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Controlling Sexual Urges as a Christian: A Compassionate Guide

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Desiring another person, especially someone you are involved with romantically, is not wrong. But acting upon those desires before the sanctity of marriage goes against what the Bible teaches. 

According to the Bible, thinking lustful thoughts and desiring someone outside marriage is a sin. Yet, biological desires to procreate happen, so how do you control sexual urges as a Christian? 

Temptation is part of being human, and as a Christian, God reminds you to stay strong to avoid temptation. Temptations of the flesh can be difficult to quell, but Matthew 6:13 says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (NIV). 

Boulder Recovery works with Christian men to help them overcome sexual urges that are the result of sex addiction or pornography addiction. Boulder Recovery uses a faith-centered approach in a 14-day intensive to help heal those struggling with sexual urges while renewing their faith.

Understanding Sexual Urges from a Christian Perspective

From the beginning of biblical times, temptation has been a consistent struggle. The serpent tempting Adam and Eve in the garden shows the influence of outside enticement in leading people away from God’s word. 

The world is filled with temptations. As a Christian, fighting physical desires and sexual urges can be difficult. Especially when it seems like the world encourages you to give in to sin. 

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV)

Following the Word of God helps you stay strong in the face of temptation. Living your life through your faith can help you navigate the inevitable urges. 

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38, NIV)

The Role of Faith in Managing Sexual Urges

Faith provides solace, comfort, and healing. Yes, Christians want to avoid sin, but it’s also important to understand that sinning doesn’t mean God is against you or has turned away from you.

However, being pure of heart, mind, soul, and body is part of living in a way that honors God. As a Christian, you need to avoid pornography and infidelity, even in your mind. These things dishonor the teachings of God. 

“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV)

The Bible teaches that marriage is a beautiful and sacred union between two people. Honoring those marriage vows requires remaining pure before marriage. Once married, sexual relations are between the husband and wife, and sexual urges need to be managed within the marital union. If you desire someone other than your spouse, those lustful thoughts are part of adultery and considered a sin.

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” (Hebrews 13:4, NIV)

Practical Strategies for Controlling Urges

The Bible specifically names lust as a sin. So, how do you control urges that seem to be natural?

Methods of controlling urges include:

  • Avoid Triggers. Notice things that cause sexual urges, like certain situations, music, locations, or people, and avoid them. 
  • Set Boundaries. Set boundaries to help you avoid or minimize triggers. For example, avoid traveling without your spouse or attending social events with members of the opposite sex without your partner.
  • Focus on Faith. Spend time steeped in God’s Word and focus on your faith through reading and prayer. Draw on the strength you get from your faith to keep your thoughts and actions pure.
  • Seek Accountability. Seek support from trusted loved ones who can provide guidance and understanding. 

If you find that you can’t control your urges, even when you try, you may be experiencing a bigger issue, like an intimacy disorder or sex addiction. If you think this may be the case, it’s a good idea to seek professional help before the problem escalates further. 

T.C. Ryan, author of Ashamed No More: A Pastor’s Journey Through Sex Addiction and Pastoral Sex Addiction Specialist at Boulder Recovery, said most people who have compulsive sexual behaviors don’t initially know they’re addicts. Instead, they dismiss certain activities as mistakes or errors in judgment.

“All of us rationalize patterns that develop in our lives,” T.C. writes. “A seemingly innocuous behavior grew into a huge problem without us realizing what was going on.”

While it’s important to understand addiction, T.C. says that understanding how addiction works doesn’t dismiss a person’s responsibility for their behavior. It simply helps other people understand what the addict is up against.

“It explains why the persons’ bad behavior does not respond to normal attempts at self-control. Understanding addiction explains why an addiction does not — and indeed, cannot — respond the way most people do when they try to conform to commonly agreed-upon standards of appropriate behavior,” he writes.

How Boulder Recovery Can Help

At Boulder Recovery, we understand the intense pressure Christians can face to avoid temptations. And sometimes, the inability to control those urges challenges your beliefs and faith. 

If you need faith-based support to work through sexual urges, porn, or sex addiction, Boulder Recovery can provide the support and guidance you need.

Contact us today to see how our program for Christian men can help you rebuild your faith, life, and relationships.

  • Category: Christian Therapy
  • By Begin Again Institute
  • March 18, 2024

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