I can remember a time before sex. It was a long time ago, and maybe it’s a little hazy, but I can still remember. There’s no way to count how often I wish I could return to this time before sex.

I wish I could have the awkward talk with my dad or mom or some kind adult.

I wish I could go through puberty again and understand erections and ejaculation.

I wish someone would warn me about masturbation before I discover it on my own and fall into that trap.

And I so wish that someone had been there to throw the computer out the window the first time I ever searched for pornography.

I wish I could forget everything about sex so I could relearn it properly.

God still hasn’t answered my many questions about this — about why He didn’t stop me. I’ve begged and pleaded for a reason, and He has yet to say anything. At least directly.

Occasionally, I’ll hear a peep about this from Him. It’s never big and never complete. But He’ll just give me a nudge about something. He did this recently as I was reading my Bible.

I sat down to read Psalm 119 in full before work. I’ve read this Psalm many times before in one sitting. I’m pretty familiar with its content. But three verses stuck out in a new way.

First,  Psalm 119:71:

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”

I paused after reading this. Was it really “good” that I fell into masturbation and gay porn at age 11?  On the other hand, would I have ever given over my life to Him if I hadn’t needed Him so desperately?

Then I hit the second verse, Psalm 119:133:

“Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get domination over me.”

All right, God, this one seems to be too on-point to my life. Over half my life, I have wrestled with everything sex-related, and while I am no longer as in-deep as I used to be, I still, at times, feel dominated by it all. Would a simple prayer really solve this? I have to do something right?

Thirdly, I hit the final verse of the psalm, Psalm 119:176:

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; save your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”

And there I am — a sheep wandering where he shouldn’t, knowing he is where he shouldn’t be, and yet he is struggling to find his way back.

I sat back after reading this and sighed. I had a lot of thinking and praying to do. I was encouraged though. Somehow.

My sin brought me to my knees to confess my need for God who gave me access to freedom from my sin. And, even though I still fall, I have a Savior who will always search for me and rescue me when I call on Him.

I can still be free. We all can.

Have you ever cried out to God about the purpose of your struggles, sexual or otherwise? Did you hear from Him? Have you ever wanted to “relearn” an understanding or experience of something?

* Photo courtesy morberg, Creative Commons.

  • So transparent and honest, Dean! Thank you! I absolutely concur with your struggles and identify with them. I have often (and still do), as a result of the struggles over sex, looked with longing to heaven and the day I will no longer have to wrestle with this “monster”. Lol! I guess that’s looking for the easy way out. Lol! The longing to go back and do it differently is something we all go through, I guess, but these days I wonder if given the chance it would be any different in actual fact. If I could go back with the wisdom I have (hopefully gained over the years) then maybe it would be different. However, I wonder too if that would not somehow curtail and circumvent a whole bunch of connected issues and ideas and growth that would be stunted by not having those struggles. I’m also left today with the feeling of such deep gratitude for the Lord and His work on my behalf, and a tremendous sense of my dependence on Him for every moment of every day in the daily struggles of life and how much I need Him.

    • Thank you, Jeremy- it is a blessing that God has drawn me closer to Him in the process. “Nothing is wasted in God’s economy,” I’ve heard said before.

  • it´s hard to recognize many times or be transparent about how these types of things started so young in our lives. I wrote a poem about it a while back and it was really hard honestly to face it and put it into words. At first I thought not to paste it all in here cause it´s long, but maybe somebody can find hope in it.
    “Addictive Curiosity”
    The year
    that I quit masturbating I remember having read the sentence that said,
    “Blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see God,” and it made me angry.
    It made me angry ´cause it didn´t seem fair.
    I didn´t believe that,
    “pure at heart” was possible for somebody like me – somebody who´s heart had
    been soiled from the beginning. You see, the first time I touched myself
    improperly was at the innocent age of three, and contrary to popular belief
    about these things I don´t recall being abused or learning it on a screen. Even
    before I reached the age of four, thinking the unthinkable came natural to me.
    Now, in my young mind of
    thoughts my parents´ threatening was reason enough to stop, but because I knew
    I liked it all I really learned was that I had to hide it. So by the active age
    of six I was what you could call an “addict.” Of course, I didn´t know that and
    neither did anyone else and I spent over a decade of life wasted on myself and
    I wasn’t even old enough to know to ask for help.
    I knew it was wrong, but I
    didn´t know why – all I knew is that it lulled me to sleep when I became too
    tired to cry. It became that magic trap door that opened in the floor when I
    didn´t want to think anymore, and for the next few years it was the way I
    soared with my mind and image in complete disaccord.
    Then coming to the
    tweenager age of twelve my curiosity got the best of me and for the very first
    time I looked at pornography. All on my lonesome I opened up the port hole to
    the hell that would become my home.
    Being completely honest,
    seeing those images so very bare that seemed to come out of nowhere really did
    give me a scare and make my conscious twitch. So I decided I wanted to forget
    it, but we all know I never did. Little by little my curiosity craved more and
    my mind became like that of a whore.
    The things that went on
    inside my mind would take grown men by surprise – as a matter of fact it did
    when they would find out I was only fourteen after having talked to them. Then
    they taught me how to cyber in order to get my fix, so I soon stopped letting
    them know that I was really a kid. The internet became the world in which I hid
    where I lied about my age and everything I did. It then became hard to have
    real friends without privately and silently always undressing them. It was hard
    to have friends without wanting to screw them. I began to avoid anything that
    could be referred to as “him” in order not to add them to my automatic naked
    autopilot playlist – I felt guilty for mentally taking advantage of them.
    When I finally came to the
    realization of being oh so very twisted I was to the point where I couldn´t
    help it, but I still couldn´t see that I was an addict – a realization I came
    upon when I finally tried to quit. It felt like a monster had taken control of
    me and I had no idea how to make it let me be. For years it was hard to even
    try to sleep without it and what made me even angrier about it was that I
    suffered silently and didn´t allow myself to shout it. Actually trying to quit
    made me feel worse than when I was actually doing it.
    It´s a sad day when you finally see that
    curiosity has taken you over oh so completely that you can´t even think
    straight, and what´s even worse is the feeling that it´s too late to take it
    all back. Opening your eyes and everything seems to be suddenly off track. The
    cold realization that everything has fallen through the cracks and you don´t
    know who you are anymore. Knowing that you have the riches of the poor, but no
    one would actually think to call you “pure.” The sad fact that you caused your
    own self to mourn, but “no, never again pure.” You know that you are humiliated
    and hungry, yet oh so very dirty.
    I honestly thought that no
    one could ever fix me – I was about as damaged as anyone could ever be, so far
    gone that I wasn´t even worth touching, and so messed up that I was beyond
    healing.
    Now, here´s where it gets interesting: did you
    know that gold is not pure in its original state? A fact that only heat can
    change. When we all first come through the gate we are not only innocent, but
    also soiled to begin with. So while pure may not be the reality with which we
    begin we cannot lose hope about the state in which we end.

