I'm new to the board.
I joined because I'm considering hosting an event within my area for Christian men to look at and discuss false intimacy. This has led me to a lot of googling of places of discussion, and that googling has tested one of my original hypothesis to be true: false intimacy is something that, as a church, we don't understand, and are ill-equipped to deal with. I find this startling, because it is a huge issue - and has been for quite some time. I believe false intimacy to be a major crippler of the church. Of course, it can affect women too, but men and women are such different beasts I can only talk from a man's perspective!
I want to raise a couple of discussion points, but first I'd like to define what I mean by 'false intimacy'. Simply put, it is the misuse of the sexual desires we were given by God. False intimacy is looking for sexual intimacy in any way that God did not intend. The most obvious example of this is pornography, but includes a wide array of sexual areas, such as fetishes, prostitution, cybersex, or dominance (which itself could be as part of an agreed arrangement, or an attitude of sex where it is about "i" not "us").
- what is your own understanding of false intimacy? is it a term you've hear of before I came along?
- have you heard any teaching whatsoever about any of the topics i've included in the definition - teaching not just in sermons, but in other settings, e.g, house groups, discussions with friends, marriage prep, Christian camps. If so, what?
- if you've struggled with false intimacy, what has helped you?
To answer one of my own questions...
A large motivation for me in this is to help others. As i've mentioned elsewhere, I'm a recovering porn addict. I use that term in the same way that an AA member remains a 'recovering alcoholic' till the end of their life, and Russell Brand calls himself a "recovering drug addict" despite being clean for years. It reminds me that lustful temptations will probably never go away from my life. I began watching porn in my early teens and gradually grew addicted - I moved to other forms of false intimacy (cybersex, dressing in women's clothing being two of them). At it's very worst stages it has affected my current relationship in ways I can't describe here (engaged - marrying in three weeks! CANNOT WAIT!)
My understanding of any false intimacy is that there is at one level a misunderstanding of what sex is for (and what it aint for). We need to be taught from the bible what sex is about; and how the fall affected that; and how Christ redeems it.
But at the same time, as Schaumburg says so much better than I could, it stems from "us[ing] sexual fulfillment to compensate for the painful emptiness and loneliness of a fallen world". That's a personal thing, which takes a lot of time to unravel.
So for me, counselling helps. As does reading about the issue - the Pink Cross Foundation, for example, has stories about ex porn actresses that just melts my heart and makes me hate porn even more! and understanding of the addiction process.
The freedom I have found from the porn is the very freedom Christ called me to. And as I grow in love toward him i'm more FREE to truly love others - including my fiance. And it's a cycle. THe more I live, the more I love living, the more I am thankful for Christ, the more I love him... and the more I'm able to live, leading the process to go on and on!
[if you've made it through this essay of a post, thankyou! and congratulations! go grab yourself a cup of tea!]