The “Oversexed” Myth
If the male sex drive is part of God’s design, why does it feel like a cosmic joke? Many men are hurting and confused in this area. They pray fervently for God to decrease their sex drives and nothing changes. Sometimes God seems either a bit sadistic or uncaring, but as Mom used to say, “God loves you, and He doesn’t make mistakes.”
Well, if this is true, then you might ask, “Why is my desire so strong?” Our starting point to sort this out begins with two more questions.
The first question is this: “Why did God make sex an important part of His human creation?”
When God created mankind, He did so with a desire that we be like Him. He placed examples and metaphors in our world to show us the value He places on intimate relationships and to teach us His heart. Sexuality is one of the most powerful lessons God provided. He created us in His own image, as male and female, with deep sexual longings and feelings of completion in intimate relationship with each other. Adam saw Eve and was overwhelmed with joy and desire (see Gen. 2:20-23).
The second question is this: “What exactly is this God-given sexual desire that seems too abundant in men?”
The Almighty created humans three-dimensionally: body, soul and spirit. These dimensions join together to create sexual desire and intimate relationships. Our bodies beautifully combine hormones, blood vessels, nerves and skin to create desire. Our souls stir with emotions to create sensuality and feelings. Our spirits give us true love and create the ability to become “one flesh” (see Gen. 2:24).
Neuroscientists tell us that testosterone turns on a “lust circuit” in our brains. This is God’s design, not a fluke of nature. Testosterone and sexual craving prompt a desire to fulfill God’s call for us to reflect Him in oneness. Sometimes men can feel like walking containers of testosterone, looking for any female body to satisfy their urges. To reflect God, testosterone must be considered three-dimensionally.
Sex isn’t just about the body and hormones. If we simply try to get release of hormonal buildup and satisfy the urge for pleasure, we will never be truly satisfied. Remember, a part of sexual desire isn’t about the body and hormones at all; it’s about the longings for completion and overcoming loneliness.
We can use our “oversexed-ness” to connect us with male friends (a great antidote for lust), create meaningful dating relationships, connect with our wives and, especially, to draw closer to God. So, why does the male sex drive still seem to exceed the amount God needed to force us toward intimacy?
It’s partly to make us dependent on God and His strength. God wants to teach us to think with our hearts and not just our hormones. Oversexed-ness drives us to our knees and to God. And, besides, if we just had the light wave of estrogen that women do in their desires, would we pursue intimacy?
Probably not. It takes a rushing river of testosterone to move us toward deeper connection. When we feel oversexed, the loving Creator wants this to drive us to Him. Remember, this intense hunger mirrors God’s desire for His people. He also planned for us to act on those desires with both nonsexual and sexual intimacy. Husbands, God wants our burning passions to drive us to our wives (not to masturbation fantasies).
God created men to initiate and lead. It’s interesting how research proves that men have stronger sex drives than women, because this is part of God’s design. He made men as initiators so they would assertively move toward intimacy.
We are discovering that men and women differ in their types of desires. Men are testosterone-driven with an assertive sex drive. Women are characterized more by receptive desire. They won’t think about sex as often or be as motivated to initiate, but when intimacy is initiated, they respond. “But when my sexual desire drives me to my wife, she isn’t receptive and shuts me down. What do I do then? I think she’s wrong and she’s not doing what God wants her to do. Am I correct?”
More often than not, our wives are not receptive to our sexual advances because we aren’t honoring them. We haven’t disciplined our sexual desires. Instead of approaching them for deep connecting, we come across as sexually starved predators, demanding that they allow us to devour them for our sexual fulfillment. Rather than demand they be our sexual prey, we need to discipline our drives and keep our souls and spirits involved.
Two crucial points need to be made about understanding and not falsely blaming our sexual desires. Sometimes our being oversexed is our own faults and has nothing to do with the way we were created. A female colleague and me (Doug) were driving to teach at a workshop and all of a sudden she exclaimed, “What breed of dogs were those?”
“What dogs?” I retorted. “You mean those two women with tight T-shirts had dogs?” The problem is not that I notice what triggers my sexual desire. The problem is that I can, in an undisciplined manner, take off running with those thoughts. For most guys it is the same way. The problem isn’t a massive sex drive, it’s just a lack of discipline.
We know that the thoughts we feed or pay attention to in our minds gain power. If I focus on my fear of snakes, my fear of snakes intensifies. Much like exercising my biceps or golf swing, if I focus on my lustful thoughts, the neurons in my brain involved in those thoughts gain strength and power. Too often we take a God-given desire and feed it until it becomes a raging monster inside.
I (Michael) will often prescribe men in my counsel to practice a sexual fast. This is not withholding from their wives or mere abstinence. It is a spiritual fasting from sex. It is a time when they (with the blessing of their wives, if married) use their sexual desires to drive them to God and to deep, nonsexual connecting with their wives. They respect their God-given sexual desires but “take every thought captive” and discipline those thoughts for God’s glory.
A second important point to consider is that we often confuse our sexual desires with other important longings. We men sometimes think we have huge sexual appetites and drives, when, actually, we are meeting nonsexual needs sexually. It’s Friday afternoon and you get home before the kids. Your mind seems to automatically revert to something sexual as a form of entertainment and adventure. The truth is that you aren’t truly horny but bored and in need of some recreation after a tough week at work.
Men put too many eggs in the sexual basket. One wife in counseling stated that when her husband got a raise, he felt they needed to celebrate with lovemaking. Mark brought his wife to counseling. He complained she didn’t want to have sex enough to keep him satisfied. In reality, there was nothing wrong with her sex drive–and it wasn’t that his was too high.
The real problem was that it was impossible for her to meet his need for approval from his dad with her body. When he recognized his problem and sought fulfillment for his nonsexual needs through healthy means, his sex drive became a source of strength in his life and marriage. Like all of us, Mark needed to learn to meet nonsexual needs non-sexually. We must deal with our boredom and woundedness in nonsexual ways.
We have a powerful energy that can be disciplined for good. We can sanctify and make our sexual drives into a three-dimensional connection with our wives. We can accept the challenge to not feed lustful thoughts. We can be driven to our Father as we seek to discipline these urges.
We can initiate love to our Eves in amazing ways that God wants to teach us. We can also choose not to increase our sex drives unnecessarily or let our burning desires go unchecked. Seek help from each other on this wonderful and difficult journey.
This article “The Oversexed Myth” written by Doug Rosenau.
Doug Rosenau is the author of the best seller, A Celebration of Sex. He is a sex therapist in Atlanta and teaches at the Institute for Sexual Wholeness. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael Sytsma is an ordained Wesleyan minister and certified sex therapist with Building Intimate Marriages Inc. He also teaches at the Institute for Sexual Wholeness and can be reached at email@example.com.
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