The Truth About Men And Sex – It is not about desire but the object of our desire.
SUMMARY: Desire is something that men often do not fully understand and therefore hide in secret regarding their desires, rather than try to understand them and direct them in a God-honoring direction. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Scott Morin, president and founder of EmpoweringRanch.com who counsels men regarding sexual purity. Today we get to hear his story of transformation, and he relearned the truth about desire.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re in a series that we have entitled, “The truth about men and sex.” And today we’re discussing the topic of desire.
Welcome back to the program. If this is your very first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Our mission – as Resolute – is to disciple and develop men to lead. And so if you’re looking for content for your men’s group, or men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today at beresolute.org. We have a number of great tools for men who are looking to lead other men and disciple them in their journey – including a number of new great men’s bible study series’ that you would love for your men in men’s groups. But now gentlemen, let’s dive in.
Today I am joined by a good friend of mine, Scott Morin. Scott is the founding President of Empowering Ranch. Which can be found at empoweringranch.com. Scott helps guys, gentlemen – that are looking for freedom from sexual compulsions in their life. And if you’re out there today, and you’re dealing privately with some sexual issues or addictions, compulsions – whatever you want to call them. And you need help, well you’re going to enjoy the next few episodes with Scott Morin.
Not only is Scott a counselor that helps men out of these situations, helps them to discover freedom. But he’s been through it himself. And his story is amazing. But on top of that, Scott is a Pastor, a leader, an expert in Hebrew – and he is profoundly gifted at studying God’s Word. Scott, welcome to the show today.
Scott: Thanks for having me Vince, great to be here and be in your studio with you.
Vince: Yeah, you bet. So Scott, I – I– As I’ve known you over the last few years, as you’ve been building your own ministry, Empowering Ranch – I have, I have known you to have a very strong passion around helping men to really understand their sexuality. And in a – in a way that is, I would say – truly biblical, and kind of understanding that helps guys kinda move through some of the shame. And I think one of the predominant issues that we face in the church today is male addiction to pornography. Definitely a major issue, a major topic of discussion. But there are underlying issues that really cause us to exude that symptom of turning to pornography.
Vince: And a lot of it is our – our lack of understanding around sexual desire, and how beautiful it really is. Now, Scott, I know that you’ve been through quite a journey on this. And you help men to understand this. Why don’t you take a few minutes to respond to that, and maybe share with us – in the middle of it, your story?
Scott: Yeah, thanks, Vince. Before I even dive into my story, I just want to say that our sexual desire is good. And I think so often there’s been such a stressful journey for so many men around this issue, that they actually in some ways hate their sexuality. And so I want to say that it’s good, and I’m going to circle back to a scripture at the end of telling my story here.
To just kinda prove from scripture that God thinks our sexuality is good as well, but – yeah, my story, Vince – grew up in a Christian home, Pastor’s kid. And I – and I bring that up, just to say – ’cause I think when Christianity is involved, I think there – tends to at times be a lot of shame. Like because I’m a Christian, I shouldn’t be struggling with things – these things, but I am. And so I’m going to hide them. And I don’t think it has to be that way.
But not to get too heavy with everyone right out of the gate. But my story – it started with incest. And I was around 7 or 8 years old. I was in 3rd grade, somewhere around there. And I – and I think it opened up things in me that shouldn’t have been opened up yet. And it – a lot of times we go back to the areas where we’ve been broken, to try to fix those areas. And so it – it really set me on this path of sexual destruction.
And interestingly enough, around the same time – the neighbor kid took me in the woods and showed me porn in magazines. And I remember going with him and his dad to a camp. His dad was a realtor, and I remember seeing a poster of a naked woman on the wall. And I can still see that image sitting here now. And I – and I say that to point out that the things that happen to us when we’re young matter. And they mark us.
And also around that same time, someone came and talked to me about masturbation. And I didn’t understand what it was. And so for the next 5 years, I thought every time I itched myself, I was masturbating. But thankfully I didn’t have any shame around it but eventually figured out masturbation in 8th grade and that led to stealing pornography – as the curiosity kept going, and getting into sexual relationships.
And so – and I’m, and I’m in– I’m not in conversation with anyone during any of these years, as far as my sexuality. So I’d go off, I head off to Bible College. And unfortunately, I end up sleeping with my college girlfriend. But I also now, at this point – so my – my sexual journey started when I was 7 or 8, now I’m 19. So I’m a good 11, 12 years into my – into bondage already.
