When You Want Sex but Can’t Have It


Join Josh and Kit as the unravel the God-given longing for sexual desire, for physical touch and the longing for something much much bigger.


…to be seen, to be heard, to be understood…

…what if we would wait, and see what God would do…

…I think we live in a culture that ignores the souls longing and just listens to the body…

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Kit 0:04
Last year, I was walking with a client who was in her early 40s. She was single, and she really, really wanted to be in a sexual relationship, she obviously wanted to be in a intimate relationship. But that wasn’t a part of her life. And so she just confessed to me that she really liked sex, she wanted to have sex, and she had made the decision that she was going to get involved in this relationship with someone that was kind of pretty, just sexual, wasn’t intimate, wasn’t committed. And I could see in her eyes, that there was a little bit of excitement, but also pain. And I think she was torn. She was torn, like, what do I do with this desire to be physically sexually active and involved? And what do I do with the fact that I know that’s not fully all that I want.

Josh 1:24
I remember a guy that walked with for a while whose wife had cancer, he’s married. So but because of his wife’s physical condition, or illness, they were not having sex. And it was not a possibility for them for a long, long season. He really, really wanted to have sex, he, he loved his wife. He also enjoyed sex and was missing it. And one of the questions he brought up, and I think the question we’re going to try to tackle today, or at least begin to talk about is, what do you do when you really want to have sex? And you really want that physical pleasure? And it’s not available to you? Yeah, no,

Kit 1:58
it’s great question and a hard one.

Josh 2:00
So kid would what do you do? I’ll put it up here. And if you noticing, I have only half a voice today. So I’ll try to speak loudly. But what are some things that you so what what, what would you say to this young woman, and these are different situations. So one is a married man who’s trying to walk with his wife. One is a single woman. But in both situations, neither of them have any guarantee that there’s going to be a change in their situation, that’s going to open up the possibility for them to have sex within marriage as God designed it. And so they’re facing kind of a, you know, a horizon, that doesn’t guarantee that they’re going to have sex, again, unless they decide to go against what what God teaches about reserving sex for marriage, and doing this in some other way.

Kit 2:46
Yeah, and I think the first thing that I would want to do and did do was just to affirm this desire. And just to be like, you know, that is so normal, and so really healthy to have a desire for that. So just to normalize it, you know, to make sure she doesn’t feel judged or shame about it.

Josh 3:10
On some level, you want to say, well, gosh, that makes sense. Because sex really does feel good. Like, you know, yeah, we like to feel good. Yes, God, God created to feel good and creative human beings to, to want to feel physical pleasure. Yeah.

Kit 3:22
And so for this young, this woman, I think it was really important to be seen, to be heard to be understood like this, I’m being honest with you, this is really where I am. And then I think it’s also, you know, just important to talk it through, like, I know, I know, you say you want physical pleasure, and I and I get it, I understand, but what else do you think you’re looking for? And can we talk through, you know, play this out a little bit? how that actually be for you? And, you know, so that it’s not just watching a movie and thinking, Oh, you know, that worked out for her, you know, I think it’ll be fine for me to like, what, what does this really mean to you and to your life?

Josh 4:06
So I mean, I hear you saying two things. One is, is underneath the desire for sex. You sure there’s a desire for physical pleasure. But sex is never just sex, there’s always a longing that our our, that our soul has involved in. And I think we live in a culture that that ignores the souls longing, and just listens to the body. And so we we take the souls longing and we turn towards food or sex or entertainment or whatever. And we feel all sorts of physical pleasure feel physical sensations. And our and our souls are still there atrophying, they’re dying. And so what you’re saying is this, like, let’s examine, is it possible that some of the energy behind your desire for sex is fueled by something that your soul is longing for? That’s actually bigger and broader? Yes, that could include sex if you’re married, but that is actually something more than just that. And then the other thing I heard you say, we can get back into that if you want to. But the other thing I heard you say was, what are the actual ramifications? What are the implications? And are you willing to pay those? If you were to move into a sexual relationship with this man outside of marriage? So yeah, so Tim Yeah.

