The Challenge Facing Every Man/Program 4
|By: Steve Arterburn, Shannon Ethridge, Fred Stoeker; ©2007
|Is it true that women don’t have as much problem with sexual integrity as do men? Why or why not? What are some of the issues women face?
Today on the John Ankerberg show, Steve Arterburn, Shannon Etheridge, and Fred Stoeker, three best-selling authors whose books have sold in the millions…
Dr. John Ankerberg: They are addressing the problems, the sexual challenges that young men, young women, married men, married women are facing. And we are going to get to all four categories along the way. Fred started out with the dream of finding a girl, getting married, and having a family. But it didn’t end up that way.
Fred Stoeker: What happened was that the first girl I went to bed with was one I knew I was going to marry. The next one was with someone I thought I was going to marry. The one after that was a friend that I thought I could learn to love. It wasn’t long before I had the dates memorized when the pornography magazines would come in to the campus drugstore. And I would be there when the doors opened on those dates so I could be the first one to see Gallery Magazine or Playboy of the month.
Dr. Steve Arterburn: Sex in marriage has gone down instead of up because Hugh Hefner who taught us as young men, hey this is just something that you ought to do, even if you’re a Christian you ought to do it. He lied. It doesn’t make you more of a man, it takes your manhood away.
Stoeker: …and the worst part about it was that it was starting to affect every area of my life. —… I couldn’t give myself 100% to her because I knew if she found out about some of these she might even leave me, I had no idea.
Shannon Etheridge: Most women feel very grossed out by the whole concept that men are capable of doing this. And that’s where the whole men are pigs thing comes from. And we get on our high horse going, well we are not like that, we are better than men are. Well women fail to understand that it is true that men do give love to get sex, women give sex to get love.
Arterburn: Well, a lot of guys think that I can do all these things and when I get married and I eat the wedding cake it will all change and I’ll become this wonderful faithful loving man and I will never look at pornography I will never want to have an unfaithful moment, but that is a myth. … You don’t eat wedding cake and become a man of character. What you are doing now as a young single guy you will do as a married man, it doesn’t fix it.
Stoeker: But as I saw what I had become there was only one thing left to do and that was the bow my head and I just said, Lord, I am ready to work with you if you are ready to work with me. I had no other answer.
Arterburn: Fred had done something that nobody else had done. He had actually put together something that brought hope, and that was, he made sense of it all, took his life, shared it and at the end developed a way that every person could have victory if they would do some very simple things.
Announcer: Join us today for this special edition of the John Ankerberg show to learn how to secure victory in sexual purity.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We have been talking about the battles that every young man faces, but today we are going to switch over to the battles that every young woman is facing. And we have got three guests. And our main center guest today is going to be Shannon Ethridge. You are the author of this book with Steve Arterburn. And we also have Fred Stoeker here. But, Shannon, a lot of women think, “Well, you know, the things that you have been talking about, the guys, we don’t have those kinds of sexual problems. We don’t have problems with sexual integrity.” But you say, hey, that’s kind of a myth. Tell me why.
- Ethridge: Absolutely that’s a myth. So often women come up to me and they say, “My story directly correlates with your own.” And how they arrive at that is I tell them, you know, when I was 12 years old, if someone had asked me if I wanted to be a virgin when I married, I would have said, well of course so! Well, when I was 13, that answer would have changed to I think so; when I was 14, I would have said, well, maybe. But when I was 15, my response to that question would have been, I don’t see how that is possible.” Several things happened during that season of my life from 12-15. My father and my brother had been very emotionally distanced from me for years because of the death of my sister. And then when I developed breasts and hips and started to get guys attention, my uncles proceeded to teach me that if I really wanted attention and affection from men, I could get it if I was willing to play their little games; games like, well, how far have you gone with a boy? And how far would you let me go? Can I touch you here or here? And let’s just keep this our little secret, because your parents would never understand our special love for each other. And I never told my parents because I actually thought I would be the one to get in trouble; because I actually liked the attention, and I felt as if the flirting gave me a sense of power that I had never experienced before. And I always thought that that didn’t affect me, because I didn’t let them have sex with them. But it taught me to use that flirtation as a way to get guy’s attention. And I flirted my way into a corner when I was 14 with an 18 year old boy who had a lot more than just flirting on his mind. And when he kind of backed me into the corner and expected me to have sex with him, I did what so many women in this country and all over the world do; I just silently and passively allowed myself to be date raped. I remember thinking in my mind, “Well, I don’t want him to think that I am a tease,” so I just decided to be a slut instead; and I had been called that at school anyway, so I was just living up to the label. And so I actually had hopes that he would call the next day and that we would become boy friend and girl friend and maybe get married and have kids someday. Well, of course I never heard from him. And so, again, feeling very rejected. And then when my parents allowed me to start dating at 15 – which in hindsight was way too young – I felt that sex must be the price that I have to pay to get the attention and affection that I want. And from the ages of 15 until 20 years old my life was basically just one sexual relationship after another. I am not proud of that fact but that’s how it happened. And I got my big wake up call at 20 in, of all places, the funeral home. I was in mortuary college and learning how to embalm bodies, and I expected to be embalming people who were in their 80’s and 90’s who just died of natural causes. But I was stunned at how many people I was embalming that died in their 20’s or early 30’s because of full blown AIDS, or because they committed suicide because of a positive HIV diagnosis. And I remember standing over the embalming table thinking, there but for the grace of God go I. And I was just thankful that God got my attention. I went running back to the church – I had grown up a Christian but had fallen away from that lifestyle as a college student and just was asking God, “Please show me how I can turn my life around.” It wasn’t an immediate thing; it was a long drawn out process, but it was a start.
