Ministering to the Sexually Addicted

No one can blame lust on anyone else (Jas. 1:13-14). Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit continuously addresses sexual sins. The term “pornography” finds its roots in the Greek word porneou. It is usually translated “fornication” and always refers to sexual immorality of any kind. It is used 36 times in the New Testament, but nine of these instances are found in Revelation during the Tribulation period. Due to the epidemic spread of pornography today, this is not surprising.


All addictions are forms of escapism. The minister’s task is to discover exactly what an individual is attempting to escape from.  A pastor can rescue a porn addict from their addiction but is powerless to save his soul. Complete deliverance is a task only the Spirit of God can perform.

Psychological addictions can include such things as shopping addiction and sexting. Dealing with such issues are often challenging because porn is not something the addict must have to avoid physical suffering – such as withdrawal from alcohol or heroin. For example, it is much easier to identify a person addicted to opioids than kleptomania.

Pornography is difficult for ministers to address because it is psychological rather than physical. Those psychologically addicted cannot be healed until it is understood what is compelling them to continue their activities. Pornography addiction is defined as “a compulsive behavior causing negative consequences in one’s physical, social, mental and financial wellness.”


~ There are millions of global porn sites.
~ 20% of adults and 80% of children are exposed to porn unintentionally.
~ There are hundreds of thousands of searches for kiddie-porn every week.
~ When a person is viewing child pornography, they are contributing to human trafficking.
~ One in four internet users view porn.
~ 40 million Americans regularly view porn.
~ Every second 30,000 Americans are watching pornography.
~ 70% of 18-year-old men view porn.
~ Last year US citizens spent 3 billion dollars on porn.
~ The most popular day of the week to view porn is Sunday.

It is important to note the rise of sexual addiction as it concerns the Assemblies of God. Members of the Emerge Ministries staff make it clear the problem is escalating. One minister at Emerge stated recently:

“Online porn has increased in a dramatic fashion in recent years. About forty percent of our crisis line calls now concern online porn or fidelity issues. Sexual addictions are hard to deal with due to availability, thus rarely is a client completely delivered. Some have been known to relapse even a decade later. This is the reason our Fellowship is does not restore former pedophiles or pornography addicts to ministerial status. By the time one of our ministers has reached that level of self-deception, the risk of returning their credentials is simply too great.” 


The porn addict eventually adopts a desensitized view of the opposite sex. Surveys affirm an individual addicted to porn begins to view their partners as less attractive. It is estimated that 6 out of 7 women think porn has changed men’s concept of how women should look. Desensitized human beings tend to be preoccupied with the external, while the Lord is concerned with that which is internal (I Sam.16:7).


Pornography can damage and rewire the brain. Like any potentially addictive substance, porn triggers the release of dopamine into “the reward center” prompting a person to repeat the behavior. This works for a person when he/she wins a ball game or gets a promotion, but against a person when an escalation behavior like porn addiction is introduced. New porn connections become stronger, eventually overpowering other connections in the mind. Porn can eventually replace copulation, for it is directly related to sexual performance and dysfunction. Like an addictive drug, the user craves more to attain the same high. With porn addicts this leads to divergent forms of sex, such as pedophilia, masochism, and bestiality. Because the sexaholic brain cannot be healed naturally, it must be healed supernaturally. There is only one Person who can perform this operation: our Great Physician (Mt. 9:12).


Entrapment in sexaholism is always due to self-deception. Paul refers to those who suppress the truth, even though they realize to do so is evil (Rom. 1:18). This same chapter affirms that females are the usually the last in any society to embrace evil (Rom. 1:26). An alarming number of women in America are becoming hooked on porn.

The severity of sex addiction is in direct proportion to the amount of time and money an individual spends viewing and downloading these materials. Porn leaves people lonely because it destroys sexual sensitivity. Sexaholism is an emotional attachment to a surreal world.


