Below, we will discuss sex
addiction. The idea is to discuss the most important cornerstones, such as
images, pornography, and masturbation. Through them we will try to study what
this addiction – in which so many can be tied up, even suffer from it – is
like, and what is the life like of a such person who fills his or her time with
these things, thinks about them, and is directed by them. There is also a
spiritual viewpoint to the same issue.
Imagination and daydreams
are very ordinary
for most people. It is certainly true that almost everyone has them, but a
person addicted to sex is different in that they are in a main part in his or
her life. It means that there will be fantasies and images connected to sex all
the time, either old experiences or plans for the future. Sex addicts can think
and dream about sex with persons they have met, with porn magazine lovers, or
to look at films, which will lead to the same. They do not always even need
pornographic material, but they can form these images in quite ordinary
situations, in which other people do not see anything provocative. Very minor
issues can spike their imagination, often leading to masturbation. In addition,
the sexual interest of some people can be directed only at certain parts of the
body, such as breasts and legs, and these people especially dream of touching
these parts. There are many variations.
The next quote indicates well what is this all about. It shows
how images and daydreams lead the life of a person addicted in sex. He or she
is searching for a perfect image and experience to get satisfaction that he or
she probably experienced as younger. In addition, there is a powerful
addiction, which is more and more difficult to satisfy. Things that formerly
gave pleasure, do not offer a similar experience any more. As a result of this,
the person is often also dissatisfied with the sex life in their marriage. When
no quantity of satisfaction is enough for him or her, it will naturally have an
impact on the relationship between the spouses:
My new interest enabled that I
was able to cause myself physical pleasure whenever I wanted. Now, I had the
situation perfectly under control. In my imagination, I chose a girl or girls.
As I was in the upper level of comprehensive school, I thought more about girls
than school work, and I fixed my attention also to female teachers. They were,
actually, closer to the pornographic magazines, as comes to both their age and
body. Even though I had some clumsy experimentations with sex already as a
young boy, I must say honestly that they were a disappointment compared to my
fantasy world. Especially when the commonly accepted porn magazines began to be
more and more daring.
(…) At the age of sixteen, I met a girl who became my wife. She
had all those physical characteristics I had learnt to admire. (…) Even though
we enjoyed love-making almost every day when I was sixteen, my appetite was
more and more difficult to satisfy. After having been married for a few years,
I began to be addicted to very common spontaneous and exciting experiences
appearing in porn magazines. When my desires were not satisfied, I turned to
films in addition to magazines. My mind was so full of these images that even
then, as I had sex with my wife, I had images of other women in my thoughts.
After some time, I could be found looking at porn in places, in
which it was possible to rent a private room, I looked at pictures and took
part in sex acts I could never experience at home. I began to feel dissatisfaction
at home, I pressed my wife either to grow sexually with me or to accept that I
would leave her. (…) The images impressed on my mind in my childhood were so
powerful that I searched out old magazines and paid a top price for some
issues, just to get the same experiences as a child. In addition to demanding
huge sexual performances from my wife, I had also hundreds of men’s magazine
lovers to satisfy me and I also regularly visited a video store to maintain my
interest. But nothing, nothing could satisfy me sexually. (1)
Pornography, which is
especially the problem of men, is the second main factor in the life of a sex
addict. This can mean porn magazines, films or material on the Internet that is
used to seek for satisfaction. For example on the Internet general headwords
concerning this issue are … By them people seek for satisfaction. Also the man
in the story above told how he had hundreds of lovers from porn magazines and
how he rented films, which often occurs in sex addiction. They spend their time
and perhaps also their money on pornographic material so that they will get a
momentary relief. The next quotation is a good example of this:
Some time ago, I tried to help
a woman whose husband was addicted to porn. I asked the woman to chart the
behaviour of her husband so that we could define his problems more closely. The
woman brought to me a telephone bill of over a thousand Finnish marks. We
realised that the man made 20–30 calls to a porn telephone every evening. The
man also had a lot of porn magazines and films. The man was an addict and his
addiction had destroyed the marriage of this couple. (2)
One problem with pornography
is that it does not bring long-lasting satisfaction to us. These magazines or
films kind of promise that you will find the erotic picture you have always
been looking and longing for, but the satisfaction does not last for long. As
time goes by, many may experience the same as alcoholics and drug addicts: they
need more and more powerful stimulus to experience the same stimulation as
before, because the amount of pleasure
Also the man in the story before told how he got old magazines
in order to get the same experiences as he had when he was younger. This proves
how we can get used to things, and thus they will no longer feel the same.
