Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

6 October 2008

The "how long sex takes compared to how important it is" meter

Did you know that a new study has shown that "optimal sex" only takes 3-13 minutes? That's not that long. And 3 to 13 minutes a couple times a week does not constitute a great percentage of a human's time. Yet sex dominates our thoughts, our plans, our words... it's enormous. Those 20 minutes a week can either build us up or tear us down. Amazing.

Thankfully, Christians have started talking about it. Remember the church with the 30 day sex challenge a while back? In fact Christians now talk about it so much that some outside the church have termed it the "soulgasm". Many don't like it because they say the soulgasm folks ar e "intolerant" of non Biblical forms of sex. Personally... I think they're just jealous since stats show over and over that Evangelicals have more satisfying sex than any other demographic. Ours works. Go God. Yeah... it's clearly NOT a good thing to talk about sex in relation to God. Clearly.

I want to share a few bits of an edited email conversation I've had with a Big Ear blog reader recently. She gave me permission to share the story and I'll keep it very anonymous but it's not a discredit to her whatsoever. This could be the story of so many if the lines communication lines break down. It's a the story of thousands and thousand of men and without honesty can lead to the destruction of relationship

"P" Strange question for you: do you know of any resources for men struggling with porn addiction? I "may" know someone very well who is struggling with this... and I "may" have divorce paperwork sitting here waiting to be filled out. Or perhaps I should ask if you know of any resources for spouses of people struggling with porn addiction?

Dave: The best ministry I know for porn addiction is xxxchurch.com. I just wanted to encourage you that there is hope. Is this "someone" open about it and willing to work through it? It's such an intense guy struggle that really does take its toll but it's also something that there are so many people who struggle with it and are starting to become more open about it for the purposes of healing and freedom.

P: Yes it has been going on 10 of the last 12 years of our marriage and prior to that back in high school. He is very defensive about it still. He is blaming the world, his mother and me for this... saying weird things like "If we had done x y z... I wouldn't feel compelled to look at this" etc....

3 weeks later

P: He is saying that it's not a problem anymore. After, you know, doing absolutely nothing about it, he's fixed. He's blaming me... not this or that enough. I'm not buying into that load of crap but it hurts to hear. He isn't willing to do anything about this. He has already ventured into online dating.

Dave: I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through. Porn is so subtly vicious. And it's an issue that can only really be dealt with in openness and honesty. When Krissy and I were young and married, God ripped that secret open on me and it was painful, shameful, uncomfortable, hurtful for both of us... but there was hope that came out of it and it walked us into a subsequent decade of healing in our sex life which was (as we found out) based on various lies we believed about sex God and ourselves.

P: I am realizing that because of my naivete I allowed things to happen because I didn't know any better. When he said it wasn't a problem I believed him without questioning for 10 years. When he racked up **K in credit card debt (for the 2nd time) and blamed it on the CC Companies for upping his limit, my eyes started to open. And then I found the online dating sign up in early August, I knew how big a problem it was.

It's heartbreaking. But that's harsh story of undealt-with porn. You can go on xxxchurch.com and read story after story. And the excruciatingly hard part for "P" is that if one party isn't willing to change... it leaves the other somewhat in the lurch. She's a great lady and I'm praying that God intervenes because that's the kind of God we have. He restores broken things.

It's not JUST a porn thing though. The same thing can be true for other aspects of our sexual relationships. The "you won't do x,y,z" discussion is a VERY common thing. It's something we all experience but left undealt with, it leads to isolation, resentment, jealousy, etc... And when you consider that "x" would be 2 minutes out of 20 in a week... "y" would only be 1 minute a week, and "z", barely 30 seconds a week... answers MUST be closer than we feel like they are if we'll talk and be honest.

Maybe there are "x y z" reasons that "x y z" actions don't happen. Maybe good reasons. But nothing can't be overcome. Talking about "x y z" can be awkward. It makes you feel very vulnerable. Because the reality is that "xyz" is not about "xyz". As Rob Bell talks about in "Sex God", THIS is about THAT. The weekly 20 minutes of naked, both reflects and shapes our clothed relationship that fills the other 167.2 hours.

There are trust tests. Temptations to withhold out of selfishness. There are varying degrees of willingness to "let go" and be free. But in marriage we NEED good sex lives. It's built into our DNA. It simply makes our life better. That's why 20 minutes on the "how long sex takes compared to how important it is" meter may seem disproportionate... but check out this amazing quote from "Sex: What if you just don't want to?"

You know how all these boys (I call them boys because that's what they act like) who are 25-35 sit around addicted to video games? And porn? Studies have shown that the neurons and chemicals in their brain that fire are the SAME ones that fire off during making love. The very things that GOD built into their biology to bond them to their wives are bonding them to the computer screen or TV screen. GOD intended this great action to get your husband to be WILD about you.

Cool beans. Cool sexy beans.