  • When I was in college I realized that I had to make a choice: between pursuing the sinful desires of my heart (i.e. – relationships with certain guys,) or pursuing God. I could no longer delude myself that both were possible, that somehow I could live a Godly life with a boyfriend or a husband (or a hookup.)
    I was furious – at whom, I’m not sure really. I would sometimes sit and my car at night and just scream. Rage, directed at nobody or nothing in particular, except maybe vaguely at God. There’s a stanza from an Avett Brothers song that always reminds me of this time:
    I remember crying over you,
    and I don’t mean like a couple of tears and I’m blue.
    I’m talking about collapsing and screaming at the moon,
    but I’m a better man for having gone through it.
    Yes, I’m a better man for having gone through.
    Through all this, I was trying to shirk responsibility for my wickedness. I wanted to blame anything, anybody – but not myself. It’s my dad’s fault. It’s my brother’s fault. It’s the culture’s fault. It’s pornography’s fault. It’s God’s fault.
    But God arrested my heart through Paul’s words in Romans 1. I did not honor God or give thanks to him, so my foolish heart was darkened. Therefore God gave me up in the lusts of my heart to impurity, to the dishonoring of my body. This was a difficult thing to accept, because it meant I could no longer blame others for my sin.
    We won’t be cleansed of what we don’t repent of, and we won’t repent of what we don’t think we’re responsible for. So, confronting the truth that I am responsible for my sinful desires and repenting of it was the beginning of great triumph and freedom and peace and joy in my life. No longer do I feel the need to obsess over the origin of my desires, or wistfully romanticize my “innocent” past. I’m a sinful man with sinful desires, but Jesus is in the business of healing. And he’s doing it! Just like you said, Dean: “I can still be free. We all can.”

  • Ahh…. this is good. I’ve always found it intriguing that God never takes away our sexual desires. In spite of all the trouble it may bring us in life, sexuality is good for us. It’s been a long, hard process of holding onto the baby while trying to throw out the bath water, but it’s been worthwhile and I love this baby God has given each of us.
    To answer your questions at the end, yes, yes, and yes. I’ll try to expound on these more in future blog posts.

  • Dean, I would so much like to relearn as well! Not having my best friend in 6th grade show me how to masturbate to start with when I had no idea what sex was. I’ve asked God a BUNCH of times about my sexuality. It’s been so confusing to me.

  • Sigh. I have thought of these things many times. I have wished that sexuality were not such an ever present part of my life. I have also been told by Him that it is good, only corrupted by sin for everyone. I am not worse off than anyone else, for all have fallen short of the glory of God too. That helped me to feel less ashamed, because “gay porn” is surely worse than straight porn, right? The good news is that I am being redeemed and that which was corrupted is no longer as corrupted. Sometimes hindsight is better. If I had known things would get better I wouldn’t have trevailed so much.

  • I often wondered at the horrible things I went through. I have a blog where I write about my life and the things I went through. When i look back at the pages I have posted, I can hardly believe what happened to me. “This can’t be my life!” but then I say “It is, because you lived it.” A good friend of mine at church heard my story and asked me point blank “How can you believe in God? All these things happened and yet you believe. Why?” I simply said, “Because He is.” We don’t know why things happen the way they do. We aren’t qualified to understand God’s plan. It is like being a flea and looking up at the Empire State Building. Rarely do we get an inkling of why the things that happened occured. I was able to help out two diffent people deal with suicides of their friends because of my personal experience with it. I was able to help out a teenaged boy and his family deal with homosexuality because of my experience with it. I have been able to counsel women who have been raped because a guy tried to rape me. There are many things that I can help others with, because I lived all those things. I am unaware of why till someone needs my help. My discomfort in the past serves God’s purpose and build His Kingdom.

    • It is true. My wife has been able to help many women because of her rape and molest. That is not quite right, she is able to help them because she has permitted God to restore her from those tragedies. And by “restore” I do not mean that all the wounds are gone.

  • Dean

    I write under this pseudonym account and do my best to pursue Jesus Christ every day. I fail often, yet I get back up each time. I am married to an incredible woman I call Lisa – she is far better than I deserve. My daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life. And in my spare time, I watch my favorite TV shows and movies, play RPG video games, and hang out with my friends. Yes, I am a nerd and I am proud of it.

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