If you are wrestling with unwanted sexual behaviors or recurring sexual behaviors, and want to get free, you have to know the why behind the what? What is the why, behind your specific what?
So for example, if you struggle with pornography, and you’re typically looking for a certain kind or genre, types of people, gender, or specific sexual acts in the pornography? What’s the why behind those specifics that you’re looking for?
Or if you’re acting out with other people physically, and you’re typically doing certain behaviors, or looking for certain types of people, what’s the why behind the specific kinds of people or activities you’re, you’re typically drawn to.
You can’t stop the behaviors by just knowing the what. If I know that I’m typically looking at pornography, I can get filters on my computer, I can set up accountability software, I can get rid of my smartphone and have a dumb phone. If I know I’m acting out with people through this app, I can get rid of the app.
There is merit in that, you should do that. But when you get to the why underneath it, you can actually get to the heart issue.
Today we will address Symbolism and Emotional and mental imprints that cause our sexual actions. As well as answer these questions.
- What triggers sexual desire and attraction?
- How to deal with sexual temptation?
- How can I untwist my emotional and mental imprint?
Resources mentioned in this podcast:
Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing by Jay Stringer
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This Episode’s Transcription
Hey everybody. Listen, if you are wrestling with unwanted sexual behaviors, recurring unwanted sexual behaviors, and you want to get free, you have to know the why behind the what? What is the why, behind your specific what. So for example, if you struggle with pornography, and you’re typically looking for a certain kind of pornography is a certain kind of genre of pornography, or certain types of people in the pornography or certain sexual acts in the pornography, or certain genders in the pornography? What’s the why behind those specifics that you’re looking for? Or if you’re acting out with other people physically, and you’re typically doing certain behaviors, or looking for certain types of people, what’s the why behind the specific kinds of people or activities you’re, you’re typically drawn to. And the reason the why is so important is because you can’t untangle the mess you’re in, you can’t stop the behaviors by just knowing the what I mean, you can, you can take certain actions, okay, if I, if I know that I’m typically looking at pornography, I can get filters on my computer, I can set up accountability software, I can get rid of my smartphone and have a dumb phone. If I know I’m acting out with people through this app, I can get rid of the app, on and on and on, that’s addressing the what, and there’s merit in there, there’s, that’s you want to do that too. But it’s really when you get to the why underneath it that you can actually get to the heart issue. This is because the Y is what’s driving you the Y is where the motivation is the y is where the engine is, the Y is where the the desire is kind of stirring from. And if you’re just addressing the what and responding to the what, then you’re never going to get down to the heart issue. And that’s, that’s really where the where the change happens. Out of the overflow of the mouth. The overflow the mouth is the what the heart speaks, Jesus says. And so the heart is that heart level as to why so typically, there are two different areas we want to look at, to understand the why because there in general, there are two different kinds of why. Okay, so the first is more of a symbolic, why it’s, it’s an archetype of, of something. And some of these symbols are either many of them or God made, they’re actually symbols that God wove into the fabric of creation. Some of them are also manmade. So let me give you some examples. Very specific example. So we’re gonna get PG 13, here for a minute. So, for example, when God created Adam and Eve in His image and likeness, man and woman in His image and likeness in Genesis 126, we can recognize there there’s something about God’s invisible attributes that are made visible through through their physical bodies. And Paul writes about this in Romans one, God’s invisible eternal attributes are made visible through His creation, including human beings because he made human beings in His image and likeness. So for example, what do a woman’s breasts symbolize on that? By God’s design? What do they symbolize? What do they represent? And I’d suggest things like nourishment, comfort, tender care, these are all attributes that God, the God has, he has in their invisible in him, but he nourishes us, He comforts us, He cares for us, he is tender with us. These are all attributes of of God, and they are represented their symbols symbolized imaged in a woman’s breasts. How about a man’s strength and maybe a man’s chest, his back his arms? Not that women can’t be strong. I don’t mean that. But God has given men the capacity that doesn’t always it isn’t always real and each man but but in a, in a broad sense. Men have have a capacity for greater muscle mass. Why is that? What is that image about