Kit 5:19
Well, to the first part, I think it really is key to get to this idea of a soul longing. And there are things that a sexual relationship with a man would meet that are very unique, but there are a lot of other things that a relationship with a man, whether it’s a friendship, or an intimate relationship would meet. And I remember reading a book by a woman who was single, who struggled with this a lot. Along the way, she decided there were some things that she wanted in friendships with men. And so she sought it out, you know, like, one of her friends husband, or pastor at our church, or a friend of her dad’s like, so she, there were certain things one, she wanted to talk to one of them she felt really safe with this person to talk about finances. Another one was to talk about, you know, things that she was struggling with in her life. And she wanted a male perspective. And that helped her a lot. And it

Josh 6:22
didn’t take away the the sexual desire, but it did meet soul longings, because sex at its core, then down into the soul of a person, because we are not just body we are, we are soul and we are a body. And so when we’re treating one we’re treating the other they are connected. And so, so she began to think relationally about what she was looking for, and and finding that even though it didn’t, maybe it didn’t fulfill all the the physical desire for the sexual stimulation, she was after something else was being touched there. Yeah. It’s also worth saying here that, that in the moment of intense sexual temptation, you might need a different solution, then yeah, call your dad’s friend talking about finances, right? We’re talking about those we’re talking about nurturing our souls and nurturing ourselves as as, as body spirit creatures, how do we take care of ourselves in such a way that those in the longing for physical sexual pleasure, doesn’t become something so overpowering? I think about this, this, this man with whose wife was ill. And some of his longing was for the union with his wife that he had had the opportunity where it wasn’t just him serving her. It was her serving him was them together. There was a longing for four days past that the place where they weren’t anymore, a longing for her body to be whole. Long, yeah, held by her. So one of the things that they did was they they did practice just holding each other, she could do that. And it was a challenge for him in some ways, because holding had had in the past have led to sex. And so they were learning a different kind of intimacy. Yeah. And, and it and it came with some suffering. Yeah, you know, I mean, it. And some, and I think even initially in intensified the longing, because he was used to holding moving into sacks. But it was a, it was such a, it brought them as a couple to it to a different place and him to a different place in his love for his wife.

Kit 8:33
And that’s really important because our sexual relationships, you’re in a marriage or sexual relationship. And we’ve talked about this before, we’ll go through different stages, and to widen it into intimacy in ways that, you know, are more and more inclusive of holding and talking and kissing or holding hands or, you know, hugging those things are really important. And I think, again, we’re driven by what we you know, the culture in some ways, the movies and the songs and we’re just saturated, which, which is going back to the single woman it’s in a way it’s similar in that you know, the truth is that sex is very powerful and really significant. And how we think about it will really impact how we feel about it. So for this woman friend of mine, or even your your gentleman you’re talking about how are they choosing to think about this if my my client is being is thinking, I need sex and nothing but sex will do for me, then then that’s going to be a self fulfilling prophecy. There’s going to be no I have to have it if there’s ways of thinking about it, like, okay, that’s a desire I have. That’s not something I want to choose right now. What are some other things I want to do with my body, I want to take a run, I want to start working out, I want to learn to meditate. I don’t know, you know, those things again, they aren’t they’re not a switch, flip the switch and a miracle, you know, in the moment, but living that way and choosing that way will make a difference.

Josh 10:16
Yeah, I mean, if you’re in a situation in your life where sex is not available to you, it will do you good to not watch movies, or not read books, to not be in situations where you’re confronted with and that desire is stirred. And you know, the Song of Solomon, right, you know, do not awaken or Rouse love before it’s time. And I think, whether you’re a you know, a person, a married person on a business trip, who was somebody I was talking to, or maybe it’s a different podcast, I was heard somebody talking about a spouse who’s whose loved one was overseas, deployed in Iraq or something like that. And so that the their spouse wouldn’t stray, they were sending them pornography. So you know, kind of as a, almost this flirtatious thing, and I was thinking that, what it would have set up for, to really Stoke sexual desire as opposed to stewarding sexual desire.