And I was getting sick of it. And I wanted to break the silence. And so I started talking about it. I started bringing it up and talking with my friends. And what I realized is that – they were all struggling with it as well. And it was a bit of the blind leading the blind. And sadly, it would take another 13 years before I was going to find some help around this stuff. And so honesty was helpful, it was the beginning of the journey of bringing things into the light, but it wasn’t enough.
Scott: And so, I – I– So I kept talking about it. And eventually I– But I also wanted to serve God. So I – I went from Bible College into Seminary. And I got into Seminary. And actually, there’s where I got into internet pornography. And one thing I want to point out here is that God has a plan for our lives, but the enemy also has a plan for our lives. And John 10 talks about that the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy.
And first Peter 5 talks about the enemy going around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. And so in one sense, it’s not a surprise that I ended up in internet pornography in Seminary. Because it – that was the enemy’s way of trying to take me out. And the way that that story went is – you’d go to the library, and they had turned these prayer rooms into computer rooms. And what you would do is check out a key at the front desk, and you would go to this room and unlock the door, and go inside and shut the door. And you could even lock the door if you wanted to.
And this is the late 90’s. This is before login’s, this is before filters. And curiosity just ended up taking over, and – and the enemy had his way. And so I think often– Like if we don’t acknowledge what the enemy wants to do against us – then the enemy is just going to have his way with us. And I think one of the ways to start to be able to get free from some of the stuff, is to actually acknowledge that the enemy wants to take us out. And so that–
Vince: Let me just interrupt you for a second.
Vince: ‘Cause this is – I mean, your story probably is the pattern for most men. I – I’ve had conversations with thousands of guys – as you have as well. And the consistent story I hear is, “We never talk to anybody about it.”
Vince: Right? We hide behind our shame.
Vince: We don’t have a healthy understanding of it. And so we – we live in this kinda private prison.
Vince: Right? Is that how you felt?
Scott: Oh yeah. I mean, it – the shame would just kill me. I mean it would – questions that would go through my head in those moments are, “What’s wrong with me?” And assuming that there was something wrong with me. And in the one sense, there were some places that were broken. But in one sense, I think it’s actually the wrong question. When I struggle in any area of my life today, I will actually ask, “What’s right with me?” Because actually, God sees what’s right with us. What’s right with us. And he has– I mean, that’s the whole work of, work of Christ – is that we are now reliant on his righteousness, not our own. And so–
Vince: Is that, is that what helps you to find some sexual purity in your life, and understand – gain a healthy understanding of God’s desire for you?
Scott: Well the thing that really helped me begin to turn the corner, and I’ll tell you one story before I get into that. Is just that I came out of Seminary, and I decided to go into public school teaching. I did work in a church part time for a couple of years, but I realized I didn’t have the character to do that. And I actually spent a lot of my 20’s and 30’s – most of my 20’s and 30’s working on developing my character for what I’m doing now. Not that that was necessarily the ultimate goal, but that’s what I needed to do.
I needed to work on my character. But I – I hadn’t slept with anyone since that college girlfriend. And so I thought I was kinda getting better. But then, as a teacher, I ended up sleeping with a co-worker – and that was 10 years later, and it was really discouraging. Because I thought I had made some progress. And I – in that moment, I realized, “Actually I haven’t made as much progress as I thought I had made, and I’ve got a real issue here.”
And because of that Christian thing, and that shame – what I– What, the pattern I got into with her, is that we would sleep together, and then I would say – I’d go into my, my guilt cycle of, “I can’t do this. I can’t, I can’t see you, talk to you anymore.” And we wouldn’t talk for a couple of months. And then I would – we would reconnect with each other and sleep together, and I’d go through that same cycle. And we did that for a while.
And one of the times that we had gotten together and slept together and– And we, and I was going into my spiel afterward, of “I can’t do this anymore.” She started to hit herself. And had to restrain her, and had to calm her down. And eventually walked outside with her. And she did it again. She threw herself on the ground and started hitting herself. And I had to restrain her and calm her down. And eventually she got in her car and drove away, and Vince it was kind of this moment of – it’s probably one of the lowest points of my sexual journey – of realizing, “She’s unstable right now because I’ve been messing with her heart.”
Scott: I’ve been – my sexual sin. And so often guys feel like – my sexual sin doesn’t affect anyone. I just look at some porn online and I masturbate. And but if – even in that scenario, it’s affecting others around you. And as she was driving away, I’m realizing – I have to take at least some if not all the responsibility here for her instability right now. And I don’t know where she’s going to go. I don’t know if she’s going to go kill herself or what’s going to happen.And it was this – it was this moment where I realized, “I need help. I need some desperate help.” And so–
Vince: That’s an amazing moment. I mean, I’m – that’s chilling for me, right now.
