The What and Why of Unwanted Sexual Behavior


So, What are Unwanted Sexual Behaviors?

If you find yourself here, you are battling more than sexual sin. You are fighting to become whole.  And that is why, at Regeneration Ministries, our mission is to help you face your issues and break free from patterns holding you captive.

Together, we are doing more than just kicking a habit.

Satan is loud and thick with shame, grabbing at you to keep you from breaking your habit. God, on the other hand, loves you so much He is both willing to let you walk away and wait until you return. We need to be sober about our choices.

In this episode, let’s unpack the what and why of “unwanted sexual behaviors.” There is intention and an invitation waiting just for you.  


Unwanted Sexual Behaviors – on one hand, we want it. On the other hand, we want to stop.

“The man who is lost in his passions is less lost than the man who has lost his passion.” – St. Augustine

The phrase “Unwanted Sexual Behavior” begins to acknowledge and recognize your own alignment with what God says is right and what God says is wrong.


Romans 8:18-30

Luke 15:11-32 Parable of the Prodigal son – notice how the father let his son go. God says, we are free to go. The father also welcomed his son back when he returned. God, also, anxiously and lovingly waits on us to return to Him.

Romans 5:20 “So then, the law was introduced into God’s plan to bring the reality of human sinfulness out of hiding. And yet, wherever sin increased, there was more than enough of God’s grace to triumph all the more! (TPT)

John 4:1-30 Samaritan woman

For more on this topic, check our latest article Was It When You Don’t Want to Quit

