How Do I Feel About Myself?
“I am deeply lonely… I feel empty inside.” “I can’t be alone.” “I’m passive, drifting; I can’t even make ‘simple’ decisions.” “I’m angry.” “I’m hard-hearted and detached.” “My life is driven by a deep sense of shame.” “I’m struggling in my relationship with God.” “I desire to experience the peace that is supposed to pass all understanding.” “I would like to learn to seek others out rather than choose to isolate.” I would like to learn to relate to God as a loving Father.” “I would like to live out of the truth of who God says I am, rather than what I may believe about myself.” “What does it really mean to ‘love others as I love myself?’”
How Are My Relationships with Others?
“I fear relating honestly to others.” “I’m co-dependent… I live my life through others.” “I refuse to connect emotionally with others.” “I just can’t keep appropriate boundaries.” “I find it hard to be known and live behind a mask.” “I’m the victim of abusive relationships.” “I feel anger or hatred towards women or men.” “I have a fear of commitment.” “I want to connect with others from a place of relational health.” “I want to learn to say, ‘No.’” “Authenticity is a deep desire of mine, but it seems beyond my reach.” “I would like to learn to initiate relationships with others from a place a strength, rather than weakness.” “I want to find relational wholeness in my relationship with God so that I have something to offer others.”
How Are My Sexual Relationships?
“I act promiscuously.” “I use pornography.” “I can’t keep my own sexual boundaries with others.” “I’m a victim of abusive relationships.” “I read erotic literature and novels.” “I use or engage in prostitution.” “I have self-identified, unwanted, same sex attraction (unwanted homosexual or lesbian feelings).” “I’m married to or in a relationship with someone dealing with these sexual issues.” “I long to experience sexual intimacy as God intended.” “How can I learn to love again after having trust broken?” “I want to forgive my loved one.”
To become a voice of hope and a place of restoration for those in sexual and relational conflict throughout every community within Central Pennsylvania.
- We are a nonprofit counseling organization that provides Christ-centered education and support to individuals and families who struggle with or are impacted by sexual brokenness.
- We are an interdenominational ministry which offers counseling and support services to those overcoming sexual conflicts such as sexual compulsivity, sexual addiction, sexual abuse, and sexual identity issues, such as homosexuality.
- We strive to be a help to those who struggle with sexual conflicts, to help them to manage their sexuality to the glory of God through abstinence or through developing the ability to enter into and maintain an intimate, lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
- We help participants grow in their ability to be relationally appropriate with members of the same, as well as the opposite, sex.
- We believe our purpose is to be a model of the practical experience of the grace of God to and within the Christian community.
To bring hope and restoration to individuals and families walking through sexual and relational conflicts by providing Christ-centered counseling, education, and support.
Support Day Seven Ministries
Day Seven Ministries is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that is supported by individuals, churches, and businesses throughout the area.
“There remains then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” — Hebrews 4:9-11 (TNIV)
When Enos Daniel Martin, M.D., founded Day Seven Ministries over 27 years ago, he was looking for a name that communicated the need to “rest from our fruitless efforts to save ourselves” from the sins with which we struggle. The name Day Seven reflects the example of our Savior who rested on the seventh day of Creation. And, that is what we have been attempting to do for the past 20 years – help people find rest from their sexual and relational struggles.
Originally located in Elizabethtown, PA, Day Seven Ministries now has its main office in Lancaster and branch offices in Camp Hill and Reading. Recovery groups also operate throughout South-Central PA.
Prior to beginning his current position as Executive Director with Day Seven Ministries, Bill spent 22 years in pastoral ministry in California, Kentucky and New York. He graduated from Houghton College followed by Asbury Theological Seminary and later earned his spiritual direction credential from the Epiphany Institute in Pittsburgh. His current responsibilities at Day Seven include building relationships with pastors and community agencies, providing seminars for churches and community groups, and leadership and administrative responsibilities. He has a passion for helping others live up to their full calling and potential and loves to see people’s inner inspiration become real and concrete. Bill and his wife, Maria, have four children. Bill does not see clients individually at this time.