Unknown Speaker 11:13

Josh 11:14
The other thing I think we have to talk about here is how, you know, Paul writes in First Corinthians that our bodies are really not our own. They’re meant to be an offering that we give to the Lord. And so if we’re talking to, to a Christian person in Christ falling person, yeah, part of the part of we have to reckon with is God does not call us God actually calls us away from being mastered by our sexual desires, to a place of mastering our sexual desires, being able to store them. That’s a lifelong process. It’s a it’s a, it’s a challenging thing. And it’s, it’s beyond the scope of this podcast, but it’s a part of the work that we do here as we walk with men and women is helping people to learn to steward their sexual desire, which is very different than shutting it off. Right, very different than denying it and pretending that, you know, I’m not a sexual being, I might as well just, you know, or that’s, you know, bad, bad, bad. I shouldn’t I shouldn’t do that. That that is not at all what we’re talking about, as a sexual being with sexual desire. Who’s made for even by God’s designed physical union with another human being? How do I store that part of myself with honor and dignity, without it becoming something that controls me and gets inflamed? Yeah.

Kit 12:20
The importance of talking that through with someone, you know, just sitting with somebody at a safe place where you can be real about this? And have somebody be like, well, let’s talk about that. You know, like, one of the things I asked this young woman, this woman, and I asked clients is like, okay, so do you have this desire, this feels like something you want to do? Let’s, let’s talk this through, let’s play this out. What will you be giving away? With? Is it just your physical body? Is there anything else that you, you know, could be giving away that you really don’t want to give away, but you’ll, you know, it might be too late, if you walk into this and innocently, give away something that’s deeper than just your sexual body or your physical body? And I think I could see, you know, kind of some awakening happen in her when we talked about that, that you know, what, it isn’t really that simple. Is it? I still want this. But you’re right. I am, it is risky, that I’m going to be giving away something I’m really not ready to do that.

Josh 13:25
There are two directions that conversation go are both. One is what are the what is actually the full implications of, you know, sex when you want it?

Unknown Speaker 13:35

Josh 13:36
And including whether were the negative consequences, because because sex is never just sex, and we live in a culture that says, or you can get together with somebody and just bodies, you and I know from our work here, it’s never just bodies, right? It might feel like that in a moment. And it’s not, it’s not God, God designed when to become when two people have sex, they become one flesh. Some Christian teachers also include in that, that when you join your body with another person, you’re actually opening the domain, the meaning that God’s given you in your body to someone else’s dominion, and they will talk about it this way. And I believe this. If you’re if you think about your your body as a kingdom, that God has given you and you your your call, distorted to be to rule over it. Until to allow the Lord ultimately to rule over and you open that the doors of your kingdom so to speak to another kingdom, then any of the forces in that other kingdom, any of the things that are empowering that of the kingdom, you’ve now given them access to your life. So spiritually speaking there, there can be negative, constantly demonic con consequences. And I was talking to a pastor here recently, not recently, but last year, some time he was talking about a young man he knows who had never struggled with certain types of fantasies or sexual temptations. Who Oh, no, no, I’m sorry. He had never struggled with depression and he just stopped came out of nowhere, and he was like what’s going on here and, and as he and his pastor kind of begin digging into a little bit, he found that his this young man had become sexual with his girlfriend, and the girlfriend suffered from depression. And so all of a sudden his pastor is looking and saying, Wait, is there? Is there some kind of spiritual implication here is there have been, you know, you as you united yourself to be one flesh, this other person, have you let some kind of darkness or difficulty in your life. So make it that what you will but but my point behind all of that is to say, sex is never just sex there. There there is a bigger deal than than we know. And it’s this is, so when God says no, no, sex is sure for one man and one woman for an exclusive covenant relationship for life. It’s not because he’s a killjoy, right. It’s not because he thinks your sexual desires bad, it’s because he It is so powerful, so important, so valuable, and so intricate, that when we bring it outside, we expose herself to all sorts of things that can really do be destructive in our lives.

