Sexual addiction

Father David Epps's picture

The October 2009 edition of Healthy Cells magazine featured an interesting article on sexual addiction. Nashville resident David Kyle Foster, a minister of my acquaintance who deals with a plethora of “sexual brokenness issues,” has stated that, on any given Sunday, seated in a 16-person pew are 12 people who are having issues with some form of sexual dysfunction or brokenness.

The problem, he shared, is that, while the church believes itself to be a good place to deal with sin, very few people or churches are comfortable or prepared to talk about sexual issues.

In any event, sexual addition is real and is a problem, especially with men, in and out of the church. Signs of sexual addiction may include: a preoccupation with sexual behavior, the need to increase the intensity or frequency of sexual behavior, inability to maintain romantic relationships, paying for sex — but probably the most common manifestation is an addiction to Internet pornography. In one survey, 90 percent of Christian men stated they struggle in this area.

The author of the magazine article, Tonya Camacho, notes that sexual addiction, especially pornography, can be as devastating to a marriage as having affairs. Intimacy with the marriage partner is lost and someone suffering from sexual addition objectifies his or her partner, making the partner into an object. There is no intimacy, Camacho says, when one person is seen to be an object.

It is likely that the spouse of the one sexually addicted will need healing as well. “Because of the nature of this addiction, it has caused pain and damage in a relationship that is incomparable to any other addiction,” according to Camacho.

She says that, “The partner needs to understand that this addiction is not their fault ...” and that, “As part of the disease, the addict may blame their partner for their behaviors.”

Camacho, states that “sexual addition is “not something to be ashamed of” and treats sexual addition, and all addictions, as a disease.

Here I disagree to a point, even though I have some training in addiction and am a supporter of Twelve Step Programs. Sexual addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, nicotine addiction, and all addictions have their start in behavior.

Except in rare instances, somewhere, someone made a choice followed by a series of other choices and, while the condition may be now out of control, the condition is still self-inflicted.

In the Church, we call that “sin.” Addicts need to “own their own stuff” and recognize that repentance, confession, and amendment of life are all part of the healing process.

Part of the difficulty in recovery is that sexual addiction is not normally met with the same level of understanding as is tobacco, alcohol, or drug addiction. In those cases, even in the church, friends and families often rally in support, pray for, stand with, and encourage the person who is a recovering addict.

Camacho says that, “Most people tend to correlate the “sex addict’ with ‘child molester, rapist, sexual predator.’” The truth is, however, that the “majority of sexual addicts are homemakers, businessmen, and grandparents.”

There is hope, Camacho says, and recovery is possible. The condition is treatable. A helpful place to start may be the very source for most of the problems — the Internet.

Christian addicts and spouses might start the process by logging on to:

There are other sources, including Sex Addicts Anonymous at

As the old proverb says, “You can, indeed, eat an elephant — one bite at a time.” Recovery and healing have to begin with the first step.

[David Epps is the priest and pastor of The Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. He is also the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese ( and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Mission in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at]

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Submitted by Bonkers on Sun, 10/25/2009 - 5:53am.

Christian addicts. Christian perverts. Christian thieves. Christian extortionists. Christian AIG Bankers. Christian child abusing Fathers, Priests, Parsons.

Yes, maybe before and maybe after the illegalities, but during---no.

Of course all these people can and will be forgiven if they ask, but my gripe is when they are advertised as Christian-"this and that."

Isn't it like saying Jewish business man--watch out; or, Muslim with a bulging stomach pack; or a Pentecostal pervert!

I saw a "Christian" painting the other day with Jesus holding the USA Constitution while standing in front of American only regular heroes.

Submitted by allegedteacher on Sun, 10/25/2009 - 8:30am.

So, let's see if I can get this straight. Christians are only christians when they are NOT sinning; so what happens to their eternal souls when they're in the act? And, to follow the christian myth further, if they die during the forbidden act, where does that soul go for eternity? I do concur with you, Bonkers, though, that describing those evildoers by their religious affiliations is irrelevant (is that what you were saying?). 'F course, the writer is a religious leader, and he addresses religious people, and he needs fodder for his column.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Sun, 10/25/2009 - 9:02pm.

If one is a Christian and beholden to a sinful and addictive lifestyle, doesn't it make sense to have a treatment that also incorporates the Christianity? a secular therapist would most likely not approach treatment from that direction. Is there any subject about which "Father Epps" could write for your approbation that isn't just "fodder"?

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Sun, 10/25/2009 - 8:30pm.

Bonkers, A-Teacher...the fundies will bite anyone's neck, but they tend to swarm when someone's already bleeding.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sun, 10/25/2009 - 11:16am.

You caught my meaning pretty close, yes.

It is the hypocritical part that bothers me the most----being "unchristian" over and over when convenient. Meaning that they will do what they please but will continue to try when it is convenient, just to be safe.

Of course the good pastor won't agree with my interpretation. It has somewhat destroyed a good portion of organized religion however.

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