- Ankerberg: Steve, you wrote the intro for her book; and man, you came on strong. You started by talking about how the guys were and how they looked at girls when you were dating, and then you brought it into where we are at today. Just kind of go through that, and then I want Shannon to comment.
- Arterburn: When I was dating we saw girls as a goal, as an object, as something to be acquired, attained and conquered. Today you still have that kind of scenario going on; but you also have a lot of girls who have reversed the role and they are going after the guys. I have a 16 year old daughter, and the stories that I hear from her about the promiscuity of girls versus guys, it just kind of boggles my mind. It is not the challenge that it used to be. Women, young women, have to decide that they are going to have this thing that I certainly lacked when I was growing up, and that is character. What is character of a young women? And that is one of the things that Shannon has laid out so well in this book. It is not going away from something, but it’s actually building something within you that will help you enjoy the rest of your life. My daughter is committed to virginity when she is married, and she is 16 and I am thrilled about that. But I see this as more than just achieving some level of virginity at marriage. It is about trying to find God’s standard. And there is nothing that you will see in the public schools or nothing that you’ll see in the media today that comes close to God’s standard of purity. You have got girls dressing like sluts. You have got girls out there doing things that only guys were doing years ago. And we have really seen society hit about as far down as they can go. But in the midst of that, the good news is there is a counter sexual revolution going on of girls saying, I want to be pure. And a New York Times article just recently came out showing that actually the drop in teen pregnancy is more a result of young guys who have decided to stay sexually pure or remain virgins than women. But you have got this counter sexual revolution emerging from all of this saying, we have lived like Shannon, or we have lived like Steve or Fred, and we are not going to do that any more. We are going to take this and we are going to live a life of purity and integrity and character.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Shannon, let’s talk about two aspects of what Steve is talking about. First of all, let’s talk about how a girl is put together by God and how that differs from guys. And then I want to talk about what you have got in your book, the private wars that women face in our society today. Let’s talk about, I love the way you talk about how God created and what happened in the Garden of Eden and so on, I think it is fascinating. It was one of the best things I read, if you would share that with us.
- Ethridge: Sure. When God created Adam he created him as the progenitor of the human race. So he had to place something special in Adam that would want him to fulfill the commandment to “Be fruitful and multiply,” which basically meant have sex, make babies. And so God placed visual simulation in man. And then when God created Eve and brought her to him, he took one look at her and went WHOA, MAN!!! And that’s how woman got her name wo-man. And his immediate response was, “Whoa, baby; come to papa!” And he just drank her in through his eyes, and that was what sparked it for him. But now the woman, God placed something different in. The woman is responsible for nurturing and caring for the human race, and therefore he gave her the heart of a nurturer. And so she didn’t necessarily want to have sex and wrestle and play football all the time; she wanted to talk and interact and connect and relate and hold hands. That was what floated Eve’s boat. And it is still true today that so often it is the emotional connection that we long for that sends us in the guy’s direction. But what we do is that we compromise and we decide, well, if sex is the price that I have to pay to get the attention and the affection that I want, then that price isn’t too high. And we sell ourselves cheap. And we give a whole lot of sex looking for a little bit of love. And we don’t realize that every sexual encounter that we have, our self worth comes down another notch in our own mind. And soon we don’t feel as if there is really any reason to say no to anybody. It is like we use our body to just bargain for attention and affection.
