sex

Adventures in Faith

I'm Straight and Still Beg God to Reinvent My Sex Life

It started with Miss Piggy and her pretty pink curves at age three.

Then our baby sitter, then Debbie Gibson, a girl in my 4th grade class. I’ve got a list of crushes into the hundreds. From my earliest memories I was strongly attracted to many different women.

My first female obsession.

My first female obsession.

I was not born a "one woman man."

Maybe its genetic, I'm not sure, I just know my attractions, should I follow through on them, is not God's plan for me.

I was born in "original sin." 

In high school I wrote poems about women. In college, I took philosophy of art, beauty, and aesthetics courses and a figure drawing class where I'd sit for hours drawing naked women three years in a row. 

I waxed poetic about the lusts of my flesh as justified, natural, productive, a celebration of God's penultimate creation. 

Despite my parents stern warnings against sex before marriage, the allure of women was too much, my roots in the gospel too weak, and I not only succumbed to a life of sexual sin, I dove in proudly.

My world got ugly fast.

Me prowling the streets of Philadelphia circa 2010.

Me prowling the streets of Philadelphia circa 2010.

Deception in relationships, broken hearts, barely dodging pregnancy and disease, embarrassment and walks of shame, all as I slid into a pattern of companionship that left me ever lonelier. 

I often self medicated to enable myself to do what, in the depths of my heart, I knew was wrong. It was a raucous and wicked downward spiral. 

I had no idea that with each woman I slept with an imprint was being left on my soul that would not easily be washed away.

By society's standards I was a stud, playboy, lady killer, the character many men aspire to be. I fed on the attention.

My sin was about to be exposed.

Then I found a Godly woman.

The high of meeting a good woman, one who seemed to emanate light and goodness, was quickly followed by dread. As I learned of her strong faith and remembered what I knew about the tenants of my own, I felt like a stained rag. 

"What was I thinking?!?" I lamented. The gravity of it all hit me at once.

A long road of pulling myself out of the pit of  doing sex my own way instead of God's way was before me. 

Hard conversations. Shock by her at how calloused I had become. The effects of so many tangled relationships constantly popping up in photos, old social media posts, phone calls and texts I didn't want to get. 

It was a terribly painful process.

I had trouble not resorting to deception or half truths. It was hard to discern what to reveal and when. I subconsciously wondered how I could let the depths of my depravity be known.

We worked through it--this Godly woman and I--as she showed me unending grace. 

Marriage = doing sex God's way! (or so I thought)

Once I entered into the freedom of the marriage covenant with a woman I was wildly attracted to, I finally had sexual freedom! But the twisted tentacles of sexual sin began to pull at my new marriage in unexpected ways.  

As I drove home from work one day, knowing my wife would want to be intimate, I dreaded that I would not respond appropriately.

How could this happen? Never in a million years! This is a curse!

I gripped the steering wheel and pleaded to God, "Lord, please reinvent my sexuality!" Right away I heard God whisper, "Ryan, be selfless and make this about her, not you." 

I was learning how to love in a very different way, my very sexuality being reprogrammed from that of a predator on an unending hunt to someone willing to love unconditionally and sacrificially. 

Encouraging bumper stickers as I worked through my stuff. 

Encouraging bumper stickers as I worked through my stuff. 

Paying for my past.

My old life reared its head with certain triggers, like staying in hotel rooms while traveling, staying up late drinking, seeing old flames around town or online.

They were all major challenges that I've had to attack in repentance, prayer, talking with Whitney and other men who hold me accountable. 

A thousand times I've asked God to wipe clean my memory, to delete the images that are stored in the depths where I no longer want them. Over time, he seems to be hearing my plea. 

I've also found myself incredibly sad for the woman I was with. Many probably have deep wounds I can never fix. Even as I know I'm forgiven, it grieves me to know what I did to these young women who are made in God's image. 

Further, I've come to realize that in my sin my whole way of thinking about sex had become warped, self-centered, and in need of a complete overhaul. 

An awful nightmare woke me up.

The good news is that, as I battle to do sex God's way, the trajectory of my sex life has moved closer and closer to His plan. There was one instance, however, that resulted in a giant leap forward.

I had dabbled in sin, I can't remember what it was, probably looking at porn online.

One night I had an awful dream. I was being seduced by a woman and as I eagerly pursued her I was also aware of my wife calling out in search of me nearby.

I awoke terrified at what I was doing and in that moment God exposed my patterns of deceit, bitterness when I don't get what I want, bartering and manipulation for sex, game playing, all the effects of separation of sex from God's plan. 

I had a wave of fear hit me--fear of the coming wrath of God. So much so that confessing to my wife seemed like the easy thing to do!

The next day, while at work I texted my wife that we needed to talk so I couldn’t chicken out later.

My wife and I have come a long way since we were married in 2012. 

My wife and I have come a long way since we were married in 2012. 

I repented and asked for her forgiveness, and it led to a several week long conversation that was uncomfortable, and yet freeing.

Something changed in our marriage, I couldn't put my finger on it, something spiritual and good and necessary. This ugly sin that was confronted and lifted before God had somehow drawn us closer. 

