Monday, February 13, 2012

The Ambush of Internet Sex: How Does One Get Trapped?

"If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart."
                       ~ C. S. Lewis

From my last post, I’m sure you gathered that sex and sex connections via the internet cause a ton of pain for many people—people who you love dearly and deeply regret hurting.

I’m sure if I sat down with you over a cup of coffee, you and I could come up with at least twenty names of people who had it all going for them in a relationship or marriage, but fell dramatically because of sexual sin.

Those men and women would be politicians, musicians, actors/actresses, successful business people, and even pastors.  But then again, we must also include your next-door neighbor, your co-worker, your best friend, and of course, you or your spouse.

So what gives?  Why would someone in their right mind risk it all for momentary pleasure, a pleasure that gets one hooked for years or even a lifetime?

I think we need to focus on the phrase, “their right mind.”  Something very chemically real occurs when someone gets sucked into internet sex.  And it’s the same chemical reaction that is responsible for all addictions, on a physical level (we’ll discuss the spiritual levels in a later post).

In this discussion, I am NOT excusing someone's illicit behavior.  I am EXPLAINING the pull.  Being drawn into internet sex is most definitely a sin.  We are accountable and responsible for our own actions.  But sometimes we need to understand what goes on in the brain in order to target the real problem of why someone falls in the first place.

Dopamine, also known as the “reward hormone,” is released in the brain at the prospect and the fulfillment of an activity that brings arousal.  That very feeling of pleasure is what we call the “high.”  It’s not only in regard to sexual matters.  Food brings the feeling.  So do cigarettes, drugs, alcohol.  And unfortunately, in deviant cases, so do forms of violence or perversions.

Let’s take food, for example.  Someone with a food addiction problem experiences a slight initial high when they think about something they’re really in the mood to eat.  Ah-ha!  That’s it.  I feel like pizza.  The more I think about it, the more high over it I get.

When I walk into Giovanni’s Pizzeria, the smells invade my senses.  The sights of all the cooked pizzas do the same.  And you know how agonizing it can be as soon as Marco behind the counter says, “I’m sorry, ma’am.  Your pizza will take a while…30 minutes.”  Then you wait, and wait, and wait.  Ugh!

Finally, it’s in your hands.  Do I eat some of it in the car before I get home?  Drawing it out makes you more crazy.  So when you finally do get that first bite in your mouth, you get the tingles all over your body.

Now you’re thinking, but isn’t that how God has created us, so that we can give ourselves nourishment for survival?  Yes, you’re right.  And He even created us to have the same healthy reaction to sex.

But something can go askew.  We get addicted to the dopamine release more and more, if we don’t watch it.  Then, when we have a deep hurt, we go to that hormone release for relief.

In hearing testimonies of sexual or other kinds of addicts, it seems to all be the same story…

“My wife just ticked me off.  I feel so rejected.  I need to feel better.”

“My husband doesn’t pay any attention to me.  I need to feel good, and now!”

Some of these deep hurts date back to childhood.  Some, we are aware of.  Others, we are not.

Yes, our Lord has given us a tremendous responsibility regarding our hurts.  First, He wants us to bring ALL of our hurts, ALL of our disappointments, ALL of our longings for life done differently, to HIM!

Granted, some people are caught in addiction by some mishap.  I received a letter from a woman who told me that a man got addicted to porn when he and his wife went to a fertility clinic.  As you may or may not know, they have porn materials in these clinics so that the man can produce sperm for the doctor.  Innocent intentions.  But he was hooked.

For the most part, however, men and women are addicted to internet sex because something is either lacking in their lives or something is deeply hurting them or both!

With all my heart, if you are reading this now and you are caught in the web of internet sex, I want you to set aside a lot of time for you to spend with your Savior.  Have it out with Him!  I don’t mean get angry at Him.  I mean, open your heart and your mouth to Jesus, and let the floodgates open!

Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to true healing.  The Father can only work in a heart that is honest, humble, and broken.

Trust me.  You can trust HIM with this.

If possible, do it now.  I am praying for you.

6 comments:

  1. Hey Bro - this is a GREAT series! I've just been overwhelmed with a few things IRL - nothing that can't be over come - but you know all too well the challanges of daily life! But I did have to stop and say thanks - this is outstanding!

    And dude - you have all the blocks in the right order in terms of understanding addiction!

    Looking forward to more in the series - great stuff here!

    aus and co.

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    1. Thank you, Aus, for the usual encouragement. There's a lot more to come. I would appreciate all of your prayers as I write this series that it will bring the Lord's healing in many, many lives and marriages. To Him be all the glory.

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  2. Hi Anthony , great series on internet sex. I was wondering what your opinion is on couples watching porn together as a way to enhance sex between themselves ?

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    1. Hi, Anonymous. Thank you for your question, as I feel this is pertinent enough to respond to.

      I firmly believe that, although watching porn as a couple may "enhance" sexual relations, it is extremely dangerous to open that door to satan. Once those images are in your minds, they are often there for good! I am sure you do not want those images coming up in your mind or in your spouse's when one of you are not around.

      It can also make the other person feel extremely insecure as they compare the people's bodies on the computer with their own.

      And finally, this can (and DOES) lead to wanting to see more and more, then wanting to experience more and more, and not necessarily with your husband or wife!

      Also, please be aware that when you open yourself to the world of porn, you open yourself to secular world's values about sex. Not only will there be any and every form of sexual deviation and perversion, but the settings of porn stories are ALWAYS immoral. I say "always," because you will never find a porn film about a husband coming home to a loving wife and "making love" with her. They all feed on immoral scenarios that suck out the dopamine in your system. Remember, it's all about the "excitement of sin" as it says in the book of Romans. And they are counting on it!

      I heartily advise you and your spouse to seek other ways to improve your sex life. I will actually address those helpful ways toward the end of this series, and yes, it will be from a Christian perspective.

      Thank you again for a very honest and earnest question!

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    2. Hello Anthony,
      I was sharing this with another pastor and thought to share in here with you as it is related to this topic.

      It is so interesting that when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6, He said... (verse 13) "...and lead us not into temptation"....

      The thing is, He is asking us to ask the Father not to LEAD us INTO temptation.... there seems to be a difference between being IN TEMPTATION and being LED INTO TEMPTATION....

      Jesus seems to be saying, we MUST ask the Father for WISDOM in being AWARE of what can LEAD us into temptation... and ask that we be NOT LED into it...

      For example, if someone is addicted to porn, the temptation is the porn websites themselves... but asking NOT to be LED into temptation means, to be aware that the porn websites are the temptation itself, so asking for wisdom is to PREVENT the path into temptation from happening, the wisdom of the Father is to put ROAD BLOCKS from accessing the porn websites, which is to add an internet filter to block access to the website, now that is answering to the prayer of not being LED into temptation...

      Paul says in 1 Cor 10:13 that temptation itself is common to man, but the Lord WILL NOT allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle in that you sink into sin... HE WILL provide a way of escape...

      Now, it's interesting, I think Paul is saying, if one is suddenly placed in a temptation that was unexpected, unplanned, the Lord PROMISES that he will find a way to escape.... but if one willingly lets himself be LED into temptation, then will the Lord provide a way of escape? Probably not, because the person WANTS TO BE TEMPTED. So, Jesus' prayer is, "please lead not us into temptation" means asking Him to be involved in helping us to be aware of the roads to temptation and avoid the road (not tempation itself) entirely, and you won't be in the temptation at all.

      Just my two cents :)

      Amos 3:3 - Agree with the Lord means you are walking with Him... if He says it is wrong and He hates sin, you gotta ask Him to help you hate sin..."help me to hate sin like You do, because I want to walk with You"...

      Amen! :)

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