From Sports Illustrated to Adultery
Brought up in a Christian home in the 70’s, the fires of Mike’s sexual addiction were sparked by the provocative images of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Wanting “more and better,” he progressed to Playboy, Penthouse (the local Seven Eleven didn’t have a problem selling these magazines to a minor) and masturbation. Hard core porn, promiscuity, visits to stripper bars and adult bookstores, phone sex, sex with prostitutes, and an adulterous relationship as a single man with a married mother of three followed.
The Call to the Prodigal
In 1986, during the third year of the affair with the married mother of three, Mike felt God calling him out of a life of sin and depravity. The relationship had bottomed out and he was empty and miserable. On a whim one night he visited a church and heard a sermon on how God called Abraham out from a pagan country to a new land of His promise. When the pastor said “there are some of you here who God is calling out from a pagan land,” Mike knew it was the Lord speaking to him. He broke off the relationship, stopped dating girls that weren’t Christians and got plugged into church.
Although everything looked good on the outside, he couldn’t kick porn and masturbation. Prayer, vows, willpower and Bible reading didn’t work. Neither did going to church or getting involved in ministry. About this time he met his wife to be, and assumed as many naive young men do that the ability to have God-sanctioned sex with his young bride would fix his lust problem. Mike and Michelle were married in February of 1989.
The Married Christian Sex Addict.
The inevitable friction that arise between a man and women raised in completely different homes by broken parents intensified the pull to binge on porn and masturbation, and within a matter of months Mike had fallen into porn again. Michelle didn’t know who she was married to, and subscribed to lingerie magazines not knowing that her husband was using them to act out with. Within 18 months after they were married, Mike was binging on porn and masturbation every day. Lust is never satisfied, and one night in 1991 on a business trip to Ohio he took the next step, which was to call a prostitute to his room. An hour later he’d committed adultery.
The First Bottom.
The resulting trauma from his confession of adultery blew Mike and Michelle’s marriage apart, and he started seeking help in the 12-Step groups and counseling.
Fast forward to 1999: Eight years of reading books on the topic of sexual addiction, attending many 12-Step group meetings, and spending thousands of dollars in counseling provided temporary relief, but not the inner freedom of the heart he was looking for.
“A lot of the emphasis in the Christian and recovery community was in learning how to manage the externals, but no one could tell me how to clean up my heart” says Genung. “What’s more, I didn’t know what I needed or was after.”
The Last Bottom, and New Life.
After another porn binge in January of 1999, Mike gave up. His last and only hope was now God; the One who promises “abundant life” to those who come to Him in His Word. After six months of intense seeking, the Lord revealed His grace and love to Mike, and his heart was filled with the love, life, peace and joy he’d spent the first 36 years of his life trying to find in sex, work and other places.
Mike is the founder of Blazing Grace, a ministry to those who struggle with sexual addiction. He has published articles on the topic, leads and helps others churches set up support groups, speaks, and co-hosted the Blazing Grace Radio show.