Video Q&A: Managing Your Sex Drive As A Single
Justin Byrne shares his insights regarding how to manage one’s sex drive as a single person.
JUSTIN: Hey guys, Justin Byrne here; I’ve got some questions to answer. I’ve got a question asking about how to manage a sex drive. Well, the first thing that I’ve noticed in a lot of places, a lot of people, is people feel guilty about feeling a sexual desire. They’re not necessarily comfortable with feeling how they were made. We were made with chemicals; we were made with this desire. We were made to reproduce, and it’s a natural thing. And it’s actually a good thing, but there’s an area where it starts to get into something that is not good. And to be able to identify the difference between the two is where we can keep the good part of sexuality and just identify the part where our sexuality is used in a way that’s destructive.
And I wrote this down – the best way to deal with sexual desire is to value it and use it to fuel character growth. There is an opportunity with it that if you don’t recognize it, you’re going to miss it. So, we are made with sexual desire. It is good; it is healthy in marriage, especially. Before marriage, we’re trying to, you know, control our sexual desire, not be promiscuous. We’re trying to be pure and healthy sexually with people. And it’s a lot of denying; it’s a lot of abstaining. It’s a lot of staying away or choosing something that is against what you feel sometimes. But in marriage, if you think about it, and if you talk to people about it, and you learn about it, it’s not so much based on this feeling. A good marriage is not based on feelings; it is based on choice, and that choice is able to be kept by our character. The character is the longevity of our choices. It’s the ability for it to reach far. And right now, as a single person, you have an opportunity that you will not have once you get married.
So, I’m going to tell you a story. I went to a coffee shop years ago, and I had a girlfriend at the time. And I noticed a lot of the girls that came in that day for whatever reason decided not to wear bras, and it left things more revealed than not. And I noticed I was attracted to this, and I noticed it. And I’ve been, you know, around that type of culture quite a bit living down in Los Angeles for quite a few years, and it was nothing new. And I noticed I was more attracted to this than normal. And normally, I would just feel, “Ugh – ” especially because I had a girlfriend at the time, I would just feel, “Ugh, I’m doing something wrong. I shouldn’t be doing this. There’s something bad about me.” But instead of going there, I started saying this. “Okay. Well, I’m thankful I have a sex drive. I’m thankful it’s present. But what’s really going on? Why am I attracted to this so strongly? What is – ” it was more strong of a pull than normal, and why was it that way? And I started thinking about it. And I realized I was at the coffee shop because I was taking a break from some responsibilities I was doing, some work I was doing, and it was hard work. I didn’t know how to solve some of the problems I was working on and didn’t know what to do and felt inadequate, and I was staying at the coffee shop longer than I should. And I knew it; deep down inside, I knew it. And lo and behold, when you don’t take care of your life, and you’re avoiding, and you’re trying to escape, you’re not going to feel good. You’re not going to feel good about yourself. You’re not going to feel courageous; you’re not going to feel accomplished. You’re not going to feel like you’re taking care of responsibilities. And all those feelings added up and made me want to find an escape. And once I noticed that, I realized, “Oh, this isn’t about my character; this is about my situation. This is about my choice of action. It’s not about my character with my sexuality; it’s more so about my situation with my responsibilities and with work and different things. And so, once I noticed that, I didn’t feel so bad about this pull because I could see what it was. It wasn’t me lusting after them. It could have eventually turned into that, and maybe there was some of that. But I realized it wasn’t really me, and I don’t even want that. And it was being able to identify the difference.
That I have a sexual desire – that alone by itself is good, and in marriage it will be good. What wife wants a husband who doesn’t desire her sexually, doesn’t pursue her, you know, sexually and doesn’t want her sexually? What woman wants that from a man? To have a sexual desire is a good thing. It’s going to really be beneficial in marriage. So, if I were to apply what I felt to my sexuality and say, “Oh, this thing feels so bad. I need to just shut that out,” and I kept doing that over and over and over and start shutting out my sexuality when it was really just this little part over here that I was escaping – and that’s never going to be good; I’m never going to feel good about that. And that’s always going to desire more escape, and maybe sexuality could be a form of your escape. But I could see, “You know what? It’s this. And I need to just go home and work on my stuff.” And as soon as I started applying myself in the area that was really affecting me, it was gone. I didn’t care about it anymore; I didn’t need it anymore. The intense desire alleviated because it was created by me avoiding and me wanting an escape.
And so, ask yourself this question – number one, “What are you exercising – escape or character?” You know, we exercise something. We make choices in life, and our choices affect us. And it’s either going to be positive or negative, so we’re exercising something. What is it going to be with you? When you start to feel this pull or this desire – maybe you’re a guy, and you feel just – your hormones are going, and you’re young. And you want something to be sexual with, and maybe there’s pressure at school or work for a woman. Maybe you just want to be in a relationship; you don’t want to be alone. You want to escape your loneliness. Or you feel hopeless so you want to escape that because those aren’t fun to feel, either. But what are you exercising? When your sexuality, when your desire comes up, what are you going to use it to practice and exercise? Are you exercising escape, or are you exercising character?
You know, what’s the character? Well, the character – you have the opportunity – and this is something you have a lot more when you’re single than when you’re married – you have the opportunity to practice self-control. You have the opportunity to practice self-mastery. You have the opportunity to make good choices even when they’re difficult. You have the opportunity to look at yourself and grow in areas and identify things and not just be run by your emotions, because all of that is going to be needed in marriage. It’s all practice; it’s all preparation for a good marriage. What you are going through right now is preparation for a good marriage, including learning how to interpret, deal with and apply your sexuality.
So number one, what are you exercising – escape or character? And here’s another little side note. Every step, every ounce that you put into exercising character, is growth. And when you look to be some perfect person who never feels any sexual desire, never feels any lust or never feels anything bad, and you put the standard of perfection on yourself, and you say, “I need to meet this,” all along the way as you grow as a person, and you keep holding yourself to that standard, you’re going to always come up short, and you’re going to feel like a failure. You’re going to feel discouraged, and you’re going to feel hopeless. Because it’s true; it’s hopeless to be perfect. But if you – instead of looking for that as a road of your success, instead look for, “Am I taking steps? Am I exercising? Did I exercise today a little bit in the area?” It’s okay – it’s not the end of the world if you failed at something, but it begins to be the end of the world if you don’t get back up, and you don’t get back into exercising what is healthy. And here’s the thing – any amount of exercise you do is building muscle. It’s building growth. Any amount of effort that you put into trying to identify what’s going on, resisting what is not healthy for you, avoiding it and choosing – any choices, any amount of choice, any level of choice, any number of choices you put into a healthy outcome is exercise. You can be happy about that. That’s good, because we need to stay encouraged. Because the point is we have to keep making these choices every day. We have to keep making them every day, and that’s how you grow. It’s really just like exercising. And so, the point is don’t stop; if you fail, get back up. Don’t stop. If it hurts, if it was hard, if it breaks you, take some time. Get some healing. But get back up, and start exercising again your character because it really is preparation for marriage.
Number two, do you feel shame about feeling sexual desire? Do you feel shame about it? Do you feel ashamed about how God made you? Do you feel ashamed that your body is working well? Do you feel ashamed that you have a gift for your wife whenever you get married? Because that’s really what’s happening. I didn’t even realize this until recently I noticed some cute girl walking down the street, and I didn’t even have a girlfriend at this time. And I just found myself feeling bad for being attracted to her and feeling like something was off. And I wasn’t lusting; I wasn’t imagining myself having sex with them. I just wanted companionship. But I thought she was attractive, and there were parts of her that I was sexually attracted to. She had a good figure. I was attracted to her smile and her face and her countenance, and there’s lots of things I was attracted to. But I noticed my first response was shame – shame for feeling attracted to somebody. And as a man especially, that sucks. Like, we’re designed to have this sex drive; testosterone gives us, you know, more aggression, more sex drive, and we’re designed with that. And yet, that’s the very thing I feel ashamed of. And in a way, I realized I was kind of ashamed of being masculine, of being a man.
