Hello friends,

I want to let you know of a free seminar I’m doing in the Allentown, PA area at Calvary Temple church on Saturday morning, October 16th. Doors open at 8am and I will be speaking from 9-12 (with breaks) on the very important topic The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It! Stopping It! Surviving It!

Best of all, it is FREE! That’s right. Seminars of this kind usually cost to attend, but you can come totally free of charge and bring as many friends as you want. The sessions will be for not only those experiencing destructive relationships but the people who help them. Pastors, counselors, lay leaders, church leaders are all welcome to attend. This event is being sponsored by Truth for Women in the Lehigh Valley which is opening a women’s resource center. They will be taking an offering and all proceeds will go to funding this important ministry. For more information you can go to

http://www.truthforwomencenter.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=vmKRy%2bBl2Os%3d&tabid=632&mid=1875

To register, their phone number is 610-866-5715.

Please spread the word. We’d love to see the church completely full.

Today’s Question: I’ve been married for 15 years. My husband and I are active in our church. We were married at a very young age and have a strong walk with the Lord. Every single day I’m aware of my sinfulness. I’ve been working up the nerve for several years to ask you this question.

My husband is very loving. I suspect that the problem is on my end. When we come together sexually, I can only “climax” if I am thinking dirty thoughts. You can imagine that after fifteen years of confessing this, my repentance feels like a joke. I really want to change. I say “dirty” because the thoughts revolve around sinful things. I have no clue if other women struggle with this, there is so much shame wrapped up in it, I would not be able to ever say anything to another person about it face to face.

I suspect my problem is due to years of masturbation in my teen years which was always accompanied by these type of thoughts. Since I’ve been married masturbation is not an issue, my husband and I have a healthy sex life, it is just this pilgrim’s progress type of load that I carry on my back filled with eighty pounds of shame. One of the reasons that I want to change is because I do not feel like I am present during lovemaking, I am off in my own fantasy, and I would like to really LOVE my husband during lovemaking. Can you help?

Answer: We often read and hear a lot about men’s problems with lustful and impure thoughts but women struggle with them too, we just don’t talk about it as much. Readers, let’s be honest here and help this sister realize she is not alone in her shame of sinful sexual fantasies.

That said, let’s also remember that we have an enemy (Satan) that seeks to destroy every part of our lives, including one of the most precious gifts God has given us, our sexuality.

I’m going to give you something to try in order to break this pattern. It will not be easy and it will call for some hard work on your part but I believe that if you are faithful in practicing your part, God can heal your sexual responses.

First, I want you to understand that our most important sexual organ is not between our legs but between our ears. Your thought life has sexually stimulated you to a powerful orgasm for years through your sinful fantasies. Our brain is hardwired to develop habits and now your habituated sexual thoughts are the quickest, easiest way to achieve orgasm. It’s like a super highway. It takes no effort to get to the desired goal.

In addition to that, when we are sexually stimulated to orgasm, our brain releases a powerful chemical called dopamine, which feels really good. Dopamine activates our pleasure centers and creates a reward circuit in the brain. We like it and we crave more. One author says, “You can think of dopamine as the “I’ve got to have it” neurochemical, whatever “it” is. It’s the “craving” signal.”

Trying to reach orgasm without engaging in those sinful fantasies right now is like trying to plow a new road through a forest of trees. It’s tough. It’s much easier and faster to go on the super highway already available.

Another chemical that is released during lovemaking is called oxytocin. It is dubbed the “bonding” chemical because it helps us fall in love with our newborns and helps keep us “in love” with our spouse. It has more to do with the pleasure of cuddling and connection than the powerful pleasure surge of orgasm. You stated that one of the reasons that you want to deal with this problem is because you do not feel like you are present during lovemaking. You said, “I am off in my own fantasy, and I would like to really LOVE my husband during lovemaking.”

That is where you are going to make a change. Here is what I want you to do. I want you to be focused on lovemaking – stirring up those oxytocin chemicals, cuddling, affectionate, loving your husband during lovemaking. Your goal is NOT orgasm, in fact you’re going to have to work hard to not go down the super highway of your sexual fantasies that ensure an orgasm even though everything in your body will crave it and scream “I’ve got to have it NOW”. The truth is, you won’t die if you don’t have an orgasm for a while and it will be a good time for you to focus on what lovemaking feels like being totally present, even if you don’t reach orgasm.