It's a lesson I haven't forgotten. 

Stopping sexual sin in my family.

I take this sin seriously now, especially since as a society we openly invite sexual sin into our eyes and hearts, and we drift further from God's plan for sex and marriage. 

King David, a man after God's own heart, saw his sexual sin wreak havoc in his family. So I pray over my boys weekly, "Lord, please don't let my sins in this area affect them, please protect them."

I'm much more open about this issue now than ever before (this blog as a case in point). I talk regularly to other guys about this, a community that has bolstered my defenses.

My wife and I actively work to guard my heart, for example, we don't watch racy movies, and she thumbs through magazine's I get and tears out the soft porn that now comes in health, technology, even cooking publications. 

Regular immersion in God's word and in prayer is a hedge of protection. I also avoid the circumstances where I know I am weak and tempted, such as drinking too much, exhaustion, or mindless web surfing late at night.

Victory is possible.

I wish I could tell you God wiped away my whole past, but He hasn't. The pictures in my mind and perversions in my thinking have regularly eaten away at our intimacy.

I have a daily battle to take captive every thought and hold it up against God's plan for my life. Often after months of victory the ugly sin of lust will rear up from out of the darkness to try to devour me. I've had to learn to be vigilant and ready to do battle at any moment.

And yet, I feel increasingly that I'm no longer a slave to my physical urges. I've become mostly rewired to recognize that sex, even in marriage, is not about me, but is as is described in 1 Corinthians 7, where we learn that our bodies are not our own, but are given to each other. 

I yearn for the day when I have complete victory, when the thought of sex outside of God's plan repulses me, and when I see women not as objects for my own pleasure but as wonderfully made daughters worthy of love and respect. 

Even the fact that I can write that last sentence as a goal for myself, and not be so blind to the err of my ways, is a testament to what God has done in my life, and what he can do in yours too. 

And wildly, as God is apt to do, he's taken this weakness of mine and redeemed it as men now seek me out for counsel for sexual sin. Sadly there are so many who are lost. 


A quick guide + a sermon packed with truth.

After talking to lots of men about this very issue I created this short guide on what's worked for me to overcome sexual sin. 

If you want a biblically sound eloquent dive into this topic, watch this sermon by my pastor, Paul Anderson, of Grace Valley Fellowship, framed by his conversations with a gay Texas millionaire.

In closing.

When I first started to get serious about my faith, I remember hearing that some of the guys at church didn’t even masturbate, and I remember thinking, “I don’t think that’s even healthy!”

I never imagined that one day I would earnestly seek to save all sexual energy for my wife alone. And if someone had told me I needed to do that to be a Christian, I might have turned and run.

The point is, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Start by reading the Bible, and pray and ask God to reshape your thinking. Ask him to put people in your life you can talk to about this, someone with a Godly perspective. He answers when we knock.

Over time, through Christ alone, victory over sexual sin is possible.

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 1:6

Other posts on sex...

Tools That Work

How to Not Have Sex with Your Wife for 6 Weeks

Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.
— Paul in Ephesians 5

I wish someone told me before I got married there would be periods where for very good reasons my wife and I cannot have sex. 

I'm in one of those periods right now... it happens for every husband and wife after they have a C-section (and many other types of procedures). Here is Whitney's hospital discharge note stating very clearly, no sex:

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Now, as a Christian man, I've contemplated what to do about these trials. In the wake of my 3rd C-section, I feel like God is giving me some wisdom worth sharing. 

  1. Biblical love in marriage is about giving, not receiving. As I serve my wife through her physical and emotional healing, I find empathy and my desire for my own pleasure dissipates.
  2. Just praying for my wife has a way of deepening my empathy for her as well as my own resolve not to sin. 
  3. I guard against moments of weakness, like when I'm really tired or have an abundance of energy that would normally find a sexual outlet. The top 7 tips that work for me to beat lust are in this little guide

Think its impossible to not have sex with your wife for prolonged periods of time?

Consider wise counsel I received from an older man a few years back. He shared with me how his own wife had a condition that made it impossible for him to have sex with her for over a year. I asked how he was able to do that, to which he responded, "I learned to love her like Jesus, without sex."

A challenging lesson, but rooted in Biblical love, I'm convinced. 

Adventures in Faith

#metoo - Here is how we combat sexual harassment

Let me join the chorus of those who've been harassed. 

The owner of a fine dining restaurant, and my boss, would often get drunk and grab at me from all angles. She'd say vulgar things to me and the rest of the crew.

When I bartended in Key West more than a few times I'd have wealthy gay men come in and proposition me or otherwise put me in an uncomfortable environment. 

Another time a married woman gave me her room key and kissed my neck as she walked away. 

As a part-time model and actor, I've often had extra sensitivity to my environment to ensure I don't get caught in a bad situation by someone with ill intent. Fortunately, my agents do a good job screening out shady people, and I've never been abused like some of the stories we're reading about in the news now.

Why do I share this now? What's my point? It's this...why is anyone surprised?

I thought everyone knew Hollywood was full of aggressive sexual behavior and abuse? I mean, even if ya don't know the industry gossip, just look at the product they're creating.