And I’ve started to – whenever I feel that, catch it first of all; recognize it as, “I feel ashamed about my masculinity, about my sexuality, out about my feelings.” And instead of feeling ashamed, going, “I’m thankful.” My first response needs to be, “Okay. First of all, I recognize I’m feeling something. Okay. I’m going to feel thankful that I have sexuality, because if it’s gone, that would be a terrible thing – especially in marriage, especially in relationships. But I’m thankful.” Next I go to, “Okay, is this wanting something healthy, or is this wanting something unhealthy?” And if there’s no unhealthy desire there, then it’s just, “Okay. I’m thankful my sex drive is working.” And that was a new way to think for me because most the time I just feel guilty and go, and that guilt and that oppression would make me feel bad. And that would make me want to escape, and they would make me desire more from something – you know, could be Netflix or ice cream or sexuality or whatever.
But number one, recognize that it’s – when you respond with shame, stop it, because you were made to be sexual. So, the sexuality is not the problem. Be thankful, and that helps you identify the difference.
And lastly, I’ll leave this with you – number three, are you interested in your own lifestyle? Do you have a life that you like being in, that you’re interested in, that you wake up each day, and you have something you are responsible for or need to do or even want to do and care about doing? Are you bored with your job? Do you lack social interaction with people? Do you want more from your spiritual life? Do you have a sense of purpose? Because when we’re not interested in our own life, something happens. First of all, it’s not fun. It’s painful, and that pain and that discomfort and that dissatisfaction is going to push us to want to find an escape. And that can push us to desiring something sexual or physical or even romantic or relational where we shouldn’t be. It’s not truly us; it’s affected by how we’re living our life. It’s a reaction to our life. But an interesting thing happens – when you are so interested in your life because you’re doing something you really care about, you don’t have time to worry about this stuff. You don’t care about it nearly as much; you don’t think about it. You don’t have a pull towards these other things. You’re more fulfilled because you’re busy; you’re doing stuff with your life. You feel good. At the end of the day, you feel tired; you feel like, “I want to just go to bed. I had a hard, long day, and I got some good work done.” And that just keeps you in a good place. So I would ask myself this, “Am I interested in my life? Am I doing it in a way that’s fulfilling? Is it fulfilling enough to where it just takes the edge off wanting to find escape somewhere else?” And we don’t think to go to looking at our lives when we feel some sexual pull, but I’m saying think about it. There’s a lot there that affects this thing called sexual desire more than just sexual desire.
So those are three things that I kind of use and I think about as I navigate being a single person who has a sex drive that I’m thankful for but I manage, and I want to exercise health and grow in character. So just to reiterate, number one, what are you exercising – escape or character? When you feel it, start taking little steps into healthy responses. Identify it well, but take little steps into healthy responses. And that is the exercising of your character because it’s preparing you for marriage.
Number two, do you feel shame about feeling sexual desire, or do you feel thankful? Let your first response be thankfulness – thankfulness that you have desire, first of all. Even if you do it in a way that’s lustful and wrong, just go, “Okay, well, first of all, I’m thankful that I have it at all. But okay, now I can see I’m trying to escape. I’m wanting to avoid this responsibility or this pain or this something in my life. And I’m going to exercise; I’m going to choose to exercise character in this situation.” But don’t feel ashamed for how you’re made; that’s never going to work out great. And you can start retraining that now; so, practice your first response being, “I’m thankful for my desire. Okay, now what?” Alright?
And lastly, are you interested in your life? If you’re not, go change something. And this is typically where the change that will bring something fulfilling to you is in; it’s in any step you take that is a little bit courageous and any step you take that takes on a little bit more responsibility. Look for the areas in your life where you can be a little bit more courageous and have a little bit more responsibility. If you start looking for those, you’re going to start feeling more fulfilled. You’re going to start creating open doors where there weren’t. You’re going to start feeling better about yourself; you’re going to feel that courage. You’re going to feel that purpose in your responsibility. And it’s okay if it’s not perfect, but even just taking little steps, you’ll start to be more interested in your life to where you won’t even be thinking about so many other things. It’s because your life is already full; it’s already full of stuff that’s interesting, and that just helps. It’s not everything, but it helps.
And if you do enough of these little things that just help, it’s not as big of a deal as it feels sometimes. So anyway, I hope this helps you guys. And just remember, we’re all a work in progress. And don’t compare yourself to being perfect; compare yourself to, “Did I do what I needed to do today? Did I take a little step today? Did I bring a little bit of courage into my life? Did I choose character a little bit today?” That’s all you need to be concerned about. And if you didn’t, well, there’s tomorrow, and you can choose it again. So anyway, I hope that helps. See you guys. Bye.