“I feel bad for wanting sex so often. I know there are more important things in life. What can I do to reduce my sexual urges?”
It is true sex dominates the lives of many men. And for some it has become the most important thing, defining their very self-worth and relational success.
At the same time, the fear of letting sex control our life has led many of us to repress our erotic desires under a cloud of shame and doubt. We have come to believe that we are bad or perverted because of the intensity of our sexual urges.
To be sure, our sexual energy is a powerful force and it often seems too wild to handle.
Daily we can witness the damage and heartache caused by the misuse of sexuality. There are countless incidences of sexual harassment and assaults, demeaning images of pornography, and the sex trafficking of children, just to name a few examples.
It is tempting to react to all of this by making sex purely functional (or “safe”) by indulging just enough to relieve frustration, reduce temptation, or in attempts to conceive.
While our sexuality must be handled with care, we must also be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Clearly damage is done whenever sex becomes an idol, damage that not only affects us, but also our families and society at large. But neglecting our sexuality also causes harm in many areas of life and relationships.
We miss the profound mystery of God that is revealed through our sexuality when it is disregarded; the depths of His relational intimacy, creative goodness, and sensual beauty, for instance.
It was God who created us as erotic beings. We are erotic by His design.
This is not an excuse to do whatever we want with our sexuality. We are still called to be wise stewards. And in order to be faithful stewards we must fully embrace our gift, not merely tolerate it or try to “play it safe” by repressing it.
Truly, inasmuch as sex has become an idol it needs to be ruthlessly eliminated. It should not be our master.
Still, the answer to avoiding this idolatry is not simply reducing or trying to get rid of our urges.
Let us seek Light more than we fear darkness.
What is God showing us through our desires and delight in erotic pleasures? Sexuality is a gift that reveals something of the Divine heart toward us.
Let us meditate on God’s good and perfect gift, learning to glorify Him with all that we are, including our erotic nature.
To borrow from Frederick Buechner: