ID-100144767As early as 2006, a ChristiaNet poll revealed that as many as 50% of Christian men are addicted to pornography. Could your husband be one of them?

Clearly, not all inappropriate sexual behaviors are indicative of sexual addiction. Having an affair or occasionally viewing pornography does not automatically classify someone as a sex addict. Even though all non-marital sexual activity is outside of God’s will, and qualifies as sexual sin, it is not necessarily an addiction.

Most addiction specialists agree that there are four universally accepted indicators that must be present for a substance or behavior to be considered addictive. This criteria requires that the problem be compulsive, obsessive, persistent and escalating.

1. COMPULSIVE  – Has your husband made promises about stopping certain sexual behaviors that he is consistently unable to keep?  Romans 7:21-23 talks about desiring one thing but being compelled to do another. Addiction robs people of their ability to make choices about their behaviors and drives them to do the very thing they vowed not to do.

2. OBSESSIVE  – Does your husband seem increasingly distracted and less interested in the things he used to enjoy doing?  As an addiction gains control, the addict becomes more and more preoccupied with their addictive behaviors. They frequently begin to ignore work, family, hobbies, and other ares of their life and start focusing more undividedly on the hows and whens and rituals of of their addictive cycle.

3. PERSISTENT  – Does your husband continue to participate in risky sexual behavior even though he is well aware that serious consequences are a very real possibility if he gets caught?   Addiction is unique in that it destroys the whole person. Every aspect of their being—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social—is ultimately affected. The single, most undeniable sign that a person is struggling with a true addiction, however, is their inability to stop their problematic behaviors for any length of time, even, when they are facing extremely dire consequences because of them.

4. ESCALATING  – Do you have a sense that your husband is “moving up” to more frequent or more dangerous behaviors?   Addictive behavior is also governed by the rule of diminishing returns. This means that as time goes by it takes more and more of the behavior to get the same “high” or feeling of relief. When something becomes too familiar it no longer activates their “feel good” hormones and they have to seek out something riskier or more intense to achieve the same effect.

If these indicators are present in relation to your husband’s sexual behavior, it is highly likely that he is struggling with sexual addiction. Many wives are shocked to discover that their spouse has been leading a secret life “under their nose” for years. His shame and the subconscious belief that his addiction is what helps him survive, have significantly honed his ability to hide his behavior from even his closest family and friends.

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