Tag Archives: Sex

Eight Factors Common in Childhoods of Sex Addicts

I am a huge baseball fan and the postseason is great. Last year in the 10th inning of the decisive game of the World Series, Chicago Cub Ben Zobrist drove in the winning run.

Was this just about an opportunity? Or was this path set much earlier: the Houston Astros who first drafted him? His high school coach who convinced him to try out? His whiffle ball games with his friends at age 8?

It was the opportunity AND the path.

What about a person struggling with pornography? Is it just about an opportunity? Or is it about a path that had been set many years before? Again, the answer is both.

Patrick Carnes lists eight factors common in families of sex addicts.

  1. Addiction.

This can be alcohol, gambling, nicotine, eating, drugs, sex, or pornography. Often it is a combination.

  1. Secrets.

This “elephant in the living room” is having a huge impact on life but everyone pretends it is not there.

  1. Rigid and authoritarian.

There is only one way to do things. There is no give and take.

  1. Sex-negativity.

Sex is always negative, dirty, bad, sinful, or nasty.

  1. Sexual duplicity.

Parents do not live up to their standards about sex. There are affairs, pornography, sexting, etc.

  1. Little intimacy.

Family members are disengaged. There is little sharing of feelings or vulnerability.

  1. Neglect.

This could be capital N neglect: sexual, physical, emotional abuse or a lack of food, shelter, clothes, or safety. It could be little n neglect: lack of attention, empathy, or love.

  1. Compartmentalization.

People act one way in one situation and something totally different in another. There is an overreaction or under-response to life’s problems.

Are any of these factors present in your home? King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Apparently, that is true negatively and positively.

Carnes, P. (2015). Facing the Shadow: Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery (Third ed.). Carefree, AZ: Gentle Path Press.

Topkin, M. (2009, July 13). Tampa Bay Rays’ Ben Zobrist has taken a surprising path to today’s All-Star Game. Retrieved from Tampa Bay Times: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/tampa-bay-rays-ben-zobrist-has-taken-a-surprising-path-to-todays-all-star/1018198

Positive Reasons to Save Sex

Intimate Couple --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When you encourage teens to save sex, are you negative or positive?

Too often we are negative.

  • Don’t get pregnant as a teenager.
  • Don’t get an STD.
  • Don’t get emotional scars.
  • Condoms don’t fully protect you.

What about positive reasons to wait?

A recent study looked at whether the age of first sexual experience predicted romantic outcomes as an adult. The study put the age of first sexual experience into three categories:

  • age 14 and under
  • age 15-19
  • age 20 and up

Which group was significantly more likely to have satisfying adult romantic relationships? The age 20 and up group. Their findings held true even when they tested for other factors including body mass index, attractiveness, or differences in teenage dating.

The study defined a satisfying adult romantic relationship as having the following factors:

  • stable
  • satisfying
  • a partner who shows love and affection
  • enjoyment of day-to-day things with partner
  • happy with the way conflict is handled
  • avoidance of aggression
  • avoidance of victimization

If that wasn’t enough, saving sex until the 20’s also was linked to

  • higher achievement of educational goals
  • more income as an adult

Teens deserve the truth about teen pregnancy, STDs, condoms, and emotional scars. Just don’t neglect teaching the hope and reward from saving sex.


Christine Kearney. (2012, October 18). “Age Of First Sexual Experience Determines Relationship Outcomes Later In Life.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251640.php

Harden, K. P. (2012, September 25). True Love Waits? A Sibling-Comparison Study of Age at First Sexual Intercourse and Romantic Relationships in Young Adulthood. Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/0956797612442550

The University of Texas at Austin. (2012, October 18). Does True Love Wait? Age of First Sexual Experience Predicts Romantic Outcomes in Adulthood. Retrieved from http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/10/18/does-true-love-wait-age-of-first-sexual-experience-predicts-romantic-outcomes-in-adulthood/

Expectation Problems

Ranger GameI love Texas Rangers baseball. I love TobyMac’s Christian music.

