A “Magic Sentence” — Arousal Can Be Optional

Essay October 2018

In my SA experience, I have encountered many times when lust and arousal seem ready to overwhelm me. In recent conversations I’ve also heard these common sexaholic scenarios:

I was exhausted on Saturday night from the events of the day. I went to bed before my wife. I woke up when she crawled in with me and I couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally, desperate, I got up to look at porn downstairs and masturbate. Then I came back to bed to sleep. I would once again reset my sobriety.

My wife and I were planning to be sexual this weekend. I took my prescribed medication and we had a wonderful intimate time together. The next night, however, after cuddling with her for a few minutes, I found myself aroused again. She just wanted to fall asleep and did. I finally got up to masturbate so I could sleep, too. I did not know what else to do.

I had been sober for just over a week and everything was going well. It was late in the evening and I needed to be up early for classes the next day. Suddenly, I got out of bed and went to a website on my phone to look at porn and masturbate. It seems there was nothing I could do to stop.

From my adolescence on I found myself struggling with arousal and thoughts of acting out when I showered in the morning. This became a habit and a ritual to start my day. In sobriety those same struggles eventually led me to a “Magic Sentence.” I discovered when I said this sentence out loud or to myself, it really helped remove the arousal. The Magic Sentence is: “I surrender to you, God, my right to have an erection (or to be aroused) and to be sexually responsive at all.”

When I use the sentence and repeat it as often as possible, for me the Magic Sentence does three things. First, it breaks the “spell.” My lust is fed by a belief that I have a right to arouse myself. Second, when I use the Magic Sentence, it acts as a deflation valve. The arousal simply goes away, usually after only a few repetitions. Third, and most usefully, I bring God into the center of the fantasy. Our SA solution is to surrender to a Higher Power, to God. The Magic Sentence does this over and over again for me. That is, if I use it!

Anonymous, USA