Steps of Healing: Avoid Pornography

Are there negative steps to take to heal? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters to find out.

I have been blessed all my life to be someone who has not had a pornography problem. When researchers want to study the effects of porn, they have a hard time finding guys nowadays who are young and do not have a porn problem at all or do not use it. I would be one of those rare guys.

One definite hard part about going through divorce is the missing of physical interaction. I am a subscriber to the DivorceCare newsletter and now, it’s going through issues relating to sex. I have seen that many people who get divorced due bend the rules in this area, such as people my own parents grew up with who when they get divorced, before their next marriage, decide to live together first.

When a divorce comes, a man comes from being able to be in an intimate relationship with a woman to not being able to be in one. He used to have a woman he could kiss and now he doesn’t. He used to have a woman whose body he could see and now he doesn’t. He used to have a woman he could be intimate with and now he doesn’t.

This is extremely frustrating for a man. Note with all of this I am saying for a man. I am not going to attempt to guess what it’s like for a woman, though I can imagine that it is difficult for them as well and yes, women have desires in this area as well.

When I talk with men going through divorce, this topic tends to come up. Men struggle. It’s one reason many of them can easily jump into a physical relationship with someone else. Of course, sometimes, encountering the opposite sex can be difficult, but today, there is an easy way many men deal with this.

Just turn on your computer and go to a link.

In all of this, I am not at all saying that the desire for physical intimacy is wrong. Men are wired to want to see and be with women. If a man is doing something thoroughly thoroughly stupid, quite likely, it’s because there’s a woman involved in the picture somehow and he’s not thinking straight.

However, i contend pornography is not the way to meet that need nor are sexual relationships outside of marriage. Some people have asked me if my views have changed on sex and marriage. Would it be tempting to say that an exception could be made for sex outside of marriage for people who have been divorced? Yes. It would be, but I cannot. I have to remain faithful to what I think Jesus commands us to do.

Pornography is a quick fix for a real desire, but it’s an illicit one. It is one that only cheapens. If a man wants to see a woman, that’s a natural desire that I contend God gave Him. There are two different things the man can do. He can go out and actually be a real man for a woman, love her for who she is, and earn her trust and marry her. That’s one option.

The other option is he can turn on his computer or phone and click a link.

One path requires that you work hard and sacrifice of yourself and go out and take risks. The other doesn’t. The other is in many ways, the coward’s way out. Not only that, it is a way that is dehumanizing to women.

The woman on the screen does not care about you. She does not desire you. She doesn’t want you. She doesn’t even know your name. She is an actress and while acting is a skill indeed, it is also fake.

I also contend that going this route is keeping you away from a real woman. It is a way of saying, “I cannot get a real woman, so I will go out and get a fake one instead.” Now I realize that many men do have a real woman in their lives and watch porn, but why bother? Is that woman you have inadequate? Wouldn’t that time be better spent romancing her instead? After all, one woman you have a relationship with. One woman you never will.

Not only this, many people in pornography are there because of sex trafficking. By watching, you can be unknowingly supporting sex trafficking. I have read a number of accounts of women who have escaped the industry. It’s never a good experience for them when they’re in it.

This is not to say that for many men, this is a real struggle. There have been some very rare times when I have felt a strong temptation to give in to this one since the divorce. By God’s grace, I have resisted every time. Generally, what seems inevitable after awhile can become “What was I even worried about?”

What are some things to do? For one thing, just go and do something else. If I have to turn on a game instead, that’s all the better. As my therapist told me, “I would rather you were playing a game than watching pornography.” I also try to not panic. It’s a real temptation and that’s okay. No one goes through life without being tempted.

If you need to, get a program like Covenant Eyes that can help you and a male accountability partner. (Women struggling get a female one.) Go also and get involved in a group like Celebrate Recovery. This should not be faced alone.

I have also told my friends that I have plans for when I do find someone wanting to date. Assuming I have my own place by then, I have made a personal vow that I don’t want to have a girl with me alone in my place or have me be alone with her in that place. That kind of situation could be way too tempting and a sure way to increase the likelihood that you will fall into a temptation is to think that you cannot fall into it or that you can handle it.