- Ankerberg: You have got a whole section in your book on what our society is like out there, especially for the young girls, okay, high school, college, single gals out there that are listening. Describe our culture as you are seeing it through all your research.
- Ethridge: Well, I mean women are being bombarded from every angle. I mean what product in our society doesn’t use sex to try and sell their products? I mean just over and over, it’s car wax, it’s doll strollers, it’s like everything uses some form of sexualizing women to sell their products. And so women begin to believe that, as a female I must be a sexual object; that we start looking at ourselves the same way the culture portrays us. And so whether it’s magazines or movies or music or the internet and just from all angles. There are very few voices in our culture teaching us how to behave and to see ourselves as women of character and honor and dignity and integrity and how to hold our standards high and how to expect people to treat us. And what we fail to understand is that we teach people how to treat us. And when we lower our own standards we are basically inviting people to just use us as doormats. And so often that turns into a sexual doormat of, it’s just, hey I’m here, I can be used for your sexual pleasure. And we wind up in that pit and we wonder how did we ever get there? And an even better question is how do I get myself out? But it is possible to get yourself out of that pit.
- Ankerberg: Fred, you’ve got a daughter, two daughters?
- Stoeker: Two, yes.
- Ankerberg: Two daughters. How does this reflect in terms of what you are facing with your daughters?
- Stoeker: Well, the real issue is, of course, teaching them early what the problems are, how they are different from men, so that they can wade through this with all of the culture going on around them without getting sucked into it themselves. And I use books like Shannon’s and others to help them understand that, you know, dating is not something that is the place where you need to draw that emotional connection that Shannon is talking about. You need to draw that first from God; you need to draw that from us as your parents, and other female friends as well. And what we want to do with them is to keep them from focusing on that side of the issue that you can so easily get sucked into, as she said.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we are going to take a break; and when we come back, Shannon, I want you to start with the fact of, in your book you have got things that you want women to understand. What kinds of things can cause every woman, regardless of age, or if they are married or not, can cause them to stumble and to fall into sexual temptation, okay? I found this fascinating folks stick with us we will be right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we are back. We are talking with Steve Arterburn and Shannon Ethridge and Fred Stoeker. And we are talking about the bestselling book that Shannon has written, “Every Young Women’s Battle.” And in this book you talk about the fact that you as a woman, and the women that are listening, you are susceptible to a lot of the things that the world is offering just because of the way you are made. Talk about some of those things you are susceptible to.
- Ethridge: Well, because women naturally crave intimacy which I love to define by breaking it down into syllables “in-to-me-see” – we long for that connection to see into the heart of another person, have them see into our heart and like what they see, and appreciate us and value us for who we are. That makes us very, very vulnerable to things that we may not even recognize as being sexual compromise. You know, women often think, well unless I am sleeping with a guy I am not acting with sexual compromise. I mean, I am doing what I am supposed to do. But yet we are reading romance novels and we are comparing our boyfriends or our husbands to the hero in the story and thinking about all the ways he doesn’t measure up or treat us like that. We are watching soap operas; we are going into internet chat rooms to try to see if somebody can stroke our ego that day, those sorts of things. We don’t recognize what a huge stumbling block that is into the pit of sexual compromise; that those are the little foxes that destroy the vineyard. So women have to, kind of like what Steve was saying earlier, that you have to set boundaries up in front of yourself before you get to that point where, okay now I am involved in this sexual relationship and don’t know how to get myself out. So that you can be aware, step by step. And one of the big wake up calls that I had was that, when I was putting my babies down for a nap every day, I would run straight to the television for one hour of All My Children, and another of One Life to Live, and another of General Hospital. And I was reading the romance novels. I am very thankful that the internet wasn’t out back in those days or else I am sure I would have been looking for love online as well. But having to wake up to the fact that I am a sex-in love addict; that maybe I am recovering from the sexual addiction part, because I was physically being faithful to my husband, but emotionally I was still looking in all these other places. You know, the guys at church would call me up in the middle of the day while my husband’s at work. And I would meet up with my aerobics instructor for lunch, and things that were very inappropriate, but I didn’t recognize it at the time. And understanding that there is such a thing as love addiction was a big eye opener for me. I went through six months of intensive counseling to understand that concept.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Fred and Steve have been talking about the fact that guys actually have a chemical reaction happening in their minds; they can get addicted to looking at porn, going to the web and so on. Is there something,… what hooks the women? In other words, how fast can you slide down the slope here?