As you lay down your desire for orgasm, and ask God to give you a greater ability to be present in your lovemaking with your husband, I believe that God will begin to heal the mowed down paths in your brain that have been habituated to sinful fantasies and give you new paths to experience great pleasure, including orgasm, with your husband in mutual lovemaking.

I applaud you for risking asking such a private and personal question. I wish we could be more authentic with one another in the body of Christ. Perhaps we’d all feel closer and more connected if we stopped pretending we’re more together than we really are. Let us all know how your healing journey is going. I suspect more readers than you will be trying these things.

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15 Comments

  1. Anonymous on August 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you for your frank response on this issue that has been such a stumbling block and the source of much pain in my own marriage. Due to both my own sin and the sin of my husband our sex life has become practically non-exsistent. After twenty-four years of marriage I just thought we would continue to live without "it". But you have given practical advice which I can apply to my situation and have given me hope that we could still have a satisfing sex life.

  2. Anonymous on September 1, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Dear Un-named Sister,
    My heart is pounding and my palms are sweating just from thinking about leaving a comment. I can't imagine what you went through working up the courage to be so vulnerable! I applaud you too; for your honesty and your desire to change. You're not alone in your struggle. I have a feeling that many of us are just living a variation of the same theme. I know I was; might still be if my husband and I were together, but we're not. My fantasies came from movie scenes and novels. Sometimes I would read these types of books inorder (I rationalized) to psyche myself up for sex when my husband came to bed. The trouble was, the guy I was making love to in my fantasies didn't resemble my husband at all. Worse yet, I was living in the illusion that "as long as I climaxed, our sex life was good. And a good sex life equaled a good marriage and proved that I was a good wife, satisfying the needs of my husband." Not so. The reality of our marriage was that it was unhealthy. I see that now. There are times, still, when I am tempted to live in a fantasy world of relational and sexual thrills – and I've slipped a few times. I'm learning though, that the HARD work of surrendering my thoughts and desires to God and letting him fill the holes in my heart is WAY more life-giving.God bless and give you inner strength in your journey to healing and life.

  3. Anonymous on September 1, 2010 at 4:57 am

    I think this is a far more common problem than most people, especially women, are willing to talk about or get help for.

    For me, my husband exposed to me to pornography when we were dating and although repulsed by it, I was willing to part take in it to please him. Unfortunately, those images became my sexual fantasies and were the only way of climaxing.
    Now having left an abusive marriage and hoping to one day find a loving Christian man, I worry about being able to let go of those sinful thoughts that could interfere with a loving relationship.
    This post was very helpful.

  4. Anonymous on September 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you ladies for risking and being honest about this struggle! I have not personally struggled with this but have talked with many women who have and it breaks my heart with how bound they feel; you are not alone. You are courageous in sharing and seeking help. Being honest and vulnerable we as sisters in Christ can help each other break free from the guilt and shame that Satan would love for us to remain stuck in. God can transform your sexual experiences from dirty into beautiful as he desires them to be. Praying for steadfastness as you "plow a new road."
    Blessings.

  5. Anonymous on September 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    You are not alone. I have the same issue. I am ashamed to say that I continually question my husbands thought life, maybe because my rationale was if I struggle with lustful thoughts during our times together, how much more (as a man) must he be sinning in this way! I get very jealous when he looks at women and accuse of him of lusting. I am very suspicious of him which has become very destructive. I know I'm being a hypocrite, unforgiving and unloving. I know I need help. I was looking for practical ways to turn away from thinking lustful thoughts and I have been somewhat successful by intentionally fantasizing about JUST my husband. But now I will try the advice given and give up my want/DEMAND for an orgasm and just focus on the love and affection. But what if my husband insists on making me reach an orgasm? I cannot tell him why.

  6. K.R. on November 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I thought I was pretty much alone in this struggle, and appreciate your courage to ask this question. I was raised in a home where pornography was acceptable, and as a child I found it, and of course, was lured by it's illicit trap. There are still images and wording in my mind from beginning around 35 years ago that I struggle with during lovemaking. These images were reinforced when as a young teenager I learned about masturbation, and was compulsively drawn to pornography. I've often felt that healthy sexuality as it was supposed to be given by God was stolen from me. But I know that God is a restorer of those things that were lost. I appreciate the advice in this blog and the other comments, and will implement it. I know that through Jesus I/we can have the victory, and that my husband and I CAN enjoy the beautiful sex life that God created for us… in Jesus' Name. Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