Again, no exceptions can be made. Too many ministries have been ruined by sexual sin. Do I need to remind us all of Ravi Zacharias? Who is to say any one of us could not be him as well?

So men, the desire is real. I have it. Odds are, you have it. We want love and we want to be special to a woman. That’s fine and it’s the way made it, but go and meet that desire the honorable way. Be someone special to a woman. Be someone loving to her. Treat her like a treasure. Treat one like a treasure and you treat all of them like one. Try to desire every woman and you truly desire none.

If you are struggling with porn, please get help. My friends at Proven Men would be glad to help you out as well. It will help you also with future relationships as I am convinced the reason many young men, including younger men, men younger than I, struggle with ED is because of watching pornography. Don’t go for fake women so much you won’t be able to please a real one.

If you struggle, it’s a real one and you have my sympathy for it. I hope my words can help you overcome it. I remain convinced pornography is one of the greatest evils of our day and hopefully, we can eliminate it one day.

Stay strong, fellow travelers.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Divorce and the Opposite Sex

How do you interact with the opposite sex? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When you’re married, you tend to get used to someone being around. This is someone of the opposite sex which leads to hugs, kissing, cuddling, and of course, sex. You have someone you can sleep next to every night. Then when you get divorced, that’s gone.

By the way, I want to be clear that I’m saying this as a man. I can better explain this to my fellow men. Women can try to find corresponding advice for their sex here.

It’s a difficult switch. For a Christian man, if you plan on remarrying, it’s awkward to start looking at other women and thinking about them. I happen to think this is much harder if you have been married because you do know what you miss. The same could be said probably for those who are sexually active before marriage.

So what are some rules that I  am working to live by in this?

First off guys, make no concession to pornography in this. I realize sometimes that can be difficult, but I think it is essential. Pornography will reprogram your brain and change the way you view women. For my part, I also know when I remarry, I don’t want her to have to think she has to compete against several women that are having free rent in my head.

It also teaches you that if you can’t get a woman to do anything intimate with you in real life, you can just go get one on demand. That’s really using a woman. Besides that guys, that woman on the screen doesn’t know you. She doesn’t care about you. She’s not going to date you.

With dating, you have to go out and impress a real woman and win her heart and earn her trust. That requires real work and that is difficult. Still, you have to come to realize that whatever woman you’re pursuing, you think is worth the work on some level. You think she’s worth the sacrifice.

Pornography trains you to teach women further as objects. The only goal with a woman is the sex. When it comes to a woman, you don’t just want that. You want the trust and the desire that comes with it, knowing that a woman trusts you with herself and desires you. You cannot get that in porn. That person on the screen cannot trust you and cannot desire you.

Now when it comes to actual dating, I have said whenever I get started, which will be when I get my own place at this point and hopefully soon, I have a rule that I will not be alone at a woman’s place or have her be alone with me at my place. The temptation could be too great. Now some of you will say “I won’t fall to that.” The first sign I think you will fall for temptation is that you think you cannot fall for it.

This also means watching interactions with the opposite sex. Actually, a lot of this advice is good for marrieds. This is especially so on social media where you can hear someone’s words and make them whatever else you want them to be in your mind. Sometimes in answering email questions, if one comes from a woman and gets extensive, I will get another woman involved. That way, I can get accountability.

This also could mean you need to get another man who has been here before to walk this walk with you. I have one. I also got involved in DivorceCare pretty much immediately when I moved back to Knoxville.

Having other guys can help hold you accountable. If you have a problem with pornography, make sure you have guys who are holding you accountable, including with programs like Covenant Eyes or XXXChurch. Celebrate Recovery is a great place for this.

This is a difficult transitional period in life that is extremely difficult. You don’t need to walk it alone and you don’t want to make emotional mistakes, including with the opposite sex. Also, I say this as one on the same journey as well. I have used the term “fellow traveler” to describe myself. Let’s make sure we reach our destination the right way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Josh Duggar

What are we to make of this wickedness? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Josh Duggar is connected with a celebrity Christian family. Unfortunately, that puts him in a spotlight to be what a Christian is meant to be and sadly, he is definitely not. We could grant some understanding with having a problem with pornography. I am not justifying that, but many men struggle with porn today and if they are repentant and seeking to change, we should be working with them and showing them grace. Sadly, Josh Duggar was doing more. He was also accused of molesting his sisters and now, child porn has been found on his computer.