Dan is the Director of Counseling and Education. Prior to this, Dan has served as Executive Director and previous to that, Community Relations Director. Before serving with Day Seven Ministries, Dan spent 12 years in pastoral ministry with over eight of those years in ministry to youth and their families. Dan first became involved with Day Seven Ministries as a recovery group leader and completed his practicum and internship toward the completion of a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Counseling at Lancaster Bible College’s Graduate School. In addition to his studies at LBC, Dan completed classes towards a Masters of Divinity Degree at Asbury Theological Seminary. Dan and his wife, Heather, have three children, live in York Haven and attend Wyndamere Heights Evangelical Congregational Church. Dan sees clients both at the Lancaster and Camp Hill locations.
Zach grew up about an hour from Lancaster and like many others his age, was unsure what direction to go after high school. Although he didn’t have a strong pull to a particular field of study, he felt that Lancaster Bible college was a good fit to continue his education. Through various experiences and opportunities, he felt that the counseling field was where he needed to be and serve. Zach interned with Day Seven for three years and finished graduate school in 2012, when he officially came on staff as a counselor. His passion for helping and hearing others has led him to enjoy what he does, in speaking truth and showing grace through individual counseling and recovery groups. Zach sees clients at both the Lancaster and Reading locations.
Michael began his second stint serving Day Seven Ministries as a counselor in January, 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas and a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, the American Counseling Association, and the Pennsylvania Psychology Association. He, his wife, and their two sons attend Cross Roads Brethren in Christ Church in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. He enjoys reading, playing basketball with his sons, and hiking the Rocky Mountains. He is passionate about helping people to resolve painful pasts, relational difficulties, emotional dysfunction, and addictive ruts. Michael sees clients at both the Lancaster and Camp Hill locations.
Craig works part-time for Day Seven Ministries as an intake counselor and in various other roles as the opportunity arises. He is the author of a memoir, “A Walk with God to Remember,” about his first wife who died of leukemia. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he has worked in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, in church ministry with an Evangelical Free congregation, in recovery ministry with Water Street Ministries, and in chaplain ministry with Willow Valley Communities. He is married to Diane and has two daughters adopted from China. Craig does intakes at the Lancaster location.
Nick received his Master of Arts in Counseling from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has a Bachelors Degree from Union University where he received his BS in Business Administration. After being in the business world for six years, he decided to make a change. He worked for an at-risk youth camp where he helped families work through trauma and restore their broken relationships. During this time, he developed his passion for helping others restore relationships. This is when Nick felt called to go into counseling. Nick is married and enjoys spending time with his wife and friends. He likes spending time outdoors, but also like watching movies on his surround sound. Nick sees clients at the Camp Hill location.
Rebecca is a Licensed Social Worker who received a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Dallas Baptist University and a Masters in Social Work from Millersville University. She is a Lancaster county native and lives with her husband and two daughters in the Manheim area. As a life-long resident, she is interested in addressing the strengths and growth opportunities inherent to Lancaster county culture within the therapeutic process. Rebecca is passionate about promoting the integration of spiritual and emotional health, believing that one is not complete without the other. This focus translates into many areas including individual wellness, sexual health, relational and marital health, and a variety of mental health issues. She enthusiastically supports the mission of Day Seven in promoting heart wellness first, as it is “the wellspring of life”. Rebecca sees clients at the Lancaster location.
Gary L. Lord
Gary is an experienced Licensed Clinical Psychologist passionate about helping people improve their lives. He works with those struggling with sexual and intimacy problems, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and with the elderly in successful aging. He does stress management, anger management, and works with abuse victims. He is an active member of Lancaster Evangelical Free Church. His focus in counseling is, and has been for 30 years, relationships and problems with intimacy and anything that prevents individuals and couples from achieving healthy, effective, faithful, and fulfilling lives. In addition to his clinical work, Gary has done executive coaching and consulting with businesses and organizations, and he has taught and done research at universities and colleges. He has also taught and served in various leadership positions in the church. Gary and his wife, Temmy, live in Leola. Their two married children live in Seattle, Gary’s home state. Gary sees clients at the Lancaster and Reading locations.
