Check Your Sexual Roots

Recently we were talking with friends who are trying to help a couple struggling because of his sexual fetish. (Yes, this is a normal lunch time topic for us.) Fetishes are set early in life, usually long before the individual is sexual in the ways we generally think. Sometimes the person can identify an event that created the fetish, other times they can’t either because the incident was so mundane or happened when they were very young. And yet, they grow up with a problematic sexual connection to some object or body part. 

I bring this up here because it shows how easily our sexuality can be distorted by seemingly minor events early in our lives. Our early lives shape our sexuality in ways less obvious than needing a woman to wear high heel shoes to get aroused. Much of what we desire is affected by our early years. Likewise, much of what we find unarousing is set as well. When these desires and turn-offs aren’t extreme we assume they are normal and natural; how God made us rather than the result of some injury.

Embarrassed girl © hramovnick |

With this in mind, may I suggest you examine your sexual roots? What happened as you were growing up that may be affecting your sexuality decades later?

Good Roots:

  • Growing up with parents who openly showed love for each other.
  • Seeing your sex organs as good from an early age.
  • Always having seen your sexuality as good.
  • Contact with couples who truly loved each other and had a good sex life. (This doesn’t mean they talked about their sex life – but we can generally tell).
  • Good sexual self-control growing up.
  • Age appropriate, positive sex education, starting well before adolescence.
  • Avoiding the sexual experimenting so common in high school and college.
  • Premarital counselling and advice with a “Sex in marriage is awesome” attitude.
  • Ongoing relationships with women and couples who enjoy married sex.

Bad Roots:

  • Growing up with a parent(s) who thought sex was dirty.
  • Your church teaching sex is bad.
  • Hearing men are monsters, are only after one thing, are sexually selfish, etc..
  • Hearing sex is just for men, and women do it because they must, or to get things.
  • Lack of sex education growing up.
  • Negative feelings about your sex organs or sexuality growing up.
  • Being molested, in any way, to any degree.
  • Early or late puberty or shame over the development of your body or the start of your period.
  • Being pushed for sex as a teen or older – even if you successfully resisted.
  • Exposure to porn and other media with distorted ideas of sexuality. This would include soap operas, many romance novels, some other fiction books, some graphic novels, and some R-rated movies.
  • Sexual contact with multiple partners over any length of time.
  • Sex with your spouse before the wedding.
  • Premarital warnings about sex: it’s painful, overrated, something to be endured, and so on.
  • Close friends with any of these roots.

If you have as many or more items in the bad roots list than the good roots list what does that say about you, your sexuality and your sexual self-image? Have you dealt with the bad roots? If not, they’re still impacting your thinking. What about your husband – can you go through the list above and mark his roots? If you can’t, you don’t know enough about him.

~ Paul – I’m XY and I got roots, too.

This week’s survey is about Who Controls Sex in Your Marriage? Which of you has more say over how often sex happens and what goes on in bed?

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12 Comments on “Check Your Sexual Roots

  1. Wow, Paul, this explains SO much! Both my husband and I have a long list of bad roots. How sad! We did not grow up in Christian homes. This explains why we’ve been working on this for 20 years!! The extent of the sexual education I received from home was “do NOT get pregnant.” In my husband’s house, sex was NEVER discussed, and I don’t know if he ever even saw his parents kiss. Like not even a peck. After we were married, I had offhandedly mentioned to my mother-in-law that I had had an appt at my OBGYN, and when we were alone my husband was upset and told me, “we do NOT talk about things like that in front of my mother.” Huh??? We were MARRIED. That was weird, but whatever.
    We were not saved at the time, but we got married in a denominational church. Our premarital meeting with the minister was “did you pick your music? Do you want a candle? Okay, see you in a couple weeks.” That was it. We didn’t even know premarital counseling was a thing.
    It’s by God’s grace alone that we have made it this far. I am so thankful that our children are growing up with much better roots than we did, and hopefully they will have stronger marriages and sex lives because of it. Although they are too young for marriage right now, I still pray for their future spouses and their marriages.
    Thanks for the post. It was eye opening!

  2. Well…THIS was profound. I have all the roots on the bad list and none on the good list. But there has been progress and I trust that will continue.

  3. It’s sad that many of our roots develop subconsciously and are entirely out of our control, yet form the basis of our being and our attitudes.

    I have more bad roots than good and they run strong and deep. I’ve been married over 30 years and I’m still uncovering roots I didn’t know existed. Many of them bad, and most of them cause sexual conflict when they rear their ugly heads.

    My husband has bad roots also, though he thinks most of them are actually good sexual roots. The sexual attitudes that boys learn in junior high and high school, from each other, aren’t too endearing. Yet, boys think of them as positive and manly and carry them into adulthood.
    Actually, many of my bad roots are triggered by my husbands so called “good” sexual attitudes. Things he finds fun, exciting and good, I often find offensive, degrading, and bad.