A couple of years ago, TobyMac did a concert after the Texas Rangers game. It just couldn’t get any better, right?

After the game, we’re told we have to move to the lower bowl for the concert. We struggle through the crowds to get to the elevator. The elevator is broken! I hear the concert begin just as the elevator becomes operational.

On the lower level, we can only find obstructed-view seats from behind the stage. At times we can’t hear because the Rangers’ ground crew is using a tractor on the outfield grass!

As my anger builds, I look up at our original seats on the top deck and there are lots of people seated there! I am furious!

What happened? I saw a Rangers victory. I am at a TobyMac concert. I have a chance to worship God with thousands of people in Rangers Ballpark led by TobyMac. AND. I. AM. MISERABLE!

The problem was expectations. My expectations were so high that all I could see were my expectations failing to be met.

As we work with young people, be aware of expectations. Music, novels, television, and movies set lofty expectations for romance, marriage, and sex.

Even Bible classes, sermons, and sex education set lofty expectations.

  • “Save sex for marriage to have the best sex.”
  • “Marry a Christian to avoid divorce.”
  • “God has chosen the perfect person for you to marry.”
  • “My spouse will be my best friend and soul mate.

When our actual romance, marriage, and sex happen, it doesn’t meet expectations. It must be wrong then. So we break up or divorce to continue the quest to meet those expectations. We cannot see how good we have it because we are too focused on the unmet expectations.

You see blessing is not the absence of struggles. It is because of the struggles.

“Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4.

Teens and Sleep

Sleeping_while_studyingParents today have to deal with so many issues when parenting teens that it is easy to lose track of the basics, sleep for example.

Did you know that a lack of sleep in teenagers is linked to:
• suicide
• high blood pressure
• heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• depression
• sexual activities
• car accidents
• poor school performance
• mental health issues
• risk-taking behavior
• substance abuse
• binge drinking
• obesity
• social inhibition
• sedentary behavior
• low socioeconomic status

The CDC reports that the recommended amount of sleep for teens is nine to ten hours. A recent study found that 60% of high schoolers report they do not get over seven hours. The majority of high school teens are falling at least two hours short! This shortfall results in a
• 47% greater likelihood to binge drink
• 80% greater likelihood to have regretted sexual activity

What can parents do?

1. Do what you can. Increasing sleep just one hour results in a ten percent improvement in most of the consequences.
2. Make adequate sleep a condition to drive. If your teen doesn’t get enough sleep, take their keys. You wouldn’t let them drive drunk. Why would you let them drive drowsy?
3. Remove electronics (televisions, cell phones, video games, tablets, computers, etc.) from the bedroom. Some studies show that the light of a screen makes us think it is daytime and makes it difficult to sleep. Many studies show that incoming texts and social media posts interrupt teen sleep. Other show that these items just keep teens awake longer due to their participation.
4. Regulate caffeine consumption. Energy drinks and specialty coffee drinks can have as much caffeine as ten cups of coffee!
5. Set a bedtime. Studies show that teens with a set bedtime have a much more positive sleep pattern.
6. Establish a quiet time of one hour before bedtime. Teens who do not use electronic devices or do school work an hour before bedtime got more sleep.
7. Set a good example. The CDC says adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Model the suggestions above in your own life.

Brody, J. (2014, October 21). Hard Lesson in Sleep for Teenagers. The New York Times, p. D5.
CDC. (2013). How Much Sleep Do I Need? Retrieved from Sleep and Sleep Disorders: http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.htm
Keyes, K., Maslowsky, j., Hamilton, A., & Schulenberg, J. (2015, March). The Great Sleep Recession: Changes in Sleep Duration Among US Adolescents, 1991-2012. PEDIATRICS, 460-468. doi:10.1542/peds.2014-2707
National Seep Foundation. (2006). Sleep in America Poll – Summary of Findings. Retrieved from Teens and Sleep: http://sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/2006_summary_of_findings.pdf
Wong, M., Robertson, G., & Dyson, R. (2015, February 16). Prospective Relationship Between Poor Sleep and Substance-Related Problems in a National Sample of Adolescents. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 335-362.

