Why are We Afraid to Call it a Sexual Addiction?

Do people who look at pornography, even if it’s from time to time, really have a problem or even “a sexual addiction?”

Is “lust addiction” a terrible, shaming label or is it something that needs to be talked about openly and honestly?

What are your thoughts on these questions?

Do you feel there’s a fear in our society to call sexual addiction what it really is?

What’s the truth about sexual addiction?

In the new manual, “Understanding Pornography Addiction & Betrayal Trauma,” Dr. Donald Hilton answers these questions pretty directly:

We should call it what it is. Curiously, because we don’t like to ‘label’ people, we tend to downgrade what is actually an addiction into something we think less offensive – particularly with youth – as if a label can alter their status. We don’t mince ‘labels’ with a 16-year-old heroin addict, and we do so with a 16-year-old pornography addict at their peril. When we sidestep addressing it for what it is, the effort and resources may never be mobilized for recovery, ‘for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?’ (1 Corinthians 14:8). In such a case, the young man or young woman will likely continue to use it into young adulthood, and can’t help but bring it into their marriage. Sadly, such may be the case in the majority of newer marriages today.” (p. 8, bold added)

He goes on to say:

We do no favor by avoiding using the term addiction when behaviors show otherwise. Well meaning efforts to be gentle or diminish shame and embarrassment, or thinking such a term ‘overstates the problem’ underestimate the destructive power of this disease and enable those who suffer. Without properly identifying the problem, the ‘problem’ of sexual addiction cannot be properly treated.” (p. 4, bold added)

Why is it hard, then, to talk about the subject of sexual addiction with those we are closest to?

Why do some even go as far to “label” this problem as a “bad habit” or a little moral dilemma that we just need to “overcome” or “move on” from?

Is pornography use just a pastime many youth and adults have gotten into in order to deal with life, or is it a more serious problem?

call it sexual addiction

Can Sexual Addicts Follow the Training of Search and Rescue Professionals?

Have you ever been lost in the wilderness or even in a shopping center?

How did you feel?

What were you tempted to do?

When I was recently married, my brother-in-law and I were discussing adamantly (arguing) about college football, particularly the Big 10 vs. BYU football. This argument was happening  while in the process of parking my car at long-term parking at the airport prior to flying home for Christmas break.  (At the time, BYU must have been doing well in football, because I would have no legs to stand on today in this type of argument unfortunately.)

Because we were in such a heated debate, I paid no attention to where we were parked and really thought nothing of it.

We were gone for two weeks and when we got back, the airport had been hit hard with snow. It was at this point my brother-in-law and I realized that we had NO IDEA where the car was. We walked all around, took the bus to different spots, and NOTHING.

Had someone stolen our car?

Finally, after about an hour and a half of looking on our own, we asked the airport parking employees if they could help.

Sad to say, we still couldn’t find the car and had to take a taxi home that night.

The next morning, we came back and found the car within 10 minutes.

Learning from Search & Rescue

“…search and rescue training teaches that one of the most important things a person can do when he finds himself lost in the wilderness is to stop and say out loud, ‘I am lost.’ This verbal acknowledgement shifts his panicked mind into a state where wiser choices can be made; he won’t hide form search parties – he wants to be found. Likewise, those who honestly desire to experience a future state of being in recovery must first be willing to acknowledge that they are dealing with a real addiction and to frankly identify themselves as such: ‘I have an addiction.’ Ironically, once this acceptance occurs, rather than increasing feelings of shame and hopelessness, one actually becomes empowered through this budding commitment to honesty and willingness to do whatever it takes to be in recovery and experience the positive growth that comes from working recovery.” (Understanding Pornography Addiction & Betrayal Trauma, p. 3)

What if we would have done the same thing when we realized our car was lost?

Maybe it wouldn’t have taken us so long to realize that looking for our car at 1:00 a.m. in a snow-covered parking lot was a waste of time…

Maybe we would have had better luck finding the car that night if we had asked for help early on…

Ultimately, just admitting I’d lost the car would have been the empowering action I could have taken – taking accountability for my part and recognizing that it was no-one’s fault but my own.