- Ethridge: Well, I think at first for women a lot of times they will say, “I just want to look at what my husband was looking at or what my boy friend is so fascinated about.” And they will start looking at it themselves. But they don’t understand that we can be as chemically addicted to that as men, that whatever it is that is released in the brain as men are. And Fred shared the statistic earlier in the day that 87% of college women are looking at internet pornography. So I think that with every generation I think that number just continues to creep up and up. Sure it was an unpopular thing for a woman to do back when pornography first came out, but now it is pretty much the same. And I don’t think that it is an irony at all that also the statistics of women who are acting out sexually is now meeting up with that of the man. So we can’t say, “Well, this is a man’s issue, women don’t have that problem.” No, the statistics show that anywhere between 40 and 65%, according to which study you read, of women are having extramarital affairs at some point in their married life. And so we are reaping what we sowed. We can’t get under the impression that we can do this as a single woman or as a young woman and not still be so overwhelmingly tempted to do that as a married woman. As I discovered, putting this wedding band on my finger didn’t change anything except my last name. It never changed how I interacted with men and how I saw myself and those temptations that I continued to have.
- Ankerberg: So just like those habits that you were establishing while you were single, the fact is, you carried them over into your marriage. And just like the guys, when you get married a lot of things don’t change. And you just don’t realize that you are carrying that over and it is going to hurt you.
- Ethridge: Right. And if I hadn’t married a man of such integrity who would tell me that these things are wrong, and help me to understand why this is poisoning our marriage rather than sparking intimacy and excitement in our marriage, I probably would still be on that path. So I am just very, very thankful that there are some men out there who are pursuing a lifestyle of sexual integrity. And, as women, I think that we need to humble ourselves and acknowledge we have a lot to learn from these men.
- Ankerberg: Steve.
- Arterburn: Well, for a young woman to me the sad thing would be is if you only experience the counterfeit of the real thing that God wants for your life. And you know, I was looking into why wax museums succeed in turning people into candles and stuff. And the reason a person will go to a wax museum is that, if you can’t experience the real thing, you will seek out the perfect counterfeit and find some satisfaction in the presence of an exact replica or duplicate. The same thing goes with our lives and intimacy and sexuality. And many times a woman wanting to be connected, wanting to feel loved and sought after and appreciated but nurtured and loved, she will have sex or she’ll succumb to some of the things that society says is part of being a new woman. And she will miss a true connection outside of sexuality. And when you get married, you know, the chemicals die; you eventually come to a reality point where it is just you and this other person without the chemicals and the fireworks going off in the brain. And if you haven’t laid the groundwork for real, authentic connection, you will set yourself up for an absolutely miserable life. So I say to the young woman, you had better be sure you are connecting in areas other than sex if you want to be able to connect deeply and intimately with a man later.
- Ankerberg: We have got two minutes left. Shannon, you talk about if we are actually to get a handle on this, you have got to look at the heart, mind, body, soul. You have got to integrate your whole self. How do you do that? Let’s start it off.
- Ethridge: Well, John, if you could imagine if someone was chasing you with the intent to do you harm and you decided you were going to take refuge in a four door car, how many doors would you lock? Would you only lock one or two? Or how about three, because three out of four isn’t bad, right? No, of course you would lock all four doors. And so you have to apply the same principle to your sexuality. God didn’t just make you with just a body, “Well, I am guarding my body I am not having sex, so I am acting with integrity.” No, no, no. He made you with a mind, body, heart and soul. “Love the Lord your God with all your mind, body, heart and soul.” And so you have to guard your mind, guard your heart, guard your body, and guard your spirit in order to feel fully protected and so that Satan doesn’t have a point of entry to come into your life and mess you over.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, where are we going next week then?
- Ethridge: I want to take a look at some of the dynamics that spill over from the teenage years and some of the mistakes that we make early in life and how that affects our marriage relationships further on. Because we grow up, John, with this hope in our hearts of having the perfect marriage. We play with our Barbie dolls and our Ken dolls and we just think that, “When I get married one day it is going to be perfect.” Yet women get into marriage and are so disillusioned; and often times it is because we have set ourselves up to fail in our earlier years.
- Ankerberg: Alright, this is important stuff folks, and I hope that you won’t miss next week’s program. Join us then.