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

I was probably about 21 years old, I was a senior in college, this is going to reveal my age a little bit to you. I was at the computer lab, because most of us did not have our own computers at that time. And someone had told me about this thing called the internet. Interestingly, I already knew what email but I didn’t know about the internet yet the internet yet. And I was exploring a little bit and I had this idea. And this idea because I was already neck deep in, in my sexual behaviors and sexual sin. And I typed in a search word, just to see what would come up on the screen. I remember sitting there waiting as the screen loaded, this is back in the day of dial up as the screen loaded. And up, appeared this image, this image of this beautiful, naked woman, and my heart was pounding in my chest. And I remember to this day, I had two thoughts as I walked away from that computer lab, two thoughts, and they were competing thoughts, the first thought was, I have just struck gold, Oh, my gosh, can’t believe it just found this is amazing. The other thought I had, as a Christian man was, I have just opened Pandora’s box. And I am in a crapload of trouble now. So on the one hand, I was excited about this new discovery of I can find pornography online. On the other hand, I was terrified, and I knew that what I just discovered was bigger than me, and that I was not going to be able to control it. I could not get the genie back in that bottle. I cannot put the fire back in Pandora’s box. What is that about? For us? What is this this thing? This the nature of this thing that we call unwanted sexual behaviors? I mean, on the one hand, we want it, right? I mean, so why do we call it unwanted sexual behaviors? Because on the other hand, we don’t want it we want to stop what we’re doing. regeneration has been around for over 40 years, and we’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who have this shared experience. They echo Paul, in Romans seven, I am doing the very thing I don’t want to do. Why am I doing what I don’t want to do? They make commitments time and again, time and again, I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m not going to do that anymore. That was the last time and then something happens and they find themselves doing the thing they promised they wouldn’t do over and over again. If they swore they wouldn’t do it 1000 times, they did it 1001 times. This is the nature of sin. This is the nature of our unwanted sexual behaviors. As some might say here, why don’t you just call it sexual sin? Why do you use this phrase unwanted sexual behavior, it’s relatively a new way of talking about it. We I do sometimes say it’s sexual sin. But I’ll tell you what I like about referring to these behaviors as unwanted sexual behaviors. What I like about it is that so many people who come to regeneration, including myself, when I first came here, are just engulfed in shame about what they’re doing. They know what they’re doing is wrong, they know it’s a sin, they know they shouldn’t be doing it, they don’t need to be told it’s not a sin, or it’s a sin to do what they’re doing. This phrase unwanted sexual behavior. For those who are involved in habitual sexual sin. Part of what I think that phrase invites people to is to begin to acknowledge and recognize their own alignment with what God says is right, and what God says is wrong. They don’t just show up here, because it’s it’s sexual sin they’re doing. They also show up here because they don’t want to do it anymore. They actually agree with Paul and Romans seven, the thing that I’m doing is what I don’t want to do. And so there is this competing part going on inside of them. But I think as we begin to even talk about it as these things are unwanted sexual behaviors, I don’t want them part of what it does it it begins to empower us and reveal to us wait a minute, I there is something in me, that is on God’s side with this, there is something in me that actually wants to leave this behind, even though I slip into it, fall into it, find myself desiring it again. There’s another part of me, that doesn’t want it. This is so important. It’s so important. I remember being at one of my support group meetings, and just had a terrible time, the previous week. But my small group leader was actually pointing out several things that I did that he was like, yeah, this is really good call. This is really good move. That was really good. That was really good. I was really good. But all I could see was the fact that I had engaged in the sexual sin again. And what he was doing, he was pointing out Josh, don’t you see the part of you that is pursuing God. That is evidence of God’s work in your life. Those are first fruits. And now we’re looking at Romans eight here. Those are first fruits of what God has been doing and weaving in your life. Celebrate, nurture those first fruits, pay attention, those first fruits, you see these little sprouts of desire for something different springing up in You breathe on those water, those tend to those cultivate those. So often, we can spend so much of our time just trying to beat down the weeds, trying to get rid of the weeds in our lives that we fail to nurture the good first fruits that are already there. So if you find yourself engaged in habitual sexual sin, but you can acknowledge, yeah, as much as I want these things, as much as they feel good and natural to me, I also don’t want them I want to stop doing these things. I know this isn’t pleasing to the Lord, I know, this is not what I want for my life. I know this is not aligned with the man or the woman that I want to be, then recognize that that part of you that doesn’t like it, is evidence of God in your life. If I could say it this way, if you were a fish living in the ocean, you would not notice the water all around you. It’s your natural habitat. If you were designed for sin, and you belonged in sin, and everything in you was just naturally acclimated to sin, you wouldn’t even notice that you were doing it, your conscience wouldn’t push back against it. But the very fact that something in you is pushing back against is saying, No, I don’t want to do this. That’s evidence that there’s a different spirit in you than standing just the spirit of the age. Breathe on that, Lord, breathe on that make that something more in us. Now, what about the person who actually does want it, but it’s just pursuing change or saying they they they don’t want to send because they’re afraid that others won’t accept them? Or the God won’t accept them? If they embrace that behavior? In other words, it’s not that they don’t, it’s not that they don’t want it. It’s just that they think God and everyone else will reject them. If they embrace this and say, this is just who I am and what I do. Listen, I believe this is really, really important. That’s a great question. It is always important to own your own decision, your own your own desires here, do you want to continue to engage in this sexual behavior or not? Are you seeking freedom because you want it or because