  7. Susie on March 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I am so thankful for this post. I have thought for years that I was alone, dirty, broken and after years of repenting and falling right back into the sin, I am convinced God is done with me.
    I was sexually abused by both my dad and brother growing up. My brother would want me to masterbate to get ready for him. Although he never actually had sex with me, he tried and there was a lot of touching oral sex, etc.
    I began to be with other guys as I got I to my teens. I would have fantasies of sex a certain way. I was shown porn a couple of times, and even though I was embarassed, I thought about those scenes a lot.
    I was saved 20 years ago. I love my husband very much. We don’t have an active sex life, and I struggle still with masterbating when feeling get too overwhelming. He is a good man, just tired and a little bit of health issues.
    I have fantasized during sex for so long, I don’t know how to stop. I can’t ever have an orgasim without certain pictures running through my head. It’s never another guy with me. It’s other people, like in a porn situation. Or like stories In my head.
    I feel like I repent, and a couple months later I’m right back at it again. I hate myself for this. I want the bondage to break. I have begged God to wash me clean. Even though these things were pushed on me as a child, I take full responsibility. It kills me to think how much this would hurt my husband if he knew.
    I have never confessed this to anyone but God. I can only be blunt now because no one will ever know who I am on here.
    I need freedom. I need to know I can still be forgiven. I love Jesusfor all he has ever done for me. I know this is a slap in his face. So why can’t I stop?

    • Leslie Vernick on March 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you for your honesty. You may want to read the book, NO Stones by Marnie C Ferree who also struggled with a sexual addiction. However it is evidenced, sex begins in the brain and because of your early experiences, your brain was assaulted with images you were too young to process properly. Even when we’re older, these images can become seared in our brain and difficult to remove. You are not alone. Tons of women struggle with this and I applaud your bravery in speaking up and sharing your story. God knows what you’ve been through. He doesn’t throw stones at you. He will help you, but sometimes the consequences and scars of someone’s sin against us last a lifetime. But that doesn’t mean God can’t use it for our good and his glory.

  8. SJ on July 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    What if abuse has just really messed all the sexual stuff up? What if the painful stuff, shameful stuff, seems right instead of wrong, good instead of bad? Do you believe God will forgive us even for abusing our bodies in this manner? Do you really believe He offers healing in this area? A sexual healing? I realize I didn’t cause the abuse even though I was an adult not a child, but I did carry it on. I hurt me like he did. I know it doesn’t justify, but it seemed to be the only way to deal with the pain I was in. I’m ashamed. If God knows everything than He must know what those years included and how I have done my best to deal with those things. I hope He can forgive me. I am facing the beginning of a new relationship and afraid of going into it with all this baggage. Can one heal while not in a sexual relationship? If there is a chance at a sexual healing then I will pay whatever the cost!!!

    • Leslie Vernick on July 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

      SJ I believe healing is possible and I’d encourage you to visit Shannon Ethridge’s site at shannonethridge.com. She offers material, coaching and a retreat for women to heal in this area. God can and does forgive. He knows what you’ve been through. But he also wants to heal you and help you not repeat damaging destructive behaviors.

      • SJ on July 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        Thank you

  9. Jeff on November 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    RE: I wish we could be more authentic with one another in the body of Christ. Perhaps we’d all feel closer and more connected if we stopped pretending we’re more together than we really are.

    . . . That is such an awesome, refreshing comment (if we stopped pretending, we’d all feel closer) —-sure we’d closer. Everybody would be totally broken, undone and uncertain before God. But all the power bases would shift because not pretending dismantles everything.

    . . . If we went around in the church being honest: 100% of men have\are using porn; women are masturbating to fantasies, reading porn versus looking at it, committing emotional adultery (men too); the accountability groups turn people into experts at hiding –the recidivism must be HUGE (Maybe close to 100%). If we were honest about the stacks of peer reviewed studies showing promiscuous sex is actually more natural for humans than monogamy (I have lots of friends who are medical researchers, I have seen the shocking explanatory, –backed by solid facts/arguments, serious longevity data research that that is the case). Researchers already know women are as promiscuous as men, IF free of all the social and institutional conditioning (e.g., religions, etc.) –And promiscuous is not in this context carrying any pejorative connotation, simply referring to a willingness/desire to have sexual relations with many different partners, and having sex frequently. . . . .That’s a train wreck. That’s just too honest. . .

    –Look at hell, it’s not even culturally available in churches anymore. In people’s minds God just forgives everybody for everything. . .Yeah, I had a little talk with Jesus and he told me I was all good (Yeah, obviously, you have not read the manuscripts honestly).

