Personal Change and the Importance of Goals In Overcoming Sex or Porn Addiction

There is an old Cornish Proverb that says ‘Those who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock”. This is in reference to the strands of Cornwall England where so many ships were run aground or wrecked in the middle ages because they failed to navigate the passageways to get their ships safely to shore. The application to us is that if we do not listen to reason and or take control of our lives then we must suffer the consequences of just going wherever life takes us.

There is another way that this Proverb can read and that is “Those who will not be ruled by the rutter must be ruled by the rock”. What? You might say? Did I spell it wrong? Actually no and let me explain why. The word “rudder” means the vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned to guide the direction of the ship. The word “rutter” is actually a more little known word that most do not know. The word “rutter” as defined by dictionary.com as

“A descriptive atlas of the Middle Ages, giving sailing directions and providing charts showing rhumb lines and the location of ports and various coastal features.”

We may also want to define “rhumb” while we are at it: “A curve on the surface of a sphere that cuts all meridians at the same angle. It is the path taken by a vessel or aircraft that maintains a constant compass direction”.

A ship that is ruled by a “rudder” is one that is ruled by a physical or fairly rudimentary device that all ships have – they just don’t build them without them and if they did no one would buy them. The “rudder’ needs to be operated by someone to affect the ships direction and that “operator” needs to have the knowledge of “where” and “how” to turn the vessel to guide it safely to its destination.

The “rutter” really is the key to guiding the ship or vessel safely to its destination because the “rutter” or map is one that has a cumulative knowledge of those who have gone before on the same voyage and have recorded where the “rocks” and dangerous areas are and gives exact directions on the safest route to take to get to the desired destination. The “rutter” also directs the operator to the proper course to maintain a “constant compass direction”, which is important if you want to get to your destination in a timely manner and not be wandering all over the ocean!

The wisdom in this analogy is that unless we want to wander through life without a direction, a map, or “a rutter” of where we want to go then we will either never accomplish anything of any significance or the more dangerous consequence of this mind set is that we will be thrown mercilessly into the “rocks” of life and suffer greater loss, damage, death, or disease from failing to direct our lives in a safe and more desired direction!

Another famous quote to interject at this point would be:

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.” John Greenleaf Whittier quotes (American Writer, 1807-1892)

To look back on our life and see love, accomplishment, success, family, friends, and wonderful memories will fill us with satisfaction and happiness. To look back on a life filled with addiction will fill us with hollow, unsatisfying, emptiness.

Goals are the key difference between these two drastically different outcomes. By designing your own personal “Rutter” to guide your life as well as following the paths to good destinations that others have forged will help anyone who is struggling with addiction or the way their life is going to change their final outcome from one of misery to one of joy, satisfaction, and happiness!

Lesbian Relationships and Friends

One of the most difficult challenges, particularly in a same-sex relationship, is establishing boundaries with friends and blending with each others’ friends. Plus, doing this while remaining secure and making each other feel like she is the most important person in the world!

Ordinarily in lesbian relationships, the majority of friends are the same-sex. Friends can be intrusive, meddlesome, opinionated, jealous, rude and inconsiderate; however, they can also be fun, supportive, considerate, helpful, and great sounding boards. There is no doubt, friends will either play havoc on a relationship or be accepting and considerate.

Let’s work from the premise that the relationship is the top priority and friends are not (but still very important). There are several key areas to focus on that can immediately bolster the relationship. These areas need to be mutually established and respected:

Boundaries – Agree on parameters that are manageable. Determine what the negotiable and non-negotiable items are. Examples: Agree to both be home by 8pm, unless otherwise discussed; no answering phones during dinnertime; cell phones are off-limits when you crawl into bed. If you go to happy hour, invite the other to join or at least communicate plans and be home on time. Remember, these boundaries must be agreed upon. If you end up policing and penalizing because of the boundaries, what you have in place is not working. The boundaries are to be and feel respectful of each other, not to hold you hostage.

Communication – Make each other feel special, loved, secure and safe. Talk to each other about everything. Find out about what is important to each other, feelings, favorite things, pet peeves, goals and dreams, fears and phobias, food, children, families, etc. Get to really know each other better than anyone else. Build trust and respect. Make each other feel valued and important.

Common Interests – Explore what you enjoy doing together such as projects, travel, entertaining friends, cooking, golf, fishing, hiking, etc. It is not necessary to do everything together, but it is healthy to do some (enough) things together. It is important to have fun together and feel connected. Orchestrate your relationship so that you are not always running parallel, but have enough intersecting times that keep you in sync with each other.

Host social occasions – One way to blend with each other’s friends is to jointly host social times at your home such as dinners and game nights. Another is to plan outings with joint friends such as happy hours, going to dinner and movies, so forth. The key is to become more comfortable with each other’s friends. Make efforts to blend friends and be more inclusive.

