Sexual Addiction Questions from a Christian Point of View
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Earlier this year, Living Life Counseling had the privilege of answering several Sexual Addiction Questions at NorthRidge Church, in Plymouth, MI. Senior Pastor, Brad Powell, asked Living Life’s, Gregg Natkowski, several questions related to the struggles associated with internet pornography and addiction. Highlights of this sexual addiction questions and answers session are provided below.
Sexual Addiction Questions and Answers
Question (BP): You have decided over the course of your career to specialize in actually helping people work through the sexual addiction consequences and the dangers of that – especially men. How did you get into this field?The first one is being sexually preoccupied with fantasies.
Answer (GN): I saw a lot of men coming to me with this issue and at the time I didn’t quite know how to treat that type of addiction. I decided to study with Dr. Patrick Carnes, who is the leading expert and pioneer in the field of sexual addiction, back in 1990.
Question (BP): What is Sexual Addiction in simple terms?
Answer (GN): There are four basic criteria for sexual addiction.
The second one is progressive in nature where you need more and more to receive the same desired effect.
The third one is having withdrawal symptoms, like depression, anxiety, and anger when you’re not using pornography or sex.
And the last one is not fearing consequences, because when you’re using pornography, you’re in an altered state of mind, just - as if you’re drunk on alcohol, so you’re not thinking clearly before and during. It’s only afterward that you see the repercussions of your behavior.
Question (BP): Would you say that anyone who views pornography somewhat habitually or practices sexual immorality, expresses themselves sexually outside of marriage, and those kinds of things regularly, would automatically be a sex addict?
Answer (GN): No. I’ve treated men before with moral lapses as well as long-term bad habits. But equally, they feel as much shame and guilt as somebody who acts out addictively.
Question (BP): Would you say that women can be as impacted by sexual immorality and lust as men?
Answer (GN): The research indicates that 20% of the American public goes to sexual websites. 30% of that number are women.
Question (BP): So, one third of the people who are involved in sexual pornography are actually women. So, this is not a men exclusive issue. And women as well can become … sexually addicted or express themselves in sexual patterns that are self-destructive. Correct?
Answer (GN): That is correct.
Question (BP): I said at the beginning of this talk that God says that sexual immorality is both wrong and dangerous. And a lot of times people say, Come on. Dangerous. I mean, it’s a normal thing as long as you’re consenting and not hurting anyone. What’s the big deal? From your practice, from your experience with people’s lives, would you agree that it’s not dangerous? Or would you say it is dangerous?
Answer (GN): It’s extremely dangerous. I’ve seen men come to me broken, feeling suicidal. I’ve seen men go through divorces because of extra-marital affairs. I’ve seen men lose their jobs because they went to sexual porn sites at work and got fired and therefore having a financial problem on top of that because they’re not working. I’ve also seen men who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, and then they have to go home and tell their wives.
Question (BP): Many of us have been tempted in the area of sex, but is it hopeless once we get locked in these patterns of sexual immorality, or is there the potential to break that pattern, whether addiction or otherwise, and move into a place where we experience true sexual intimacy and joy as God designed it? Is that possible?
Answer (GN): Yes. And most men, when they first seek counseling, will say it’s impossible. I’ve been doing this too long.” But I ask them, Do you feel powerless over your sexual addiction? Is it making your life unmanageable? Do you believe that Jesus can restore you to sanity? If they say Yes to those three questions, they’re half way to being healed, because then they need to plug into the body of Christ, such as the groups you have at NorthRidge, where they can talk about the shame, break the isolation – which actually fuels the addiction. By them doing this, they are able to then start healing.
Question (BP):That’s awesome. So there is hope after this. This is a big issue, it is dangerous, but there is hope. Right?
Answer (GN): Amen.
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