Intrusive Sexual Thoughts: A Christian Guide to Overcoming Them

Are intrusive sexual thoughts disrupting your thought-life? In today’s episode of the Purpose in Purity Podcast, me and my special guest will share what’s helped us in our own experiences, along with the triggers of sexual thoughts and how you can choose to respond.

By the end of our time together, you’ll have a 3-step action plan to overcome sexual thoughts and I’ll be sharing how you can get your hands on my free Thought-Life Detox. (Scroll down to watch the video version.)


What are Intrusive Sexual Thoughts?

Intrusive sexual thoughts are unwanted sexual thoughts or urges. They are commonly a frustration of those who have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). However, those exiting a lifestyle of sexual sin also struggle with this as well. These thoughts may be random or triggered by events or circumstances. Please note that this article will not address specific physical or mental health solutions, particularly regarding OCD. However, we believe that whether you identify as someone who has intrusive sexual thoughts because of OCD or not, this spiritual insight will be helpful to you.

How Do I Respond to Intrusive Sexual Thoughts?

Dealing with intrusive sexual thoughts (ISTs) falls into two main groups:

  • What you CAN control, and
  • What you CANNOT control.

What You Can Control

Personal Connection: Gerald and Nia answer the question “What is the biggest thing you can control as you seek to overcome sexual intrusive thoughts?”
Being mindful of your social interactions and the social activities you engage in.
Choosing whether or not you consume sexualized content (in movies, music, novels, etc.)

You can control what you do and don’t allow into your soul. Respond to ISTs by taking responsibility and acting to limit what triggers them. (“How do I do this?” you ask? I’m glad you want to know!)

D. H. B.
When you have intrusive sexual thoughts, dab on ‘em!

DHB stands for Detox, Habits, and Boundaries.

  • Detox – Things in your life that you can “remove.” Go through your devices, movie/music/book collections, wardrobe and so on and get rid of those items that trigger those sexual thoughts.
  • Habits – “Taking off the old man is just half of the work. Putting on the new man is the other half.” It’s not only about removing things, but also depositing in your spirit things that would cause you not to have impure thoughts.
    What am I depositing? You will primarily be “depositing” God’s word into your soul. You can sow into your spirit by reading and meditating on God’s word daily, having a dedicated prayer time throughout your day, and being in fellowship with a body of believers and having people that can hold you accountable.
    You can also combat ISTs by implementing spiritual habits to replace the old content that you’re removing. Doing this reinforces God’s word both in your private time with God and during your “down time.”
  • Boundaries – Setting boundaries (in your relationships and in the media you consume) can limit your exposure to triggers that cause ISTs

What You Can’t Control

What you can’t control falls into two categories:

  • You can’t control the actions and behaviors of other people (but you can control how you respond to them and how much you expose yourself to those people).
  • You can’t control subconscious behaviors (e.g., dreams, physical symptoms from a mental health issues, etc.

How to respond to factors you can’t control:

  • Limit your exposure to toxic people, environments, and situations.
  • You cannot control how other people act, but you can control how you respond and how much you expose yourself to those people, situations, and environments.
  • Speak up when you’re in an uncomfortable situation. If the situation persists, do what you can to remove yourself from it gracefully.
  • Exercise faith and show yourself grace.
  • Recognize that your subconscious behavior is neither something you can control nor something that you want.
  • Exercise faith in understanding that God has delivered you from that.
  • Pray, asking God to comfort you and prevent those thoughts from happening.



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