Danielle Brodhecker earned a BA in Sociology at Virginia Wesleyan College. She is working on her Masters in Mental Health Counseling at Lancaster Bible College. Danielle has wanted to help others from a young age. Prior to beginning her education at LBC, she became impassioned to help restore trafficking victims. This lead her to want to intern at Day Seven Ministries where she has the opportunity to help abuse victims. Also, in helping those who are impacted by sex addiction, Danielle hopes she can impact the demand for trafficking victims. Danielle sees clients at the Lancaster location.
Casey is a recent graduate of Lancaster Bible College, having graduated with a MA in Marriage and Family Counseling. Prior to this, she received her undergraduate degree from Lycoming College, studying religion and psychology. She began interning with Day Seven in May 2014. In addition to her work at Day Seven, Casey also has experience working with individuals with substance addictions and eating disorders. She also spent 3 years working with children on the autism spectrum. Casey is passionate about being able to walk with individuals, couples, and families on the road to restoration, utilizing a counseling model that both honors Biblical truth and psychological insight. Casey sees clients at both the Lancaster and Camp Hill locations.
Wendy first joined Day Seven as a counseling intern through Lancaster Bible College. Prior to attending college, Wendy completed a YWAM DTS where God laid counseling on her heart, specifically for those dealing with sexual brokenness. Knowing education would be necessary, she graduated with her Masters in Professional Counseling from Lancaster Bible College in 2014 and continued on with Day Seven. She enjoys walking with others through their hurts and struggles as well as watching them experience victory in big and small ways through individual therapy and groups. She and her husband attend Petra Church in New Holland. Wendy sees clients at both the Lancaster and Reading locations.
Renee is a mother to a daughter and son-in-law and grandmother to two grandchildren. Renee’s undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology equipped her with a pre-med background, and later she completed her first Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA). In her career as an emergency manager, she learned she was able to diffuse various crisis situations. She translated these skills of conflict resolution into her passion to assist people who are in crisis both psychologically and emotionally. She started her counseling career ten years ago when she established a non-profit organization that focused on the reduction of stressors in the lives of adults and youth. Renee then completed a Masters Degree in Marketplace Chaplaincy with a concentration in Christian Counseling. She also has additional graduate hours in Professional Psychology, and has completed three units in Clinical Pastoral Education. Renee uses an eclectic style—a Rogerian style of listening combined with Reality and Cognitive Behavioral therapeutic approaches. Other therapies are sometimes incorporated as needed for a person’s healing journey. A second passion she is pursuing is the establishment of transitional housing and counseling for women coming out of human trafficking. Renee sees clients at the Camp Hill location.
Day Seven Ministries offers professional, confidential, Christian counseling to individuals, couples, adolescents, and families affected by sexual and relational brokenness issues. Each counselor at Day Seven Ministries is a committed Christian who is equipped to integrate the Christian faith with psychotherapy techniques. We approach counseling from a solid Biblical perspective, because we believe that ultimate healing and true freedom comes through an active, growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and that this relationship affects change in all areas of life.
Although each counselor has a slightly different approach to the counseling process, our idea or theory can be described as:
- Biblically based and Christ-centered
- Family Systems
- Modified 12-step emphasis and integration recovery model approach
Our professional Christian counselors will address any issue related to sexuality, including sexual addiction, pornography, sexual abuse, unwanted same-sex attraction, gender confusion, emotionally dependent relationships, promiscuous sexual relationships, marital unfaithfulness and various other sexual relationships. We also provide counseling for individuals who have a sexually addicted spouse and family members who have a loved one who struggles with a sexual issue.
We counsel men, women, couples, families, and adolescents over age 14.
We believe that healing is facilitated through honesty within the context of safe relationships.
Recovery Groups at Day Seven Ministries offer a place where people can talk about their struggles,
find support, receive accountability, and be placed in contact with resources to information
that will aid them in their recovery.
