Christian and a Sex Addict? How Is This Possible?

Posted on January 14th, 2014

Christian sex addict. It seems like an oxymoron. Whether it’s true or not, many of us still hold to the stereotype of Christians as nuns and monks; chaste, pure and more concerned with the spiritual than the carnal.

This stereotype, though perhaps nice in theory, is not only a fallacy, it is harmful. Failing to see Christians as individuals who could be vulnerable to the same sorts of temptations and frailties that face the general population, we fail to hold others accountable and we miss the opportunity to speak Biblical truth into a soul-destroying condition.

Recent years have unmasked the reality that sex addiction is not a condition reserved for the unsaved. It is everywhere. But despite the alarmingly high occurrence of sex addiction in the church, the issue is still seen as an anomaly, the subject is taboo, and those suffering with various shades of sex and porn addiction remain in the shadows.

Misconceptions About Christians and Sin

Part of the issue is the misconception that churchgoers and church leaders are somehow shielded from the problem that affects an estimated 12 million people in the United States. The lack of attention given to the very real problem of sex and porn addiction within the church means that many are hindered from seeking the help they need and fail to receive the very real message of hope in the Gospel.

Christians have also been sinned against. More than three quarters of sex addicts are the victims of sexual abuse. When churches fail to address the subject of sex addiction, they fail to minister to these victims. Their pains and tragedies are ignored because they are uncomfortable and messy, and there are no quick fixes or easy answers.

How Is This Possible?

People are people and all are sinners, therefore we should not expect that Christians would be immune to the same pressures, temptations and weaknesses that plague our society as a whole.

Remember that Jesus said he came to heal the sick. You won’t find too many perfect people in church because Christianity is a religion for people who aren’t perfect, who don’t have it all together and who don’t have much they can be prideful about. The church, then, is expected to be a place of broken, twisted sinners, trying to love each other and love Jesus and get well. We can dress up on Sunday and pretend all we like, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are needy and usually pretty messed up.

The Danger of Silence

The image of perfect Christianity and holier-than-thou Christians hinders the progress of the Gospel and the help that sufferers may receive. In order to really welcome the kind of Gospel transformation that has the power to lift us above our lowest self, we have to be humble and willing to openly confess our sins and our needs. If we think that such a confession will only meet with shame or ostracism, how likely are we to seek the help that could save us?

According to Christianity Today:

Christian counselors and psychologists say the extent of the sex-addiction problem and the scarcity of treatment programs means millions of churchgoing men and women remain stuck in a cycle of sexual addiction, sometimes for decades. Guilt and shame keep them suffering in silence. A church culture that provides few opportunities to address sexual sin inhibits most addicts from telling anyone else. Often the addict doesn’t seek help until a crisis occurs—such as being fired for looking at Internet porn at work.

Help for Sex Addicts

What Christians do have, however, is authentic hope. Christ’s death on the cross conquered sin and death—both in eternity and in the here and now. Freedom is already bought and paid for. This is a message of recovery and personal reformation that an addict can find in no other place. Rather than pretend the problem doesn’t exist so we don’t have to deal with it or face having to look at our own potential sex issues, the church has a duty to help those caught in the bondage of sex addiction know freedom, hope and grace in Christ.

There Is No Solo Recovery From Sex Addiction

God created us for community and that doesn’t mean simply greeting whoever is sitting next to you in the pew on Sunday. It means deep, committed relationships of trust and accountability. Sex addicts cannot recover alone.

If your church is an unsafe place to address your sex addiction, either seek out another church where you can get the help and support you need, or look into Christian parachurch programs or counseling centers that deal specifically with sexual brokenness and healing.


In Christ there is hope for the sex addict. Despite appearances, you are not alone. Pray that God would direct you to the compassionate, genuine, Gospel-centered help you need. You have tried to stop on your own and you have failed. Approach the throne of grace.

From shame & pain to resilience & joy.

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