For thirty years I was a sex addict. I don’t know what sort of images that brings to your mind. I know what it brought to my mind, before I knew I was one. A sex addict to me brought to mind the sexual offender. Someone who abused women or children, someone who habitually slept with prostitutes and had wrecked a marriage or two. Certainly the spectrum of addiction does include many people in that category, but it also includes people that are a lot closer to “normal” than you realize. Sexual addiction takes a lot of forms. It can be very internal, and express itself as obsession with another person and use of pornography. It can be use of fantasy for sexual arousal. It can be straight or gay. It’s much more common than you realize.
About 2/3 of all men in the US say that they regularly view pornography. About 1/3 of women do. About 1/3 of men under the age of thirty think they are addicted to pornography, or may be. Just using the narrow window of pornography usage it’s fairly clear that sexual addiction is rampant. It’s so pervasive that it’s hard to even see. It’s so “normal” that even suggesting that you shouldn’t look at pornography, and don’t have to masturbate, is frequently responded to with shock. I know, because this is the reaction I get when I tell my story.
I was an addict in denial. Despite my actions I considered myself to be a very moral person. Addicts are experts at building walls of self-delusion and denial. It was only after becoming an Orthodox Christian, and going to regular confession, that I had to come face to face with the truth of my condition, and seek help. Fortunately, help is available. There is a solution!
I joined Sexaholics Anonymous and started working the steps. It was my first exposure to the 12-step world, and I’ll write more about my experiences in other posts. The program and the fellowship of SA gave me a means to finally see myself honestly and come out of my addiction. Thanks to SA and the grace of God I have been sexually sober since November 22nd, 2013.
If you are struggling with a sexual addiction, whether it’s to pornography or to any form of sexually acting out, please consider joining Sexaholics Anonymous. If you are an Orthodox Christian and would like to meet with other Orthodox members of SA, drop me a line and I’ll get you connected.