What’s the Real Problem with Sexual Addiction?

Step 2 in Step Into Action seems to address the read problem straight on:

“…my Higher Power was whatever I knelt down in front of. I had knelt down in front of my brain because that was what I believed had worked for such a long time. It had allowed me to look successful; it had gotten me out of scrapes; it had allowed me to manipulate any situation so that I could live with myself. I could think my way out of my emotions by telling myself that was not how I was supposed to feel or that was not what I was supposed to think. I could rationalize a situation so that I could cope. How do I know that this is what I believed in? Because this is what I went to when I had problems. I went to my house of worship – me. I was addicted to me.” (Step Into Action, p. 30)

Does this sound familiar at all?

For me, this story sounds WAY too familiar. Here are the problems in this story that I’m familiar with:

  • Kneeling down in front of my brain
  • Believing that that was working
  • The perception of success, righteousness, having it all together
  • Work myself out of scrapes
  • Manipulation of any situation in order to live with myself
  • Think myself out of emotions by telling myself I wasn’t to feel or think a certain way
  • Rationalization of any situation in order to cope

Referring back to the story of losing my car, I thought I could fix the problem with my own brain – I didn’t need anyone’s help.

I perceived I was close to finding the car over and over and over again. I felt that going back to the same places I’d already covered would make the car magically show up, that I had this problem figured out.

I blamed my brother-in-law and others for what was happening. I even thought someone may have stolen the car, all to help me live with myself and my bad judgment.

Rationalization after rationalization until ultimately I had to admit defeat and get a taxi to take us home.

This was me living in my addiction, even if I wasn’t acting out in that moment.

Once I’ve recognized that there is a problem, that “addiction” may very well be an issue, then what?

Questions I Can Ask My Sexually Addicted Self?

Self-evaluation and surrender are part of sobriety and recovery.

Sometimes, asking myself hard questions helps me get out of myself and my own head.

Here are a few questions to consider.

Who have I been kneeling down in front of?

Has it been me?

Step 2 states that I “came to believe that a Power greater than [myself] could restore [me] to sanity.]”

How can I apply this to my life today?

Why sanity? What does that mean?

Sanity is “the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner; sound mental health. Reasonable and rational behavior.” (source)

Am I in a sane or an insane state?

What does sanity have to do with emotional health and addiction?

What’s the opposite of sanity, then?

Insanity – “the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness. Extreme foolishness or irrationality.”

As we reviewed our [Step One] inventory, we asked ourselves: ‘What sane person would repeat these actions that produced such pain, misery, shame, and loss?’ In SA, we were told that repeating the same behaviors and expecting different results was in itself a definition of insanity…Being restored to sanity meant giving up our rationalizations that our lies and sexual acting out hurt no one.” (Step Into Action, p. 29)

Step One helped us SEE the truths about ourselves.

Step Two helped us RECOGNIZE our need for help from insanity.

What’s the answer?

What are the steps I can take to be freed from the insanity of my life?

Conclusion

Sexual Addiction is real and it’s a problem.

It’s manifesting itself on every news site.

“Richard Branson says he does not remember alleged sexual assault”

“Sex offender handed heavy sentence on new conviction”

“Actress sues Weinstein, accusing him of sex trafficking”

Many professional & collegiate athletes are caught in its trap.

“Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor to plead guilty to sexual assault, faces at least 25 years in prison”

“Michigan State players charged with sexual assault”

And the world doesn’t even seem to notice what’s happening. (I was going to put links to specific articles about the evidence of sexual addiction in day to day life, but, thanks to feedback from a friend in recovery, I realized that may not be a good idea…)

“Oh, that man cheated on his wife…I wonder what happened to the love they once had?”

“We just ‘fell out of love’…”

“I don’t want to be married anymore…”

“He was just a ladies man…”

I’ve heard and read these exact statements recently.

Unfortunately, they are rationalizations and justifications for a core issue – SEX & LUST ADDICTION!

Why are we afraid to call this problem what it really is?

Why can’t we practice what search and rescue suggests, to admit that we are lost and need help dealing with sexual addiction?

How can we be a SOLUTION to this problem of sexual addiction?

23 thoughts on “Why are We Afraid to Call it a Sexual Addiction?”

  1. I agree that there is insufficient willingness to call a spade a spade. Only when I became willing to accept the label of sex addict and all the label entails did I have the humility and capacity to face the depths of my insanity, including all of the work required to undo the behaviors, attitudes, and neural pathways that made sex addiction possible in the first place. Embracing the label, even if it meant accepting a level of illness that wasn’t necessarily accurate of my particular behaviors and attitudes, made it so I could set a clear baseline without having to think about making any potential excuses for behaviors that could have been rationalized as not addiction. Also, without that clear baseline I could not have had sufficiently clear vision and intention for who I wanted to become, which is a critical component of step 3 and the “came to believe” portion of the 12-step mantra, “Came. Came to. Came to believe.” I couldn’t come to believe the highest version of myself was possible if I believed that addiction really didn’t apply to me.

    1. Amen JR! Until I began calling myself an addict and reminding myself where I’d been, I saw minimal to NO real recovery and continued the insanity.

      So why is it that people don’t want to call it what it is then?

      Is it lack of understanding? Is it naivety? Is it a fear of the label?

      And how can we help, or can we?

      1. As others here have already responded, the reasons we don’t want to admit something about ourselves tends to deal with our aversion to the truth. When we have to face truth we can no longer BS our way out of it. Avoidance of truth is a form of BS, which according to Brene Brown is actually worse than lying/contradicting truth. When we don’t face the truth, which forces us to pick a side, we end up exhausting everyone else’s resources to deal with us as we dance our way around it, using distractions and other nonsense to keep everyone (ourselves included) too tired or too in the dark to pay attention to truth.

        I know that standing in our truth, owning our recovery, and sharing our stories with those who have earned the right to hear them—not floodlighting/over-sharing for attention and to shield ourselves from letting others actually see us and the truth about us—is all we probably can control. More systemic change will likely only come about from a groundswell of these kinds of individual recovery stories.

  2. My wife and I read articles on SA Lifeline.org when we have time and they have always stirred healthy discussions between us. We are reading a lot these days so we really appreciate well-thought-out writings that we connect with (and that are accurate!!). I am doing quite a bit of writing and note-taking right now in my recovery. It helps me sort and organize my thinking. It also helps me vent a little bit so I am not as full of resentment.

    This article was helpful, and clear and hopeful. I connected with the story of losing you car at the airport. I used to get a hit off of things like that…mostly for the challenge of getting out of the pickle. It is a weird neurosis but it is very much part of my addiction to purposely cause some drama (losing something, getting into a tough situation, being notoriously late, missing a flight, etc) in order to find some challenging way to fix the problem I created.

    I thought the airport example is spot on. I don’t like to ask for help either. It doesn’t come naturally to me. (I also think that your troubles started with getting lost in your debate with your BIL–if you are like me, you wanted to WIN that argument with him, and convince him that he is wrong, because you are right and he is wrong. Your opinion matters more than his. That thinking got your distracted from paying attention to the moment, which required you to think for a minute about where you were parking the car.)

    I appreciated the citations from Dr Hilton, Step Into Action, and the new manual.

    The news articles (about public sexual behavior in the news) prompted me to think about a boundary that my wife recently set. I can’t read those kinds of articles anymore by myself. My addict brain tells me that I am reading those articles “to be informed” but really I read those articles to get a lust hit. I have a hard time with those articles now. They can easily trigger me. Just an FYI; other addicts may follow those links and unknowingly go down those rabbit holes. I know that is not your intent, but I felt a small urge to read those articles scanning for the sex stuff.

    The phrase “well meaning efforts to be gentle” in Dr Hilton’s quote reminded me of a very recent conversation I had with a bishop of YSA ward who happens to be a good friend of mine. I was trying to prompt him to talk about his experiences with helping YSA’s through sexual sins and addictions, and he adamantly said that he doesn’t use the word “addiction” when he counsels with his ward members who struggle with porn use. He says that too many YSA’s self-diagnose as addicts and he feels that it enables them to keep acting out since they feel they are addicted. In fact, he wants his ward members to call the meeting “ARP” instead of “Addiction Recovery Program” because he doesn’t want them buying into the addict label. I think that is sad and misinformed. Deep down, I wanted to debate this issue with him but he doesn’t know my story yet so I didn’t go there. But his thoughts represent a prevailing attitude that spending a massive time masturbating and viewing porn is not an addiction. Seems crazy.

    Lastly, I support you if you want to change the line “I blamed my brother-in-law and others…” to “I blamed my brother-in-law, the Big 10, and others..” 😉 The Big 10 IS overrated.

    1. Thanks T.W.

      I removed the links you mentioned and agree 100%. Great boundary.

      The Big 10, particularly, Wisconsin, is the only team I got this year who’s actually winning. All my other teams (Yankees, Packers, BYU, and the Jazz – sort of – are having or had a tough year). I do have hope for the Yankees and Packers.

      I’m glad you liked the article and really appreciate your feedback and experience.

  3. There are a number of issues I think in society and in the academic/therapy community that keep people from wanting to use the term sex addiction.

    First, most of the world has a hard time believing there can be such a thing as too much sex. The problem they usually worry about is not enough sex or inability to effectively have sex. But, Aristotle long ago talked about virtue being moderation. Too much of anything is unhealthy.

    Second, there is some resistance to the idea that behaviors can be addicting, not just substances. Some people are stuck on the idea that for something to be addicting it needs to be a chemical or something you take into your body. But, the truth is that what happens inside the body in terms of hormones and the brain is pretty much identical either way. In other words, the chemicals that drive addiction are internal (e.g., dopamine).

    Third, the word addiction I don’t think is in the DSM-V, which is the diagnostic manual for mental disorders, etc. I think for substances it is dependence or abuse. For gambling I think it is an impulse control disorder. I’m not sure. They thought of adding something called hypersexuality to the manual, but didn’t get enough support for it. So, problematic sex really isn’t in there, other than not having it enough (rigidity, etc.).

    Fourth, sex addiction is political and controversial. People start to worry that if we start calling sex an addiction then when will it stop? More and more things will be labeled addiction. But, like I just said, really anything can be addicting if it brings pleasure and has potential to hijack the pleasure system in the body.

    Fifth, many people just think it’s a guy thing, boys will be boys, etc. That’s just silly. Not sure if this is what they call reification, but, basically people are saying that because men look at porn more than women, and are more sexually promiscuous, that’s the way they were meant to be, so we should deal with it. Well, we could have also dismissed slavery and racism as Southerners just being Southerners. Not a very effective approach to the world.

    What about at the individual level? If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, you don’t have to wear it.

    The Big Book talks about this, and it has been mentioned by LDS church leaders. Some people may just periodically look at porn, or have a bad habit, but not be an addict. It takes humility and honesty for people to be open to the possibility that they are an addict. But, if they are an addict, and they don’t have this humility and honesty, and they don’t admit they are an addict, I think they are only going to get worse. The path to healing starts with seeing the problem for what it is. For me, that meant realizing how bad my sexual acting out behaviors were, and being honest with therapists, church leaders, my wife, my sponsor, and other fellows in recovery.

    But, it also meant realizing how pervasive the problem was across all areas of my personality, my approach to life, and my relationships. I had to read about addiction, read stories of addicts, learn what it means to be in addiction vs. recovery, etc. Rarely do I read stuff describing addiction where I don’t resonate with it and see it in my life.

    So, for me personally, the label of sex addict is spot on, and I resonate with most everything anyone says about addiction whether it is sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, etc. It’s largely the same to me. I’m Sam and I’m a sex addict!

    As a footnote – is it sexual addiction or sex addiction? I think it’s the latter but I’m not an expert on grammar and stuff.

    1. Thanks Sam. That’s awesome info.

      Not sure about the correct grammar either – sex addict, sexual addiction, sexaholic, lustaholic, lust addiction, porn addict, etc. – to me, they are all fairly synonymous. The antonym, in this context, is “bad habit” or “little problem” because, for me, that’s NOT what this is.

      I like what you said as well about how maybe “some people may just periodically look at porn, or have a bad habit, but not be an addict. It takes humility and honesty for people to be open to the possibility that they are an addict But, if they are an addict, and they don’t have this humility and honesty, and they don’t admit they are an addict, I think they are only going to get worse.”

      Although I have a hard time agreeing that a person can “periodically look at porn” and NOT be an addict, ultimately it’s not up to me to make them see or make them be humble or honest – that’s their boat to row. Unfortunately, like you said, it will only continue to get worse before it has the chance to get better (based on my own terrible experiences).

      Thanks again for your experience and for sharing so openly. We all need to hear one anothers’ experiences and open our eyes to different perspectives.

  4. I think this is a great topic. I firmly believe for me it was important to identify myself as a sex addict. I did that over 15 years ago but it took me over 13 years to believe it and live my recovery. It was only until I found SAL that my recovery truly began.

    I am comfortable admitting my addiction in our group. I have told my therapist, my wife and a few close clergy.

    We have not told our family or any friends. For now we are not comfortable doing that. I do share my knowledge of 12 steps with others but not my specific addiction.

    With what is going on in the news and the reaction is it any wonder we have trouble admitting our addiction? From my perspective there are two schools of thought. One is that we really do not have an addiction and this is not a problem (I had a clergy tell me sex addiction does not exist). The other is that we are inherently evil and should be punished. Interesting that an alcoholic or drug addict can go to rehab and come back into society but a sex issue is shunned. Yes I know I am over exaggerating but I am not sure by much.

    So yes I do believe that admitting I am a sex addict is important. What I am not sure of is how many and too whom to declare that? I am actively working my recovery within my space and group and will continue to do that for now. I pray that our addiction will become more understood. Clearly our addiction is pervasive and growing. In our weekly meeting we typically see one to two new people a week. If we multiply that by the number of meetings available in SAL, SA and SAA or even ARP it is clear the issue is growing not getting smaller.

    1. Amen T!

      Your experience is similar to mine. I started working was introduced to the Steps back in 2008 and thought I’d found the answers I needed.

      I worked the Steps in half-measures, which ultimately, like the Big Book says, “availed me nothing.”

      When I found SAL I’d hit a rock-bottom I thought I’d never hit, saw the level of trauma it was causing my wife, and knew something had to change or my life was going to be over – at least the life I wanted to have.

      Calling myself a sex addict and believing it has been a crucial part of my healing and recovery.

      If I’m not vigilant, my addict self can come right back. Luckily, not immediately in the form of acting out, but the behaviors of anger, rage, resentment, comparison, ego, and control come back too often, even after a few years of real recovery.

      For me, telling my family was one of the boundaries my wife set for me right up front: she was not willing to let me continue to live a double life, especially around those closest to me. I know that every situation is unique but talking to my parents about my addiction was an important part of getting out of the dark and beginning to see the light.

      In regard to telling the world about my addiction, I don’t think that’s necessary, especially because not everyone will understand what that means.

      It reminds me of the Brene Brown suggestion that some are not ready for our vulnerability (JR, maybe you can help me with the exact quote 🙂 ). If I were to go to my church pulpit and announce that I’m a sex addict to the congregation, what would my intention be? To shock? To cause fear? To get pitty or praise or recognition? To be honest?

      I don’t know the answer but I do know this: if and when I’m willing, God has opened up doors where I’ve been able to share my experience with friends in a non-threatening and real way and it’s only made our friendship more connected, at least from my perspective. Now my closest friends really know who I am and we’re still friends.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences T. I really value your friendship and fellowship. We’re in this fight together and it feels good to be here.

  5. I think that too many people see a label such as “Addict” as an excuse to continue a behavior, because “addict” to them means that it is something that someone will never be able to control or manage. Through SAL I have discovered that I don’t have power to control or manage –on my own–. I need transparency, to reach and get out of my isolation, work steps and trust in the direction and grace of my Savior.

    Instead of giving an excuse to continue to act out because I’m an “addict”, I feel that acceptance of this label has opened me to self-discovery, networks and resources that I was previously unaware of. These have provided me accountability and action steps that have allowed me more power to grow and progress in life than ever before.

    I am discovering the same kind of encouraging resources as I am discovering that I have ADHD. Instead of feeling shame about it, I am realizing that this explains so many things that I have struggled with throughout my life, which have contributed to a sense of inadequacy and frequently sent me into an addiction spiral.

    With the recognition that this is a diagnosed condition, I have discovered that there is a community of individuals who have similar challenges and who have found many solutions to live productive and happy lives. This is also a key to helping me in really being able to work my sex addiction recovery, instead of being overwhelmed with how to work it effectively.

    1. I agree Jordan. Your comment and @T.W.’s comment really coincide to me: an ecclesiastical leader who thinks that the “label of addict” only encourages the addiction to continue is naive and misinformed based on what I’ve been through.

      If I’m not willing to admit I’m lost, I’ll probably never be found.

      Discovering unmanageability is what Step 1 is all about, and, unfortunately, what some in the culture I’ve been raised in aren’t willing to admit.

      The comparison of addiction and ADHD seems really relatable too. We don’t have to feel shame; we just have to call it what it is and get the right tools in place to work on the problem with the help our our Higher Power and others who have been there and know what we’re going through.

      Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Why beat around the bush about this, the bottom line is the majority of us here are LDS, and we members of the church do not like to be thought of by ourselves, or by others, as addicts. I think this is especially true for sexual addiction, because it makes us feel like we are perverts, but the bottom line is – we are perverted, sucks to admit, but we are what we are. I know the majority of us addicts will reject this reality and keep running away from the issue at hand, but I know that in my case nothing ever changed no matter how fast I ran.

    All these points have been great that have been made, and my only other thought is if someone has treatable cancer, and refuses to get treatment because they either don’t want to come to terms with the fact that they have an illness that is killing them, or they think they can will it away on their own, ultimately they are going to die. From this perspective it seems totally insane and even asinine to not get help, but this is really where we are at as addicts who don’t want to get help.

    My addiction has almost destroyed me, my family, my spouse… I’m no different than a cancer patient who needs help, and therefore I need to go to the correct places to get help, namely my higher power.

    1. Great analogy with addiction and cancer. Addiction is a powerful illness just like cancer. For me, I didn’t ASK to become addicted. Until I was about 25 or 26 years old, I’d never even considered my “little problem” of looking at porn, masturbation, and objectification as an addiction at all.

      Then I started going to a program put on by my church where the word addiction was brought into the light.

      THIS WAS THE ANSWER!

      Did it make me act out more? NO!

      Did I justify my behavior because I was an addict? NO!

      But, unfortunately, the program only addressed the outer issues, not the inner causes of the issues (negative emotions > lust > THEN acting out).

      SAL groups and additional study about what addiction really is has helped me see more clearly how life-threatening this “little problem” really is. Just like cancer, if I don’t work my recovery one day at a time, the cancer will come right back and ultimately destroy everything in its path.

      Thanks for the great comparison that helps me see more clearly.

      1. So true! If coddling the addict by not saying hurtful things like ‘addict’ or ‘sex addict’ was the way for us to not be addicts anymore, then I think we would have a world virtually devoid of any type of addict. Unfortunately, I think that is just enabling behavior.