Instead, the tolerance and addiction can grow and grow, but we will feel more
empty all the time. This happens with almost everything that we experience
daily: we do not feel the same as before. Therefore, the sex of older people
who have practiced it for decades, is usually not as passionate as when they
This man wrote, “I am disabled
by my emotional life. I have been disabled by my addiction to porn. It
paralyses my spiritual life, it distorts my view of the world, it warps my
relations with people, it causes damage in my emotional life, it leaves me
empty and destroys all possibility that God could use me, and I can’t stop. (…)
Lust wears me out and doesn’t satisfy me anymore. Porn only adds up to the
problem. It promises everything, but doesn’t give anything and it seems that I
can’t stop. (3)
Is masturbation a sin? Masturbation,
which means stimulating of one’s genitals, is a very common phenomenon in the
life of many people. It has been estimated that more than 80% of people
practice it during their life, boys little more often than girls. It is also
one main factor in the life of a sex addict. The person may be addicted to
masturbation in the same way as to pornography, and the person may use it to
get into the right mood. Usually, what we look at and read will affect our
behavior, and therefore, pornographic material can drive us to masturbation:
masturbation problem comes basically from what I put into my mind. I used to
look at television programs with morality, and in some cases programs of cable
television showing naked people. These kinds of scenes are so shocking that
they stay in my mind. They welled out in my mind again and gave me the
spiritual fuel I needed to begin masturbating.” (4)
Masturbation is also an issue from which many may have
difficulties in freeing themselves. Many take the same attitude towards is as
an alcoholic with alcohol and a drug addict with drugs. Their need to do it may
be so huge and the pressure may become intolerable, so that they cannot keep
themselves in check. They can think right after masturbation that they will
never do it again, and perhaps not have the need for a few days, but little by
little, lust will creep back into them and begin to control their thoughts
again. As a result of this, they give in. Often, this is caused by frustration,
depression, and restlessness. These can lead to masturbation in order to get a
momentary relief from these negative feelings:
tried everything, such as concentrating more on my studies. But after a few
hours, the pressure comes again, and I give in to get rid of that feeling. I
realized that I’m especially liable to given in to the temptation after a test,
when I’m fully exhausted and glad that it’s over, or as I told you before, when
I get stuck with some problem in my homework and am frustrated.
(…) All these pressures from the outside and internal feelings
cause a tension I try to ease with masturbation. In my life, masturbation
always begins with depression, never with happiness. But up until now, I have
dealt with this problem only superficially. (5)
What about masturbation in
the light of the Word? Is it a sin and what is the standpoint of the Bible to
it? Has it been mentioned in the Bible?
The answer to the previous is it is not clearly mentioned in the
Bible. There is no direct reference to it in any of the books of the Bible.
Instead, we can see how the Bible speaks about the purity of
mind, the will of God, and not allowing lust to rule our mind. As people almost
unavoidably see pictures in their mind when masturbating, they are clearly
lust, which is the initial stage before the act itself. Many feel judged and
dirty after masturbation because of these images. They indicate our deficiency
and imperfection, and that we cannot or want not rule our thoughts:
- (Matt 5:28) But I say to you, That
whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her
already in his heart.
- (James 1:14,15) But every man is
tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust
has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth
- (Rom 6:12) Let not sin therefore
reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts
- (Luke 8:14) And that which fell
among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are
choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no
fruit to perfection.
Sexual relationships. When we continue
to speak about sexuality, we should note that sexuality as itself is not a bad
thing. On the contrary, even the Genesis indicates that “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen 2:18) and
it has been meant that a married couple experiences closeness. The sexual
relationship between a husband and a wife is a good thing and they are
obligated to fulfill the sexual needs of each other. It is good to see this
matter in the right light and to understand that the free expression of oneself
in the marriage bed is not wrong, but it should be one part of the
- (1 Cor 7:1-5) Now concerning the
things whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have
her own husband.
3 Let the
husband render to the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife to the
4 The wife
has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband
has not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud you
not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give
yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you
not for your incontinency.