Day Seven Ministries groups meet weekly and are often led by men and women who were once participants. Each group is slightly different; however, all groups focus on healing from
sexual brokenness issues. Listed below are the types of groups offered:
- Men’s Recovery – for men who struggle with sexual addiction, unwanted same-sex attraction or other sexual and relational issues.
- Women’s Recovery – for women who struggle with sexual addiction, unwanted same-sex attraction or other sexual and relational issues.
- Wives’ Recovery – for women whose spouses struggle with sexual brokenness issues.
Day Seven Ministries’ recovery groups operate on a quarterly basis and require an individual commitment
to that time frame. However, new participants are welcome at any time. An intake appointment is
necessary for group participation. This appointment allows us to match a new participant to
the appropriate group, discuss group guidelines and confidentiality, and protect the
safety of all group members.
Groups are currently available in Camp Hill, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Mountville.
For more information or to schedule an Intake in preparation for participating in a Recovery Group,
call the Day Seven Ministries office at (717) 735-0690 or toll-free at (866) 301-3297.
Seminars & Workshops
Day Seven Ministries staff and counselors are available for a variety of speaking engagements that can be customized to your organization’s specific needs. Seminars and workshops cover
a variety of topics relating to sexual brokenness and healing. In the past, we have presented
seminars or workshops for churches, women’s and men’s Bible studies, youth groups, pregnancy
centers, group homes, camps, colleges, and nonprofit organizations.
Conference and Workshop Topics include but are not limited to:
“What is Day Seven all About and Why Do We Exist?”
This is a general talk in which the reality of sexual brokenness is shared along with Day Seven Ministries’
vision to be a voice of hope and a place of restoration for those in sexual and relational conflict
throughout each and every community within Central PA.
“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
If we are all supposed to be Christians, why is there conflict within the body? What does it mean to truly
live together in community, not just skip out when the going gets rough? This workshop will explore
what the Bible says about how to handle conflict with our brothers and sisters in Christ
and what it teaches us about ourselves.
“Ministering Redemptively With Hope to People Who Struggle With Same Sex Attraction.”
In our culture, people struggling with SSA are often presented with two options: learn to embrace the
attraction or learn to live with condemnation. But, there is another way. The church is to be the
hands and feet of Jesus ministering to people in their brokenness. Through the church, the
hope of Christ and His redemptive power may be extended to those who feel hopeless and
powerless over their attraction.
“Honest Talks About Sex”
This series of interactive workshops is designed to help people talk openly about sex and sexuality
and its place in today’s culture. These workshops cover a variety of topics including a biblical
overview of sexuality, perspectives on gender and sexuality, cultural messages about sex,
and why God created sex. It also addresses issues such as homosexuality,
exual addiction, and masturbation.
“What Does The Bible Say About That?”
The Bible has a lot to say about sexuality, homosexuality, gender, and God’s design for us. This
workshop explores those truths and discusses them in the context of today’s culture and
the messages being’ portrayed through the media.
“Sexual Addiction: Bondage to Counterfeit Intimacy”
Through this seminar the belief that sex is the primary means through which intimacy is found is
countered with the reality that sexual behaviors may lead to addiction which leaves a person
unable to find true intimacy with another. An overview is also provided on the nature of
sexual addiction as well as the belief system of the sexual addict. The seminar concludes
with suggestions on how to respond to the sexually addicted.
“Emotionally Dependent Relationships and Same Sex Attraction in Women”
Women thrive on relationships, but what happens when those relationships go awry? This workshop
addresses the roots and causes of emotionally dependent relationships and same-sex attraction.
It also discusses differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to guard
friendships from becoming unhealthy.
Dating & Marriage
“How To Turbo Boost Your Marriage”
A number of ways are shared to accelerate a marriage forward:
- Construct a dream
- Commitment to each other
- Enhancing or rediscovering chemistry
- Making conflict work for growth
“The Mystery of Marital Oneness”
This talk is about the sexual relationship God created for a man and woman to experience
in the context of marriage.
