Sexual Addiction A Silent Epidemic
Over seventeen years ago, my husband revealed his secret sexual life. In what felt like an instant, my life went from the mundane to the unimaginable. I still remember how I felt as my husband confessed years of betrayal. I was sitting, looking down, and I saw my legs shaking. It was an out-of-body moment. The entire landscape of my life changed as if a huge explosion had just been detonated. It took three days for all of the information to come out, and I was pretty sure my marriage was over.
As a Christian, I knew I had Biblical grounds for divorce because my husband had gone outside of our marriage. I also knew to wait until I heard from the Lord. So, I prayed He would confirm that divorce was my out. When that small still voice whispered, it was not what I expected. He said, “I’m not asking you to be hurt over and over, but I am asking you to wait.” This was not a thought my wounded heart would have concocted, so I knew it was the Lord. Out of obedience, I waited, poised and ready to run at the first sign of trouble.
Versions of this scenario are being played out all over the world, yet there are few conversations, no #metoo movement. There is very little awareness or even discussion even though 1 out of 3 men self-report that they are addicted to pornography while 55% of Christian pastors admitted to visiting a pornographic site. (1) I could not find any numbers for women, but the number of women who struggle with sex or love addiction is on the rise for the same reason the numbers for men are going up.
The culture has all but removed the stigma or shame associated with porn use. On the contrary the message among young men is, “you are not normal if you don’t look at porn.” Our girls are told, “your value is based on your attractiveness and sexuality.” Add to that message, the availability of sexually graphic material on most TVs, computers, hand held electronics and phones, and today’s youth don’t have much of a chance to stand against the cultural tidal wave. A few parents and churches are trying to put a bubble around their kids with some controls, but few are communicating a clear and life changing message.
Ironically, intrinsic shame keeps everyone who is addicted in hiding. They believe they are the only one who is struggling, and this lie keeps them from reaching out for help or support. Addiction changes a person’s view of sex, themselves, others, and God. It’s time to blow the lid off of this silent epidemic—this killer of relationships, joy, and abundant life.
It’s time to begin the conversations, foster and celebrate transparency from those who have struggled and won. Let’s share the tools that work and remove the shame that keeps people from reaching out for help. It’s also time to share a new message with our youth. One that celebrates the plan God created and why it works. We have the truth on our side, five strong reasons to wait for marriage before having sexual relations.
5 Strong Reasons to Wait for Marriage Before Having Sexual Relations
- A closed system is a healthy system. A closed system between a husband and wife is a healthy system. Zero risk of STIs (sexual transmitted infections) if you each have one partner. Many STIs have no cure and cause lasting side effects including sterility (mostly in women) and death.
- Less chance of emotional damage. By not giving your heart away before it’s mature enough to understand the investment necessary to maintain a committed relationship, young hearts are protected. Gender confusion is adding to poor choices and the result is a growing number of suicides. According to surveys, 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population has self-reported a suicide attempt, with that number climbing to between 10 and 20 percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual respondents. By comparison, 41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.(2)
- Avoid the ghosts of relationships past. The joy of being known and knowing only one person intimately means avoiding the ghosts of relationships past. Growing together and bonding with one partner creates a much stronger bond and better sex for a lifetime. Most major studies show a strong correlation between monogamous marriage and sexual satisfaction. (3)
- Higher chance of suffering from ED at an early age. Men who habitually use porn have a much higher chance of suffering from ED in their late 20’s and 30”s. Too much time in fantasy means they will find it more difficult to be with a real woman in a relationship that takes work. The cover article in the April 11, 2017 issue of Time—titled, “Porn”—sited this growing problem. (4)
- Warped view of sexuality and little or no true intimacy. People whose sexuality is based on fantasy and/or porn have an unrealistic and warped view of what sexuality is and little or no understanding of true intimacy. They rob themselves of a deep and satisfying relationship based on mutual love, trust, and respect. They are more likely to divorce. Leaving a trail of pain in their wake. Porn use doubles the probability of divorce. (5)
Sex is powerful. Let’s be honest about its potency and talk about why God created it that way. Sex has a purpose. It is the glue that bonds a husband and wife and keeps their eyes fastened only on each other. The sexual relationship was intended to insure future generations and give pleasure to the most precious kindred relationship on earth. Like drugs or any other controlled substance, it’s important to have boundaries and guidelines to keep from abusing its power or distorting its purpose.
After having spent over fifteen years working on my marriage and helping other women heal from the devastation of betrayal, I realize my husband and I are the minority. After 35 years of marriage, we finally operate as a team with Jesus Christ leading us together. My husband has been committed to work on his issues, while I have learned to set boundaries and cultivate a healthy hope. It has been a lot of hard work, but we are better for it.
Sadly, much of the pain could have been avoided if we had someone to point us in the right direction, speak truth to us, or give us some much-needed tools. What brought my husband to confess? It was a friend who took the risk to be transparent and confess his own struggle. Thank God for his bravery.
Now, my husband and I are trying to pay it forward. We are speaking out about this growing epidemic. We are sometimes treated as lepers. Because when we speak up, it makes many who are still struggling feel uncomfortable. Yet our eyes are on the Lord, and every time we see someone reach out for Christ, experience healing, and get help . . . it’s a victory! I pray more people will begin to speak out. The future of the church, marriages, families, and individuals are at stake. Are you brave enough to join us in the conversation?
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