- (Hebr 13:4) Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed
undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Instead, in the lives of some
sex addicts, they often go to wrong places because of their lust, in other
words resort to sex outside the marriage. In some people’s life, it may mean
seeking sex companions on the Internet, paid sex, or sexual experiments between
unmarried persons, which they often justify by saying, “There can’t be anything
wrong if we love each other.” Through these, they try to fulfill their life and
seek fast pleasure, concentrating only on the moment. The Prodigal Son in
Jesus’ allegory, who lived wildly, is a good example of this kind of an
- (Luke 15:11-14) And he said, A
certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger
of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to
me. And he divided to them his living.
13 And not many
days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a
far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that
land; and he began to be in want.
But it is good to see that
our acts are important. If we choose an indecent way of life and concentrate on
superficial and generally only short-term pleasures, we certainly are not
acting wisely. Jesus said very clearly that “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26), and
therefore, it is worth while to think in what we invest our life: this moment
only or the future? If we study these matters in the right light, thinking
about the eternity, the pleasure given by them is after all very short-term and
insignificant. It is no reward for loosing the gift of eternal life offered by
God. Therefore, you should understand the verses below and think about things
also in the long term perspective:
- (Rev 21:5-7) And he that sat on the
throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and
6 And he said to
me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will
give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God,
and he shall be my son.
- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the
bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is
thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
When a sexual sin, such as
any other sin, separates us from God, the next question is: how can we get
forgiveness of sins and a new life from God? What does the Bible teach about
receiving eternal life and do such of us have hope who have lived deep in sin,
in immorality, in homosexuality, and in other sins?
The answer to the previous is simple. We must simply turn to God
and confess our sins to Him. We must tell Him how we have been far away from
Him, but that we now want to turn to Him so that His will would come true in
our life. The Bible indicates that if we do this, we will get from God the
forgiveness for all our sins. This goes to decent sinners and, for example,
prostitutes, criminals, or spreaders of pornography alike. Everyone can get the
forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ and God says to this kind of a man,
“My dear child”. So allow this good come true in your life so that you will not
regret your wrong choices later:
- (Luke 15:13,17-20) And not many days
after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far
country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
17 And when he
came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread
enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will
arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and before you,
19 And am no more
worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a
great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and
fell on his neck, and kissed him.“
- (Isa 1:18) Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red
like crimson, they shall be as wool.
- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- (Acts 13:38) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that
through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins
In order for the previous
matter to come true also in practice, you can pray, for example, like this:
Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have
sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want
to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that
my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal
life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.
Nowadays, there are very much
people who are not very careful their ways of life. They think that under
grace, they can do almost whatever. They can say, “God will forgive me if I
repent later”, but they do not even want to think about changing their ways of
life. They pay no attention to how Paul wrote, “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God? Be not deceived…” (1 Cor 6:9,10). In
the same way, Jesus said the following about disobedience and its opposite:
- (Matt 7:23) And then will I profess to
them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
14:15) If you love
me, keep my commandments.
But what about a person who wants
to fulfil the will of God and give up sinning but who is struggling with his or
her sexuality and sometimes yields to the temptation of masturbation, for
example? Does the Bible have anything to say and how can these people be freed?
The answer can be found in the grace of God. If you personally
have received Jesus Christ into your life and want to follow Him, you are
pardoned, under grace and the object of God’s love. This will be true even if
you have fallen. Our falls and imperfection cannot prevent us from being under
grace and saved all the time, as the next verses indicate. It is also good to
understand that the same God, who has given us His mercy, is mighty to free us
from all wrong addictions and sins:
- (Eph 2:8,9) For by grace are
you saved through faith; and that not
of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
- (Rom 5:1,2) Therefore being
justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also
we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
- (Rom 6:14,15) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for
you are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but
under grace? God forbid.
- (Phil 1:7) Even as it is meet for
me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both
in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all
are partakers of my grace.
- (1 Piet 2:10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the
people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
- (1 Piet 5:12) By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose,
I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace
of God wherein you stand.
1. Hybels Bill, Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa
(Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 98-100
2. Same, p. 105
3. Same, p. 104
Nuoret kysyvät – käytännöllisiä vastauksia, p. 200, Jehovah’s witnesses
Trobish Ingrid ja Walter, Se tuntuu niin ihanalta (Mein schönes Gefuhl), p. 21,