What is a slip? While I define a slip a little more broadly (or, a little more specific including some recovery behaviors) than this, a slip at minimum is any viewing of pornography, any sexual act outside the confines of marriage (between a man and a woman), and masturbation (see tomorrow’s post). At minimum, it is breaking one’s sobriety.
I really like what Mark Brower over at sexualsanity.com says:
In the work I do with Dr. Mark Laaser at Faithful and True Ministies, we advocate a three-fold definition of sobriety using the acronym MAP: sexual sobriety means abstaining from:
- Masturbation (sex with oneself)
- Adultery (sex with anyone other than the spouse)
- Pornography (intentional viewing of erotic media)
I believe that this forms a great basis or bottom line for sexual sobriety. However, I would like to clarify this definition a little more.
Some people I know advocate having a more loose sobriety definition so that it is more “attainable” and so that someone could gain sobriety and eventually add to this definition as time moves forward. This very SAA approach to sobriety is extremely vague and insecure providing a false sense of pride and progress. For any sex addict, masturbation must be part of the sobriety definition. Because of the nature of masturbation, the secrecy, the shame, and the guilt, without including masturbation in one’s sobriety definition, a fall or relapse is almost inevitable in my opinion (though I am sure that there may be some who allot for masturbation and who have not relapsed in other areas).
Once I heard a guy tell me that having sex with other single people was not adultery because neither party was married. He would even admit that adultery was wrong. While this may be true technically, I believe his rationalization (or rational lies) misses the point biblically speaking. And I am sure that Mark Laaser and Mark Brower don’t hold that position as they define Adultery as “sex with anyone other than the spouse.” Simply speaking, Laaser and Brower are technically marrying adultery and fornication, which is perfectly fine with me.
To me this is one of the most important parts of the sobriety definition or in defining a slip. Note that Laaser and Brower define this as “intentional viewing of erotic material.” I love the vagueness and the all-inclusivity of this definition. First, they mark the intent of one’s heart as part of the definition, which is so important. If my intent is to find erotic material (whatever that may be), then I am viewing pornography and I am slipping.
Second, it is erotic material, but what is erotic material? Does it include things like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit or catalogs or whatever? I define pornography as “any material (either pictures or words or video or multimedia, etc.) that is sexually explicit [in any way] that is designed in any way (whether primarily or even secondarily or tertiary or even accidentally) to produce sexual arousal [or excitement] in viewers, or any non-sexually explicit material that can be used to produce sexual arousal (but not necessarily at the fault of the creator)” by the viewer (and their intent at viewing the material). So that billboard that I see driving along the highway may be “pornographic” to me but not the next guy. Furthermore, though the billboard is “pornographic” my viewing of it initially is accidental; however, if I view it longer than 3 seconds (suggested by SA’s White Book), then it is pornographic.