The Pursuit of God

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Dealing with Erectile Dysfunction: Help for Christian Men

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CAUTION: Due to the nature of the subject being discussed, this article contains some graphic language.

For all of you Christian guys out there, it’s time to talk real about the highly embarrassing subject of erectile dysfunction. Maybe you’ve never had sex and you’re stressing over things going badly that first night. Or maybe you’re trying desperately to make things work and your body keeps sabotaging you in the critical moment. Or maybe things used to work and now they don’t. Whatever the case, if you’re stressing over erectile dysfunction, then this post is for you.

Because the world hates God, the world promotes a value system that is a total reversal of what God’s value system is. God says your worth as a man is defined by His great love for you. The world says your worth is defined by the size of your genitals and how well you can get them to perform on command. The world’s system is sheer idiocy, but when you get this garbage drilled into your brain from birth, it’s very hard to unlearn. Here’s where battling with erectile dysfunction actually becomes a major advantage. You see, the purpose of life is not for you to learn how to be Mr. Smooth in bed. God didn’t create you for the purpose of having sexual intercourse, He created you for the purpose of forming a deep soul bond with Him. Do you know what holds you back in your relationship with God? Believing a bunch of lies about how your value as a man is measured. Letting another human’s assessment of you trump God’s assessment in your mind. Turning sex into a symbol of things that sex really has nothing to do with. These kinds of struggles are shared by all men, but now that you and God are together, He’s not just going to leave you alone. He wants your relationship with Him to progress. This means He’s going to bring trials into your life that will raise your awareness of where you need to learn to think differently, and then He’s going to help you to make those changes.

Now many things can cause erectile dysfunction. There are biological factors, psychological factors, and emotional factors. To figure out what positive lessons God wants to teach you through this trial, let’s start with asking why this is such a big deal. So you can’t perform when and how you want to—why is this the end of the world? Don’t just fluff this question off, really think about it. What is driving those negative feelings, and what are the specific emotions? Are you dealing with guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, or shame? Pay attention to your thought process—who is the first person to come to mind when you think about this issue: yourself or your woman? Is she making a big deal about this or are you the one who’s getting on your own case? Is anyone else’s face invading your thought process—such as a brother or a friend or your father?

The people you focus on mentally when you feel like a failure reveal who it is that you care most about pleasing in life. But those faces also reveal who you are viewing as your harshest critics. There’s a big difference between thinking, “I’m so frustrated that I can’t please my wife,” and thinking, “My wife must think I’m such a pathetic loser,” or “My wife must be so disappointed in me.” When you view your wife as the main source of the criticism, this is going to have a major impact on how you relate to her in other areas. A common trap men fall into is believing things about their wives that simply aren’t true.

LEARNING TO RECEIVE HELP

Let’s talk about your woman for a moment. When humans feel intense emotions welling up inside of them, they instinctively project those feelings onto others. For example, when performing well is enormously important to you, you assume it is a huge deal to your wife as well. You don’t actually ask her for her honest view on the topic because you’ve already decided what she thinks. Humans do this with each other all the time, and our refusal to acknowledge that other people have vastly different perspectives of life than we do is what makes intimate relationships so challenging.

Your wife simply doesn’t view sex the same way you do. For starters, she’s not a guy. She has a totally different anatomical set up than you, and her sensual experience of the whole process is quite different than your own. Secondly, she thinks differently than you do. When it comes to affirming words, affirming touch, and actual intercourse, you have your priorities, and she has hers. For most women, affirming words and affirming touch rank way higher than actual intercourse. Since erectile dysfunction only stops intercourse, the crisis is not nearly as big as you think it is, because you’re still able to give her the two things that she cares most about. But once you decide that she puts actual intercourse at the top of her list, you totally shut down on her when that doesn’t happen and you go slinking off in humiliation while she’s left with nothing. Instead of giving her what you can give her, and believing her when she says she’s satisfied, you decide for her that if she can’t have the intercourse, then the rest of it is useless. See the problem? When we’re embarrassed, our listening skills often go out the window and this is something you may need to work on.

If you have several failed attempts on your record already, then it’s time for some honest reflection. Has your wife been trying to tell you that this isn’t anything you need to be so upset by? Has she been trying to build up your esteem with positive comments? Forget about how you reacted to her words and just play a recording of what she actually said. Your wife is not you, and that means she isn’t going to put things exactly how you want them to be put. But if you’ve married a woman with class, then she is going to be stressed by your stress and she is going to be trying to help you.