“Purposeful Dating in a Non-committal World”
This workshop explores healthy aspects of relationships, specifically within the context of dating.
Main points include true intimacy, conflict, and community.
“A Father’s Impact on His Son’s Masculinity”
“My daddy is bigger than your daddy!”
“Oh, yeah? Well, my daddy is stronger than your daddy!” When observing a young boy imitating the way
his dad walks or talks, it quickly becomes evident that fathers leave a powerful imprint on their sons.
This talk examines a child’s perception of his father and how this perception impacts who he desires
to be one day. In addition to this, we will examine what it means to be in the image of daddy and
why a son wants to be like him more than anything else.
“Parenting in a Porn-is-the-Norm Culture”
What is a parent to do when pornographic images are everywhere? The purpose of this seminar is to share
the reality of the culture they are parenting their children in as well as to present ideas as to
how parents can engage their children in conversations that will help them to navigate this
cultural minefield without resorting to a bunker mentality.
“What’s Facing the Teenager That’s Facing You?”
IPods, Facebook, cyber bullying, sexual norms, media and cultural influences…Do you know what your teen
is up against? Designed for parents and teenagers alike, this workshop gives parents a glimpse into
what today’s teenagers are facing, how to open conversations about those issues, and how to stay
culturally savvy in an ever-changing pop culture world.
Relationships & Identity
“Boundaries in Relationships”
Learn how, when, and why it is sometimes necessary to set boundaries in relationships. Discover
what a boundary is and how it can be used to guard and protect yourself and the relationships
that are important in your life.
“The Anatomy of a Healthy Relationship”
Learn the key ingredients for a healthy relationship, including:
- Intentionality and commitment
- Setting and respecting boundaries
- Building safety, trust, and intimacy
- Conflict resolution
- Freedom to dream
What is it? Who designs it? Why do you need it? How do you get it?
A definition and discussion on the basics of accountability relationships, God’s plan for us in
accountability relationships, and the process of putting accountability as a practical
discipline into our lives will all be presented in this workshop.
“What Am I Worth?”
Exploring How and Where We Gain Our Value
Many times we try to find our value and worth in all of the wrong places instead of looking to
our Creator. Learn what it means to be known in Christ and find our significance in Him.
To schedule a speaking engagement or for more information, call the Day Seven Ministries
office at (717) 735-0690.
Sex Addiction and Children
There is no doubt sex addiction affects addicts and their spouses, but there can also be a devastating effect on the child or children of the addict. Children of all ages are impacted by the addiction. Many times children suspect what the addicted parent is doing. As a result of suspecting or even knowing the parent’s secret some children act out because they do not know how else to express what they suspect or know. In addition, children act out when they are lied to by their parents. If only one of the children knows what is going on they may isolate from their siblings so that they do not accidently tell them what is going on with their parents. This could put a lot of undue pressure on the child. There is also the potential for the power to be indistinct between the family members (Corley & Schneider, 2003). For children who suspect or know there can be the struggle to focus and concentrate on tasks as they think on the secret instead (Schneider, 2000).
Children experience mixed emotions when they learn about a parent’s sex addiction. Some experience shock or disbelief that the parent has been engaging in sexual activities outside of the marriage (Corley & Schneider, 2003). Along with the shock some children actually block what they have been told as a form of denial. Many children after the initial shock has worn off begin to feel other emotions like fear, sadness and anger. They are angry at the addict for hurting the other parent and for hurting them (Corley & Schneider, 2003). Children fear what the future holds. They wonder if their parents will stay together and if they do not stay together what will happen to them. The children who suspected something was going on feel validated. There are children who take on the comforter role trying to cheer everyone up and make people feel better. Similarly there are children who act as encouragers and offer positive feedback to the parent with the addiction for getting help (Corley & Schneider, 2003).