Now when I first heard about child pornography, I thought it was likely teenage girls or something of that sort. No. We mean actual children. Children who are toddlers and some younger. Children who are nowhere near puberty. What do you say about a man who is sexually aroused by that?

Not only that, he had Covenant Eyes on his computer and yet found a way to bypass it. He was also involved on using the dark web to get his fix. This is a man who knew what he wanted and was willing to do anything underhanded to get it. Please think about that. This man sought out means to get his fix of children.

His wife I understand is still standing by him. I understand that divorce is often viewed as a great evil in the church, but there are some evils that are worse. This man is unsafe to be around, especially with children in the house that are the age of the children that he was viewing on the internet. She definitely needs to be open to this possibility. Fortunately, she is at least scared to be alone with him.

Rachael Denhollander issued a powerful Twitter series of posts on the topic. You can read them here. Let’s also spend some time then talking about what a girl is worth, which is the title of her book, and the way wives are sometimes portrayed in Christian marriage.

Women are sometimes blamed for the fall of men. Even if we go to the very first case, Adam and Eve, Eve did indeed give Adam the fruit, but it was Adam who willfully partook of it. Eve didn’t hold him down and shove it down his throat.

Suppose I am somewhere where a woman does everything she can to seduce me. Suppose it’s really a place that would normally be considered safe and I have been following good protocol to stay safe. This woman could do everything she can to seduce me, even stripping naked in front of me. She is responsible for that behavior definitely, but who is responsible for how I respond?

Me and only me.

Some women get the idea that if they dress a certain way, they are responsible for the fall of men around them. Now to be fair, a woman should be aware of how she dressed in the world. There are women who do dress in a way to advertise themselves in a way that is not appropriate, especially for a Christian woman. Many women don’t. A woman might pick an outfit out at the store just because it feels good on her and she’s not aware of how it looks in the eyes of a man.

However, a man cannot control what the women in his life do. He can only control what he does. Men need to learn that self-control regardless. Yes. Your wife might not be in the best state of mind and you might have to go without sex for a time. While a woman should not without cause deprive her husband as there is a mutual duty in marriage, if there is something going on with a physical condition or something of that sort, a man needs to be understanding.

For a woman who is not married, you never need to give yourself to a man before you marry him. If he won’t love you unless you give yourself to him, then he doesn’t really love you. He loves something you can do for him. What is a girl worth? A lifetime commitment.

Also ladies, if your husband is using porn, take action. If he is willing to work on it, be gracious and offer to work with him, but let it be understood you will not share him with pornography. Get him into a program like Celebrate Recovery and make sure he has friends who will hold him accountable. Be a partner in the journey.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that women can be involved in pornography as well. The same would apply in reverse. More and more women are struggling with pornography today.

For all of us, it’s always advisable to do our best to avoid being in sexually compromising situations. Being someone with a public image, I try to be especially careful. Unless the woman is related to me somehow, I won’t be alone with another women be it a restaurant table or in a car or on an elevator. Is that because of the woman? No. It’s because of me. I know beautiful women are extremely tempting for me and my thinking is if you think you are above a sin, you are far more likely to fall to it.

This is also appropriate on social media as well. I have women who are friends, but I try to be careful what I will talk about. Those of us who are Christians should be striving to live lives that are above suspicion. It would be a blessing to me if my intellectual opponents could look at me and say, “I don’t believe what he believes at all, but I do think he does try to live out what he believes and has that character.”

Also to those skeptics, none of this disproves Christianity at all. Josh Duggar’s sin does not show that God does not exist or that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. It shows that Christians, or claimed Christians, can be evil and hypocrites. None of us needed to be told that. We all know it. You want to condemn this as wicked behavior? You get no complaint from me.

