Any addiction’s primary goal is to alleviate emotional anguish, such as the misery of feeling unlovable or the fear of being rejected, or feeling self-loathing. This escape is offered by sexual addiction, which leads to sinful sexual behavior that finally spirals out of control and has devastating repercussions. Just like other addictions, immoral sexual behavior is merely a symptom of the issue. It is not the causal problem, but that does not mean it is not a problem in and of itself.

Many think getting help only requires confessing and stopping one’s sexual misbehavior. This is true, but if the causes of the sinful behavior are not addressed, attempting to stop it will be like trying to save a sinking ship with a thimble. Even if you try your hardest to bail out, the boat will eventually sink.

What is the fundamental problem?

Any addiction’s leading underlying cause is a damaged relationship with God and a loss of intimacy and security in a loving relationship. Someone raised in a home devoid of loving, caring, and connection will not know how to establish meaningful connections with God, themselves, and others.

Most sex addicts lack the skills necessary for emotional or spiritual intimacy and mistakenly think having sex will give them the intimacy they desire. Addicts rush to fill this immense inner void left by this lack, even if they know it will only provide brief solace because it can sometimes become so intolerable. They replenish the gap with more of their band-aid after the “fix” wears off. They quickly discover that to achieve the same alleviation, they require more and more of their “solution.”

A desire for more

This constant want for more is a fundamental aspect of addiction. The desire for a quick fix is so strong that it may swiftly and sneakily take over a person’s life, even for people who have a personal relationship with God. Sex addicts are aware of the “wrongness” of what they are doing, but they are powerless in the face of the deceptive promise of instant satisfaction. Sin and addiction both exhibit this helplessness.

Addiction develops when a person loses control over specific behaviors, denies they have a problem, and makes enormous efforts to control it but is unsuccessful. For instance, a sex offender may swear she won’t make overtures to her husband’s friend, only to start dressing sensually when she knows she’ll be seeing him. Male sex addicts may promise they won’t access online porn, but when they cannot sleep one night, they know that watching a little porn while masturbating will put them to sleep.

What is the driving force?

Although engaging in sexual activity outside marriage is wrong, not all sinful sexual behavior is addiction. The reason underlying sexual behavior is what distinguishes immoral sexual activity from wicked sexual addiction. Is the sexual behavior an attempt to achieve real intimacy or an effort to avoid it? Addiction may gradually set in when a person starts to routinely masturbate to prevent loneliness, reduce stress, or repress anger rather than deal with these emotions. Today, people use masturbation as a means of escape.

Even though one wants to quit, masturbation may become more frequent. They may use pornography to improve the experience, their need for sexual fantasy grows, and they become mentally fixated on masturbating, which eventually has severe effects as the shame and compulsion intensify. As the addiction takes a firmer hold, life starts to spin out of control. The successful, upstanding Christian and the desperate junkie solely interested in getting high through sinful sexual activity start to have parallel lifestyles. The guilt and hatred of oneself are crippling.

The point at which addiction is reached

Infidelity, masturbation, pornography, cybersex, purchasing sex, exhibitionism, obscene phone calls, bestiality, rape, and incest are just a few sinful sexual behaviors that fall under the category of sex addiction. It is significant to remember that not all who exhibits these behaviors is a sex addict. They may not be sex addicts, but there is little doubt that the need for love and the urge for sex have strangely entwined, and rehabilitation is necessary.

Some persons with severe wounds yearn for affection and acceptance and think they can get it through sexual activity. Similar to strong drinkers, not all alcoholics are heavy drinkers. So what factors contribute to sex addiction? When a person engages in compulsive, repetitive, or uncontrollable sexual behavior, it becomes a sinful sexual addiction. When a person likes to stop and believes they can at any time but never actually does so because they can’t stop in their strength, sin crosses the line into addiction.