Spontaneity – Surprise each other in ways that you know are appreciated and liked. Break the routine and break away from all others and do for each other. Make each other feel exceptional.

Happy, long-term relationships are to be nurtured treated as top priority. Focus on enjoying your time together. Include friends when it’s appropriate and mutually agreed upon. There should be no feeling of competing for time, attention and love! Friends are to be fun additions.

Meat Pies, Sex and Relationships

“Men don’t know how to be men. Many men fear that they are unsafe.”
~Aaron Bradfield

“To be a spiritually healthy person you have to be an emotionally healthy person.”
~Rob Furlong

What happens when you get 45 men in a room with a pastor and a counsellor to discuss sex and relationships over a meat pie and a can of coke?

Answer: a lot of education, connecting fellowship, and encouragement.

What follows are some of my thoughts from the notes taken from a Sex and Relationships “Real Men Pie Night.”

PORNOGRAPHY

Sex is sacred and pornography devalues what is sacrosanct.

The commonest problem men are dealing with is pornography, and, to a lesser extent, burnout – both physical and spiritual. Because pornography is so accessible these days – one mouse click away – more and more men (and more women for that matter) are becoming entrapped by pornography.

Among the many dangers involved in pornography is the pressure it places on men’s partners; women who feel under pressure to look like and perform like the porn stars.

It’s amazing how many Christian men struggle with pornography, but almost every one of them believes they are alone. It is the oldest lie of the devil to isolate us in such ways.

Interestingly, pornography is not so much about sex, as it’s much more to do with our own story – what we, as persons, have not recovered from. Dealing with our pasts – being honest about them with trusted others – helps to heal us.

Dealing with the problem of pornography probably best begins with therapy, and possibly group therapy. The best thing we can do, in our struggle with pornography, is to be open and honest with a trusted friend, and ask that friend to pray with us.

Openness and honesty are the keys.

The only real exception to complete openness and honesty is timing and wisdom with our wives in declaring our problems. Our wives are not to be burdened with being our accountability partners. A bit like Step 9 of AA’s 12-Step Program, where, amends is to be made, it defeats the purpose if our amends injures the person we want God to heal. We must pray for wisdom and discernment about the details. But we should tell them, somehow, we have a problem that we’re dealing with.

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S IDENTITIES

Just as the quote at top says, men have learned to lose confidence in their male identity. We may struggle with viewing ourselves as on the one hand, dangerous, but, on the other hand, soft. Our lack of male identity is often caused at a societal level, but it was learned and is reinforced all the more from our families of origin.

Men’s overriding psychology about their masculinity is about, “do I have what it takes?” Women’s overriding psychology about their femininity is about, “do you (my man) delight in me.”

If the man’s identity is to treasure his woman, that he makes her the object of his affection, he bridges the gap between him and her.

THE SEX RELATIONSHIP

It’s critically important for men to understand that their women need to be treated with the utmost respect. If a woman isn’t respected she may be characteristically reviled by the thought of sex. Men tend to not understand this and wonder why they have unfulfilling sexual relationships. The sexual relationship between a married couple is a good representation of the overall relationship. If the sex is good it probably means that the woman feels safe, cherished, and respected in the marriage.

A man cannot grow in intimacy with his wife unless he is prepared to devote his whole sexual life to her alone. He must be not just physically faithful, but mentally and spiritually faithful as well. Intimacy ignites passion as a slow but reliable flame.

Where there is a disparity between the libidos of a husband and his wife, where characteristically the husband’s sexual drive is higher, he may be able to engage sexually with her present in ways that she doesn’t need to be actively involved.

But wherever a wife is involved sexually the husband needs to pay caring attention to what leads up to the sexual event. Sex, at least for the woman, begins in the brain. Women are not interested in sex when the relationship is poor. It is up to men, and the onus is on us, to build intimacy with our wives.

Furthermore, it may be a stretch for a man to understand what it might be like to have a body that is sexually penetrated. A man finds it difficult to imagine how vulnerable a woman must be to allow a man to enter into her body. The sex act needs to be creative, not rushed, and not mechanical.

As men we need to treat our women as they should be treated: with the utmost respect.

Lastly, it is of real value for a woman to understand that a man feels rejected deeper down when he isn’t getting sex. But the first onus is on the man to ensure his wife is happy; that she is being loved and respected unconditionally.

© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: a special vote of thanks and gratitude for Pastors Rob Furlong and Aaron Bradfield, who were a beautifully complementary team as part of an expert panel providing the above wisdom, and to Pastor Anthony Palmieri for his “Pie Night” vision.

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