For the rest of us, this is the danger of our Christian culture. We saw this with Ravi Zacharias. All of us who are in the public eye should be able to say to any challenge of our moral character to go ahead and investigate it. There’s a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin that goes “Our critics are our friends. They show us our faults.”

I also recently had a friend in ministry message me asking if I had two months to teach on a specific topic for apologetics purpose, what would I choose. Without hesitation, I said sex and marriage. I was told he wanted two months worth and I said that would be two years worth. Most Christians do not have a biblical worldview of either and our young people especially get the message of the world for at least six days and the one day we have to teach them normally, we don’t.

Meanwhile, pray for this family. They definitely need it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Ordeal

What do I think of Linda Lovelace and Mike McGrady’s book published by Citadel Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The book is called Ordeal and reading it is certainly one. It’s not because it’s a bad book. Quite the opposite. It’s because this book is a real-life horror story. Unfortunately, having read other books on sex trafficking, it’s also a pretty common story.

Linda is an ordinary girl at the start who meets a guy who sweeps her off of her feet. Sadly, that’s how it normally begins. Before too long, problems show up. The man, Chuck, has a bar and he takes Linda there one night to see a lot of topless women and sex acts. One case involves a woman with three men doing different things to her at the same time.

Linda is disturbed by this, but before too long, Chuck takes her to a hotel where five men are waiting for her and the same thing happens to her. The degradation keeps going more and more. Chuck speaks abusively to her, points a gun at her a number of times, threatens to kill other people in her life, etc.

Chuck always wants more and more and is pushing the envelope constantly to see what new activities he can come up with, which even includes having Linda be involved with animals. Linda’s big break came with a porn movie she did called Deep Throat. Unfortunately, that movie also came to define her. Before too long, whatever she did was based on that and if she tried to get other acting roles, they expected her to do a nude scene at least once. This was after she had escaped Chuck and she always said no.

Reading this book shows just how broken a person can become. This is something that can easily happen in the porn industry. If you are someone who watches porn, there’s no sure way to tell if the person is there against their will or not and one could be unknowingly supporting human trafficking.

This book is not for the faint of heart. The language is also very raw and profane a number of times, but that’s because that’s how it happened. It’s meant to show the evil of the industry and people involved, people like Chuck.

I sincerely hope that someday there will come an end to the pornography industry. There are too many Chucks in the world who want to take advantage of women and use them. There are too many people that treat other people as just means of entertainment and nothing more.

Parents especially need to watch their daughters. This was the world back in the time of Linda Lovelace. It has only gotten worse since then. Anyone can be a Linda Lovelace and any guy is capable of being a Chuck. Be on guard.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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PornHub Under Scrutiny

What is going on with the industry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Of all places, even the New York Times has apparently had an article against PornHub. The charge is that the site is infested with rape videos. There looks to be no denial by PornHub that this has happened. Of course, this would be a very tough denial to pull off. Just last year, a missing teenager was found when sexually explicit videos of her showed up on the site.

What do these changes mean? Not much I suspect sadly. A number of things could happen here. Maybe they won’t be held up. Maybe instead people will find work arounds to get such material up there as you can’t go to each person in each video and just ask and even if you could, many could know they have to lie. If it leads to the site shutting down due to competition, then it could very well be because the competition is even worse and doesn’t have any censoring of any kind.

The only cause for rejoicing here is that even in the secular world now, a closer look in the proper way is being given to the porn industry. Unfortunately, even then one wonders how effective it will be. With so many men in the world participating in the industry even if only consumers, getting information against it is going to be difficult.

The danger of people going to other sites also is very real, especially since these sites could allow for rape videos. In the porn industry, what is needed from consumers often is novelty. Something new is needed that hasn’t been seen before and like any drug, when the prior dosage isn’t enough, a new high must be hit.

The real danger is to the women involved. Our culture has reached a point where women really are giving sex more and more to get love. This is one reason I don’t have an account on SnapChat. I know the stories of women sending topless pictures of themselves and I want no part of that. It’s not because of any lack of desire for female beauty on my part, but because I think such is reserved for the marriage covenant.

