I am a married woman in my early twenties. I have been married for less than a year.
I love my husband very much; he and I have been together for several years. We feel that the Lord called us out of worldliness in the past year. We have felt His hand removing us from many of our old habits and it is wonderful.
But I have an issue. Before we were married, my husband and I had a long distance relationship. I watched porn nearly every night because we did not live together. I know people think of lust as a male problem, but that is not the case. I was always very interested in sex from a young age (and for this reason I wonder if I was abused as a young child although I can't specifically remember anything). My husband has never even kissed another woman in his life besides me. I have only kissed one man besides my husband, and other than that I have had zero sexual contact with any guy besides him. My problem is that I am way more sexual than my husband. He loves the Lord so much and he just doesn't get why the world is so obsessed with sex. I know that unlike many men, he does not watch porn behind my back.
I feel bad because I often catch myself thinking about guys when I watch TV. If I notice that a man is attractive, I feel guilty. I know I love my husband, and I would never want anyone but him. The other day I was watching a show and I caught myself lusting after a guy on there. He did not get undressed or anything -- I just couldn't stop myself from thinking about how handsome he was. When I realized what I was doing I felt disgusted. I looked over at my sweet husband, who was using his laptop and smiled and waved at me. I felt terrible.
I have always been very jealous. I am getting better now. But when we watched TV together, if a woman in any state of undress was shown, I would get extremely angry, even checking my husband's pants for an erection, which I never found. If a naked woman was on TV I would have an anxiety attack. My husband would see it happening and would voluntarily show me his penis so that I could see that he was not aroused. In fact, when there was a naked woman on TV I noticed his penis was actually smaller than usual! He said that was because not only was he not aroused, but he was disgusted. I would freak out from jealousy and treat him so bad that he actually cried sometimes. He would have to swear to me over and over that he did not want anyone but me until I believed him.
One time I got this crazy idea that if we watched pornography together it would curb my jealousy, so I convinced him to try it. He didn't really want to, but I convinced him that it would keep me from treating him so badly and getting jealous. The only problem was, I insisted there be a guy and a girl in the porn, not just a girl. It made me feel like the scale was a little more even, but he ended up thinking the whole porn idea was a sham so that I could justify looking at another guy naked, and I think he was right. On about the third time we watched porn together, I got jealous and slammed the laptop shut in the middle of it. I said something mean to my husband. I think I told him he was gross or a pig and he ran off to our bed, humiliated. He told me it was my fault we were watching it, that I tricked him, he did not even want to watch it in the first place, and now I was treating him like a pervert. It was true. Thinking back, I am ashamed at how badly I treated him.
He has never given me a reason to be jealous. He tells me I'm beautiful at least five times a day no matter how I look, and he dotes on me. He is the best man I have ever met! But back when I used to work, I checked out guys and flirted with coworkers and customers. I would try to look cute just to get guys' attention. But my husband did not do that. He usually didn't even shower before work so I know he was not trying to impress women. He would call and text me on his lunch and breaks. When I got off work I would have 20 text messages from him every day! He always thinks about me and puts me first. And now here I am lusting after men. I treat him like he is the guilty one, but I am committing adultery in my mind.
Do you have any help for me?
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).
It is common for people who are doing something wrong to blame others. One is because they are aware of problem in their own life. It is also easier to accuse someone else than to accept that you need to change.
You are right that pornography is not guy only problem though pornography for guys tend to be visual while pornography for women tends to be relational. That is why you feel yourself getting aroused even when there isn't visual nudity involved.
I believe you've hit on the problem is one of pornography for you. You did not get involved in pornography because you weren't shacking up with your boyfriend of that time. That was a lame excuse. Nor do I think it is evidence that you were molested as a child. It really doesn't matter how you became trapped in this sin, what matters is that you are there and need to get out.
Your jealousy is your way of covering up your embarrassment over your own feelings. If you are jealous of anything, it is that you are jealous of your husband's self-control. That is what led to the idea of watching pornography. You wanted to see your husband trapped in the same sin you are struggling with. It is the old lie that if someone is worse than me, then I must not be so bad. "But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (II Corinthians 10:12). There is only one standard that matters, and that is what God has said.
Pornography is a sin. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). "Passion of lust" is a way of saying lustful things that stimulate lust -- in other words pornography. Jesus also said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). The reverse is also true: A woman looking at a man with lust is also committing adultery in her mind.
Lust is more than a temptation to sin. Lust is when a person accepts the idea that a sin may be acceptable and starts justifying that sin in certain circumstances. You've had a problem with lust for a long time. Your problem with pornography is just one aspect of the bigger problem.
Jesus followed his comment on lust with: "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29-30). Jesus wasn't saying people should maim themselves. Rather, he is saying that sometimes the answer to strong problems requires a strong solution. If you find yourself getting turned on by some guy on TV -- turn the TV off. Then go grab your husband and say you feel like letting off some steam. If it is a repeated problem, leave the TV off or get rid of it. I'm sure you can find more satisfying and active things to do. If porn on the Internet is a problem, have a blocker installed, such as K9 Web Protection.
In all of this you battle the sin while at the same time giving yourself a positive way of satisfying your physical desires. "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does" (I Corinthians 7:3-4).
Wow. Thank you so much! You have given me some very valuable insight. I never realized that I was jealous of my husband's self-control, but that seems to be extremely accurate.
