean spirited father) and I feel that this was when he developed the fantasy part of his addiction. I think he uses self sex to dull the negative emotions and for the momentary release of the endorphins and it just consumed him. I’m not a therapist but from what I have read and heard over the years he grew up in the perfect storm of circumstances for this type of addiction. I will stay until I determine how serious he is about saving this marriage but, for my own sanity and happiness, I will have to get on with the rest of my life if he’s not going anywhere but further down the addiction road. I would say that you aren’t alone, you are stronger than you think and as a woman and a daughter of God you deserve the best life you can have. I believe that God knows your heart and how much you are hurting and it probably makes him sad. I must also apply these same words to myself which is the hardest part. I pray for you both and feel free to contact me if you want.