Also, many women do find themselves in the human trafficking industry. I recommend books like Rebecca Bender’s In Pursuit of Love or Annie Lobert’s Fallen. Their stories of how they fell in in ways that seemed innocent enough at the start and how they managed to escape are gripping.

Josh McDowell has said the porn industry is the greatest foe the church has ever faced. He could very well be right. This is because it is a great depression on our values and our view of men and women and sex and thus, the building block of society, the family. Our young people are the hardest hit with many women who might not even watch porn thinking they have to do more and more to please their men and it usually being assumed that the young man is watching pornography.

I can’t tell the future of what will happen, naturally, but I do encourage Christians to start acting now. Parents are the first stage with learning how to talk to their children about sex and that will be different for boys and girls. The next stage is going to be the churches where pastors actually need to do sermons on porn and make places accessible for men and women affected by the industry in any way to seek recovery. Beyond that it will be contacting your state representatives and asking them to do something about the porn industry.

We can all change matters if we do something.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

You Don’t Have To Live With Porn

Does porn have to be part of your life? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My friend Sheila Wray Gregoire has a blog post today on emotional immaturity and porn. I am going to be addressing this largely assuming a male user of porn. I realize there are women that struggle with porn use, but I am speaking to men.

Let’s start with some looking at what I think is “natural” for men. Men by and large have a natural drive in them for sex and that is not wrong. Men also like the sight of a beautiful woman and that is also not wrong. I also don’t think it’s wrong that men have a natural curiosity about sex. They grew up with girls throughout their school years and all of a sudden when they get around middle school or so, they start wondering what those girls look like under all those clothes.

Let’s face it. Women are beautiful and God made us to notice beauty. It is not wrong. Now what you do beyond that could be. If you just treat that woman as an object such as all that matters is her body, that could be a problem. Honestly, what starts off a lot of dating relationships is looks, but if your relationship stays there, you’ve got a problem. You should never lose sight of the beauty of your mate, but you need to find more than physical beauty.

Porn is the answer many guys turn to, but it is the wrong answer. They get a distorted view of masculinity, of a woman, and of sex. As I drive around the Atlanta area listening to the radio, I listen to several commercials for ED. When I have watched ScrewAttack’s Death Battle recently, there have been ads for a medicine like Viagra. I seriously doubt senior citizens are watching Death Battle en masse.

Why would this be? I suspect a lot of it is porn. There are a number of guys I’ve heard of who have to have a dirty magazine nearby when making love to their own wives because that’s the only way they can be aroused enough. You don’t want that to be you do you?

In a proper marriage, when the two come together, the union is complete and no outside sources are to come in. One can have friends and family, of course, but for emotional and sexual needs, your spouse is supposed to be the one to complete the circle. Looking outside in porn is saying you are inadequate.

Many wives have this happen to them when their husbands confess to them about using porn. One common question is “Am I not beautiful enough?” She feels like less of a woman. Now ladies, you are fully justified in believing that, but walk a fine line here. You need to be honest with your spouse about how much this hurt you. You need to let it be known that you will not tolerate porn use and this is one rare case where I think it’s justified to withhold sex. On the other hand, if your husband has confessed and is truly repentant, be willing to work with him on this process. By coming to you, he has done the right thing. Don’t leave him regretting it.

Now for guys who are single, I do think there is some emotional immaturity here. Porn is an easy solution to a desire. Looking up a woman who is willing to just take her clothes off like that requires nothing of you. You have no risk. You do not put yourself in danger of being rejected. It’s not like the woman on screen is going to suddenly see you and go “Ewww. No!”

But the thing is, she also doesn’t know you. She doesn’t care about you. While you treat her as just a body, you are also treating yourself as just a body. You are treating yourself as someone who is incapable of getting a real woman so you go and get a fake one instead.

And really, is this a woman you would want? Would you want a woman who just takes her clothes off for anyone who makes a click? Would you want your wife to do that?

While saying that, I want to fully realize some women sadly have no choice, and this is something men need to keep in mind. Some women are trapped there because of human trafficking. This is a very real situation in America. I have some books here on the topic that are autobiographies and they are heartbreaking. These women are often just as much looking for love.