God has wired women with a very strong nurturing instinct. Just as the desire to protect surges within you when you sense that someone you care about is in physical danger, a very strong desire to emotionally soothe surges in your wife when she senses that you are emotionally stressed. As a general rule, women are much more sensitive to emotional vibes than men are. It’s like she’s an antenna that can pick up both AM and FM stations while you can only pick up AM. In life, she is constantly scanning your emotional aura and when she detects any negativity, she gets anxious and tries to figure out some way to help.

Now because women have been wired by God to want to intervene in emotional crises, when you’re in a crisis and you slam the door in your wife’s face, it’s very hurtful. You do this because you’re embarrassed, of course, and feeling embarrassed makes you want to run to the moon. But here’s where you need to try to understand that your wife thinks very differently than you do. While you consider giving your wife some really great experience of intercourse is a major score, her idea of a major score is successfully helping you out of some emotional crisis. The desire to please isn’t just on your side. To most wives, one of their most cherished prizes is an invitation from you for them to support you in a moment when you are obviously feeling vulnerable.

Women assess your value of them by how much you let them in. If your wife is the only one you’ll cry around, she translates that to mean she has a secure place as your close confidant. If your wife finds out you shared some very personal information about yourself with another woman, she’s going to immediately feel threatened and jealous because by getting vulnerable with another woman, you just elevated her in rank. This is how women think. They deal in the exchange of information. Who do you talk to and what kinds of information do you share? There’s cheap plastic money, real bills, and priceless gems. The harder something is for you to talk about, and the more vulnerable the sharing of that information makes you feel, the more it’s worth to your woman. Your wife wants to be the one you share the gems with. To her, that’s a huge compliment. This means that if things suddenly go south at the critical moment and you respond by hiding out in the bathroom, you are telling your wife that she doesn’t rate high enough with you to get to help you in a vulnerable moment. When you finally come out of the bathroom and she’s all upset, it’s because she’s hurt by you emotionally shutting her out, not because there was no intercourse. See how it works? Your wife doesn’t have the same priorities as you. While you want to impress her with your performance, she wants to earn your trust.

Now we’re not all married to spouses with class. Maybe your woman is really working the world’s garbage on you and trying to make you feel like a loser because you can’t turn it on when she wants it. We’ll address that scenario in a moment. But for all of you men who do have wives with honorable character, now is the time to consider whether God has brought this embarrassing trial into your life to help you practice opening up more and letting others help you. In life, God’s help comes to us in many forms. If He’s paired you with a woman who is sensitive to your feelings and eager to help you, you need to take a hard look at how you’re responding to this great gift. Are you constantly shutting her out and treating her concern for your feelings like some kind of insult? Are you throwing up walls when she tries to come running to your aid? If so, you need to own up to what a foolish jerk you’re being and ask God to help you learn how to get better at receiving help.

You’re not invincible. No man is. You don’t have it all together. You have wounds, insecurities, and fears just like every other human on the planet. God is going to help you with those things, but He’s going to choose the form in which that help comes. If you refuse to receive the help God is sending you through the channel He has chosen, He isn’t going to change His style to accommodate your preferences, because God will not be led by you. There are some really fantastic prizes you can gain through this struggle with impotency if you’re willing to seek God’s wisdom in how you should respond to it. The bond between you and your wife can grow exponentially stronger if you learn how to set your pride down long enough to admit that sometimes you need to lean on her instead of always trying to be the strong one. And since the ability to receive help is so critical in your relationship with God, getting better at that skill with humans is going to help you in the spiritual arena as well. So here’s one valuable opportunity for growth that battling with erectile dysfunction can bring: a chance to learn how to talk about your limitations and receive affirmation in the face of them.

We humans struggle immensely to accept that we are loved and approved of when we don’t think we’ve properly “earned” these things. When you try to believe your wife when she says your inability to perform doesn’t lower her opinion of you in the least, you are practicing a skill that is critical in your relationship with God. God says He loves you because He wants to. He says you’re precious to Him because He says so. He doesn’t give you a long list of logical justifications. He says that He’s God, therefore what He says goes. If He says you’re worthy, than that’s what you are. Going far with God requires learning how to accept that He views you quite differently than you do. Keeping your marriage strong requires a willingness to allow your wife to draw conclusions about you that you simply don’t agree with. Maybe you feel like it’s unacceptable that you can’t perform, but she says she simply doesn’t care because she loves you for who you are, not for your abilities in bed. Are you going to let her be her own person or not?