others want it for you. It’s one of the reasons that when a wife or a parent or a friend calls her ministry and says I’d like to make an appointment for so and so we say we, it’s we appreciate your heart, we’re happy to make an appointment with you. But you can’t make an appointment for somebody else. They’re an adult, they actually have to make an appointment for themselves. Because it’s kind of this first step of acknowledging Yep, this is what I want. For me. I want to move towards holiness. And there, Sarah, my life, as opposed to continue to engage in the sin. You have to want it for yourself. I also believe that God it for those who are on this journey, who for the sake of somebody else, but not really because they want to change. I believe that God exposes those places in us He exposes where we’re living in fear that he will reject us or that others will reject us. And this is part of what we discover in Jesus’s story, the prodigal son, the father, let him go, you know, the father didn’t say, No, no, you have to do the right thing. You have to stay, you have to stay. He came to the father asked for his inheritance, and the father gave it to him. We are free and God cherishes our freedom, even to the point of him being willing to see us walk away. And I believe that part of the reason he cherishes our freedom is because love, which is what he wants from us is not something that can be given if it’s coerced or forced, or done out of fear. It’s also the reason the father welcomed the son back when he realized that what he’d been seeking wasn’t really what he thought it was going to be. I believe that this is what I experience. When I first came, I had places in me that kept wanting to pursue growth and healing and holiness in the area of sexuality. Because I was definitely afraid that God would reject me if I didn’t get over it get over this stuff. And part of what I discovered through stumbling and fumbling along and continuing to love my sin, even as I had these firstfruits of love and God was just how much God did love me. Even while I continued to to indulge in my sin from time to time, I did find Paul’s words in Romans true to be true that were sin increased in my life. God’s grace increased all the more. Where I was faithless, God remained faithful, for he cannot deny Himself. And what I began to discover was that the sin that I was going after paled in comparison to the love that God had for me, he began to wound me with his love. Now, I say that with a level of sobriety, because we are not to test God. We also have to be aware that our sin actually has power to delude us and to enslave us. And when we willfully sin, we actually go into the enemy’s territory and that’s a dangerous place to be. It’s not a not a safe place to be. When we say no to God, eventually God, according to Scripture will hand us over he said, he will respect our will. But I have not found found that sin or the enemy is as as greater respecter of persons. When we involve ourselves in sin and over time, and then we say I don’t want you anymore. The enemy doesn’t say, Okay, alright, fine, hands off, like he will claw and grab and hold on to us as like a vise grip as much as he can. That’s the nature of sin nature of slavery. God on the other hand, does not enslave us in that way he leaves are will free. And so we need to be sober about the choices we make here and be recognized that at the same time, Augustine said, the man who is lost in his passions is less lost than the man who has lost his passion. Let me say that again. The man who has lost in his passions is less lost than the man who has lost his passion. Now, why do I bring that up? Because God is aware and part of the reason he preserves our our longing and our passion. He knows that when we go to sexual sin, when we go to the unwanted sexual behavior, we’re actually looking for something, we are looking for something we are thirsty for something and when we turn there, it’s it’s what we’re saying is, I believe, I’m going to find my thirst quenched here. We turn the online pornography when we sleep with someone we’re not married to, when engaging in sinful sexual behavior, with someone of the same gender, or the opposite gender, we are looking for something to quench our thirst. And, and Augustine is saying there that that, that looking that, that that natural response to our desire is actually a good thing. It is good that we are looking, it is good that we feel the thirst, it is good that we want the thirst satisfied. It’s just important where we bring that thirst. I think if you’re here of the Samaritan woman, and john for who was deeply thirsty, and Jesus knew her thirst, and he actually named her sin. It’s one of the only places in the gospels where we see Jesus naming out loud, somebodies sin, but he names her sin, He calls her out, he exposes the fact that he knows all about her. But it’s all in the context of him addressing and helping her to to admit that she is thirsty. And she does she admits it right then in there. She says to him, like, Look, if you can tell me where to get this living water, by watch, I won’t buy which I won’t thirst anymore, then tell me where do I get this water, she was willing to admit to him, her thirst. And inevitably what she found in the end, what she found was that he was what satisfied her thirst. So I think let me just wrap this up. We’re talking about unwanted sexual behaviors. Just trying to give a little context for that term. unwanted sexual behavior is the battle that we experience around that. I think we could say it this way. unwanted sexual behaviors point to a deeper thirst in us. They come from souls that feel themselves to be unwanted. These unwanted sexual behaviors come from souls that believed themselves that feel themselves to be unwanted. And so the message of Jesus and the invitation of Jesus in Christian ministry is for us to discover for you to discover that you are in fact wanted, that even the places of you that have become the most dirtied the most most sullied and addicted by sin, are wanted by God. He desires you that much, and the invitations for you to come to this one who wants you the most, so that you In turn, would come to want him the most. Our unwanted sexual behaviors become increasingly unwanted as we discover that he wants us most. And we in fact, have wanted him all along. Father, would you expose our unwanted sexual behaviors for what they really are? And we are looking for something? Would you help our hungry or thirsty hearts recognize how thirsty and hungry we are to be wanted? by a love like yours? And would you empower and enable us to love you in response. I pray this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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  • Not sure if i misunderstood the article but i didn’t find any of the what and why of unwanted sexual behavior, only some verses that state God thinks of our sex

    • Victor did you listen to the Podcast? The writing above is only a recap of the podcast episode itself.

By Matthew Snider

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