The Idolatry of Sex: When Sex is God & God is Sex 

The Idolatry of Sex:

When Sex is God & God is Sex 

By: Andrew J. Bauman

     The category of idolatry rarely comes up when working through sexual brokeness. Yet it seems to me one of the most important categories to engage when attempting to unwind the tangles of compulsive sexual behaviors. Sexual addiction can be a loaded term which is highly debated within the field of psychology; yet, I know for my healing journey the naming and owning of my own sexual dysfunction/addiction was the beginning of becoming a more sexually healthy man. This revolution of healing transformation within my own body is the hope I hold for with those I work with.

So why choose such a loaded term, as idolatry? It is a burdened word that is often associated with shaming non-compliers into worshiping God more dutifully or to bang you over the head with idolatrous scripture verses and searing guilt. I use this term “idolatry” to simply to mean “a God-replacement”. The idolatry of sexual addiction takes the most important seat in our lives and resides on the throne, unexamined, it unassumingly replaces the voice of the Spirit. Our internal thoughts are consumed with taking in what feeds our pornified pangs of hunger and we unconsciously scan our world to sexualize all heavenly delight and goodness. (As addicts we cannot bear goodness well, so we sexualize it as a way to more easily digest.) When sexuality becomes God it is impossible to attain a healthy meaningful sexuality that so many of us long to attain yet don’t quite know how to achieve.

How do you know if you are caught up in the idolatry of sex?

How much of your life is consumed by sexuality? In mutually nourishing intimate relationships, life is approached with rich balance. Sexuality is a very normal piece of the pie (SEE GRAPH BELOW). How much of your life does sexuality take up?

This will tell you if you have a problem with the idolatry of sexual addiction. There should not be a preoccupation with sex but rather a well-adjusted delight in the sacred. Sexuality should be part of a larger style of life that is life-giving and self-affirming.

Another way to tell if this is a problem with idolatry for you or those you work with would be in regards to style of relating, do you or someone you work with have PSR tendencies? (You can read my article on a Pornographic style of Relating for more insight on this topic.) Or as you look back at your past failed relationships, how did they end? Did it feel like the complete death of self? Did it feel like your entire world was crumbling through your fingertips? You most likely were not only emotional enmeshed with your partner but you were also very likely caught up in the idolatry of that partner.

How do we dethrone this false God of sex?

We first must know what you worship is what controls you. Meaning whatever you place your faith in is what masters you. Sexual addiction demands absolute governance and compliance. The compulsion occupies every edge of your being, manipulates behaviors and rules much in the same way a God would. Spiritually and sexuality are forever conjoined, so it’s simple to complicate their union, and forget which goes where in our lives.

This leads into my next point of reclaiming a healthier relationship with your sexuality, we must restore beauty, desire & pleasure within sexuality as good and holy. As Balswick & Balswick (2008) state in their book Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach “Unless our theology affirms the goodness of desire, we will be reluctant to integrate sexuality with spirituality. Desiring, enjoying and relating to a partner who is made in God’s image affirms the sacred meaning embedded in the sexual union. Our desire can lead us to profound places of growth, for it takes courage to open ourselves, recognize in our quest for wholeness.”

This integrative posture of Sex & Spirit is exposed clearly in the category of beauty within pornography. As I have said in the past articles (Blessing Pornography) pornography can feel like the closest thing to heaven we can access. Beauty ignites our deepest arousal because beauty is what we are most made for. Do you bless the beauty and sweet desire of your sexuality? Or do you hold your sexuality and body in contempt? The profound goodness of your sexuality is meant to bring to life and joy, it is time for you endorse that fact. The more we bless our sexuality the less power it has to rule us. Sex is so voraciously beautiful and so unapologetically pleasurable that even sexual idolization feels somewhat right. Yet also something about acting out of compulsive sexual behaviors also feels so wrong.  The intimacy promised in sexual addiction is never quite the intimacy delivered.

To dethrone sexual addiction from dominion we must reclaim sexuality as a divine infinite act of worship. No longer cheap fixes, to satisfy a craving, but a prayerful sacred act of authentic love. Whether you are pleasuring your own body or that of a committed partner you must honor and revere this beauty and pleasure rather than attempt to devour, consume and hoard. Pleasure is something to be fully present and responsible with, and not held with clumsy hands and shame. The addict tries to capture pleasure as a prisoner and stockpile it in an effort to recreate, not realizing genuine pleasure is not something that can be manufactured or fabricated but found only in a genuine relationship with a committed partner.

And finally, you must get help from a committed sage who knows both the darkness and the goodness of his or her own sexuality. The church has continued to fail to create resources that are not shame driven or create a positive environment for healthy sexuality to emerge. So sadly many folks have been driven elsewhere to heal from our idolatry. Finding a Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT) can be incredibly helpful in addressing the addiction, but after the addiction is attended too and continually engaged you must be steadfast in the renovation of rebuilding a new sexuality that is not built on pornification. Other resources include the work of Dr. Patrick Carnes, Dr. Tina Sellers new book on shame, sexuality and the conservative church is stellar and she also leads intimacy retreats for couples who are looking to have a more robust sex life. As you are rebuilding your sexuality seeing an AASECT certified therapist would be valuable during this reconstruction phase.

 

 

 

 

 

By |2018-11-14T18:45:24+00:00June 21st, 2017|Addiction, Healing, Pornography, Relationships, Sexual Abuse, Sexuality, Violence|Comments Off on The Idolatry of Sex: When Sex is God & God is Sex 

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