Frequently Asked Questions

What is sexual addiction?
There is a segment of the counseling community which doesn’t recognize the term sexual addiction. However the definition of addiction is: Physical and mental dependence on a particular substance/activity, unable to stop taking/doing it without incurring adverse effects. This describes the sexual addict. The only difference between the sexual addict and drug addict is the use of body chemistry over drugs or alcohol. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior.

Why is sexual addiction prevalent in the Church?
There are of sexual addicts outside of the church as well but this addiction grows well in an environment that fuels shame and hiding. Porn use is accepted in secular circles but still frowned upon in the church. It tends to stay in the dark due to the shame attached and the lie that every addicts believes: he/she is the only one struggling with it. Until the church begins to speak to the problem and offer real hope and solutions, sadly it will continue to flourish.

What should I do if I suspect my spouse is acting out sexually?
Pray for the Lord to bring out that which is hidden. Don’t become a detective as this will take you to dark places. Let the Lord do the work. This will need to be your new normal as you navigate whatever is ahead. Most women who suspect are correct. God gives us strong intuition and I believe His Spirit is guiding us. I tell women all the time to trust their gut. Give your spouse to the Lord and then seek help for you. Betrayal at the deepest level in a marriage is no small challenge.

What should I expect from counseling if I go that direction?
A good Christian counselor should be prayerfully chosen. He or she can be a huge help in the process of dealing with the pain and sorting through the rubble of betrayal. It’s important you feel comfortable with who ever you choose and that they have experience dealing with sexual addiction. There are many aspects of the journey that are counter-intuitive and you can be injured by well-meaning advice. Again, trust your gut and if something feels wrong, find another counselor.

What if my spouse will not admit what is going on?
This is a brutal reality that is hard to address. every spouse must make their own choices. Though we are impacted by them, we have no say in the matter we can’t make another person change. We do have a lot of power as we discover we too can make our own healthy choices. So every marriage may not be saved, but every person who reaches out for health and wholeness in the Lord will find it. The key is to get our eyes off of our spouse and focus on what the Lord has for me. (This is easier said than done.)

How do I protect my children until my marriage is healed?
Age will determine what is needed with regard to your children. With that said, kids are very intuitive and pick up on stress in a home. I guarantee they know more than you think and secrets are unsettling to a child. So, it’s important to address the issue even at a basic level that is age appropriate. For very young children it might be as simple as saying, “Mommy is sad” or “Daddy made a bad choice.” Then let their questions lead you and give simple answers staying in line with what they are asking. Too much information may be repeated and can’t be taken back. We gave our kids who were in high school at the time a counselor to see. They needed to process with someone other than their parents. We didn’t want them to share with friends who could use the information against them. Be prayerful and careful.

What about SexAddicts Anonymous?
This is one of many programs available and it works for many people. It is not faith-based per say, but all of the 12 step principles are based in Scripture. I believe an addict who reaches out for as many tools as are available shows a willingness to do whatever it takes to be free. It takes this kind of commitment to do the hard work of recovery. So the power is not in the tool, it’s in the hands of the one reaching for the tool.

How do I approach my pastor or women’s ministry leader for help?
Again, I would talk to God before I talk to anyone else. The assumption is a pastor is the best place to go. Pastors are human and fallible. Not all are equipped to help either the addict or the injured spouse. I have seen too many cases where insult is added to the injury out of a lack of understanding or misconceptions about sexual addiction. First consider if your pastor has every dealt with sexual sin from the pulpit, that will give you an idea about where they stand. Start with a little bit of information and see if their reaction feels informed, balanced, and Godly. Take time and let the Lord lead you to the right people.

How prevalent is pornography use in society and in the church?
Conservative statistics say 50% of men and 28% of women are seeking porn on a regular basis. For men under 30 it’s even higher as they grew up with the internet. An old statistic from a Promise Keepers survey showed 33% of pastors had viewed porn with in the week. This is a problem of epic proportions and still the church is slow to offer help.

What can I do to help my friends who have been affected by this?
Pray, pray and pray. Best thing to do is listen and please don’t make any judgements. Read up on the topic and be informed before trying to speak into another persons situation. Remember to point others always back to the Lord and His Word for that is where wisdom and healing is found. Do not lean on your limited understanding for you can do additional damage. If you say one thing, let it be the Lord is bigger than this and He will be all that you need.

How do I join a Healing Hope group?
Connect to the ministry through the website. If there is not a group near you then consider approaching your pastor or women’s ministry leader to begin a Healing Hope group at your church. If the door is closed, then begin to call the larger churches in your area. As always, pray for the Lord to bring someone to you as a resource or fellow traveler on the road of recovery. God wants this issue out in the open. His heart is to help and heal, but He can’t deal with anything we don’t acknowledge or invite Him in to. We at Hope After Betrayal Ministries are committed to helping all those the Lord brings to us.