Sexual Addiction

Sexual Addiction and the Internet

I started counseling in the sexual addiction field around the time the internet really began to take off.  Dial up was slow and the download speeds made video’s unrealistic and high res graphics almost unattainable.  Before that, what we saw in the field of sexual addiction was a predominance of men who for the most part followed a certain path.  Something like this: starting to dabble in using soft core porn, progressing to pornographic magazines (from convenience stores)and possibly going to videos (and trips to the adult book stores).  If it went further it typically developed into phone sex, prostitution, or affairs.  What we have seen with the advent and progression of the internet is an explosion in the field of sexual addiction.  In the old days, if you wanted porn, you had to get in your car and drive to the rougher part of town, go into an adult bookstore, and buy something from another human being.  There were plenty of obstacles to keep mostly honest people from making poor choices.  What we have today is the ability of anyone, even young children, to access the most graphic pornography from the comfort of their living room on the family computer or even their cell phone.  The ease of access and the increase in the graphic nature of what is available is impacting our culture in ways that we can’t even imagine yet.  The numbers of women struggling with porn addiction is sky rocketing and I can’t tell you how many kids (10-14 year olds) that I have seen in my office over the last couple of years whose parents have caught them looking at porn only to realize that they have been doing it for a year or more and have already developed some serious addictive behaviors and thought patterns.  Not only do we have easy access to graphic porn but we also have the ability to view another person in real time, chat with people, find groups of people interested in whatever sexual deviation we might have, and even use this technology to find someone close by to “hook up” with instantly.  It has become way too easy to make bad choices.   I know the internet is amoral.  It doesn’t have morals either positive or negative.  However, in my opinion, the internet is the most destructive tool ever invented by humans.  Proverbs has a lot to say about the destructive nature of sexual sin.  That it will reduce you to nothing, steal your life, and even cost you your life.

Challenge:  Please make sure that when you get online that you use caution and especially if you have kids, make sure you take steps to protect them online.  Again, the internet can be a great tool for good but it can also be a snare that leads to your death (spiritually, relationally, and even physically).

Sexual Addiction or Compulsion

I have worked with men and women struggling with sexual addiction for over two decades.  As I start writing about this issue, I want to clarify a couple of definitions.  For years there have been arguments in the therapeutic recovery field regarding what exactly to call this issue.  The misuse of sex as a coping mechanism and/or attempting to use sex much like a drug to achieve an altered state of reality or  euphoria.  The question is, do we call it “sexual addiction” or “sexual compulsion”?  Many say that a true “addiction” involves ingesting some foreign substance into your body (ie. drug addiction) and that the term “compulsion” is more accurate because it defines a behavior that you can’t seem to stop doing even when you want to.  While I agree fundamentally with this argument, I tend to use the terms interchangeably with my clients and in my writings because to the lay person it seems to be an irrelevant argument.  Whatever you call it, sexual addiction or sexual compulsion, the fact that it is destroying lives and marriages can’t be ignored.  It is a problem plaguing or world that doesn’t seem to show any signs of lessening any time soon.   We have drifted away from following the plans for sex laid out by the Creator of the Universe and have adopted an anything goes mentality and we are reaping the consequences.  We like to think that we can play with sex much like playing with fire and that we won’t get burned.  But the reality is that our actions have consequences and God allows us to endure those with the hope that it will humble us and bring us back to Him.  If you find yourself or your life being affected by sexual addiction (either yours or a loved one’s) don’t lose hope.  Turn to the one who has the answers, Jesus Christ.