I have a few questions in my inbox from our Have A Question page this week, but I wanted to tackle this one that came in last night.
I am trying to be a good Christian in my marriage but I am struggling. When I have sex with my wife I can’t seem to stay focussed on her. My mind wanders to think about other women every time. I can’t seem to stop it. I am working with a therapist to help me re-wire my brain to help me take control of my thoughts. I know this is sinful and I am doing everything I can to change. My question in the meantime is whether since I can’t seem to control my thoughts yet, should I just stop having sex with my wife until I can? Also if I am mid session with my wife and thoughts of other women creep in, should I just stop our activity immediately (ie not finish)?
I’ve been married for 17 years and feel so much guilt about this. I value any insight you can share.
It’s not a sin to be tempted
Everyone deals with temptation in various means, whether it be sexually or otherwise. And it’s not a sin to be tempted. Temptation is just part of being human. Even Jesus was tempted while here on Earth. Just wanted to state that in case someone is reading this and feeling that they’re sinning just by being tempted.
It is a sin to entertain temptation
However, it is a sin to give that temptation any ground what-so-ever. We shouldn’t consider the temptation. We shouldn’t bargain with it. When Jesus was tempted, He didn’t weigh His options, He immediately rebuked Satan.
So, when you find these thoughts come up, make a conscious effort to think about something else. Your spouse would probably be a good focus if it happens while you’re having sex. Actually, that’s probably a good focus any time you have these temptations. Let your brain learn that if it thinks about anything sexual, then your first thought should be of your wife.
It does take time, but it can happen. The change is slow though. One day you will realize it hasn’t happened in a while and you’ll wonder when it changed. But, it’s been changing all along. Those neuropathways will build over time.
Should you stop having sex with your spouse to avoid temptation?
No, I don’t think so. In fact, I think that would have the opposite effect. The Bible tells us not to avoid sex with our spouse, and if we do by mutual consent, then make sure it’s not for too long, so that temptation cannot take hold of us.
Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. – 1 Corinthians 7:5
How do you stay focused during sex?
I’ve never had the problem of staying focused on my wife during sex, but my wife, who is ADHD, has trouble focusing in nearly all situations. Her trick for staying focused might help you:
She keeps a running commentary in her head about what we’re doing during sex.
That way her brain has less of a chance for stray thoughts, because she’s consciously directing the flow of consciousness. She’s talking to herself about what’s going on, so that her mind and her body are in sync, so that there is less of a chance to disconnect.
Does it work perfectly? No, sometimes she’ll still have stray thoughts, but they’re easier to recognize when you’re focusing on your thoughts. When it happens, she goes back to her running commentary.
So, that might help you in the same situation. Keep a play-by-play going in your head. Keep it focused on your wife, maybe use her name, to help keep your thoughts focused on her.
Where are the thoughts coming from?
Lastly, I’d be curious what’s feeding these thoughts? Who are these women that you think of? Are you struggling with porn, if so you need to deal with that immediately. Do you have relationships with other women that are not healthy, that are blurring the lines of what’s appropriate? If so, you need to pull those back, if not cut them off completely.
Figure out what the source of these thoughts are, and then work to remove them.
Those are my thoughts on the question anyways. I hope they help. Anyone else have any additional ideas? Let us know in the comments below.
Or, if you have a question of your own, you can ask it here:Have a Question? Ask it here!