The Bible doesn’t directly address sex addiction for Christians. It doesn’t specifically say anything about the addiction by name. But the Bible says God wants people to be happy and fulfilled in their relationships with others (1 Peter 1:7). It also says people should live in a way that doesn’t bring harm to themselves or others (Romans 14:19). Both passages suggest that sex addiction is wrong for Christians and something they should seek to heal and recover from.
How Sex Addiction Starts
Sex addiction is the compulsive need to have sex or sexual pleasure at any cost, at any time, regardless of consequences. It includes behaviors like infidelity and engaging in high-risk sexual behaviors. People often recognize they have a sex addiction when they attempt to stop these behaviors but can’t.
“Sex addiction comes from a need to regulate an unregulated nervous system, which probably results from a traumatic experience when they were young,” said Matt Wenger, Clinical Director at Boulder Recovery.
Sex addiction can start with unresolved trauma, including sexual trauma or childhood sexual abuse. The person affected by this trauma may use sex to deal with the pain from their past.
If a person does not receive treatment for their trauma, they may develop an intimacy disorder or other mental health issues. These issues can make it difficult for them to form healthy relationships with others.
Boulder Recovery attempts to help men understand the root cause of their sex addiction so they can begin to heal.
“We help people understand why they act the way they act — where that behavior originates. It helps them get in touch with the wounds and the trauma that precipitated the addiction. We identify and treat core traumatic wounds that are most closely tied to their behaviors,” Matt said
Overcoming Sex Addiction for Christians
It can be difficult to admit that you might have a problem with sex. It may be even more challenging if you’re a Christian because of misconceptions surrounding addiction. For example, Christians may pray for their addictions to just end when they need help from a mental health professional to heal.
Sex addiction is a real disorder, and it’s not something to be overcome by just saying “no” or praying harder. Even though sex addiction affects Christians and people of other faiths and beliefs, there is hope for recovery if you’re committed to getting better.
“The outcomes depend on what you want when you come in,” Matt said of treatment. “You’re going to get out of it exactly what you want at your core to get out of it. If you want to go deep and discover new places in yourself, who you are, and your future… that’s what you’ll get out of it.”
Treatment for sex addiction for Christians helps men restore their faith, uncover the root cause of their addiction, heal from that trauma, and change their behaviors.
“We identify the root traumas and teach tools and skills that you can couple with that to make better decisions instead of just looking at symptoms,” Matt stated. “You have a neurological problem; you don’t have a character flaw. Your brain is sick. This helps us get closer to the why.”
Steps on Your Path to Recovery
Recovering from sex addiction is challenging. It requires help, support, and hard work. It also requires you to admit you have a problem and commit to changing.
Steps to addiction recovery include:
- Seeking Treatment. Sex addiction is a symptom of a deeper issue and is unlikely to go away on it’s own. It’s important to address the underlying cause with help from a mental health professional.
- Finding a Support System. One of the most important things you can do as you overcome sex addiction is to find a support system. This support can be friends or family members, your church community, or a support group. Having people to talk to about your addiction will help you keep track of your progress and ensure you’re not giving in to temptation.
- Setting Goals to Maintain Sobriety. Set realistic goals. Select your priorities and aim to dedicate more time to them. Use your support system to hold you accountable.
- Establishing Clear Boundaries. Decide what your boundaries will be and how you will enforce them. Review your values and goals as a Christian, and list things that are off-limits or essential for your recovery.
Is Sex Addiction a Reason for Christians to Divorce?
Whether sex addiction results in divorce is an issue for the couple to decide together. Some marriages challenged by addiction end in divorce. Others don’t.
For a partner, sex addiction can lead to betrayal trauma. This trauma is when a person significantly violates another’s trust or well-being. As the person heals from sex addiction, their partner has to be willing to focus on healing from betrayal.
Healing from betrayal trauma requires:
- Acknowledging the Betrayal. Both partners must recognize that the issue exists and how it’s affecting them individually and within their relationship.
- Prioritizing Yourself. While each partner is healing, they must prioritize their recovery. Neither partner can give fully to the other without healing first.
- Practicing Forgiveness. A marriage can’t heal after a sex addiction without forgiveness. A partner has to be able to forgive their spouse for the marriage to have a future.
Women should put their healing first before reconciling or fixing their marriages, Matt said.
“They have to give themselves time to heal from the shock of their partner’s infidelity,” Matt said. “We want to see marriages healed, but this can happen only when the addict takes concrete steps toward sobriety and betrayed partners begin their journey of healing.”
Seeking Help at Boulder Recovery
Sex addiction can shatter lives and relationships. It challenges Christians’ faith in God and belief in themselves as good, faithful people.
Boulder Recovery’s mission is simple: to help people recover from their addictions and live healthier lives. Our therapists know how important it is for each person to find their path toward recovery.
Contact us to learn more and start restoring your faith, life, and relationships.