Slaying Sexual Sin
About the Guest
Roger Fankhauser, author of the book, "Stormproof Men," gives hope to those struggling with sexual sin. Sin gets its strength in the dark, and shame tells us not to tell, but the Bible gives us a better way to be set free. At the root of sexual sin, Fankhauser explains, is the feeling of false intimacy that pornography gives you. In truth, porn only tears down the trust between a husband and wife, and that's tough to rebuild. Freedom from sexual sin won't be found apart from confession and accountability.
Roger FankhauserDr. Roger Fankhauser was born in Monroe, WA, and now resides in Burleson, TX. He and his wife, Debbie, have been married more than 40 years and have three children (five, counting daughters-in-law) and seven grandchildren. Roger and Debbie also served as foster parents for four children. He graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. After working as an engineer for 13 years, he attended Phoenix Seminary, where he received both a Master of Divin...more
Roger Fankhauser gives hope to those struggling with sexual sin. Freedom from sexual sin won’t be found apart from confession and accountability.
Slaying Sexual Sin
Dennis: You know, I’m thinking about men listening to us, right now.
Dennis: You’ve just said, “Be careful of what you say to your wife.” Yet, it could be, in a relationship with his wife, it’s what has, in some ways, set him up to be more tempted in the first place because having sex with your wife is risky. It’s much more risky for a man than it is for a woman. I’m going to get some letters, I’ll bet, about that; but I think, if you just think about for a moment, the physical side of intercourse—a man needs to perform. A woman doesn’t have to perform—she has to receive—but that’s different.
Speak to the man, who has felt like he has been wounded; because he’s risked it, and it hasn’t worked out, repeatedly.
Roger: Yes; that’s a hard one to deal with.
I think he needs to work on two things. One, is just remembering that his purity has to be independent of that. He can’t say, “Well, she’s not responding; therefore, this is a safe outlet,”—that’s one.
The other is: “Talk with her.” It may mean that you need to go see a pastor, or a counselor, or somebody and get some help—say: “Sweetie, this is something I’d really like to work on. I’d like for us to be intimate in a real way,”—something—because there could very well be she’s got some pain and stuff in her background that is influencing that. It could be that she hasn’t felt close to him for a long time; so “Why should I respond, physically, when—yes; I feel like a stranger.” There is a whole list of things that he needs to be vulnerable, I think, and say: “Let’s talk about this,” and “Let’s get some help and help find out [what’s wrong].”
I would tell guys that are listening—there is nothing wrong going to a counselor. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. All a counselor is—somebody that’s got an objective ear that can help answer some of those things that you really want answered anyway.
Dennis: It’s hard for a man to pull his own marriage out of the ditch.
Roger: Oh, yes; yes.
Bob: There is something else I have said to guys, because I’ve found this helpful for me. I don’t remember where I heard it; but somebody pointed out to me once, “Anytime you are looking at a woman and objectifying her,”—whether it’s on a magazine, or in a movie, or whatever—he said, “you’ve got to remember that’s some daddy’s daughter.”
Roger: That’s right.
Bob: Now, I’m a daddy—I’ve got two daughters. If you came to me and said, “Hey, would it be okay with you if I just asked your girls to just look sexy for me?”
Bob: Well, there is no way! I mean, those are fighting words; right?
Bob: Every woman you are looking at is some daddy’s daughter—damaged/scarred, perhaps—all kinds of things that have brought her to that point—
—but we’ve got to strip away the fantasy and get to the reality of what’s going on in the whole world of pornography to help us recognize: “This is not real. This is a complete deception, engineered by the father of lies, to trip you up and to cause you to rebel against your Creator.”
Roger: Yes; one of the things that came to my thinking, as I was studying all of this, is the importance of, not just telling people to stop, but give them something positive to work toward. One of those key things is honoring other people—particularly, other women. It honors your wife, but it honors the other woman in realizing she is somebody’s daughter—she is created in the image of God.
I would challenge them: “If there is somebody, who is tempting you, start praying for them. It’s hard to lust over them and pray for them at the same time.” That’s an important recognition—is recognizing their humanity.