I actually stopped watching pornography some months ago, and wouldn't you know, my jealousy problem came way down! I don't really act that way anymore. But have you ever heard the saying, "A guilty conscience needs no accuser"? I heard it a long time ago, and I think it is true. Every time I feel guilty for doing something, I accuse my husband of the same or I act so funny that it's a wonder he doesn't guess what I'm up to.
You said "Lust is more than a temptation to sin." But what is a temptation to sin? How do I know when I am being tempted versus when I have actually sinned? I don't usually let my mind wander so far as to imagine sleeping with these men, but I do sometimes obsess over their looks a bit too much during a show. Is the temptation the first time I notice they are attractive? Is it wrong to think or notice another man is attractive? Sometimes it is no big deal. Some people are attractive, so what? But other times I go overboard.
I agree with your suggestion to turn off the TV! Stupid shows these days only have one goal and that is to get you to sin. I find myself wanting sex most of the time after a few hours of TV shows. I think I am like a man in the relationship and my husband more like a woman. If we've recently had a fight, or if he is not satisfied in one way or another he pretty much abstains from sexual contact, whereas I want it more often than not. One time awhile ago I made a stink about not having sex and he said it made him feel like that's all I want from him. It's not. I love him very much; but is it too much to ask just to have special time every now and then? We're barely out of our teens. We're in school so we're both home with nothing to do most of the time. We're both clean, attractive people. It frustrates me sometimes because I know that I don't lust after guys when we're having regular sex. But we haven't had actual sex since last fall (we do other sexual things maybe once a week) and he seems totally fine with the alternatives, but I want actual sex. But I feel that if I ask for it he will think I'm using him.
Last summer, I was doing some dishonest things to make money, and I felt convicted by Jesus to stop. I stopped and threw away all of the things I had acquired dishonestly, and I told my husband that God did not want me lying anymore. My husband was kind of upset because he says God was blessing us with those things, but I don't believe God requires or approves of lying for any reason, let alone to receive a "blessing." I told my husband that God was cleaning us up, making us better, and he finally agreed that it was the right thing to do. But within the same hour, he threw away our condoms and said God told him to. I asked him if he was sure and he said yes, but I wasn't so sure. My husband absolutely will not have sex with me without birth control, so I knew that no condoms equals no sex. Why would God want us to stop having sex as a newly married couple? It didn't seem like my husband was trying to spite me, but I think that was kind of weird. In the past I was usually the one initiating the purchase of condoms for sex, and I got tired of it. So now I don't ask for any more, and for that reason we have not had sex in almost six months, despite being married less than a year. I think my husband somehow sees sex as dirty, or thinks it is a selfish thing that God doesn't really want us to do and that frustrates me a lot.
PS: I'm pretty sure I read in the Old Testament that newlywed husbands were to take leave from battle to "bring pleasure" to their wives for at least a year right? Or something along those lines.
Regarding tempation, lust, and sin, let me illustrated based off of James 1:13-16. Hunger is a desire -- it is neither right nor wrong. Temptation is when you are in the convenience store and see a candy bar, but realize you don't have enough money to pay for it. Lust is when you tell yourself that the store can afford to lose some items and that they are expecting some loss, or telling yourself that you could pocket it now and pay for it later and you accept that these are adequate justification to steal. Sin is when you walk out with the candy bar without paying for it. Licentiousness is when you think it is fun to take things off the shelf even though you have adequate money to pay for it. And from there it is a short step to spiritual death.
To say a guy looks handsome is not lust, but you might be tempted by a passing thought, wondering what sex with him would be like. When you start dwelling on it and thinking that in some circumstances you could see yourself having sex with a guy who is not your husband, then you have crossed over into lust. Notice that you said you don't usually let your mind wander, so I conclude that lust has been a problem at times.
I get the impression that several things are going on in regards to your sexual situation. A healthy male avoiding intercourse is unusual. It can happen if a man is having trouble maintaining an erection. Rather than admit he is having a problem, it is easier to avoid the situation. But it also sounds as if he really doesn't want to have children; yet, because of your arguments he has trapped himself in committing himself to sex without condoms. And it is quite probable that he has an incorrect view that sex is wrong in some fashion. But without directly talking to him about it, I can only make guesses.
Both of you took your personal feelings and then inappropriately assigned them to God. Yes, God doesn't want you to lie -- not because you have a feeling about it -- God said lying is sinful in His Word (Revelation 21:8). God never told your husband that he can't use contraceptives. That was his choice which he wrongly attributed to God -- probably as a way to get back at you. See Contraceptives for more details on this topic, by the way. It is one thing to see that God teaches a certain behavior and you change to be what God want you to be. It is something completely different to claim that your feeling is God communicating with you.
Yes, in Deuteronomy 24:5, God instructed Israel not to give men duties that would take them away from home the first year after marriage so that they could bring pleasure to their wives. While we are not under the Old Testament law, it is still good advice.
Thank you so much, sir. You have been very helpful, and I feel better already. To be honest, my husband is quite shy so I don't expect he will be contacting you. He does not know I emailed you, and I'm not sure I want to tell him. I'm afraid he will read my messages to you, and I don't want him to know some of the private things I told you; they are in my past now. Regardless, please know that you have helped a lot and I really appreciate it! God bless you and thanks so much.