Friday, May 2, 2014

Understanding Sexual Addiction

I wrote my last essay for English on a topic that can be really hard for people to talk about. I wanted to share it with all of you because these things are real. I've seen them affect families and change people's lives forever.
I'm not quite sure why I'm so NERVOUS to post this. It actually isn't because I am uncomfortable talking about this because I'm not. I guess I just hope that you'll read what I've written with an open heart and decide what this means in your life; for yourself, for your children, and for your homes.

Understanding Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction is a problem in society that has become more rampant with the start of the internet in the 1990’s.  Due to the amount of pornographic images on the internet that are so easily accessible, more and more men and women are finding themselves addicted to pornography. There was a reported 1.3 million pornographic websites in 2003, 13,588 hardcore pornographic titles released in 2005, and there are more than 20,000 images of child pornography posted online every week. It is also estimated that over 70% of men from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month.( Sexual addiction is defined as “a compulsive pattern of sexual behavior that arises from distorted thinking; sexual behavior that interferes with personal relationships, work, or other responsibilities; and often sex with multiple partners who are seen as objects to be used rather than people.”(Davidson)
It seems that most people either wholeheartedly believe in the diagnosis of sexual addiction or they want to disprove it. Because sexual addiction is a fairly recent diagnosis that still has some researchers questioning it’s title, it is difficult to bring awareness to this topic that is so detrimental to our society and yet, awareness is the key in helping to fight the pornography industry. Marriages are being torn apart by sexual addiction due to the nature of this addiction and what it does to relationships. Betrayal trauma for the wives and husbands of sex addicts can cause lifelong trust and self-worth issues. In 2 out of 3 failed marriages, the internet was a key factor and 47% percent of families said pornography is a problem in their home.(
            The topic of sexual addiction can be extremely uncomfortable. A lot of us were taught from a very young age that intimacy should be a private thing between two consenting partners and this often creates the illusion that any and all sexual talk is off limits or uncomfortable. In and outside of religion, these topics can create discomfort for one or both parties involved and often times, it just seems easier to dust the problems under the rug. This idea creates a really big problem when it comes to the awareness and help for sexual addicts. A person who views pornography and becomes addicted can become immune to pornographic images and seek out other ways to satisfy their sexual misbehavior in numerous cases. An addiction to pornography creates a virtual depiction of something that cannot be recreated in real life and therefore undermines a physical relationship with an actual human being. Relationship problems are usually at the top of the list when it comes to this issue but other problems can arise that can be extremely harmful to the sex addict and/or other individuals. Many sexual addicts seek out prostitutes or other forms of illegal things to satisfy their addictive craving.
            The average age a person is first introduced to pornography is approximately 11 years old and 9 out of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have been exposed to pornography on the internet.( Because of the nature of a child, often times children who view pornography are likely to have a difficult time forming relationships with other people in their lives. The escape to the pornographic world on the internet can seem safe and very exciting but it causes so much harm to the brains of young children. "Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions."( Also detrimental to the ages of children first being exposed to pornography are the dangers listed above. Children are likely to want more and more excitement from their addiction and may turn to illegal forms of sexual encounters to provide what they think they are missing out on.
            The significance of sexual addiction in our world today revolves around multiple topics including the divorce rate, child molestation, rape, and even incest. A person looking from the outside may wonder why someone would ever think of doing something so horrible to a child or another person but the addict makes their behavior justified because their brain isn’t sending the right signals for them to process their choice well enough before they act impulsively and make a choice they could regret for the rest of their life. Risk-taking is something that so often goes hand in hand with addiction because of the person’s inability to see the consequences laid out for the choices they are about to make. “Risk-taking is the act of engaging in a behavior that entails some probability of negative consequences, such as physical injury, social rejection, legal trouble, or financial loss.”(Boyer and Byrnes)
            Sexual addiction has been prevalent in our society for numerous years but the internet has caused this addiction to become harmful in many lives. Back before the internet was available, a sex addict was more likely to have multiple affairs and would have to seek outside of the home to cause harm to the marriage but the internet has made it so that marriages, families, and the individual can be harmed in the comfort of their own homes. With the rate of children viewing pornography growing, it is imperative that we keep this topic open for discussion with our children, with our parents, and in our schools and homes. Pornography and sexual addiction are very serious and should be talked about the same way we would talk to a teenager who was abusing alcohol or drugs. Sexual addiction tears families apart and ruins lives. It is a problem in over 70% of people’s lives and it needs more attention in the media and among our individual groups of people. We need to start thinking about the effects it will have on our relationships if we openly talk about this versus the effects it will have on relationships if sexual addiction becomes a problem. We need more awareness and less shame for this addiction because it is real, it is painful, and it is detrimental. “Since the causes of sexual addiction are not clear, there is no definitive form of prevention. Recognizing the problem and getting early treatment for stressors can help prevent behaviors from becoming a full-blown sexual addiction.”(Davidson)

Boyer, T. W., & Byrnes, J. P. (2011). Risk-Taking. In R. J. R. Levesque (Ed.), Encyclopedia of

Adolescence (Vol. 4, pp. 2394-2399). New York: Springer. Retrieved from

Davidson, T. (2012). Sexual Addiction. In K. Key (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental

Health (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 1397-1399). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from

Online Safety for Parents. (n.d.). Free Internet Filtering and Parental Control Software.

Retrieved May 1, 2014, from

You guys, this is SCARY and REAL! Our children need to be taught and we need to take a stand against this awful things happening in our world. Please because I love you, become more aware of what is going on within your own homes and TALK to your children about these things.
And if you have a problem or are the other person in a relationship with this problem and you feel comfortable contacting me for support, feel free to do so. We are fighters and we can FIGHT this new drug.

I've listed some resources to help you if you or someone you love struggles with sex/pornography addiction. Please don't be ashamed and please get help. There is hope and healing available and you can do this! (This list was made by a friend. Although I can't technically credit her for this, I did not pull all of this information together. Thank you, friend!)

Anti-Pornography Resources:
Understanding Pornography’s Effects:
Gary Wilson’s TED Talk “The Great Porn Addiction”  

LDS Addiction Recovery Program
LDS Overcoming Pornography-
LDS Recovery and Healing Resources
Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) 12-Step Program
SA Life Line-
Fight the New Drug-
Rowboat and Marbles-
The Togetherness Project-

Find a Sponsor for the LDS Addiction Recovery Program:

Therapy Programs:
Addo Recovery-

Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction  S.A. LifeLine
Love You, Hate the Porn by Mark Chamberlain and Geoff Steurer
Confronting Pornography by Mark Chamberlain
He Restoreth My Soul by Donald Hilton  
From Heartache to Healing by Colleen and Philip Harrison
Clean Hands, Pure Heart by Philip Harrison
Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tools for Recovery  by Kevin Skinner
Don’t Call It Love and Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes

Blogs and Other Resources:
Strengthening Recovery Through Strengthening Marriage---6 hour CD by Dr.Kevin Skinner and Greg Steurer available at  

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