Some children begin to look at porn themselves, which for a number of children opens them up to their own addiction (Schneider, 2000; Wong, 2014). Depending how sex was presented by the family and more specifically someone with a sex addiction the children could develop altered views on sex and the opposite sex, especially those who become addicts themselves (Hunn, et al., 2012; Wong, 2014). For the child or children who stumble upon their parent’s porn they could be intrigued and begin to watch porn themselves. If they watch porn on a consistent basis there is a significant possibility that their brain functioning will be altered and their view of actual sex and how the opposite sex should be treated (Wong, 2014; Young, 2008). It is quite sad to think how much the relationship between the spouse and the addict is impacted, but even more upsetting is the effect sex addiction and the addict’s behavior has on the children. It is extremely sad to think that for some children impacted that they too become addicted to sexual acting out.
Disclosing to Children
When a child or children are told of a parent’s sexual acting out they have a lot of mixed emotions as well. Some children experience shock or disbelief that the parent has been engaging in sexual activities outside of the marriage (Corley & Schneider, 2003). Along with the shock some children actually block what they have been told perhaps as a denial. Many children after the initial shock has worn off begin to feel other emotions like fear, sadness and anger. They are angry at the addict for hurting the other parent and for hurting them. Some children participate in behaviors when they found out about the addiction (Corley & Schneider, 2003). Children fear what the future holds. They wonder if their parents will stay together and if they do not stay together what will happen to them. The children who suspected something was going on felt validated. There are children who act like the comforter trying to cheer everyone up and make people feel better. Similarly there are children who act as encouragers and offer positive feedback to the parent with the addiction for getting help (Corley & Schneider, 2003). Children have many different responses to disclosure. This could be based upon how and when the information was shared with the children.
Addicts who were interviewed that had disclosed to their children stated that they felt other addicts should tell their children and family (Corley & Schneider, 2003). While addicts recommend disclosing the key questions are when and what to disclose. Some addicts suggested disclosing based on the age of the child. Along with that was what to disclose to children before someone else discloses the information. Sometimes the addicts and spouses have to share about the addiction with their children because the addicts involved criminal behavior and would be reported in the news (Corley & Schneider, 2003). It has been suggested that information should be shared with the children to confirm what they may have already wondered about, to hopefully put a stop the generational addiction cycle, and for safety reasons. As part of the safety parents should talk to children about sex and what appropriate touching is so that they do not become victims themselves (Corley & Schneider, 2003). It is also recommended that parents disclose the information early, but only after the parents have been able to plan what to say. For both spouses to be ready to disclose to children they must be able to be calm, positive, and feel strong. In addition, it needs to be after the spouse have moved beyond the shock and the couple can discuss what the future holds (Corley & Schneider, 2003).
A key component of disclosure to children is knowing what to disclose as there is some information the child or children do not want to know and there is information they deeply want to know. Children do not what to know the nitty gritty of the addicts behaviors (Corley & Schneider, 2003). The parents should avoid giving the too many details about the addict’s sexual acting out behaviors. Also, children do not want to know about the spouse’s anger towards the addict. Finally, they do not want to know about their parents’ sexual relationship and sexual activities (Corley & Schneider, 2003). What children do want to know corresponds with their age. For the youngest children they want to know if someone is leaving or is dying because they have likely witnessed the parents arguing. They also want to know if they have done something wrong. Parents should tell the children that they are loved because this is something they are curious about. The children in elementary school want to know if they are the cause of the fighting. Also, they want to know if an awful thing like divorce is going to happen. This age group is also trying to figure out why the addict is behaving different now that they are in recovery (Corley & Schneider, 2003). The children ages 9 to 13 begin to make the disclosure about them and they are curious about if they are normal, if they will become an addict and what happens to me if the parents separate or divorce (Corley & Schneider, 2003). The last group of children is the teens and young adults. This group begins to question the addict about how they could hurt the spouse and the family. They are looking at how does my parent’s behaviors impact me (Corley & Schneider, 2003). What is key to disclosure is that it needs to happen, needs to be age appropriate, and needs to be about the children and not the parents.
Danielle Brodhecker, MA
50 Shades: Playing with Fire
Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?
Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?
So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. (Proverbs 6:27-
Solomon wrote these words to his son as a warning against adultery. Almost three thousand years later,
they are still relevant, and the applications of these verses go beyond young men and affairs. The
general principle is the same for women as it is for men, and it also applies to a broad category of
sexual immortality. As Christians we are called to holiness and purity in all aspects of our life (2 Cor
7:1, Heb 12:14, 1 Peter 1:15-16), including our sexuality (1 Cor 6:18, 1 Thess 4:3-5, Matt 5:28). It is
because of this call that I am so deeply concerned about the recent popularity of the book and movie 50
Shades of Grey.
For those of your who have not encountered 50 Shades, it is an erotic “romance” novel that revolves
around the relationship between Christian Grey, a wealthy businessman, and Anastasia Steele, a young,
virgin college student. Christian was sexually as a teenager, which introduced him to the world of
BDSM (a series of sexual/erotic practices where Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and Masochism are
used to cause pleasure). Christian and Anastasia’s relationship begins as a contractual one. She is asked
to sign several contracts stating things she can and cannot do in the context of their sexual relationship.
The relationship is to be purely sexual, not romantic, and Anastasia agrees to be subservient to
Christian, doing exactly as he says. This includes being subjected to activities intended to cause Ana
pain for Christian’s sexual pleasure (sadism). The tone of the book is nothing short of pornographic,
being described as “mommy porn” even by secular commentators.
Perhaps most dangerously, these this book is disguised as a love story. Many readers tout the
redemptive aspect of the story and Ana’s desire to love Christian despite the effects of his tragic past.
Because of this guise, women grasp hold of the “fire” about which Proverbs speaks and hold this story
dangerously close. The unfortunate result is that readers may be devastatingly burned.
Damage to their marriage: This may be a surprise to some, since many women say that they read 50
Shades in order to “spice up” their sex life. Unfortunately, it can have the opposite effect. After a short
burst in excitement from the books, many women find that their love life fizzles out. The “high” is
unsustainable because it was based in superficial arousal, not deeply rooted in affection for their
spouse. When the spark fades, women may go looking for other forms of excitement.
Escalation to more explicit forms of pornography: Recent studies have found that 50 Shades readers
are more likely to transition to viewing more explicit forms of written or visual pornography in order to
become as aroused as they were when reading 50 Shades. This similar to the way that individual who
struggle with pornography addictions find that over time they view porn more frequently, or view
“harder” forms of pornography to become aroused.
Affairs: In some cases, women who find that their husband is not open to varying the couple’s sexual
activity may find it easier to seek sexual gratification elsewhere rather than discuss the situation with
their husbands. An affair could also result from the escalation of a pornography addiction.
Readers may see these consequences as dramatic. “I know plenty of women who read 50 Shades and
they have not cheated on their spouse or become addicted to pornography,” some may protest.
Certainly these consequences do not occur in every case. But I would encourage women who have yet
to read/watch 50 Shades to consider if it is worth the risk and if their consumption of 50 Shades is a
way for them to honor God with their sexuality.
Because as with any sexually-related issue, this is ultimately a God-issue. Got has not told us to flee
sexual immorality so that He can be a stickler, waiting to for us to do something wrong in order to
rebuke us. Far from it! Rather, He has created sexual intimacy as a beautiful activity to be shared
within the context of marriage. One author notes that the “fire” that is so dangerous when held to one’s
chest is of great benefit when it is put in the “fireplace” of marriage. God knows that something as
precious as sexual intimacy should be protected in the covenant of marriage. Therefore His call to
sexual holiness is not for our detriment but for our good.
So what should be done instead of reading 50 Shades? For those who have already read the book, I
would suggest reading Pulling Back the Shades by Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh. This book
examines the core longings of every woman’s heart and how 50 Shades plays to these desires, offering
a frank, yet compassionate look at women’s sexuality. For those who have not read 50 Shades, but
desire to “spice up” their sex life, may I suggest that instead of taking time to read the book, use that
time to talk to your spouse about your desires for sexual intimacy.