Sensuous Wife said...

Good post, Dave. There is so much good stuff in your article I want to respond to.

It's so frustrating to read stories like this because I can see the dynamic where couples either spiral upward or spiral downward. We have such a profound influence on each other as husbands and wives yet at the same time we are each responsible for our own actions.

Whatever the cause of the spiral, my experience and years of women sharing their story with me has taught me that the way to switch the spiral from downward to upward is to make a core decision to deal with your own stuff and do the right thing regardless of how your spouse may choose to respond.

Whether your downward spiral is a situation where you and your spouse are under stress and every thing they say or do seems to get on your last nerve or something more dangerous like addiction, it's all about making that choice to do the right thing by your spouse regardless of how they choose to respond.

That takes guts.
That is a leap of faith.
And most people when they take that leap of faith, they are hoping inside that a higher power will honor their right choice. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, to do the right thing with no guarantee your partner will do the right thing in return, that's a leap of faith that a higher power will reward your good choice. My higher power happens to be Jesus. I can tell you that my love for God and my believe that he will take care of me when I stick my neck out to make the right choice, that has made all the difference for me. Time and time again.

I'll give an example of how this might look for the woman from the article. The woman who can see clear signs that her husband is acting out an out of control sex addiction.. for her the hard scary leap of faith choice might be to get help, by seeking the resource you describe, or by looking for a therapist who specializes in sexual addiction like Dr Patrick Carnes www.sexhelp.com or attend a support group meeting of Codependents of Sex Addicts Anonymous www.cosa-recovery.org.

She might decide that for her to do the right thing to get support for herself and make a plan with her counselor to implement healthy boundaries with her husband. i.e. "this behavior is destroying our marriage and if you choose to continue in this behavior I will leave you until you get some treatment" whatever plan she and her therapist agree on.

That's a leap of faith, cause there's no guarantee that her husband will make his own healthy choice.

Women have shared this story with me time and time again. They pray and pray and hope their husband makes a good choice. Some of the stories I've heard had a happy ending. The husband did choose to evict the addiction from his life and they rebuilt a life together. I've heard some stories that had a divorce. The addict chose his addiction over his marriage. It happened to dear Christie Brinkley. It happens.

But each of these women told me that even though the husband chose addiction over marriage and their marriage ended in divorce, the women all felt that when they took the leap of faith, that a divine safety net caught them. Some have remarried and enjoying a healthy relationship, some are single, but they all have lives free from the toxic addiction. Through counseling and dealing with their own issues they all made a healing choice.

There is so much good stuff in your article I want to respond to! I still haven't said anything about the "how long sex takes meter" and the underlying concept of "why not have sex more often by putting little 30 minute erotic snack packs in the ol' Day Timer?" but this comment gets any longer I may as well make it an article! :) Sensuous Wife Shula

Anonymous said...


As a woman who has been "betrayed" twice by her usually very loving and attentive husband (to porn), I can say if it is left unchecked it can rip a relationship apart at the seams. Even a good solid one. Thankfully my husband dealt with and overcame his addiction. But now that I'm pregnant again (and both times he betrayed me to porn I was pregnant), I am having trust issues once again wondering if anything is going on.. wanting to check his computer.. and he knows this because i am very honest about my feelings regarding this issue.

On the flip side, porn is also very tempting for women. It's just too easy to access and I can be too curious for my own good.

Healthy sexual relationship? What the hell is that? Seriously! What is that? I have never known it. Ever. I'll be blogging about this soon so stay tuned.

Heidi Reed

Sensuous Wife said...

A healthy sexual relationship is what my husband and I have, after many years of counseling and personal growth. Some couples wouldn't need that much help, but what can I say? I'm a special needs gal. (wry smile) Seriously, when it came to sex, I had a lot to overcome. So when I started to experience healthy sex I just had to say something which is why I started my blog. Would love to see you come by and visit sometime.

Dave Carrol said...

I don't there is a BOOM... now it's healthy thing. I think it's just like the rest of our life. There are breakthroughs... regressions (if we let it slip away), victories and defeats.

I think the biggest concepts in this blog is that sex is a reflection of your rest of the time relationship. And that THIS is about THAT

Rob Bell in Sex God says

"This is really about that. It's always about something else. Something deeper. Something behind it all"

our sex struggles are about trust... insecurity... self image... lies we believe. he talks about how it's literally a moment of touching heaven when you can not think of pain, tears, sadness etc... and it's why we need it so badly. So tackling the emotional mountains can bring liberty into the bedroom.

Not that I'm even remotely an expert. We've fumbled our way along in our 10 years of marriage through issue after issue. Sometimes finding freedom and sometimes realizing that to find the freedom we want... we'll have to try again and dig deeper.

Job said...

Another good ministry is Covenant Eyes. They have a cutting edge accountability software that is used by tens of thousands of people worldwide.

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