Developing a healthy perspective on sexuality seems to be a difficult task in the world we live in. Understanding what sexual wholeness even looks like has become confusing given the cultural standards that we are surrounded by. Sex is on the minds and lips of most everyone these days. But how do we define healthy sexuality? And what if we have been sexually abused as a child or an adult? It makes the task of understanding that picture even more difficult.
Wendy Maltz, author of The Sexual Healing Journey says, “It’s almost as if we don’t see the word SEX in the phrase sexual abuse, but sexual abuse DOES cause sexual harm…survivors of sexual abuse have to overcome the damage of the past and to build their own, new models of sexuality based on a sense of choice, renewed self-respect, and a commitment to emotional intimacy.”
Just how does one overcome that damage and build a new model? This has been the subject for the last six episodes of Beyond Abuse Radio. The topic of healing our sexuality has many components and the process is a challenging one.
Sexual brokenness keeps us from thriving, intimate relationships. Instead of being able to connect in authentic, transparent and tender ways with another, we may respond out of fear and self-protection. Unable to peel back the layers and become vulnerable, we experience sex apart from bonding, or perhaps shut down our sexual feelings altogether.
Because our sexuality is deeply rooted within each of us, a violation of our sexuality also affects us deeply. It touches every area of our lives, including our thought processes, belief systems, relationships, spirituality, and even our genetics according to the latest research. The younger we are when that violation takes place and the longer it lasts, the more profound the effects.
Sex addiction is the disease of our age. There are 68 million requests per day for pornography on internet search engines and 372 million porn websites available. Aberrant sexual practices are on the rise. No longer primarily a male issue, one out of every five WOMEN struggles with pornography addiction and of those, 80% act out their behaviors in real life. Anonymous sex, exhibitionist activities, self-destructive acts, and sexual violence are becoming common place
We hear a lot about what sexual brokenness looks like. What is a picture of sexual wholeness? The characteristics of a sexually healthy adult cover a lot of territory. According to an article published by the Minnesota Department of Health , “sexual health includes emotional, psychological, physical, intellectual and spiritual dimensions.” They provide an extensive list of the many aspects of life that are part of sexuality, including communication, self-esteem, education, values, and body integrity.
Many of us experienced negative impressions about our sexuality from religious sources. This is not uncommon, unfortunately. Most people experience a split between sexuality and spirituality. The truth is, beloved, that we were created for vital human attachment, and that is a deeply spiritual thing. The deeper truth is that our positive earthly sexual experiences are just a rehearsal for something even better…an incredible bond with a living God. Sex is more than a coping mechanism. It is more than a way to bond with another human. It is actually a sign of the Divine. It IS possible to be intensely spiritual and intensely sexual at the same time.
How we see ourselves sexually and how we relate to others based on that lays the foundation for all of our relationships. When we are told or shown that our sexuality is a shameful thing, something that will hurt us, or a tool to use to control others, we can miss out on one of the greatest gifts to humankind. It is my hope and my heart that you will live more and more from the pure passion that expresses itself in a strong and truthful picture of who you are as a physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual being and that it will help you to create the honest, intimate, and life-giving relationships that you were intended to have.
Though each of our stories differ, the hope that we can lay ahold of remains the same. We have options to fill our desires to try to meet our perceived needs in our limited resources or to bring those needs to the One who knows our deepest hearts’ desires and allow Him to work His will through His perfect love in our lives. I believe that as we pay attention to what we REALLY want, what will most fill us up with real life, we will indeed find it. Because NOTHING is impossible with God!
I hope you will explore the awesome interviews and great resources we have made available to you in the radio series, Healing Our Sexuality, and learn more about sexual wholeness. You were made to thrive and it is our goal to help you do just that. Take a look at the episode list here and click on any of the links to listen in or download the show as a podcast.