If you’re a single man, tell yourself you’re capable. If you want a real woman, go out there and be a real man and win the heart of a real woman. When you do get to be intimate with your wife then, it will be your real woman sharing her body with you and giving you the fullness of her love because she believes you are worth it. That’s much better than porn!

Like all acting, porn is fake. Get out of it if you are in it and if you are not, stay away from it. It is a real temptation, but you do not have to live with it. There are groups that help with porn. Celebrate Recovery is a great place to go. There are also plenty of programs like Covenant Eyes and XXXChurch that can help you.

And guys, women are a real beauty and treasure. Any time you use pornography, you treat that beauty as common and disposable. Don’t do that. Women deserve better and so do you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Boys and Sex

What do I think of Peggy Orenstein’s book published by Harper? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m convinced that today, there is a war on boys. Much of our society is geared towards the feminine and traits considered manly are often looked down on. Consider something as simple even as how schools are run. Girls often have a much easier time sitting at desks for prolonged times. Boys tend to need to be more active.

We have terms like Toxic Masculinity going around and then there is the MeToo movement, which I suspect had noble aspirations, but quickly became a way to get any man in trouble. Men are also put in a dangerous position when it comes to female beauty. Compliment a woman on her beauty and you are objectifying her. Say nothing about it and you are ignoring her.

Peggy Orenstein decided to study the topic when it comes to sex and boys and her boys she interviewed were mainly high school and college age. A lot of what she saw dealt with the hook-up culture and pornography. How do guys view this and how does that differ from girls?

This is also written from a secular perspective so much I will not agree with upfront such as not being favorable towards abstinence only positions and support for the LGBTQ community. Despite that, this book is quite insightful. Any parent should read it, even if you don’t have boys but have daughters instead, so you can know what is coming.

It also highlights for me that this is an area we are deeply lacking in. Most people today hardly ever think about sex. Yes. I seriously said that. They don’t. But don’t I watch TV or listen to the news or listen to music today? How am I missing it?

Easy. We talk about it. We dream about it and fantasize about it and watch it and just plain do it, but we don’t think about it. Most of us don’t have a place in our worldview for sex. It’s just a recreational thing that we do together.

So it is that boys and girls think very differently about sex. Porn was one of the first topics covered for boys. It is extremely rare to find a man like me who never struggled with that. The result? Our boys grow up with a twisted view of sex. They think they have to perform a certain way and can often have sexual problems as a result. They can also think all girls really want it and when they say no, they don’t really mean that. They just want the boys to push harder.

Some boys had even gone so far as to get a flip phone to be able to avoid porn. Pornography is controlling so much of the thinking in society about sex today. It’s no wonder there’s so much chaos in this topic and young boys need to be prepared for this. Of course, I’m listening to this and wondering “Why not realize that the boys aren’t the problem, but the porn is?”

Boys also worry about experience like I said. They can get nervous when with a girl for the first time and they think it’s going to happen. What if the girl has more experience and the guy is unprepared? What if he makes a mistake? (News flash guys. You likely will with your first time.) Some guys are either hesitant to perform or can’t.

There is another problem behind this. Guys are trained to not talk about feelings or emotions or express them. For me, I think of a guy like Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII who shows no emotion even when tragedy strikes repeatedly. Men who show emotion or weakness are told to man up. Most men don’t go to their guy friends to talk about problems because that’s not something guys do. (Again, thankful I have guys I can talk to about problems.)

There’s also a section on how guys can also be victimized. Yes. At parties where guys get drunk, they can be victimized by girls and many of them don’t like it, but how are you going to speak out? Your guy friends will say something like, “Dude. You got laid anyway. Why complain?” They do complain because believe it or not, many guys want sex to be special.

Also, a guy can’t help it if his body responds to sexual stimuli just like a girl can’t help it if hers does. A girl can have reactions to sexual stimuli even in rape. That doesn’t mean she likes it or wants it. A man does not need to be shamed for his body functioning. As someone told me recently, “If you’re a man on the beach and a pretty girl goes in front of you in a bikini and you don’t notice, it doesn’t mean you’re more spiritual. It means you’re dead.”