LEARNING TO REJECT LIES

Maybe you know that if your old man ever found out about the problems you were having, you’d never hear the end of it. Maybe your wife is going into some snit over the fact that you can’t get where you need to be when she’s in the mood. Maybe the guys at work can’t stop talking about their conquests and it’s making you feel super jealous. In these scenarios, there’s a different lesson that needs to be learned. When there are influential people in your life who are promoting the world’s rot that a man’s value can be measured by his performance in bed, suddenly the pressure to come across becomes immense. You’re not just trying to have intercourse, you’re trying to prove to critical people that you’re worth something. If this is where you’re at, it’s time to realize that you’re way off course from where God wants you to be, and you need to ask Him to help you get into alignment with His value system.

Intercourse is an earthsuit activity. Your earthsuit is like the car you drive: it’s just a temporary machine that your soul is using to get around in this physical dimension that we live in. Your earthsuit isn’t you. Your soul is you, and your soul doesn’t have a sex drive or genitals. God is in love with your soul. Salvation and damnation are God’s responses to your soul. Your earthsuit is just a shell. When you try to prove the worth of your soul by the current condition of your penis, that’s like trying to say your value as a human being can be measured by what position your tongue is in. What kind of sense does this make? What does your earthsuit have to do with your soul? Do you assess your level of intelligence by the shape of your navel? Do you measure the length of your fingers to decide how successful you’ve been in life? No, but you view your genitals as being some epic statement on how manly you are.

Let’s talk real about genitals for a moment. Did you choose your testicles? Did God give you a selection of penises to choose from when He was putting you together? No. He gave you what you had, and He set the size parameters on these things. At some point you need to realize that this fixation with everything being large and long is utterly asinine. You had zero say over the equipment you received. You got what you got. Your earthsuit is like the rental car that you get assigned to at an airport. When they tell you that they only have one vehicle left, you take it, because you need something to get around in. Well, should we follow you to the vehicle and start measuring the size of the tires and counting how many dings are in the frame to assess what kind of person you are? Does this make any sense? No, because the car has nothing to do with who you are—the car is just a machine. In the same way, when you find yourself feeling embarrassed about your manhood because you’re “too small,” you’re being utterly nonsensical. In the first place, your manhood is irrelevant because your soul does not have a gender. Your value to God has nothing to do with what sex your earthsuit happens to be. Your value as a living being is defined by how much value your Creator says you have. God says you’re priceless. Jesus says you were worth dying for. Yahweh says you were worth sacrificing His Son for. The Holy Spirit says you’re worth inhabiting. By the time you’re even pulling back the bed sheets, you’re a human who has been declared to be precious and priceless by three Almighty Gods. In light of Their affirmation of you, who even cares what size some part of your earthsuit is? Who cares what’s working and what isn’t? Are you seeing how totally irrelevant the whole topic of erection is when we step back and look at the big picture? Sex has nothing to do with anything that even matters. Whether your earthsuit is feeling aroused or unaroused, ready or unready, has nothing to do with your value as a human being.

As a Christian, there is a balance that you need to shoot for in life. Yes, things like impotency need to be discussed. Sex and all that comes with it needs to be discussed. But while we’re talking about these things, we need to keep a grip on what matters and what doesn’t. Certainly God cares about the fact that you feel all stressed out when nothing’s happening. But His idea of helping you with that situation is to teach you how to put the whole topic of erection in proper perspective. Nothing about your earthsuit should be weighing in as a factor when we start talking about the subject of your worth and value as a human being. Your physical limitations don’t have bumpkus to do with how successful you are as a person, because God defines success as a matter of soul choice.

How you’re responding to your Creators in the privacy of your own soul is what determines how successful you are, how much ground you’ve gained, how mature you are, and what kind of role model you’re being. How well you do or don’t turn on your wife simply doesn’t make it onto the list of life’s important topics. The world tells you that it does, but at some point you have to stop calling the world’s idiocy “wisdom.” When your inability to have intercourse feels like the end of the world, that’s an indication that you need some major help in correcting your personal value system. If you’re feeling convicted right now that this is something you need to work on, then ask God to help you be receptive to everything He wants to teach you. Ask Him to help you see your worth through His eyes so you can stop viewing your sexual performance as more important than it is.

Sure, sex can be a lot of fun and a real blessing to your marriage. But when God is putting the brakes on you, that’s your cue to start looking for other lessons that He wants to teach you. A guy who has a dynamic sex life yet never learns to divorce his personal worth from his performance in bed is really missing out on some essential insights. If you want to go far with God in your own life, He’s going to push you to progress in essential areas, and how God measures your value is definitely one of those areas.