Kit 15:59
And so what’s really important there then is to trust that God knows all about this desire, and to go to him with this, you know, because I think when we have these desires, we feel shame, we feel guilt, we feel all kinds of things. And the last thing we do is talk to God about it. But that’s the very place we need to go is what do I do with this? Why did you create me with this desire? What do I do with it? And and just be able to, again, like we said earlier, talk it through with someone, but also bring it to God, like, really bring it to him, like he cares about it. And you know, who knows how he’s going to meet you. I’m, you know, he meets us in ways that we could never imagine and all kinds of things. And sex is certainly, you know, one of those places where he will meet us. Yeah,

Josh 16:43
I want to share a story about that in a minute. But I wanted to go back to something you you were saying earlier to because it’s not just the negative implications that ought to direct us or auto inform our decisions about about sex when it’s not available to us when it’s not available in the covenant of marriage. The other implication, I think, are What is it? What are the positive implications of abstaining? What are the positive implications of practicing chastity? Yes,

Kit 17:09

Josh 17:10
I know that some of the men I work with will ask the question to themselves, what kind of man do I want to be? And so for this, this man whose wife was ill? Who and he loved her? To ask that question, what kind of man do I want to be? This is not a script, he would have written for his wife or for himself or for their marriage. But it’s the script he found himself in. And so the question what, you know, I didn’t want this story. But what kind of man do I want to be given that this is the story that I’m in? And that helped to clarify some choices for him, you know, I actually, I want to be a man who’s willing to lay down this part of my life, to love my wife. And that goes back to even the you know, the stories he’d watch or things like that, you know, is he stoking something that would create coveting for another marriage or comparing his marriage to somebody else? And I think that applies to all sorts of people. So if you’re single, what kind of single man or single woman do you want to be? I think

Kit 18:05
that’s a great question.

Josh 18:06
Where do you mind go with that?

Kit 18:08
Well, I think it’s just the identity, like, who we are, and who we believe we are, and who we were created to be. And all of that is a huge, hugely important to how we live our life. And if we’re not thinking about it, if we’re just like, well just put my head down and live my life. And we’re not saying who, who did God create me to be? What kind of woman does God want me to be? That’s, that’s a very awakening question that will really inform life and make it Fuller, and allow us to become more whole. If we’re really asking that question.