However, guys too often are doing the assaulting. They are too often of the mindset that the women really want it when they don’t. Of course, a lot of this talk about the necessity of consent could be greatly lowered if we would just encourage people to wait until marriage, but for some reason that’s unrealistic. Guys can cause great damage to girls without realizing it or intending it.

One great takeaway from the book also is contrary to what you think, guys want older men, including their Dads, to talk to them about sex. They also want a real conversation. They don’t want a quick five minute event and that’s it. There should be regular ongoing communication.

What I would like to see more in future works is what sex means really to guys. As a married man, I know what it means to me. It is more than just a recreational activity and more even than just having children. Guys need to understand this. Of course, girls do as well, but this book is about the boys.

I said at the start that while the book is secular, I think parents should read this, including Christian parents. Girls even should read this to learn about what you’re going to be experiencing. Christian parents especially need to read about the hook-up culture and the damage that it is doing to our children.

Dare I say it, but churches need to be talking about this too. Youth groups especially should be preparing our young adults for adult life and marriage if they choose to go that route. By all means teach abstinence, but teach why we do that instead of just the don’ts. Give youth a whole worldview of sex so that when they’re with their significant other on a couch, they have more than just a few verses in Paul to keep them from getting their game on.

Bottom line. Read this book and learn from it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Passion Principles

What do I think of Shannon Ethridge’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Usually when I find any book on marriage on Kindle for sale, I try to get it immediately. This one was no exception. Ethridge’s book is geared more towards women, but men who read it will find it very helpful as well.

Ethridge wants women to have the freedom to enjoy sex in marriage. At the start, a lot of stories are told about women who struggle with this and then stories are told about women who have found freedom. It is not the case that sex is made just for the man. Women are meant to take joy in physical union with their husbands.

Of course, it starts with God. Ethridge lays down the theology first saying sex was all God’s idea. He created it and made it the way it is for married couples and to show how He relates to His people. She looks at the Old Testament first focusing on the Song of Songs and Hosea.

From there, we go to the New Testament. Here we look at what Jesus has to say about sex and how sex relates to spirituality. She also asks the question about if sex will be in Heaven. There is no chapter explicitly on Paul which I would have liked, but that doesn’t mean he’s not covered at all.

Many chapters from there start to have a shift as much more is not so much about the physicality of sex as it is the emotional, mental, and spiritual side. It is still something worthwhile to be covered as Ethridge places more of the therapist hat on, including dealing with people who have a sexual past and people who have affairs either physical or emotional on their spouses. There is also material on overcoming pornography and why Christians should not use pornography.

Towards the end, we get back more into the physical side with questions about the bodies of the persons involved. What can you do or not do in the bedroom? What about oral sex or sex toys? What about when you have children?

This is a good book for women to read and I urge them to do so, although men will get something out of it as well. Your marriage is meant to be a place of joy and as is your marriage bed. If you want good advice to get there, this book is a great place to start.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Jesus Is Better Than Porn

What do I think of Hugh Houston’s book published by Jesus is Best? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

From the moment a guy hits puberty, one of the thoughts that goes through his head is the wonder about what certain women look like underneath all those clothes. A guy can see the girl and think that there’s only a thin barrier keeping him from viewing paradise and that barrier is clothing. A guy desires to see that beauty.

This is not an evil desire in itself. Women were made beautiful and God knew what He was doing. As a married man, I am always happy whenever my wife trusts me with all of her beauty. There is nothing like it in all this world.

Well, there could be something out of this world that’s even better, and that’s Jesus. Hugh Houston thinks so and does so as a man who wrestled with pornography usage for decades. He started as a young boy and it continued even into his marriage.

One of the hardest moments was having to tell his wife the truth. I am not going to begin to understand what this is like for a woman. It is a form of cheating and it leaves the person thinking “Am I not enough for you?”

Houston then describes his life of escaping from porn and the lies that pornography told him. He describes being in recovery groups and what men and women go through. He also says that porn cannot deliver on its promises and does so with Scripture, reason, and other Christian writers.

