Sex addiction is a disorder of intimacy which has negative consequences on marriages and families. Pornography is never good for an individual or a marriage. God intended sexual intimacy to be between a husband and wife (married to each other).
Here at NRC, we treat sexual addiction at a relational level. Our approach considers grace as the foundation of recovery. The best recover includes both 1) an immediate tactical intervention of removing (avoiding) temptation and increasing accountability, and 2) a long-term strategy that focuses on healing wounds and correctly false beliefs. Focusing primarily on what was done wrong is the same as trying to live up to the law which only aggravates and condemns. With an increased sense of failure and guilt, the need for immediately relief is only intensified and the cycle of addiction is frequently perpetuated this way. But this does not have to happen this way.
Pornography could be considered the Christian’s drug of choice. Alcoholism is now recognized as a genuine problem. Lunchtime drinking is frowned upon, but circumstances are just right for sex addiction to flourish. Both Christian men and Christian woman are struggling with sex addictions today. Take the men and women who have come of age since the sexual revelation. Put them into the anxiety producing pressure cooker of today’s work environment. Ratchet up the pressure to produce. Take away time to nurture real family relationships. Give easy access to online pornography, cybersex, phone sex, prostitutes. A person so inclined can fill his or her addictive need during a short lunch break. No hangover. What other addiction is like it?
Some statistics about pornography:
- Approximately 40 million people in the US are sexually involved with the internet [Exposing Porn: Science, Religion, and the New Addiction, Paul Strand. Christian Broadcasting Network, 2004.]
- 2.5 billion emails per day are pornographic [Pornographic Statistics: 2003. Family Safe Media]
- Americans spend $10 billion per year on pornography [Overdosing on Porn, Rebecca Hagelin, March 2004]
- Out of 81 pastors surveyed, 98% were exposed to porn; 43% intentionally accessed a sexually explicit website [National Coalition survey of pastors. Seattle. April 2000.]
To be addicted is to have an unhealthy relationship with a mood-altering substance or behavior. The addict will deny the adverse consequences and the loss of control. Addictions are both physiological (body chemistry altering) and volitional (a choice to sin). Some symptoms of addictive sexuality are:
- Going further with a sexual experience than you intended
- Using money for sex
- Lying about sex to someone you love or to someone to who trusts you
- Using work time to be sexual
- Pretending to be someone other than who you are in order to be sexual
- Doing something sexual despite the threat of being caught
- Being sexual despite the fear of STDs
- Doing something you don’t like in order to please someone else
- Doing something that is sexually painful
- Violating your beliefs despite many pledges to stop
- Avoiding social or family obligations to be sexual
- Losing track of time while engaging in inappropriate sexual activity
- Sex becomes the center of your life; you live is ordered and organized around sex