DRAWING BOUNDARIES WITH ABUSIVE WIVES

When your own value system is right, then when your wife tries to make some issue out of your inability to perform, you will see her griping as the garbage that it is. Your wife is not God, and she can’t take away the value that God has already assigned to you. So if she’s giving you no end of grief about your inability to perform on cue, it’s time to talk about boundaries.

In Christian circles, it’s often said that once a man and woman marry, they literally own each other’s bodies. Well, no, they don’t. Your body is the property of the Ones who created it and They never relinquish ownership of you to demons, humans, or anyone else. When you walk around in your body on earth, you’re like the teen whose father gave him a car to drive. The teen needs to treat the vehicle well out of respect for his father, because his father owns the vehicle. But the father also wants his teen to benefit from using the car, not be afraid to ever use it. In the same way, God wants you to enjoy the body He gave you. He has designed your body with the capacity to experience all kinds of sensual pleasures. The fun of gazing at a woman’s curves, the delight of caressing her body, the rush of a sexual orgasm—all of these things are well and good when you’re doing them within the boundaries God has set, and that means doing them only with the woman who you are legally married to. But while God has given spouses many options for enjoying their bodies, no one owns anyone, and that means no one has grounds for dominating, injuring, or coercing.

You are a soul who God dearly loves. Since your body is associated with your soul on this earth, your body needs to be treated with great respect, because God says your soul has immeasurable value. This means that you do not give your wife access to your body if she is not demonstrating any respect for it. Bodies are very sensitive, complex machines. They have three basic components: emotional, physical, and mental. It is your responsibility to require that all of these elements be treated with respect whenever your wife has access to you. Should she stop treating some element with respect, then you need to cut off her access. This means that if you’re in the middle of things and your wife makes a move that physically hurts you, you let her know. You don’t expect her to read your mind, because that is not reasonable. But you tell her what caused you pain and you ask her not to do it again. She responds by either choosing to respect or disrespect your body.

You’re not a machine. You can’t just have intercourse from sunup to sundown. There are times when it would physically hurt you to attempt intercourse. There are things you could do to yourself to force your penis to erect, but if you are not comfortable doing these things then don’t do them. There is no law that says you owe it to your wife to give her sex whenever she wants it. You’re not her slave, you’re her equal, and you need to act like it. If you’re having some kind of issue that makes intercourse a problem, then you tell her it’s not a good time. If she’s trying to shove some kind of pill or device on you that promises to solve your erection issue but you don’t want to do it, then you say no. Don’t be a doormat with your wife. When you start acting like a doormat, you cause a dangerous shift of power to occur and she ends up with way too much power on her side of the relationship. It is having access to too much power which turns nice people into mean abusers so it is critical that you draw boundaries in your sex life and insist on respect for your entire self before you give her access to your body.

Mockery is a form of emotional disrespect. If your wife is making derogatory cracks about your genitals, your performance, or any other aspect of you, then you don’t get in bed with her. There is only one way to regain respect that has been lost in a relationship and that is to draw boundaries, hold boundaries, and start getting a lot more stringent with the rewards. Now correcting an imbalance of power takes time, and if you start holding grudges, you’ll never get to a good place. If you’ve been letting your wife walk all over you in the bedroom and eating her abuse because you thought you were morally obligated or something, then now is the time to change your ways. You have to cut off all rewards, explain what the new rules are, and not give her what she wants until she meets your requirements. If your requirements are reasonable, this system will work. If you demand perfection and groveling on her part, then you’ll only end up in a bigger mess.

Respect is vital in the bedroom and it mustn’t be treated like a negotiable issue. When your wife makes some comment about you that hurts your feelings, you need to stop and explain that to her. You have to use your words. Glares, body language, and subtle hints don’t work. You need to clearly identify what it is you don’t like, why you don’t like it, and what is better. For example, “It hurts my feelings when you call me fat. I don’t like how you’re touching my stomach. I would rather you keep your hands off of this area (show her the area you mean with your hands).” Or, “If I tell you I’m not able to have intercourse right now, you’re going to have to believe me. I’m not going to prove it to you by letting you stick your hand in my pants. I’m an adult, not a child.” Or, “Stop trying to arouse me by touching my penis. I don’t like it.”

