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?
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.