Signs of Sexual Rot: Diminished Masculinity & Femininity

Gender Roles 1

If you are looking for a book that will help you counsel someone with sexual problems or work through your own sexual problems then I would recommend Dr. Harry Schaumburg’s Undefiled.   Dr. Schaumburg at the time of this book (2009) had counseled almost 1,500 couples and has been counseling over thirty years with eighteen years devoted exclusively to sexual issues.  In one of the early chapters of the book he discusses how prevalent sexual sin is in the church.  He says that some research puts the number of church members watching porn at 50%. One mission organization told him that 80% of their applicants voluntarily indicated a problem with porn. One seminary professor said we no longer ask, are you using porn. But rather how bad is it? Dr. Schaumburg closes with this statement, “This rot in the church must be addressed or the devastation will be incalculable.” He then gives nine indicators of the problem. I will quote the first here and give the other eight in an subsequent post. Why quote the first one in full? It gets at one of the roots of our sexual malaise: rejection of created ordered and a failure to rejoice that men are men and women are women. Here are the two paragraphs under that indicator. 

With just about every man and woman I have counseled, single or married, I have encountered what I have described as diminished masculinity and femininity. For men, this manifests itself as a lack of leadership, male bashing, spiritual emptiness, and the dynamic of male passivity that can be described  pointedly as “men are wimps.” In women I observe a lack of sexual interest and a hardness that avoids “a gentle and quiet spirit” (see I Peter 3:4) so as to not feel weak, but this will always result in a less than truly attractive woman. Yes, outwardly she looks attractive, but pay careful attention to her face, her tone of voice, and her attitude and you begin to see a loss of genuine strength and beauty. Along with it comes increasing bitterness, a desire to be in control, and a spirituality-lite where women avoid the spiritually empty man and turn to find “Jesus as their lover.” One of the signs of diminished femininity and masculinity is that the wife feels like a mother with her husband, and the husband feels like a child with this wife.

I believe that relationally specific impotence in men and lack of sexual desire in women relate to diminished masculinity and femininity: If you feel like a child around your wife, wouldn’t impotence be a problem? When a man has an affair, he often struggles less than he does with his wife and fools himself into feeling more like a man. Likewise for women, if you feel like a mother around your husband, wouldn’t there be a lack of sexual desire? When a woman has an affair she is looking for a fulfilling relationship, and sexual desire is never the problem. Diminished masculinity and femininity are internal heart issues and point directly to the need for sexual redemption.

Two things to note. The failure to be masculine if you are a man or feminine if you are a woman is one large puzzle piece in our current sexual rot. Second, this failure has led to sexual dysfunction in the bedroom. What he means by “relationally specific impotence” is that a man is impotent with a specific woman, normally his wife. Other women get him excited, but his wife does not. One would think with the porn epidemic that sexual intimacy and frequency are rising. But that is not the case. Sexual dysfunction is increasing. Marriages go months or even years without intercourse. Men cannot get aroused without pornography or another woman. Men go through life happy to masturbate, but never sleep with a real woman. Women frequently hate sex even when they have because they are used. As Dr. Schaumburg will say there are numerous reasons why we are where we are. But one key is that we do not understand or embrace masculinity and femininity. Until we find joy in men being men and women being women sexual reformation will not occur.

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