Communication and respect are critical to having a positive sex life, and these things need to flow both ways. If you’re yelling at your wife all day, then she’s not going to be eager to get all cuddly with you in bed. And just because you’re having trouble with timing doesn’t mean she has to come running the minute you’re in the mood. Remember that how things go in the bedroom is largely determined by how we’re treating each other when we’re not in the bedroom. If you don’t demand respect in any other area of life, then you’re going to have an enormously hard time getting her to suddenly respect you in the bedroom. Boundaries are needed in every area of your marriage, and if you know that you need work in this area, ask God for help.

Now some of you men are in a real mess because you’ve veered off into the world of kinky alternatives to regular intercourse. Realize that anal and oral intercourse are not God’s idea of appropriate sex. Also realize that engaging in sadomasochistic torture fests in the name of “sexual play” is extremely harmful to both you and your wife. We need to do sex God’s way if we’re going to do it at all, and when He’s blocking us, we need to seek His wisdom on what to do in the meantime, not just rush into the depraved alternatives that the world promotes.

VIRGIN ANGST

Now for all of you virgins who are stressing over not being perfect on your first try: give yourself a break. You haven’t done this before. You’re not supposed to be smooth at it, and if you marry the right woman, she will understand this ultra-obvious fact.

On all sides, you hear virgins being slammed as stupid, lackluster, unsatisfying, and utterly disappointing sexual partners. Well, here again, you need to learn to recognize idiocy when you hear it. The only reason the world invests so many resources into mocking virgins is because God says virginity is a positive thing. If you’re a virgin, you ought to be proud, not ashamed of it. The older you get, the more special and impressive your virginity becomes. Now all things are not equal in the world of sexual temptation, and God does not equip us all with the immense self-control we need to keep our clothes on. But those of you who have been blessed with the ability to stay pure certainly shouldn’t be acting like such a great blessing is some shameful thing. That’s insulting to God. He says the only appropriate sexual partner for you to have is your wife. Not your girlfriend or your shack up who you’re calling your wife, but your actual, legal wife. It’s darn hard to make it all the way to that finish line without falling on your face. If God’s helping you with this, then you should be giving Him the glory for it and viewing your virginity as the fabulous thing that it is.

Now if a kid mounts a bike for the first time, are you going to yell at him for falling over two seconds later? Of course not, because you understand that it takes time and practice to learn how to ride a bike well. We could say the same of many different activities on earth, and this is certainly the way it works with sex. If you’re a virgin you’ve got zero experience. This isn’t something to be embarrassed about, this is the way it’s supposed to be. You’re not supposed to know exactly what to do—that’s where your wife comes in. If you do it God’s way, then your first attempt at sex will be with a woman who you are very emotionally bonded to. There will already be a foundation of trust and mutual respect established before you even get down on that bed, plus your woman is not some silent partner in the whole thing. She will be communicating with you and helping you out. This isn’t going to be a case of you trying to grope your way around in some dark room. Godly sex is a romantic dance between two willing partners who are both eager to please each other. When someone accidentally steps on someone else’s foot, there’s apologetic giggles, not a raining down of insults and mockery. So there’s no reason to feel anxious about fumbling about. Of course you’ll fumble, but that’s part of the whole bonding experience.

Now because the world is so anti-virgin, and so big on saying a man is only as good as his ability to erect on demand, this gives you some good screening material to use when you’re looking for Miss Right. If you see her laughing at some joke in a show in which some woman is ragging on her one night stand for being too small or for being unable to perform, call your date out on it and ask her what she thinks of the whole topic of men performing in bed. You don’t want to waste your time with a woman who is going to fixate on the size of your genitals. Any woman who is placing value on such things is hardly good wife material.

The world says that the goal of sex is to have the longest orgasm possible as often as possible. God says that sex is the celebration of a bond of mutual love, respect, and commitment which already exists between a man and his wife. This is why it’s impossible to have godly sex before you’re married: because legally binding yourself to a woman is the kind of commitment God has in mind when He talks about good sex. You’re supposed to be all the way in before you unwrap the present. You’re supposed to be devoted enough to her to make yourself financially and legally vulnerable. This garbage about prenuptial agreements and separate bank accounts and everyone going into the thing focused on keeping a clear path to the exit is not the kind of commitment a strong marriage can be built on. As a virgin man, you need to be looking to God to guide you in your search for the right woman. When you marry a woman with godly character, it’s really not going to matter what does or doesn’t happen on your wedding night.

FURTHER READING:
Marriage Solutions: Overcoming Sexual Trauma as a Team
Voluntary Castration: The Solution that Makes Everything Worse (Help for Sexually Frustrated Men)
Dating Guidelines for Christian Singles
Boundaries in Marriage: Inappropriate Submission

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