Fred Stoeker, is co-author of the best-selling Every Man series resources including Every Man’s Challenge, Every Man’s Marriage and Every Man’s Battle. We talk with Fred and Brenda his wife and co-author about the recently released, Every Heart Restored, the book for every woman who has become a casualty in the fight for sexual purity.
Fred and Brenda, in the book we hear about a man’s sexual wiring, let’s talk about that. What role does a man’s eye’s play in his sexual wiring?
(Fred) The male wiring is central to his sexuality; especially his eyes. The male eye is equipped to do things that the female eye cannot. We can draw sexual gratification straight from the environment around us. It doesn’t need to be pornography. It can be a girl walking down the street without much on; it can be a billboard or a beer commercial.
As a chemical is released in the pleasure centers of our brain, we draw that sexual gratification into our mind and we experience a pleasure high. The more we do that, the more we want to repeat it.
That is one of the reasons men so easily fall into sexual sin and the reason men get stuck in sexual sin and have a tough time getting out. So, we don’t need to have an affair; we don’t need to have three wives; we don’t need to experience pornography. Men can draw sexual satisfaction from anyone walking by.
To stay true to God and stay true to our wives, we need to train our eyes to stay controlled.
In what ways are a man’s ideas of sexual intimacy different from a woman’s?
The difference is pretty basic. Male sexuality is primarily visual, whereas female sexuality is primarily relational. Day-to-day, the practical difference is women will generally only feel sexual feelings toward individuals they have a relationship, especially of course in a marriage relationship with her husband. They will be less likely to be drawn away into another relationship or look at other men.
Men on the other hand, because they are visual, their eyes can be drawn to any skirt going by (laughs). They have the tendency to separate their sexuality from their emotions. So for example, they can have their sexual sin, their pornography, whatever they do with their eyes — they can contain that in a separate silo in their lives that is separate from the love for their wives. They can actually be very deeply in love with their wife and committed to their family and still be stuck in this sexual sin.
Another difference is that men, when they ‘pass intimacy’, their natural intimacy languages are in the things just prior to and during sexual intercourse. So their intimacy language tends to be sexual. Again, a woman’s language of intimacy tends to be relational, so they pass intimacy through a variety of ways including hugging, touching, sharing and talking.
The difference for women is sexuality is not the key part of their intimacy passage and their language. But for men, if their sexuality is cut off from them, they have a tendency to die emotionally a little bit.
Those things are the key differences that keep men and women from easily forming a healthy sexual relationship.
Fred, how can we honor that intimacy difference?
As Brenda began to express these things I began to realize that she needed the kind of intimacy that could be attained through sharing, touching, hugging, talking — things that were not that important to me. Once I knew those were important, I needed to schedule those into my life.
So one of the things we did was setup a nice chair in our bedroom, which we call the talking chair, a comfortable recliner.
So instead of falling into bed and instantly asleep at 10pm, and not getting a chance to share Brenda’s day with her, we made a rule. At bedtime, instead of going directly to the bed, I had to go first to the chair. I was then able to stay awake and provide those aspects of her relational needs before worrying about my own.
Just like male sexuality, I’ve put rules in my life to control my eyes and passions, I also had to do the same things in my marriage to establish rules and opportunities so Brenda wouldn’t be cheated out of using her language of intimacy.
We should probably step back and define sexual sin. That means different things to different people, doesn’t it?
It does, especially in our culture where there are all kinds of sexuality pouring in every direction. How we define sexual sin is how the bible defines it.
(Ephesians 5:3) We are not to have even a hint of sexual immorality in our lives. That phrase talks about visual sin — visual sensuality of all forms — not just pornography. We as Christians need to cut that out of our lives so we can be totally focused on God and totally focused on each other as Christians so we’re not hurting each other.
The best way I say it in my own words is this: Do not derive any sexual gratification at all from anything or anyone except from our spouse. I think if we keep that kind of picture in our minds, we’ll have a clear picture of God’s standard.
When a wife discovers her husband’s sexual sin, all kinds of self-doubt sneaks in — am I good enough? Does he really love me? Am I beautiful enough? — Through that devastation, can a husband still love his wife in the midst of sexual sin? Can they love each other?
Yes, they can still love their wives. Can they have the kind of relationship or the kind of oneness that God pictured for marriage? No.
The first thing that happens when sexual sin is involved in a marriage relationship is a spiritual wall comes up between the husband and wife and the oneness is shattered. No matter what’s going on in the physical realm, no matter how well he’s hiding the sin, no matter how little she knows about this sin — in the spirit realm everything is known. The enemy knows it; God knows it; everyone knows it.
As they come together in prayer, there’s no real connection. The husband is unable to pray with his wife because he knows deep down he’s a fraud and a sinner. He’s guilty and unable to connect. Also, it’s very difficult to worship together. It’s difficult to do anything of a spiritual nature except on a very shallow level.
On the emotional level, there is also a breakdown. What happens almost immediately with sexual sin is it begins to affect a man’s focus on his wife’s sexuality. It only takes six one hour sessions (it’s been proven in studies) for sexual sin to begin to breakdown the hard wiring and soft wiring of the male.
He begins to have less concern about his wife’s sexuality; He begins to have an inordinate self-view of what he’s receiving sexually. As that begins to happen, that concept of passing intimacy back and forth during sex gets fried. He’s not as concerned about passing intimacy as he is about gaining a really strong intensity in the sexual experience.
He becomes broken sexually and isn’t able to do what God intended sexuality to do. In the bible, sexuality is never spoken of as ‘one’. It’s always in the context of ‘two’. It is designed to be shared by two. It is never talked about in the context of self-gratification. Essentially, he begins to view sexuality as something for him and he begins to see his wife’s body as something ‘for him’, but not in the way the bible talks about. He sees her body as more of a warm, inflatable doll as opposed to someone he’s trying to connect with on a spiritual and emotional level.
So if a man’s sexual sin is brought to the surface and he asks forgiveness, how does a woman know he is truly repentant? How can she trust him again? What are the signs?
(Brenda) I think there are a few things a wife should look for. The husband needs to be very honest and open about what he’s been involved with. He needs to begin working to understand what kind of damage he’s created in her. This kind of sin is incredibly devastating to women. Even if he’s not had an affair, pornography can be the same in her eyes. He needs to be patient with her during that restoration; Patience is an indicator of his repentance and recognition of his sin. He shouldn’t be rushing her.
Look for trustworthy acts. If he’s reading books the wife wants him to read, if he moves the computer to a high traffic area of the home, if he allows a porn filter to be installed on the computer, if he’s willing to go to counseling, if he’s willing to accept accountability, he might ask, “What can I do to become trustworthy?” — These are signs to look for.
To expect to re-gain trust in three weeks or three months is unrealistic. Both sides need to allow plenty of time to allow that trust to re-build.
How important is it to bring a sexual sin to the attention of people outside of the marriage? Or is it important?
(Fred) It’s very important. What’s behind sexual sin is usually a level of broken intimacy with others in the world. As guys go deeper into self-gratification, they have feelings of intimacy, but it’s a false intimacy. They feel like they’re connecting with another person, but they’re not. It’s like a medication to soothe that disconnection in their lives.
As men express this to other men and begin sharing their sin, they begin to form genuine intimacy that helps them replace this false intimacy and helps eventually get the sin out of their lives.
It not only offers them support, it re-establishes connections, and gives them strength to stand up against that sexual sin ‘medication’.
Read more from Fred and Brenda at www.fredstoeker.com
Copyright © 2005 Growthtrac