    . . . . Women are awake to the fact that they should NOT stay in bad marriages and what is bad will become increasingly wide (As it should have always been!) —Just like slaves should never have obeyed their harsh masters. It doesn’t matter what the Bible says if culture moves on. It becomes culturally unavailable –just like hell is now.

    . . . I was having my personal devotions in the book of Jude today (Jude 1:9) Michael, the archangel and Satan are disputing over body of Moses (I have a Ph.D. in New Testament, I know what it is clearly saying). —Just let that sink in a second because that is JUST crazy talk. That is a common pagan myth I see in the Dead Sea Scrolls (For example: Testament of Amram (4Q543, 545-548)) They just use different names. —A postmortem dispute in which Satan demands Moses’s corpse, protesting that Moses mortgaged it to him. . . Now, just how crazy does scripture have to be before we say enough! (–Before we stand up, put our hand out like a policeman and scream STOP God). Is God’s test how effectively we can shut down our rational reasoning abilities? . . . . –No, God will be waiting with open arms for those who DID NOT blindly believe. Just like Islam has sent people off to institutions for being gay, being a female with sexual desires, learning how the solar system truly operates.

    . . . Right now I’m reading “On the Historicity of Jesus” 2014 by Dr. Richard Carrier. That book is UNANSWERABLE and I have a Ph.D. in New Testament. This is the best book I’ve ever read on the historicity of Jesus. It is brilliantly presented and backed up with solid, unassailable logical arguments and scholarly evidence. . . .But I simply can’t deal with Jesus in the No-Spin Zone. I want my story-book Jesus!!! I can’t accept the fact that the Christ-of-faith IS NOT the Jesus-of-history. Many pastors have told me during my life that most of the things we know about Christianity’s origins are better left unsaid. . . .But Dr. Carrier says them all! The truth WILL set you free BUT first it will BREAK your heart.
    I know my church’s beliefs have NOT made contact with the last 275 years of Biblical Research and Archeology and that is where my pastor’s outrageous certainty comes from. I talk to lots of people and I can tell by their comments that they don’t care if it’s true, they like Christianity because of the way it makes me feel. It gives them certainty –false certainty. The whole deal is reduced to just probability statements. Here is a properly documented statement of what we KNOW: If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath probably raised him from the dead, thou shalt most likely be saved. Our facts reduce it to what NO ONE wants: probability statements. When you tell people the real story no one is just going to run down and isle and say they know.

    Here is what honesty sounds like: Christianity is about certainty. Anyone who begins by loving Christianity more than the TRUTH, will proceed by loving their own denomination or church better than Christianity, and end in loving themselves better than all. At the end of the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, there is a diagram showing a toy locomotive engine labeled “fact,” pulling a freight car labeled “faith,” followed in turn by a superfluous caboose tagged “feeling.” I suspect what everybody already knows, that it is the caboose that is pulling the train, and pulling it backwards. Faith is based “firmly” upon feeling, and certain notions are postulated as “fact” because of the security they afford to the sick soul who seeks a port in the existential storm.

    If we are really, really truthful we ARE going to have tons of intimacy (no doubt about) and that sounds so, so cool. —But that would require everyone to be authentic/ honest at the same time because those NOT honest would lie and crucify those who were honest.

  10. Lyman on April 20, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Its AMAZING just how much people get flaked out on religion !! Sex between a man and his wife is what God wants and it is never a dirty subject !!! I have seen instances of religion(cults) ordering husbands that they can never have sex with their wife and the church will have certain male members to give the wives sex while the husband hold their hand and watches !!! That church?? The FLDS in southern Utah. They are SICK!!!!!!! Church is great as long as it does not drive people crazy with far out beliefs. Warren Jeffs and his church FLDS in ONLY one example of controlling members to do ANYTHING they say. ANYTHING done within marriage and agreeable to both a husband and his wife is only a normal part of marriage. Another example of religion corrupting peoples morals is the Reverend Jim Jones, who moved his church to Guyana and MURDERED 1000 men, women and children !! He also believed that he was God and regularly had sex with all the women in that church !! He taught them that they always let him(God) have anything he said. SICKO’S Ladies, a marriage has to have a good sex aspect to it to be successful. Quit beating yourself up !!!!!

  11. Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    I believe this is truly an answer from god for me. Thank you so much for the boldness in both sharing the struggle as well as in the answer. ♥

    • Leslie Vernick on July 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      YOu are so welcome. It’s not something we often talk about in Christian circles, but I’m glad you found some encouragement.

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