Vince: Because it’s almost as if God prophetically presented you a moment, where he shocked you.
Vince: Into reality.
Vince: And I’m talking spiritual reality at this moment. So what happens next?
Scott: So I finally got some help, and got into some recovery groups. And there were some piety groups here in Minnesota. They don’t exist anymore, actually. But getting into those for 2 years, from 2004 to 2006. And I would say that there were 3 things, Vince – that really helped me begin to turn the corner in my sexuality. One of them was– Looking at my belief system. I think most of us men believe that sex is a need. But if you want to get technical about it if I don’t eat – I’ll die – that’s a need. If I never have sex again, or if I never have another orgasm, I’m not going to die.
Scott: It’s a – it’s a want, it’s a desire, it’s a God given desire, it’s a beautiful thing. But it’s not a need. And I believe that our beliefs drive our behaviors. And so when I started to change that belief – from believing that sex was a need to sex being actually a want – then my behavior started to come in line with what I believed. So that was one thing that really helped me.
Another thing that really helped me was getting in – community. And that’s what men are so scared of. But being around other men who used to struggle, who weren’t anymore. And being in that community, bringing it into the light. Scripture constantly talks about that. Bringing things into the light. When we bring things into the light, it breaks the power it has over us. And it sets us on the path to freedom. So that was the second thing.
The third thing that really helped me begin to turn the corner was scripture memory. But not in a legalistic way. John 8 says, “The truth will set you free.” But we all know a lot of truth. How come we’re not 100% free in every area of our life? Well, I would present Psalm 51:6. “God desires truth in the inmost being.” So how do we get that truth integrated way down deep inside of us?
Scott: And I think one of the ways is through scripture memory or scripture meditation. And those are the 3 things that really started to help me turn the corner. And I – today, the struggle is not my normal. But I do have struggles – and – but joy and intimacy are my normal. But for guys who think that it’s all about perfection, I want to point out proverbs 24:16 – which says, “For the righteous one shall fall 7 times and still rise.” And so I want to encourage all the listeners – is just that if – whenever you fall, just get back up. Even if you fall, somehow we’re still righteous. And I would say that’s because of the work of Christ.
Scott: Christ makes us righteous. It’s now us relying on his righteousness, not our own. And we opened this podcast by saying, “Sexual desire is good and beautiful and God given.” And I want to just point how God suggests that in Genesis 2:25. And he says, “Both of them were naked, the human and his wife. Yet they were not ashamed.” That’s God’s desire for our sexuality, for us to be naked in the right context and not be ashamed at all. And there’s so much shame around this stuff. And the only way to get the shame off of us is to start to talk about it. And so – yeah.
Vince: Yeah, you know – that is extremely well said. As we start to wrap up our time, I want to accentuate something that you said, because it was so good. The 3 things that you learned were first that you had to really rewire how you were believing.
Vince: You had to build a new belief system around right behaviors.
Vince: And discovered. I mean, what an epiphany.
Vince: To discover that – sex is something that we want. And we get to enjoy it.
Vince: God gave it to us as a gift. But we don’t have to have it.
Vince: Which is a belief, I think many men think.
Scott: Right, absolutely.
Vince: And then secondly, you have to put yourself inside of community – which I agree with you again. Men have a hard time with community. Let’s use the word “intimacy.”
Vince: Just for a second. ‘Cause you’ve used that in a relationship with God, right?
Vince: But we – we need intimate relationships with other brothers.
Vince: We don’t like that word, “intimacy,” because we think it conveys only a sexual understanding. But it isn’t. It’s about knowing and being known, right?
Vince: And then finally, Scripture memory – healthy understandings of really the deep truth of text, because it is the truth that changes our life. And we have to seek that truth outside of us. So I want to accentuate one more thing. And it’s kind of the major premise of your life story. And it’s that our sexual desires are good.
Vince: If they’re placed in the right object.
Vince: And if we can reorient those desires – because God wants us to desire. Like you pointed out here in Genesis 2:25. I mean, God wants us to desire.
Vince: We can desire bad thing that don’t honor him. And then we can desire good things that do honor him. One of the things that he wants us to desire is him.
Scott: Yeah, exactly.
Vince: And so I’m just – Scott, I just want to say thank you for the time today.
Vince: I look forward to some future podcasts with you as well.
