Author and Advocate for Healthy Sexuality and Spirituality

Category Archives: The Passion Principles

Thoughts vs. Actions

Expecting a human being to never think sexual thoughts is like expecting monkeys to never think about bananas or expecting birds not to think about flying.  Sorry, but it’s never going to happen.  The sooner we accept the fact that the human brain is a sexual brain, the better we’ll be able to control (rather than try to eliminate) our sexual thought patterns.


In the spirit of making no provision for the fulfillment of our lust, here are a few practical things to keep in mind:

* Whatever you fail to feed eventually is starved to death, or at least it loses control over you.  If there’s a particular person that keeps popping up inappropriately in your mind, don’t hesitate to simply go out of your way to avoid that person whenever possible.

* If this person seems to be going out of their way to be in your presence, make it as un-fun as you can.  Stick to business.  Don’t banter back and forth with innuendos or suggestive comments.  Remember that you teach people how to treat you, and you want to be treated with respect for the faithfully married person that you actually are.

* If you’re unable to avoid a particular person that seems to be lighting a sexual fire in you, try to never be alone with this person, especially behind a closed door or in a car by yourselves.  Many an office romance has started in just such a manner.

* If you must speak privately with this person (a legitimate need, not a justified desire), monitor every word that comes out of your mouth as if your spouse is standing beside you.  And keep in mind that nothing is out of God’s earshot.

* Refrain from moving conversations to more intimate methods such as personal phone calls, amorous e-mails, titillating text messages, etc.  No one ever went wrong by keeping things both pure and professional.

* Just because a thought enters your mind or a feeling enters your spirit about a particular person does not mean you have to act on it.  I’ve thought of robbing a bank many times, but I’ve never acted on it.  And I’m not fearful in the least that I ever will, especially considering the harsh consequences.  An extramarital affair can certainly yield similar painful and destructive results.

* Remember that thoughts and feelings that aren’t acted upon can’t possibly hurt us (or our marriage) nearly as bad as those that are. 

* As Martin Luther said, “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can certainly keep him from building a nest there!”  In other words, occasional sexual thoughts may be inevitable, but sexual obsessions or actions do not have to result.


Looking back over our relational histories, chances are we’ve never regretted not acting out on an inappropriate sexual thought or feeling.  Right?  Yet if we have acted out at times, regret has most likely come part and parcel soon thereafter.  So let’s allow history to teach us the valuable lesson of mind-and-mouth control rather than having to learn it anew, shall we?


Excerpted from The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.


Rules of Mental Engagement

The voice on the other end of the line was quite feeble, and I could tell that she was on up in years.  She said she’d just read some of my books, and wanted to know if I’d be interested in hearing her testimony.  Intrigued, I urged her to please go ahead.

She’d been married over fifty years, but they almost didn’t make it past the thirty-year point.  They were headed to divorce court when her husband begged, “Would you please be willing to see a counselor about your sexual hang-ups?” 


Although willing to share in the responsibility of their crumbling marriage, he felt as if so many of their problems stemmed from a stunted sexual connection. As she shared her fears and insecurities with her counselor about “letting go” in bed, she insisted, “I know God would be so displeased with all of those sexual thoughts running through my head, and I don’t want to displease God!”


The counselor inquired as to what types of thoughts plagued her in those moments and found them to be rather normal, run-of-the-mill mental patterns.  No one had ever explained to this woman that, because orgasm is 95 percent mental for a woman, our brain naturally entertains arousing thoughts while being physically aroused by our husbands.  He wisely asked, “If God designed your body and your brain in such a way that they work together in unison to provide sexual pleasure to both you and your husband, isn’t that a good thing?  Isn’t that the way God intended for the human body to work?  Why would you expect to operate any differently?” 


He also posed the question, “Do you think that God would be any less displeased with your decision to divorce due to sexual inhibitions?”


Challenged by these questions, this woman experienced such a paradigm shift in her thinking about sexuality that she and her husband never made it to divorce court.  In fact, she explained, “I’m 72, and I have more intense orgasms now than I’ve ever had in my whole life!” I confess, I was rather encouraged by this tidbit of information, as I thought, Hallelujah!  Perhaps it only gets better and better as we age!


Indeed, God has gifted most of us with a pretty vivid sexual imagination, and that is intended to be a blessing to both our marriage and our marriage bed.  We can feel grateful rather than guilty, as long as we’re using the sexual energy created within to fuel the home fires, not start a fire elsewhere.


Excerpted from  The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.