Why People Have Sex

About SexWhen we teach our young people about sex we usually start with “how.” This is commonly referred to as “the talk.”

We usually cover the “who” and the “when” by saying husbands and wives who love each other.

We never really address the “why.” By context our young people are left to determine that it is for the purpose of having children.

From a Biblical stand point, sex for the purpose of having children is pretty obvious. Genesis 4:1 says, “Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” Later in Genesis 38, that is the motivation for Tamar but not for Judah who thought she was a prostitute. In the next chapter, Potiphar’s wife has a different motive for begging Joseph to go to bed with her. Genesis 39:6-7 explains “Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice.”

A recent study set out to find out the reasons people have sex today. They found the following top 21 reasons people engage in sex:

  • Boosting mood and relieving depression
  • Duty
  • Enhancement of power
  • Enhancement of self-concept
  • Experiencing the power of one’s partner
  • Feeling loved by your partner
  • Fostering jealousy
  • Improving reputation or social status
  • Making money
  • Making babies
  • Need for affection
  • Nurturance
  • Partner novelty
  • Peer pressure or pressure from partner
  • Pleasure
  • Reducing sex drive
  • Revenge
  • Sexual curiosity
  • Showing love to your partner
  • Spiritual transcendence
  • Stress Reduction

Go over this list with your teenagers and ask them which of these reasons are Biblical and which are wrong. This is a great exercise in applying the Bible to real world situations.

To make the exercise a little more challenging evaluate these reasons from the context of a married couple.

Which of these reasons are acceptable for a married couple to have sex? Which of them fit under the Biblical reasons of having children (Genesis 4:1), intimacy (Genesis 2:24, “the two will become one flesh”), attraction (Genesis 39:6-7), and love (Song of Songs 1:2, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-for your love is more delightful than wine”).

Carroll, R. (2012). The Top 20 Reasons People Have Sex. , Cited in WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/why-people-have-sex

Interest in Sex is Dropping

I have written several times how pornography is bad for your sex life. It can cause loss of sexual performance. It can cause lack of satisfaction with sex even with the most attractive partners. It can even lead to preferring pornography over real sex with a person.

Now we are starting to see these effects on a much wider scale. Recent studies are showing that interest in sex across the population of two countries is dropping.

Great Britain showed a 25% drop in the sex rates of people aged 16-44 than the same age group just ten years earlier. One of the most commonly reported sexual problems was simply, “Lack of interest in sex.” The study’s authors list the following reasons for this drop in sexual activity:

  • online pornography,
  • modern technology: Twitter, Facebook, email,
  • worry about jobs,
  • worry about money.

A series of studies in Japan reveals an even worse loss of interest in sex. 45% of women and over 25% of men aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact”. 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, 10% more than five years earlier. 33% of people under 30 had never dated at all.

People explained their attitudes with

  • “don’t see the point of love.”
  • “don’t believe it can lead anywhere.”
  • “Relationships have become too hard.”

Many are turning to easy or instant gratification, in the form of online porn, virtual-reality “girlfriends”, anime cartoons. Or else they’re opting out altogether and replacing love and sex with other urban pastimes.

American rock star, John Mayer, shows we’re likely not far behind Great Britain and Japan when he said,

“I equate sex with tension. Once I have to deal with someone else’s desires, I cut and run. I mean, I have unbelievable [sex] alone. They’re always the best. They always end the way I want them to end. This is my problem now: Rather than meet somebody new, I would rather go home and replay the … experiences I’ve already had. …I’m more comfortable in my imagination than I am in actual human discovery.”

(Haworth, A. (2013, October 19). Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex? The Observer. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex)
(Mercer, C. H., Tanton, C., Prah, P., Erens, B., Sonnenberg, P., Clifton, S., . . . Johnson, A. M. (2013, November 30). Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time: findings from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal). The Lancet, 382(9907), 1781-1794. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62035-8)
(Triggle, N. (2013, November 26). Modern life ‘turning people off sex’. Retrieved from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25094142)

Age to Teach Kids About Sex

CB016218I do not remember the exact age when my parents told me smoking was bad for you. It was very young though. When we saw people smoking, my dad said they were making stupid choices.