    Overall, my husband has a much healthier sexual attitude than I. We have been working on turning me around our entire married life. I have uncovered many of the origins of my bad roots which does help when trying to make a change.

    We are all different. We are the sum of our past experiences and cultural attitudes.
    Sex for many isn’t all fun and games by no fault of their own.
    Changing deep and strong bad roots requires a lot of hard work and introspection. It’s hard to change the foundation after it’s been laid.

    Of course, I wouldn’t even consider changing if I didn’t have such a great husband!

    • @Jolie – Men are far more likely to see their bad roots as good. But we also get a lot of lies about our sexuality, and many are calling what God says is good as bad. And many men have a mix of both of those.
      You are so right about changing a foundation. It’s very hard work, and it makes a mess of the house above it for a time.
      My prayers for on-going progress.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…She Comes… LAST?My Profile

  4. I agree with everything except the painful. That ruined our honeymoon. No one told us. We spent our wedding night and next day trying to figure out if he should hold me while I cried, go to the ER, or just forever abstain. Our first year, I was so tense because of the fear of the pain that it damaged us for years. I could hardly walk after our first time despite him being so careful. It felt like someone had poured liquid fire inside me for days. Burning, tearing, stabbing or shooting pain, etc. It was awful and last for nearly 6 months every time. GYN said I was simply very small and unavoidable.

    • @Sarah – I agree an honest warning of the possibility of pain is good. But not stories that only cause fear. Some women who would otherwise have little or no pain have horrible pain because of what fear does to them.
      Ideally, a woman has a full OB/GYN examine prior to marriage so she knows what to expect. Had you known ahead of time you could have been given instructions on stretching yourself and if needed, dilators. This would have made the first time much better and the first year would have had so much less pain.
      The husband should be given some instruction on what to do and how to determine if it’s going to go easy or difficult for his bride.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…GraceMy Profile

  5. I think what I find most remarkable about this list is how common the “bad” roots are. I know there are some who claim that numbers of 1/4 to 1/3 of women are “sexually abused” by adulthood are inflated, but they still could be fairly high (and some that say that numbers for men are similar). Some numbers suggest that “exposure to porn and other media with distorted ideas of sexuality” might be near universal in this day and age.

    Not sure what implications can be drawn. It suggests the value and importance of a “redemptive” message around sexuality — “Chances are, you have some sexual baggage that you bring into marriage. Such baggage does not condemn you to a bad married sexual relationship.” As Christians, we should be very comfortable with messages of redemption, though sometimes we are a little uncomfortable applying redemption to sexual sins and sexual difficulties.

    • @MrShorty – I don’t mean to downplay the violence of what we think of as sexual abuse, but if you look at the reality of growing up female in this country I’d say virtually every woman has been sexually abused. Some not as bad and more subtle, but abuse all the same. And the hidden nature of it may make it even more insidious.
      Every couple brings sexual baggage into marriage, both his and hers. The goal is to get rid of it rather than turning it into their sexual baggage!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Focus: Givin’ vs. Gettin’My Profile

  6. I must say that reading this really scares me. I have more bad roots than good and my wife too and it has got me thinking. What if my sexuality is all wrong? What if all the things I like about sex is wrong? How do I know what comes from my bad roots and what comes from my good roots? I have a high sex drive and can literally not keep my hands from my wife’s body. Specially her butt, I just love it and I guess I have always liked women’s butts even when I was younger, does that come from a bad root and do I have to change that now? I have a high sex drive , some weeks I could have sex everyday (my wife right now is the opposite, if I don’t remind her we can go without sex for weeks or months , something that is extremely frustrating) but again is my high sex drive just a lie coming from a bad root. How do I fix that and do I want to fix that? How boring would it be if my desires for my wife would just diminish? If my High sex drive is a Curse from my tvunget days then my wifes unwillingness to have so much sex mist come from her good roots. How do i now what Comes from my bad roots and what Comes from any good root i may have?

    • @ACP – I’ve done a lot of research on male sex drive. Put a 20 or 30-year-old guy somewhere with no women or images of women and he will masturbate about 3 times a week. I figure this shows a sort of bottom of the normal drive based on physical need.
      Add in a loving wife, and I’d very much expect sex drive to double. She is arousing him daily, which is part of it, but he also desires her for so many other reasons.
      Once you get beyond daily I think it’s not a matter of need but want. Of course, that’s not wrong, and if the wife and the marriage relationship support it I say go for it. But if it’s a problem, settle for 5 or 6 times a week and be happy.
      As for what we desire, if it’s not a problem for our spouse I’m not too concerned. I think it’s still wise to work on sorting things out, but I’d not be too worried. The other side of this is what we may have taken off the table. We think of this more in terms of what women won’t do, but I see it as a male issue too. How about half an hour of foreplay? How about snuggling and making out in the morning but not “finishing” until later. How about seeing a hand-job as a wonderful gift of love rather than a second rate mercy sex?
      Just a few random thoughts.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Detail Her CarMy Profile

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