I thought everyone knew that as a society we have been fighting for our freedom to express ourselves sexually, even at the expense of what others see as morally right and wrong?

I thought everyone knew that we flat out accept overt sexual references, derogatory language, and uncomfortable displays of nudity in the public sphere? Whitney and I can hardly find a sitcom or live comedy show to attend anymore.

If we are foolish enough to think that throwing out modesty and traditional marriage as a society has nothing to do with the abuse we're seeing, then we're in for a very difficult shock to reality in the years ahead. 

This behavior is not going to get better, it will get worse, and our country needs Jesus and God's plan for sex more now than ever. 

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
— Galatians 6:7-8

Adventures in Faith

Man, There Is Death All Over the Streets of San Francisco

I had two hours free in San Francisco before meeting friends for dinner, and I thought I should go to the Tenderloin.

The neighborhood is known for its open air drug deals, prostitutes, government subsidized SRO's (single resident occupancy units) where many of the residence are sick or dying. 

I would have been easier to check-in to my hotel early and freshen up before dinner, but this "random" Facebook moment popped up on my phone:

Okay God, I hear ya, and I took the 5th Street exit, made my way to 6th and Howard, and pulled into the first spot I could find.

Thank God I saw a woman passed out on the curb with half her body laying in my spot before I ran her over; I found another place to park.

I walked the block, through the pot smoke, past hooting and hollering clusters of men and women. People leaned against buildings to avoid falling over, heaps of dirty flesh lay on the ground in various states of undress. I rubbed my shoulder to discover that I had been crapped on by a bird perched on the building above me.

For most people The Tenderloin can be overwhelming. It feels dangerous because, frankly, it is. People high on drugs, desperate and dying, in a fragile mental state are all around. 

The environment itself bears witness to the darkness that rules the day. Look around and see used condoms, beat up hookers loitering outside sex shops, human feces in the corner, bodies gaunt from years of drug abuse. 

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I decided to pray with people and give whatever money I had. But when I tried to enter a "hotel" I had been to several times I learned that the residents were all evicted as it was being converted into an SRO. Okay, God, why do you have me here, I asked?

A group of Christians came out of another hotel and we exchanged stories of the darkness in the area and ways we've fought it and have ministered to people. 

I walked the block and saw a woman who was being held upright by her friend. Every time he tried to leave her, she would collapse to the ground. He kept saying, "I don't know you." She was totally out of it, he kept holding her up. They propped up against one of many demonic murals in the area, which looked as if it wanted to devour the young life. 

You can see the two off to the left in this photo.

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Here's another awful mural. It shocks me that this is a city, a society, so calloused to the reality of spiritual darkness and oppression that they would allow this as their public art. There are literally scores more packed with skulls, demons, death--satan has clearly marked his domain here.

Up ahead I saw a pair of legs jutting across the sidewalk.

I didn't plan to stop and talk to this guy. But as I stepped around him, I looked into his eyes, and he in mine.

There was a sparkle of life.

He asked for a cigarette, I don't smoke I said. We bantered back and forth, I asked for his name, he said it was Lance. I shook his hand, crouched next to him, and asked him to tell me his story.

As he began, I drew out more details with questions. Deeper we went into his life, he'd served in the Gulf war, was a track star, then I learned about the source of his pain, the blow from which he has never recovered.

He was in a car accident and his wife and daughter were killed. The only survivor, Lance blamed himself; he could have told them to go slower to avoid hitting black ice. He blubbered with tears and snot as I held him close.

Lance went through the windshield, and has had seizures ever since. He lost his family home, their car, his job, pain killers don't work anymore, only a constant supply of alcohol to numb the pain. He wants to die, I fought back and told him he's awesome, I spoke life to him. Then I asked him if he wanted to say anything to the world, he said yes, this is what he said.

Lance said he never learned in school how to deal with death like this.

At one point, as he looked at my phone, he said he hadn't seen his own reflection in a long time. He called me an angel that came from out of nowhere. I repeated my advice to him, talk to God, read his Bible, go to Cityteam. Then I left.

I ran into a guy I know from Cityteam, an addiction recovery program, but had relapsed. He commented about living in the Tenderloin, he said it was the darkest area he's ever been in. He said the spirit of death and Satan is everywhere, like Legion demons from Luke Chapter 8 waiting to sweep into the next person. Without God, he remarked, nobody out here has a chance. 

We talked about how with God, there is no fear in the Tenderloin. It didn't even occur to me to be afraid. I gave him a hug and blessed him in the fight for his life. 

I made my way to ritzy Nob Hill for dinner, parked my car, and wasn't shocked to see skulls and cross bones all over the place. San Francisco has invited Satan and his beasts with open arms, socioeconomic status makes no difference.

This is a dark city in need of God, I'm certain of it now more than ever. The darkness is not confined to the Tenderloin--not even close--here's what greets you entering a swanky apartment building.

Lord help San Francisco. 

In the spirit of victory of Jesus, who overcame the world and death, the same victory that enables me and anyone who knows Jesus to walk into the darkness with no fear, I leave you with this.