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Sexual neglect is pervasive and damaging

We often think of sexual harm in terms of sexual abuse, where someone is bringing the presence of negative sexual experiences into our story. This might be subtle or it might be very severe, but there’s the presence of the negative. What can be just as damaging and maybe even more pervasive is sexual neglect, where instead of the presence of the negative there’s an absence of the positive.

Neglect leads to a failure to thrive

We can see this with kids that kids who experience sexual abuse neglect, there’s a failure to provide for their basic needs, their food, shelter and clothing, and even emotional neglect is where kids don’t have those positive emotional experiences that they need to thrive.

When kids experience neglect, there’s a failure to thrive later in life. The same can be true with our sexuality, that we may not experience sexual abuse in the sense of there’s a presence of the negative, but we may have experienced sexual neglect in the sense there was the absence of the positive … that most of us were left on our own to figure out our sexuality, that we were not given direct guidance in what it means to be a sexual man or how to live in the fullness of our sexuality.

Left without good teachers to guide us

And so we’re left with our peers and porn to figure things out. And so again, without good teachers to guide us we experience a sense of sexual neglect.

Repress sexuality

For some of us this has left us in a situation where we continue to repress our sexuality because we don’t know how to embrace it we continue to deny, to repress it.

Sexuality as means of reassurance

For others there’s this over sense of need for reassurance and so we’re pursuing sexual activities not for the pleasure not for the intimacy but more or less to reassure ourselves that we have what it takes.

Sexuality as means of control

For others this neglect leads to more of a sense of control where we have this ideal of what sexuality should it should be like, and so now we’re demanding…controlling that that it conforms to our expectations.

Sexual frustration, shame, and confusion traced back to sexual neglect

But a lot of our frustration, a lot of our shame, a lot of our confusion around sexuality can be traced back to the sexual neglect…that we’ve not had good teachers, guides to show us the way.

Accept responsibility to discover who God has created us to be as sexual men

And while we can’t change the neglect of our past, we do have the responsibility to find those teachers, those mentors, those coaches who can help us grow into the fullness of who God has created us to be as sexual men.

And so the point here is not to focus on blame, but simply to accept our responsibility and not miss out on the fullness of who God created us to be as sexual beings.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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