Sex is a wonderful gift from God, and He calls us to honor it as such. When we dabble in pornographic
novels like 50 Shades, we truly are playing with a fire that can corrupt this good gift. Let us follow the
warnings of our heavenly Father conveyed through Solomon and guard our hearts against such things,
instead choosing to savor the goodness of God-given sexuality.
Casey Raudenbush, M.A.
Is Oral Sex Okay?!
Questions relating to sexual intimacy should, I think, be handled with what you might call verbal modesty, rather than shocking or crass words. I think dressing and talking in immodest ways are both ways. So that is kind of governing some of my language now.
These are real concerns. I am ok with this question. It is a little bit, you know, difficult and sensitive, but it is ok. People want biblical guidance and so here is my effort at biblical wisdom. First of all I am assuming the question is only relating to people who are married when I give this counsel. I think it is wrong outside marriage. And we can talk about that another time more extensively. But here is the short answer. Why? Oral sex is even more intimate and delicate, it seems, then copulation. And we know this because even married couples are wondering if they should go there. It is as if it is a stage of intimacy that may not even be proper for married people. And so to think it can be an innocent substitute for copulation so people can obey the letter of the law outside marriage is a mirage. That is the first observation.
In marriage here is what I would say. If oral sex is wrong, I can think of four possible reasons it would be wrong. I will name them and then I will ask this question. Do those four things exist?
It would be wrong if it were prohibited in the Bible.
It would be wrong if it were unnatural.
It would be wrong if it were unhealthy or, that is, harmful.
It would be wrong if it were unkind.
So let’s take those one at a time.
Number one, I don’t think oral sex is explicitly prohibited in any biblical command. If the Bible pro-scribes it, it would have to be by principle and not by an explicit command.
Number two, is it unnatural? This is a tricky one. The male and female genitals are so clearly made for each other that there is a natural fitness or beauty to it. What about oral sex? Now you might jump to the conclusion and say: Nope, that is not natural, but I am slow to go there because of what the Proverbs and the Song of Solomon say about a wife’s breasts. This is kind of an analogy. So consider this. It seems to me nothing is more natural than a baby snuggling in his mother’s arms drinking at her breast. That is what breasts are. They are designed to feed babies. So is there anything physically natural about a husband’s fascination with his wife’s breasts? Well, you might say no. That is not what breasts are for. But Proverbs 5:19 says: Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight. Be intoxicated always with her love. And Song of Solomon 7:7–8 are even more explicit, speaking of the woman: Your stature is like a palm tree and your breasts are like its clusters. I say I will climb the palm tree and lay hold of its fruit. Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine.
Well, even though there is very little anatomical correlation between a man’s hands or his lips and his wife’s breasts, it surely seems to be, quote, natural, in another way, namely built in delight and desire that God in his Word seems to commend for our marital enjoyment. So I ask: Well, might there be similar desires for oral sex or other kinds of sex? So I doubt that we should put a limit on a married couple based on the claim of it being unnatural. That is risky, but that is where I come down on the naturalness of it.
Here is number three. Is it unhealthy or harmful. Well, it certainly might be if there are any sexually transmitted diseases present. And it could be performed in harmful ways. And so the couple needs to be very honest and caring by not taking risks that would be unloving.
Which leads to the last one, number four: Is it unkind? Now I think this one is probably the one that touches the rawest nerve and the one that has the greatest impact. Will you pressure your spouse for oral sex if he or she finds it unpleasant? If so, then you are unkind. And it is a sin to be unkind. Ephesians 4:2. Be kind to one another. But the key word here is pressure. I know that 1 Corinthians 7:4 says the wife does not have authority over own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. And the context there is sex. So what does that mean practically? Well, it means that both the husband and the wife have the right to say to the other: I would like to blank. And both of them have the right to say: I would rather not blank. And in a good marriage, the biblically beautiful marriage, both of them seek to outdo the other in showing kindness.
This article was reprinted with permission from John Piper, the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
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