I do remember the exact age when I was offered cigarettes. I was ten years old. I was playing with some friends down the street. They started smoking, offered me some, and gave me the typical peer pressure when I refused. I went home and told my parents immediately.

My parents had prepared me for that moment. I knew what to do. To this day I have never smoked.

What is the best age to have the porn-talk? or the sex-talk? It is the same as smoking. You need to do it BEFORE your child is faced with making a decision about it.

You’ll hear everywhere that the average age a child first is exposed to porn is eleven. I researched the source of this quote and found it in a study dated 1969! You think the average age might be lower now? Yeah, me too.

Can you have the porn-talk too early and create curiosity or spoil innocence? There is not a single research study that shows talking about it too early increases it. Most studies show a decrease.

I never seem to hear parents having the same worry about other dangers: crossing the street, talking to strangers, or smoking. We shouldn’t about pornography or sex either.

I do not remember the exact age when my parents told me pornography was bad for you. Because they never did.

I do remember the exact age when I was offered pornography. I was ten years old. My parents did not prepare me for that moment. To this day I fight a daily battle not to use pornography.

Unspoken Truth of Birth Control

CondomsWhen I was in high school, I was taught birth control to “prevent” pregnancy. In the 1980’s, condoms were promoted as “safe sex” and “protection.” Planned Parenthood currently says that condoms “prevent pregnancy.”

Let’s say you are a teenager feeling the urge to have sex. You hear condoms:

  • prevent pregnancy
  • are safe
  • are effective

Do you have all the information you need to make a Noble Choice?

Planned Parenthood tells you that

  • “Each year, 2 out of 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant if they always use condoms correctly.”

As a teenager, you believe that of course you will use it correctly even when you further read that

  • “Each year, 18 out of 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant if they don’t always use condoms correctly.”

That’s only a 2% chance or at worse an 18% chance of pregnancy, right? Wrong.

Notice each of those stats start with the words, “Each year.” More accurately, they should say, “After one year of use.” So those statistics would apply if you have sex using a condom for a year and then quit having sex.

How many of you only had sex for one year and then quit? Anyone? Anyone?

Here is the unspoken truth of birth control, the longer you have sex the greater your odds of pregnancy.

 The New York Times did an article on their website that has an interactive graph that shows you the effect multiple years of sex has on these statistics.

Going back to our illustration, let’s say you are a high school sophomore and have sex using a condom. What are the odds you’ll be involved in a teen pregnancy before graduation?

  • Not 2% because you are not perfect.
  • Not 18% because you didn’t quit having sex after your sophomore year.
  • The New York Times graph tells you it is 45% even with typical use of a condom! That’s almost the same odds as flipping a coin.
  • As a college sophomore your odds are 63%.
  • Your odds of a pregnancy before you graduate college? At least 75%!

Still think that those “effective,” “safe sex” condoms “prevent pregnancy?”

Aisch, G., & Marsh, B. (2014, September 13). How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down? Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/14/sunday-review/unplanned-pregnancies.html

Planned Parenthood. (2014). Condom. Retrieved from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/birth-control/condom

Groundhog Day Pornography

Groundhog-Day-Movie-stills-51Is your battle with pornography like the movie Groundhog Day? Bill Murray’s character keeps reliving the same day over and over again until he can do it right.

Many of us fight pornography the same way. I always thought I just needed to pray more or work harder. It would work a while but the porn always came back. We try all kinds of different things to quit and even have a little bit of success but eventually fail and find ourselves right back at the start. Most people see their problem get worse despite their own efforts to stop.

The first step to overcoming a pornography problem is realizing you have a problem. I didn’t get better until I admitted I couldn’t quit. Now I wish I had started the recovery process so much sooner. This can be fixed with treatment.