Dennis: One other way you can give some guys hope, that you mention in your book, is you challenge men to counsel their own soul—
—to have a conversation with themselves. Speak to that, if you would.
Roger: Yes; the idea of talking about who you are, talking about what matters in life, talking about your perspective of God; and just taking an honest evaluation of who you are and how you see the world.
Dennis: Another thing you mentioned in your book about that is you say, “Talk to yourself about thinking about the temptation—about fueling it / adding graphic imagination to it.” You call men away from that to protect their souls.
Roger: Yes; we tolerate a lot. We need to stop doing that, and realizing and thinking about, “What am I taking in?”—realizing that it might just be a brief nude scene in a movie, but it’s fueling the fires.
Bob: Let me give you this scenario. A guy walks into your office next week—
—he says, “Pastor, I’ve just—I’m dealing with my own guilt on this. I was on a trip. I was lonely…”—and by the way, I had a friend of mine, who was in a 12-Step program for alcohol addiction. He said one of the things he learned was the acronym, HALT—H-A-L-T. They said, “You’re going to fall back into your pattern when you’re either hungry, angry, lonely, or tired—H.A.L.T.”
I thought, “That applies to sexual sin too.
Roger: It does.
Bob: “When we’re hungry, or angry, or lonely, or tired, those are trigger points for us.”
The guy walks in—he says: “I was on a business trip. I was alone in the hotel. I bought the movie. I feel terrible. This has been a pattern for me. I want this to stop. I’ve prayed about this before. I’ve tried to stop it on my own. I want it fixed. I’m ready to do whatever.”
You give them a copy of your book, say, “Good luck”?—or how do you help him through? What’s the step to get him from where he is to where, a year later, he can say, “This isn’t an issue for me anymore”?
Roger: Well, of course, the best answer is: “Give him my book.” [Laughter]
Bob: Right. [Laughter]
Roger: Obviously, that’s not the solution; but it’s: “Let’s take this—and let’s work through this together—and build in a safe place for you to talk and be open/be vulnerable.” I think, too, oftentimes, we fail there, as the church; and we haven’t made it safe—so start there and say: “Let’s talk about things, one at a time. What’s triggering this?—being aware of: ‘What are your triggers?’ and ‘What do we do about it?’”
We may very well—he may come to the conclusion: “I may need to—when I check in, tell them turn off the pay-per-view movies; so I don’t even have that option,”—
Roger: —if you know that’s a temptation. You can’t help the loneliness—if you’re on a business trip, stuck in a motel somewhere—but you can minimize the temptation. It’s being proactive with those things.
I think, if we can talk with him—
—and I’ll spend as much time as he wants—weeks with him, if necessary: “Let’s talk about this; and help figure out what’s going on, deep down, that is your heart issue,” and make sure it’s a safe place to talk.
Bob: You think that the safe place, and the accountability, and the interaction—that’s the foundational thing that’s going to help him get to a point, where he can say, “I’m free of this”?
Roger: Not so much the foundational but the right steps. The foundation, ultimately, is going to be when he’s come to a healthy view of who God is and how much God loves him, the resources God has given him, and when he can begin to see how “I can take these things and apply them in my life, whether I’m meeting with Roger or not.”
Dennis: And I would say one of the places you can use your book would be if a father had found out his son—whether he is 13, 18, or 25—that his son is struggling with either pornography or an affair and acting on some of these impulses.
He can maybe share the book with him and say: “Let’s go through this. Let’s get real with each other,” and “Let’s talk about how I’ve dealt with temptation, when I’ve failed and when I have done it right. Let’s see if we can’t create a man-to-man, heart-to-heart conversation.”
That feels incredibly threatening, I think, to most dads—but I think it also offers an opportunity of healing in his own life—but also his son’s as well.
Roger: Yes; and I agree with that. I think dads need to be open. That’s one of those things that I wish I could go back and do a better job of with my kids, because that’s a conversation almost every dad wants to avoid having—
Roger: —but it’s crucial. It’s even more crucial as our society becomes more and more just drenched in sex; because it’s not a matter of whether they are going to hear the world’s message. It’s: “They are going to be inundated with it”; and we, as dads—
—that want our kids to be able to stand above that—we have to be proactive. We can’t paint the picture that “Gee, I’m the perfect dad; so you be the perfect son.” It’s: “I’m a broken man. Let me help you deal with your issues as well.”