There is great advice here on overcoming addiction and it would help someone with any addiction, not just porn. Houston writes in a personal style practically begging the reader to not get involved in the addiction. He also has several helpful resources to help a person on the path to escaping addiction.

He also does stress the pain that it causes the other person if you are married. This is important since there are even some pastors who have told couples having sexual problems to try watching pornography together. It might work some in the short-term, but in the long-term, it will do more harm.

As I have said, when I drive around the Atlanta area here, I hear many ads for men struggling with ED. I am convinced one of the main reasons for this is porn. Men have been so aroused by fake women over and over that they find it hard to be aroused by a real one right in front of them.

The book is also a short read and it would be great for people struggling with porn, or who have spouses who struggle, to read together. Each chapter ends with questions at the end for discussion. If you are struggling with porn or know someone who is, this is a great place to go to.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Are Romance Novels Female Porn?

Do women receive unrealistic expectations? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night I was talking to someone and the topic of pornography came up. We were talking about how men have a hard time with relationships with women because pornography gives unrealistic expectations. However, as a contrast, we discussed women can have unrealistic expectations for men and this could be in the form of romance novels.

Of course, I cannot say if this is the case since no one can read all romance novels, but women can often have expectations of all the men that they want to marry. We are often told men are shallow going solely by looks. This can be true, but women can also go by looks entirely. I remember when I was single not being as attractive to women as the really athletic guys are, which I definitely am not.

Yet it goes beyond that. When I talk to guys about to get married about the wedding night, I tell them to think about what they have seen in movies and on television. I then tell them forget it all. After all, in popular culture, nothing goes wrong. No one puts down a towel. No one makes any inappropriate bodily noises. No one does anything that is displeasing. Everything flows naturally and perfectly.

Real life isn’t like that. Real sex takes work. It takes practice. For most people, their first time will be incredibly awkward. They’re just getting started. Why expect to be a professional?

Real romance also takes work.

Women have been raised with stories of Prince Charming coming for them. He looks perfect so much and he’s a great kisser and he knows how to do everything to sweep a woman off of her feet. What’s absent is the time that Prince Charming wakes up in the morning to kiss her and he has really bad morning breath.

Prince Charming will leave his underwear on the floor sometimes. He will leave a dirty dish out wanting you to clean it. He will ask you to bring him dinner while he watches his football game. He will get snippy with your mother sometime. He will be playing on his iPhone sometimes while he’s on a date with you. He will get gray hair or go bald and he will lose his perfect physique.

In other words, Prince Charming will be like every other man out there. To expect a man like to be like that is as unrealistic as expecting a woman to be like a porn star. (And I suspect a porn star isn’t even really like a porn star in reality.) It will set you up for failure.

Men tend to connect with sight. That’s why there’s such a joke out there about anime girls who seem to have totally unrealistic proportions. Women tend to connect with stories. If the sight of a woman who is unrealistic in porn can damage men, an unrealistic story could do the same for women.

Also, notice how each of these can set us up with a false idea about marriage. We need to find a spouse who is good for us. Now you should hope your spouse is good for you, but the best question to be asking is “Are you being good for your spouse?” For most of us in marriage sadly, we are asking if our spouse is making us happy and if we are not happy, well just get divorced. The real question to ask is more “What can I do to bring happiness to my spouse?” (Or even better, holiness.)

This is not to say you can’t think of what makes you happy. You should because if your spouse wants to make you happy, they need to know from you what does that. The real goal though should be seeking to show love to others in season and out of season and that starts in your own home.

So if you’re reading a romance novel, maybe it doesn’t have anything in it like an explicit sex scene, but that doesn’t mean you’re not having your ideas altered by it. You can marry Prince Charming and wake up one morning to find his dirty socks on the floor. In reality though, he probably had expectations of you that you fell short of, and that’s okay, because we all come with unrealistic expectations.

This then is the time for grace. Accept people where they are, including your spouse. At the same time, motivate them to be better than they are, not just because of what you want for them, but because of what is good for them themselves.

Guys. Women will not be like porn stars and pornography is wrong anyway so please don’t bother with it. Women. Please be careful about your ideas of romance. Prince Charming will have morning breath sometimes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters