“Sexual addiction” is a common term today, but there is a great deal of debate about the accuracy of the term. Here we will talk about sexual compulsions to describe a very real problem that can be extremely destructive, both to the individual and to the marriage partner.
Those with sexual compulsions try to use sex to fill non-sexual needs. Sex becomes not an expression of love in a mature relationship, but rather a compulsive (and often highly ritualized) response to the emotional stresses of life.
The expressions of sexual compulsion are many – habitual masturbation, pornography, telephone or cyber-sex, prostitution, strip shows, even voyeurism and rape. The beginnings of most of these are formed long before adulthood, and carried into marriage. This is helpful for the spouse to understand, both for their peace of mind and in understanding their spouse’s unique problem.
In identifying sexual compulsion, it is helpful to know that a healthy male between the ages of 20 and 55 can desire to have sex daily (see – Physiology of the Male Sex Drive). One test that we recommend is for the spouse to offer legitimate healthy sex to their partner on a daily basis. If the partner is not satisfied with this level of sexual activity, or if they still choose other non-healthy forms of sexual release, it is probable that there is a sexual compulsion.
We firmly believe that, in Christ, healing is possible. The road to recovery is challenging, but there is help. There are now many individuals and ministries that understand the unique and difficult struggle of those bound by sexual compulsions (we have listed a few online ministries at the end of the article).
We also highly recommend becoming part of a Christian accountability group. Many leaders in these groups have been through these things themselves and have good experience and advice to share. They are also aware of the pitfalls of rationalizing, minimizing or even outright denying destructive behaviors and their consequences. We recommend Christian accountability groups for the helpful balance between spiritual warfare and personal responsibility and accountability.
Covenant Eyes is an internet accountability tool.
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