Josh 18:46
Yeah. And we, and we can’t ask the question without hope. Yeah. Because I think that so often, there’s if we, if we ask the question with despair, then it just becomes a, you know, like, we’re at the bottom of 1000 foot hole looking at going, Oh, I wish I was up there, but I never will be. And so I guess I’ll just have, I’ll just, you know, give in to whatever that temptation is right now, whether it’s, you know, for way too much chocolate or sex or something I’m not married to is really not good for me those kinds of things. I think of Peter, and when he was first called by, by Christ, he’s out fishing. And he knows himself to be a sinful man. That’s what he knows. He knows himself to be someone who doesn’t really think that Jesus can do much because he’s like, Look, we’ve been fishing all night, but Okay, I’ll do it. The crowds are watching maybe, because you say, so I’ll go do it. And they pull in this huge catch. And he falls down at Jesus feet and he cries out and it’s kind of, I don’t know what he must been feeling their fear to spear. I don’t know, but some kind of fear and he says, you know, Lord, Depart from me, I’m a sinful man. Jesus’s response to him is follow me Come follow me. Leave your nuts. Follow me. And I will make you a fisher of men and I have to think Peter did not primarily follow Jesus because He pulled in a big catch. Fish, because his first response to that was, I’m a sinful man. I think more than that he followed Jesus because as Jesus said those words to him, Jesus saw something in Peter, that Peter wanted to be, yeah. And he had hoped that this man could help him become that kind of person. Beautiful. And I think that, even at the end of at the end of the gospel of john, when Jesus has risen from the dead, and Peter has betrayed him, he goes back to being a fisherman. And they, you know, the guy on the shore, who doesn’t know, as Jesus says, you know, throw your net again, and again, they pull in this huge catch of fish. And Peter’s responses, it’s the Lord and he jumps into the water to get closer to Jesus again, I think. So for those of you who who are in a season of life, whether married or single, wrestling with with a desire for sex that’s not available to you. Who is Jesus looking at when he looks at you? And what is he calling you to what it could it be, there’s something bigger worth fighting for, and fighting the temptation for the immediate gratification of sex for one, one final story, because I will, I want us to end this conversation by coming back to sexual desire. It’s not just desire for intimacy with another person. It’s not just desire for physical pleasure. There is something in us that is wired to long for something much, much bigger than even sex within marriage can give us one of the greatest joys of life. But it’s actually the marriage is not even the fulfillment of all that we longed for. And part of the week we’re tapping into for these people in this phase part of the opportunity, I should say that they have that people all of us have even even if we’re married, and sex is available to us with our spouse. All of us have the opportunity to turn that desire upwards toward the Lord. consensus. so cliche, like Yeah, yeah, right. Right. Right, you know, but it doesn’t make everything better. Again, I’m not talking about in the moment of temptation so much as just in general, overall, like cultivating an attitude in our hearts that says, Lord, I longed for more than I’m experiencing right now. I have a good friend who, when we talk about these things, he’d say, Yeah, but I guess I, I can’t feel God, I don’t feel and physically, I’m not wired for that. I want to feel him and I can’t, and I’d give theological answers and try to convince him to, you know, turn down his desire, whatever. But all he did was he kept bringing that desire back to the back to the Lord, Lord, I want to feel you, I can’t feel you. Why did you create it this way? And he kept just for four years, I mean, probably 567 years, he was praying that prayer, not satisfied with cliche answer. And recently, he told me that the gods begin to meet him in ways that he is surprised by in creation, in his experience, his physical experience of creation, yeah. And he’s began to experience these out in the woods, and he feels a breeze and he’s like, Lord, you create, you create the breeze, I would feel it on my skin. So he’s encountering the Lord now through his creation, physically. And it’s opening out to part of a relationship with God that he didn’t have. And no one could give him that he couldn’t be taught that this is an experience.

Kit 23:06
And again, even though it’s, it’s an understandable temptation to be like, that I want sex, I’m going to get sex, when we make that choice. We don’t experience what he didn’t, like he was he because he made a choice, you know, to be healthier with his sexual choices, then he was available, he was exposed and, you know, was able to receive those other things over time over time. But it takes patience, and it takes and it really is a process of waiting on some of those desires that we feel like we cannot, you know, we what we expect, and we want to have them right now. But what would happen if we did wait and see what God would do? So I just think that’s an encouragement. I would really love to end this, you know, with the word of hope, like you said, you know, like that question, what kind of woman or man Do you do I want to be Lord, what do you want me to be is a question of hope.

Josh 24:02
Yeah. Yeah. And thank God for that. Yeah. If you’re listening, you have questions, comments, pushback, anything we say we’d love to hear from you. It was a topic for a podcast you loved us talk about we’d love to hear that too. But Kate, why don’t you Why don’t we? I mean, we care so much what we know that this is a difficult thing for people. Let’s just pray for anyone listening right now is really just feeling that longing that God would meet them.

Kit 24:24
Lord, when Josh was talking about trying to imagine how you see us, I imagined Lord in my mind, so many beautiful faces of men and women that come here and their longings and tears, and frustration. And Lord, what I know is that you see all of that far better than we do. And not only do you see it, you understand it. You care about it. And you want to in it. Lord, I just pray for anyone who’s listening, that they would be reassured, reminded that you have a remarkably deep care for them, that you see them and that you want to be in their lives. Especially in some of these places of frustration and pain and longing. So I pray that they could invite you in. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, amen. Amen.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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