God? Well, maybe something of God’s strength, his his protective nature, his, his ability to to, to, to add form and structure to something. What about women’s female genitalia? There’s something there of, of union, right? I mean, God is He is three and one he’s not sexual. But he is three and one Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and there’s something in male and female genitalia that can come together in union. So there’s something symbolic about a woman’s genitalia and a man’s genitalia that come together. They symbolize by God’s design, union, acceptance, home, all of those kinds of things. So as you find yourself or if you find yourself drawn to specific body parts, it’s possible that some of what you’re what you’re searching for some of the why is that you’re searching for some of those deep, deeper heart issues that that those physical body parts represent that they image. And so maybe you’re looking for nourishment, comfort, tender care, maybe you’re looking for a union connection, acceptance home, maybe you’re looking for strength or protection or confidence. Maybe you’re looking for, I mean, another reality about male or female genitalia is that they’re procreative, right? Man and woman are procreative when they come together. So maybe you’re looking for on a deep heart level, you’re looking for life. You’re looking for impact. You’re looking for fruitfulness. If you’re and you and you can you can even get a hint of these things by asking yourself, for example, do I feel my life level of futility in my life right now? A lack of fruitfulness? Well, could it be that part of my draw towards male female genitalia right now is is I want life I want impact. Are you lacking nourishment? tender care comfort? Are you feeling uncomfortable? Are you feeling undernourished? Are you feeling uncared for? Well, those might be reasons that you’re drawn to these these simple symbolic representations that are woven in by God’s designed into into male and into female. I hope that makes sense. Now, they’re also manmade symbols that exist in this category. And so it doesn’t take long to recognize that, that what I’ve just described, the culture has taken those things and run with them in certain directions. And so they’ve they’ve idolized or lifted up certain certain types of breasts, certain types of male genitalia, or female genitalia, certain body types, and said these, this is the ideal, this is this, this is where the real pleasure is. And so they’re manmade symbols there that are fallen, distorted, eclipsing the full scope of what God designed the body to be. That’s another podcast altogether. But, but maybe that’s part of what you’re, you’re drawn to there. So just pay attention to that as well. Now, the second category, outside of that kind of archetypal symbol, especially the God God designed ones, is also just a level of an emotional imprint, a mental imprint on your life. And so again, we’re going to talk symbolically here but, but there are things that you’ve experienced in your life in your past, either sexual experiences that you’ve had sexual things that were done against you. Very difficult, wounding seasons, or experiences or relationships that you’ve had trauma that you’ve been through. And with each of those, there’s an emotional imprint or there can be an emotional imprint, that is that has made its mark on your heart, on your mind. Even even in your body. They can can these can leave marks neural pathways. Bessel Vander, Vander Kolk says the Body Keeps the Score the body remembers there’s, there’s neurobiology that plays into this. But on an emotional mental level, there’s an imprint. So maybe it’s something that you saw, some of that you were exposed to, some of that was done to you. That included a specific body part or body parts or a specific type of person, a male or female, a large person, a small person, a person of a certain ethnicity. Maybe it happened in a certain area. I can you know, I know that for some people for this is an easy example. But for some people there are certain times of the year where they experienced more temptation, because there’s something that happened in that time of year in that season, that left a mental emotional imprint on them. That stirs that temptation up every year. So it may be as simple as that
could also be complex in the sense if there was a trauma you experienced or woman you wouldn’t you experience. Jay stringer writes in his book unwanted that oftentimes our sexual acting out the things that we’re drawn to in our sexual sexual arousal template are attempts to reverse or repeat the trauma that we’ve experienced attempts to reverse or repeat the trauma we experienced. And so this is this would be the case for example of a woman who gets into relationship with an abusive person again and again and again there’s there’s something deep in her that is seeking to repeat that which happened to her over and over again. Or for example, a man or woman who might seek out pornography or a fantasy where they have power over another person that might be trying to reverse an experience where they feel like they were they were overpowered by someone in their past or and maybe that’s even being triggered by a sense of being overpowered today. And so that’s that