It’s challenging for many people to sync ideas of sexuality and Christianity. It’s especially difficult when you experience sexual behavior that you can’t control and that causes you shame. But you can be a sex addict and Christian. God’s love isn’t conditional. No matter the issue, He forgives and wants you to heal.
Understanding Sex Addiction
Understanding sex addiction and how it happens can help you better understand how you can be a sex addict and Christian. The truth is that addiction, including sex addiction, can happen to anyone.
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is uncontrollable sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors. It causes severe emotional distress and negatively affects a person’s life. As a result, they may try to stop the behavior independently but find they can’t.
Causes of Sex Addiction
Unresolved trauma often is the root cause of sex addiction. When you experience a traumatic event, it can cause your brain to go into survival mode. The body’s primary goal after experiencing a traumatic event is to prevent it from happening again.
The brain tries to avoid situations that trigger trauma and works to cope with adverse emotions resulting from the trauma. To cope with those negative emotions, you look for something that makes you feel good.
When you use sexual behaviors to deal with negative emotions, your brain begins to link feeling better or coping with sex. Before you realize it, you’re addicted and can’t stop.
Effects of Sex Addiction
When a person has a sex addiction, they can no longer control their sexual behaviors. They are preoccupied with sexual thoughts or fantasies. They spend a lot of time focusing on or planning their next sexual encounter. They may even put themselves in dangerous situations to get sexual gratification.
There are many adverse effects of sex addiction. These consequences are emotional, physical, and relational. Sex addiction can lead to problems in personal relationships, at work, and even legal troubles. It can cause people to experience shame and guilt about their actions. It can also lead to other mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Sex addiction also may cause risky sexual behavior like unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Identifying Sex Addiction
Specific signs of sex addiction can help you recognize it. The first and most obvious sign is an increase in the frequency of sexual activity, which may include frequent masturbation or pornography use. This activity often is hidden.
A person with sex addiction begins to focus most of the time, thoughts, and energy on the addiction. That means they stop spending time on other activities, like socializing or even work.
Another sign is a change in behavior that causes problems in relationships. For example, if someone who previously had no difficulty maintaining healthy relationships suddenly starts cheating on their partner or behaving secretively, this could indicate that they are addicted to sex.
Other signs include frequent lying about sexual activities or clearly hiding something.
Sex Addiction as a Christian
Sex addiction and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. You can be a sex addict and a Christian, according to T. C. Ryan, author of “Ashamed No More: A Pastor’s Journey Through Sex Addiction” and pastoral consultant at Boulder Recovery.
“Being a spiritual person doesn’t remove the issues we all struggle with,” he said. “And having an addiction doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of Christ’s love. It’s a moral failing, which everyone is guilty of.”
To heal from sex addiction, the person with the addiction must recognize and admit the problem, then seek help. T.C. believes that help can come from within the Church. He said the Church needs to work to understand addiction better and support those in need.
“We must learn to heal together and help one another,” T.C. stated. “We have to do it together. Nobody should be alone.”
T.C. said, “The Bible speaks to this. Galatians 6:2 calls for people to ‘Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.'”
The Importance of Support
When you have a sex addiction, you may find it difficult to grasp the idea of recovery. But recovery is possible, and you can heal yourself and strengthen your faith simultaneously. But, as T.C. said, you can’t do it alone.
Support is important for various reasons, including:
- Identify and Heal. Support helps you identify what needs healing and then figure out how to heal it. Seeking professional mental health support will help you discover the root cause of your addiction and heal from that trauma. Then you can focus on changing behaviors.
- Improve Daily Life. Support means having someone there when times get tough. Your support network will help you deal with the challenges of recovery.
- Repair Relationships. Addiction damages relationships. Seeking out support enables you to repair those relationships by showing others that you understand how your behavior impacted them and how you’re working to recover.
Help From Boulder Recovery
You can be a sex addict and Christian. You also owe it to yourself to heal and live the authentic, Christ-centered life you’re capable of living. Boulder Recovery’s 14-day Christian Men’s Intensive can help you focus on your faith while jumpstarting your recovery. Contact us to learn more and start your healing journey.