  7. It’s definitely an addiction and I have no problem with it. It reminds me of what I’ve become and the seriousness and challenge ahead of overcoming it. Only through that admission and reliance on God can I ever be free.

  8. I am wading into the comments a little late on this one, but I am actually going to disagree with Donald Hilton here:

    “We should call it what it is. Curiously, because we don’t like to ‘label’ people, we tend to downgrade what is actually an addiction into something we think less offensive – particularly with youth – as if a label can alter their status. We don’t mince ‘labels’ with a 16-year-old heroin addict, and we do so with a 16-year-old pornography addict at their peril.”

    I don’t believe we should be calling youthful exposure to pornography addiction. Addiction is defined in part by ASAM as “A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry” – something that I am sure most of us can agree with.

    However, for something to be chronic and for the brain to build the memory and related circuitry to change, this takes time and repeated use. I don’t know how much repeated use it requires, but it’s more than once or twice.

    So I don’t like calling anyone under 18 an addict, because I don’t know if a youth has enough repeated usage of pornography to call it an addiction.

    If any time a youth views something that their parents or leaders would define as pornography (such as an SI Swimsuit edition or an R-rated movie clip on YouTube), they are then subjected to going through a 12-step program, then this causes more harm then good. I would rather err on the side of not ever labeling youth with the term Sex Addict or Porn Addict, rather than risk mislabeling them and causing undue shame, guilt, and confusion about their own sexuality.

    On the other hand, I totally believe that the key underlying principles that have helped me recover from addiction, namely honesty, accountability, surrender, connection with God, etc. are great principles and can and should be applied to youth struggling with any form of acting out.

    I know it’s controversial to disagree on this subject, but I do and do so adamantly.

  9. A fairly well respected medical professional said that masterbation is a normal bodily function, like breathing, and if done in private is normal. Its that philosophy of the world that leads many to assert pornography and its obvious outcome mentioned above is not an addiction, and that biological urges are normal and when managed, or in other words not done in public, should not be discouraged. Those who discourage it are causing guilt and shame, an unhealthy emotion. What is your best response to this kind of thinking?

    1. The White Book of Sexaholics Anonymous probably has some of the most direct answers to these questions and ideas. (p. 47-48, 52, 55, 191-193, 203 are a few to start with)

  10. Masturbation is simply “sex with oneself “, disordered because it is selfish and idolatrous. Pornography is an accelerant, idolatrous as well and further distorts ones ability to relate with others and form healthy relationships. On labeling, as a being created in the image and likeness of God, I was good from the womb, redeemed at my Baptism, but become immersed in sin by way of my own will at age 12, never actively “fathered”, and so became a porn/sex addict. Will I ever return to my “pure” state? No. Will I ever be morally clean?Yes, by Gods grace and a will to receive it, in accountability and practiced healthy habits, including 12 steps.

  11. I find that calling my problem a sex addiction rather than anything else, like a “pornography addiction” or a “little problem” has been an important part of my recovery. It woke me up to practices that before I had considered “little sins” but now I saw were elements of a destructive, progressive and fatal disease. Specifically, grind dancing and dry humping. These behaviors were killing me spiritually—not only me but also my victims.
    Thanks for letting me share. I love this website.

  12. Hey Jason, I think that’s a great awareness on your part about those specific behaviors that lead us off the road of moral purity/integrity. Especially if we man up and enforce a boundary of our own volition. That means we are “becoming” and not just being. So we do things and don’t do other things. Sex Addiction is a disordered state; we have a “hole in our soul” and we medicate with sex/porn/masturbation to plug it up. It’s only a patch however, so until we find those practices, attitudes, behaviors, and mindsets to mend and heal that soul problem, we will continue to suffer. 12 step groups, accountability, journaling, prayer, self-care, building bridges have helped me. But I was about 40 years in addiction before I began digging myself out of it. Been in sobriety/recovery for going on 2 years, praise God!

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