Take this test to honestly evaluate your own behavior. Answering yes to even one question is enough to get help. Email or call me at 972-342-0753. I am a Certified Pastoral Sexual Addiction Specialist. I help people all over the world via phone or video. At least seek out more information about pornography addiction or attend a Celebrate Recovery group.

  1. Would people in your life be upset about your sexual activities online?
  2. Have you used pornography even when there was considerable risk of being caught by family members and/or employers who would be upset by your behavior?
  3. Is masturbation a frequent activity?
  4. Do you feel shame or depression after sexual behavior?
  5. Have you gotten rid of a pornography collection and then started collecting it again?
  6. Do you with some regularity buy, rent, or make your own X-rated videos?
  7. Do you look on TV to find sexually stimulating scenes?
  8. Are you lying to cover up pornography use?
  9. Do you feel like you are not in “control” of your porn use? Do you feel driven to look at it?
  10. Have you told yourself over and over “this is the last time”, and then still do it again?
  11. Do you look at women differently? Do you focus on the sexual areas of their bodies? You know it’s wrong but can’t seem to help it.
  12. Is the porn you look at now more hard-core than the porn you looked at before?
  13. Are you seeking out new variations and types of porn?

(Carnes, P. J. (2007). Sexual addiction screening test.)

(The Turning Point Counseling Services. (2012). Sex addiction self-test.)

Six Non-Christian Reasons to Avoid Pornography

More Porn is less sexTwenty years ago most people believed the only reason to save sex for marriage was Christian. My proposals to do non-Christian sexual abstinence programs in public schools were laughed at even by Christians. Once I explained teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and emotional scars get in the way of your future dreams, nobody was laughing.Most people today believe the only reason to avoid pornography is Christian. Do you?

Here are six non-Christian reasons to avoid pornography.

1. Sex is less enjoyable.

A study in Archives of Sexual Behavior published last month found that the more men view porn the less they enjoy sex. Pornography raises expectations of sexual encounters beyond what any real-life experience can achieve. (Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2014, December)

2. Sex is less intimate.

Pornography changes the focus of sex to pleasure instead of bonding with your partner. Women complain that the man is inattentive or even not present during lovemaking. (Metro US, 2014, December)

3. Sex is less confident.

The same Archives of Sexual Behavior study found that the more men view porn the more likely he was to have concerns about his sexual performance and body image. Men compare their sexual size to male porn actors and are typically a third smaller. (Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2014, December)

4. Sex is less possible.

An Italian study of 28,000 porn users found that watching porn leads “to lower reactions to porn sites, then there is a general drop in libido and in the end it becomes impossible to get an erection.” (ANSA, 2011)

5. Sex is less safe.

The Archives of Sexual Behavior study also found that more porn use resulted in more in requesting pornographic sex acts from his partner. Another Archives of Sexual Behavior study reports more sexual partners of all types and more one occasion sexual partners (“one night stands”).  All three factors are associated with higher risks of AIDS and STD’s. (Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2014, September)

6. Sex is less consensual.

A New York University online poll found that those who watch pornography more often are more likely to engage in aggressive sexual acts such as choking, mock rape, bondage, slapping, dominance, sadism, and masochism. (The China Post, 2014)

ANSA. (2011, March 4). Italian men suffer ‘sexual anorexia’ after Internet porn use. Retrieved from ANSA.IT / ANSA English / News: http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2011/02/24/visualizza_new.html_1583160579.html


Braithwaite, S. R., Coulson, G., Keddington, K., & Fincham, F. D. (2014, September). The Influence of Pornography on Sexual Scripts and Hooking Up Among Emerging Adults in College. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(1), 111-123. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0351-x

Metro US. (2014, December 16). Men who watch too much porn enjoy sex less: study. Retrieved from Lifestyle: http://www.metro.us/lifestyle/men-who-watch-too-much-porn-enjoy-sex-less-study/zsJnlp—G0pxMmW4XT2TU/

Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnason, J., & Ezzell, M. (2014, December 03). Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(12), 1-12. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2

The China Post. (2014, May 27). Experts and activists outline porn’s effect on love relationships. Retrieved from Taiwan National News: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2014/05/27/408697/Experts-and.htm