Haggard, haunted, and hollow. These were the eyes that stared back at me from the motel bathroom mirror. What am I doing here…again?
A maddening collage of memories raced through my mind. Each chronicled my promiscuous crashes, causing me to turn away. Looking at myself in the eyes had become too painful and shameful. Except to shave, I had long stopped looking into mirrors, for I had come to loathe the man reflected there.
This evening’s motel rendezvous was the third one today, with just as many different women. Instead of soothing my sexual appetite, it left me feeling hollow and afraid.
“I’ve got to be a sex addict or worse!” I thought out loud. However, what was worse than this I couldn’t imagine. Nor did I dare ask anyone for help. What would they think? “You’re just another self-centered, selfish man who doesn’t care about your wife or children.”
“But I do care! I do love them, as much as I know how to love. Although, truthfully, I’m not sure what love is. I thought I did. I know it’s not this! What am I searching for? Why do I always feel so lonely?”
More haunting questions were thrown into the night air with no reply. This same midnight conversation would be repeated again and again over the coming years, only to be interrupted by short periods of fleeting fidelity.
It would cost me my marriages, my children, at least two careers, and countless cash; leaving me alone again 20 years later, staring into a motel mirror with nothing but questions and a desperate, lonesome soul.
My story, like all too many men’s, is a familiar tale of how an intimately ignorant man’s desire for real intimacy had gone rogue, resulting in his ruin.
This is sexual dependency’s dirty secret. It slowly, secretly, and succinctly makes sex the measure of all things. Sex began to define my sense of worth, whether I felt loved, or even wanted. Like Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series, it only gave direction to buried treasure. Sex had confused and corrupted my moral compass. And you know how bad we men are at asking someone else for directions.
Sexual Dependency: Is an excessive preoccupation with sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors like pursuing pornography, that is difficult to control, causes you distress, or negatively affects your health, job, relationships, or other parts of your life.
Does this sound familiar? Have sex, pornography, masturbation, or extramarital affairs become the norm for you? Are you sexually dependent?
Here are some indicators that you just may be sexually dependent too:
- You have recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors that take up a lot of your time and feel as if they’re beyond your control.
- You feel driven to frequently seek out sexual partners, pornography, masturbation, or extramarital affairs, which provide a brief release of tension, but also feelings of guilt and remorse.
- You’ve tried unsuccessfully to reduce or control your sexual fantasies, urges, or behavior.
- You use compulsive sexual behavior as an escape from other problems, such as lack of self-worth, loneliness, depression, anxiety, or stress.
- You continue to engage in sexual behaviors that have serious consequences, such as the potential for getting or giving someone else an STD, the loss of important relationships, trouble at work, financial strain, or legal problems.
- You have trouble establishing and maintaining healthy and stable relationships.
You may struggle with one, two, or all of these indicators. The real question is, “Are you allowing sex to be the measure of all things in your life?” How’s that working out for you? Not very well. I know. I’ve been right where you are.
But that’s not how my story ended. At my lowest point, God brought John into my life. He was a wise sage of a counselor who was able to show me the connection between the broken boy and my hurting heart in a way that finally made sense. However, breaking free from my sexual dependency took several more years.
All too often, “men like us don’t change until we hurt enough that we have to, learn enough that we want to, and grow enough that we’re able to.” With John’s guidance and the love of my family, I was able to learn, grow, and change. After years of struggling with a haunted heart, God restored and transformed my life, and inspired the development of Rescuing the Rogue. He will do the same for you.
I hope today’s blog has encouraged you. Make sure you sign up to receive blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man God created you to be.
I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘email@example.com’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed man.