gives you a little glimpse and there’s much more and you can look at Jay stringers book on wanted to give you a broader sense of of how that that emotional mental imprint is actually playing itself. out with present day temptation. So looking for patterns in, in, in your, in the things that arouse you looking for patterns in the kind of pornography you pursue or the kind of behaviors you pursue or the kind of person you’re drawn to, can help illuminate whether or not there is some type of God made symbol behind it, or whether or not this is has to do some kind of mental emotional imprint that’s been left on you. That’s that help you get off to the why now, in response to the why there are two different ways that we want to respond depending on which of those two it is. So if this is a god made symbol that you’re after, and that’s, that’s part of what’s drawing you to that specific behavior or, or person or body part. Then you want to pursue what it’s symbolizing, you want to pursue the underlying heart need, or or bodily need that you have that’s underneath that sexual temptation. The sexual temptation is a diversion from what you’re really after. Are you malnourished? Are you without comfort? Are you are you need a comfort? Are you lacking care? Do you feel lonely, then pursue nourishment, pursue godly comfort, pursue, pursue tender loving care, pursue connection in meaningful ways. And these things will help to meet those legitimate needs, instead of going to the illegitimate sources that help you meet those needs in legitimate ways. And if you and you may need help, you may need help figuring out what those legitimate things are that you’re after. And you may need help in learning now, how do I how do I handle these things address these things in healthy ways. I’ve taken them into these unholy unhealthy places for so long. How do we do this in a healthy way. And often if you begin your sexual behavior, when you’re young, it may be that you never learned how. And so that would be a reason to get some good spiritual coaching from regeneration. Or to read more of our work or talk to a good friend or pastor, somebody can help you unpack those things are good therapist. So you want to pursue the underlying those underlying desires. If if it has to do with a God given symbol. Now, if it has to do with a mental emotional imprint, and you’re either trying to repeat or reverse a wound that you experienced, or a negative behavior that you experienced, you don’t want to pursue those negative behaviors anymore. Now what you want to do is you need to attune to the wound and seek healing you need to you need help in figuring out now what happened to me. When was it in my life that this happened? And and now how can I heal from this? In other words, how can I untwist this emotional mental imprint, and unplug it from that old experience and then begin practicing plugging into a new experience, because the wound happened in a relational experience. So the healing is going to happen in a relational experience. And that’s, that’s a journey to where you’re in, you would benefit from spiritual coaching or seeing a therapist talking through. But one way you may even begin to explore this is an exercise that we’ve adapted from Dr. Doug Weiss called, which is really just making a list of of your life in five year increments. And for each of those five year increments of zero to five, six to 1011 to 15. On and on until your present age, right, write down, make three columns and write down what was good about that season? What happened? What experiences did you go through relational experiences you had, that were good, what were bad experiences, you had relational experiences that you had, and what were ugly experiences that you had. And you might even include, they’re things that just were were a little weird or off but you’re not sure where they go and just make make a list you can just and this will take you some time, but that may begin to uncover for you some seasons around which you began to have some emotional mental imprints that are that you’re still trying to play out today by reversing repeating them. Interestingly, in my own story, I found that there were very significant events like that experiences I had right around the exact same time that I began acting out sexually in the various ways that I did. And so I could see a very like almost draw straight line from within a three year span between my sexual acting out in some significant trauma in wounds that I experienced. And so that that helped me to get some traction and oh, this is what I’m looking for. This is what’s going on here. And I need to get some healing around these things. So I don’t keep bringing it to the sexual acting out. Friends understanding the why behind the what of your sexual acting out. And whether it’s pursuing a God ordained God given symbol, something deeper and meaningful, or whether it’s messing with or trying to deal with a mental emotional imprints you have from some trauma or wounds in your past. It’s going to help you tremendously to move forward from just behavior management, to really getting some healing and recovery and some growth in your life and waste will make a huge, huge difference. If we can be of help to you. We are here bless you.