Vince: And I just want to thank you for using some words today that I think guys are a little uncomfortable with hearing sometimes. Sharing how you had gotten into unhealthy patterns of looking at pornography, masturbation.
Vince: Even the – probably some of the corrupt beliefs, thank you for sharing that.
Vince: I think more guys should do that, right?
Scott: Yeah, absolutely.
Vince: And I know Scott, that you do some counseling in this area as well. Can – can you share with guys a little bit of how you help in these kinds of situations?
Scott: Well you know – yeah – and actually I’ll connect it to what you already brought up around intimacy as just that. Whatever we look to instead of God, is we’re looking – it’s a false intimacy. So whether it’s– And sometimes people get really hung up on the word addiction. But I would argue that we all have – every single person on the planet has compulsions, has areas of their life that are out of control. If you don’t want to call it an addiction, that’s fine. But there are areas that you’re out of control. And whatever it is – whether it’s you’re addicted to food or your sexuality or alcohol or anxiety or worry or whatever it is that we turn to calm us down. We’re looking for false intimacy elsewhere, and we need to look for real intimacy. And Vince, I would just say that one of the things that have helped me choose a true intimacy, is to worship.
Scott: And to – to connect with my Father. If I – If I actually connect with Abba Father, and be intimate with Abba father, there’s a better chance I won’t go looking for intimacy elsewhere.
Vince: That’s right, ’cause it’s way more fulfilling.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Vince: Well, share with us a little bit about this camp. I know you’re taking some guys on a – on a camping excursion here in September. Can you share a little bit about that, ’cause I – it sounds like something that even I would love to go on.
Scott: Yeah. So whether it’s counseling or whether it’s the camp, it’s diving into our stories. And obviously, I just told my story – at least around sexuality. There’s a lot more to my story, lots of mistakes I’ve made that I – I share when I tell my story on these weekends. But part of the way I do counseling is that I’m an open book. I’m willing to share what I’ve been through because I feel like we learn from each other’s stories. We learn from what’s worked for us, how we’ve encountered God.
And so – yeah, the weekend is in Boundary Waters. And for me personally – and I’ve found for other men as well, there’s just something about unplugging. Getting out in the wilderness, it feels like there’s a weight that comes off. I can even feel it as I drive up north from the Twin Cities up into somewhere that’s more remote. And it’s being in community. It’s – some of the topics we’ve hit on, as we’ve talked through today – it’s being in community together, telling our stories. Praying for one another. We’ll do some scripture study together in a very conversational way with questions. And we’ll just go be men together out in the wilderness.
Vince: Yeah, I – guys, if you’re out there and you – you need to get away to kinda reboot a little bit. And you – maybe you’re dealing with some of these issues or – man, maybe you just need to get away. Be a guy for a little while, reconnect with God. You need to meet this guy. And you need to go on this trip – September 7th through 10. You can get there through the website at empoweringranch.com. We’ll have some links in this podcast that you can use as well.
But get there, go. And I want to give my strong vote of confidence in Scott’s ability to lead other men, and for his ability to lead other people through questions in Bible study. It’s remarkable. You’ll have a great time. Scott, thank you for being with us today.
Scott: Absolutely. Can I give one piece of action for the men?
Vince: Yeah, go for it. Give it to them.
Scott: Yeah, so if you have had a journey around your sexuality, and you’re looking for more freedom – I just want to recommend a ministry to you. John Eldredge wrote a book called, “Wild at heart,” and his ministry is called Ransom Heart Ministries. And so he’s got some pretty phenomenal prayers that address sexual healing and spiritual warfare. And so if you’re interested in those, check out ransomheart.com/pray. Or you can get his free app, Ransom Heart.
And the 4 prayers that I would say – and recommend you pray through – would be the sexual healing prayer, the prayer for inner healing, prayer for freedom from habitual sins, and the prayer for breaking soul ties.
Vince: Oh that’s good. Very practical, thank you for that. And Scott, I’ll make sure and post all those on the website as well, so guys can easily get to those.
Vince: Thank you for that.
Vince: Well guys, that’s the show. Thanks so much for listening. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent men’s bible studies including small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead, and equip them to lead the men around them. Check them all out at beresolute.org, or send me a direct email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you send me a direct email, I would love to give you a free trial, so that you can give it a spin with the men you lead.
And as always, I hope you enjoy this podcast. But please know – that the time that we spent together today is worthless unless you choose to act on it. So do something today. By getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time on another edition of the Resolute Podcast.