Being Open is About More than Porn

By Jocelyn Hu

When I first walked into a support group for those who struggle with sexual addiction in 1991, I assumed the only reason I was there was to deal with the sexual sin I was ensnared with. I hated going and exposing myself as a "CP" (Christian Pervert). "I'll just do my time and move on," I thought.

But in laying my shame out on the table week after week, I made a startling discovery: this is what church is supposed to look like; it's great when it does. I bond to other men when they drop their "Good Christian Mask" and let me see who they really are, dark side and all. My respect-meter for them shoots up when they show me they have the guts to put it on the line and take a risk of rejection. I need and want relationships with real men with real pain; it shows me I'm not a freak or alone.

Although I don't attend sex addiction support groups any longer, I've made having other men in my life as much a part of it as going to church. Sometimes even more so. I need other men to spill my guts to when I'm a mess. I need the counsel of other men before I make a major decision. I also need other men in my life as a part of a hedge of protection against acting out with porn again-having to tell them that Id fallen after so many years would be hard for me, and a letdown for them.

When I'm at a low point, just having a brother speak encouraging words into my life expands my perspective and lifts my spirits. This makes a big difference in my life when I'm wrapped around myself or my failures.

Walking step by step with our brothers is a God given blessing for the way life should be lived. The tragedy is that most Christian men don't avail themselves of this gift. When I used to lead support groups, I would often ask the men if they had close male friends. 90% said no. This why so many men are vulnerable to porn - an isolated man is a weak one, with little defense against attack. The church has some work to do in encouraging men to get out of isolation and into the light of walking in fellowship with others.

Some men expect other relationships to fall in their lap; when it doesn't happen they pout and blame the church. If you're serious about integrating other men into your life, it will take effort and a little risk. You might have to take the initiative and invite a brother to lunch, or just show up at a men's group.

The effort and risk are well worth it. Today, if you're one of the 90% who doesn't have male friends, I encourage you to start putting yourself out there.


Mike Genung struggled with sexual addiction for 20 years before God set him free in 1999. He is the founder of Blazing Grace, and the author of two books, available at www.roadtograce.net

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Tags
support group, sexual addiction, sexual sin, relationships