Bob: You know, this is a temptation I’ve tried to analyze in my own heart and life: “Why am I drawn in this direction? Why is it that I would be pulled in this direction?” I’ve thought to myself—and again, I’m testing these conclusions on you guys—but I’ve thought: “There’s a desire to be admired and desired. If I’m feeling unappreciated, disrespected, undesired, unadmired—or honestly, I can be feeling admired and desired by my wife—but then, in the back of my mind, there is this thought: ‘Well, yes; she’s married to me. She has to.’”
Roger: “She has to.”
Bob: Right; the question is: “Would I still be attractive to somebody who doesn’t have to be attracted to me?” Those are the kinds of things that play around in the back of my mind and cause me to just go:
“Hmm, I wonder…,” That’s when you are in the danger zone, where you’ve got to be able to—what you said, “Start talking to your soul and saying, ‘Look, you’re in the wrong spot—
Bob: —“’and this is not a good line of thinking to be following.’”
Roger: Sex was created by God to be a very good thing. When He said that the two shall become one flesh—that is far more than the sexual union; but obviously, that’s included—God created us male and female with the body parts we have, intentionally; but since the fall, sex has been twisted. Satan has been more than happy to do that.
Dennis: We talked all around this issue. A good number of our listeners are married women, who listen in to get insights into their husband/their man. What would be your best description of how it is so powerful to a man that it pulls him away from a real relationship, with a real person, to a false image that can never truly be satisfying in the true sense of that word over a lifetime?
Roger: First thing I want to tell the women, who are listening, is—their husband’s sexual issues are not their fault. They, ultimately—they have to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s awfully easy for them to jump in and say, “I need to do something different to fix him.”
Then, why is it so attractive? Ultimately, that’s the way God has wired us, as sexual beings. When He talked about male and female, the words there actually talk, basically, body parts; so it’s talking as much about our external being—and that is how God has designed us—is to have that strong desire toward someone else. He designed men, in general, to be the pursuer.
Bob: Anytime we talk about this—again, we’ve got to remind our listeners: “We understand that we are talking in generalities.
“There are some wives, who would report to us that their interest is much higher than their husband’s. Candidly, sometimes, that’s because pornography is siphoning the interests of the husband away from his wife. Sometimes, it’s just because a wife has a higher desire than her husband has for whatever reason.”
Dennis: And my solution to some of our listeners, who have been listening to us for a long time, who have never been to the Weekend to Remember® is: “Surprise your spouse and take him away to the Weekend to Remember to get a biblical perspective of marriage—of being a husband/of being a wife; of resolving conflict; and importantly, a one-hour presentation at the Weekend to Remember on the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship.”
I think one of the reasons why couples struggle in this area—and as a result, men also struggle with pornography—
—is they are not singing off the same song sheet. In fact, they don’t even have a song sheet for sex. What the conference will give you is a vocabulary. It’ll give you practical illustrations of how you, as a couple, can communicate with one another around this most intimate of areas and create safety in the relationship so that, if there are struggles—and there will be struggles, let’s face it—you know how to talk about it and, ultimately, come out the other side with some hope.
Bob: We’ve got information on our website, at FamilyLifeToday.com, about the Weekend to Remember; so listeners can go there to find out more. There’s information about Roger’s book, Stormproof Men, which we’ve also got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.
Dennis: And let me just say, “Thanks,” to Roger for your work on this book—
Roger: You’re welcome.
Dennis: —and “Thanks for turning it into a book.” I know it was your thesis for your doctorate of ministry; and I just want to say, “Thanks,” for your faithfulness and confronting, with love, a very, very tough issue in the church today.
Roger: Thank you.
Bob: Well, again, the website—if you’d like a copy of Roger’s book—is FamilyLifeToday.com. The book is called Stormproof Men: Sexual Purity for Christian Men in a Sex-Saturated World. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call to order: 1-800-FL-TODAY. Once again, the website: FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Ask about the book, Stormproof Men, when you get in touch with us.
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