A poignant example of this problem is its rapid growth throughout the military in recent years. Depending on where an individual is deployed, internet access may be restricted. However, there is usually no limit on the number of personal flash drives that can be taken overseas. As a result, those hooked on porn may bring whatever materials they choose when they deploy.

The Pentagon reports sexual assaults have reached an all-time high. As the government begins to access this problem, it is estimated that for every reported case, ten times as many are unreported. Such infringements include stalking, unwanted touching, groping, and sexual comments. The military tends to take particular interest when inappropriate remarks imply promotion depends upon cooperating with a perpetrator.

It is a fact that the number one cause of Post-Traumatic Stress among active-duty women is sex harassment, actual assault, or worse. Although it is long overdue, military authorities are moving toward a “zero-tolerance” policy which will result in a mandatory dishonorable discharge upon conviction.


Consequences can include insomnia, the tendency to get angry or frustrated when denied access to porn, deception, secrecy, infidelity, divorce, bankruptcy, shame, isolationism, depression, relational issues, defensiveness, irritability, and the tendency to seek a mate open to all forms of sexual activity. There is a high risk an addict will attempt to act out porn fantasies. Although this might begin with flirting, it can lead to sexual harassment and rape.

All sexaholism leads to dissatisfaction. This is the primary reason sexual addictions are so martially destructive. Because chronic masturbation is involved in 90% of porn viewing, even secular psychologists are forced to admit the physical damage involved. Most porn addicts interviewed say their lust for porn grows more deviant. Much like opioid addictions, users seek different form of a substance to reach the same “high.”


Like most addictions, sexaholism is a coping mechanism.
Addiction often follows when people place themselves in compromising positions coupled with a lack of self-discipline.

It is often difficult to ascertain how an individual becomes a sexaholic. The person may have been abused as a child, have a poor self-image, or has confused sex with love. There are numerous factors that contribute to this addiction including accessibility, the desire to control one’s sexuality, the hope of alleviating stress or boredom, satanic oppression, and the desire for fulfillment through fantasy. The primary reason is the pursuit of sexual satisfaction.

Most sexaholics eventually develop intimacy or attachment disorders. The deeper the addiction, the more estranged from reality one becomes. Addicts often experience relational challenges and avoid sexual relations due to fear of rejection.


Porn addicts often argue no one is actually hurt as a result of their activities. However, if the person is married, at least two people are injured. If the addict is single, at least one person is damaged.

Every sexaholic has turned a deaf ear to the Holy Spirit because He will only lead an individual to activities that are holy. “Without holiness no person will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Those who claim the Bible does not specifically prohibit internet pornography should meditate upon what Jesus states in Matthew 5:28. Here He clearly indicates that to undress a girl with ones’ eyes makes him an adulterer.

In Deuteronomy 22:22, capital punishment is mandated for the sin of adultery. If sexual sins were not horrific in the sight of God, He would not attach the death penalty to them (Leviticus 20:10). No addiction is logical. To rationalize is to tell “rational lies.” The addict does not have good sound reasons – just reasons that sound good. The sexaholic does not realize he/she is growing increasingly calloused due to continuous, temporary false gratification.


Porn is a product and porn peddlers are Satan’s best salespeople. Believers are quick to see the satanic element involved in sexaholism. If Satan could find a way to distribute free opioids, he would certainly do so. Since he cannot, he makes porn cheap and even free. This type of addiction can cost a person everything. Solomon warns those who keep company with harlots will spend all their money on them
(Pv. 29:3).

The satanic element involved in porn creates a vicious cycle. The deeper the addiction, the greater the craving for more perverted forms of it. The more depraved images the peddlers can afford to invent, the greater their profits. Their ill-gotten gains allow them to invest in increasingly perverted forms of pornography. This is why online porn has been directly linked with sex trafficking, child slavery, and prostitution.

There are always spiritual and social consequences for sexual sins. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells normal marital sexual relations are undefiled – but God will judge all sexual deviants (Heb. 13:4). The porn addict sins against God Himself. When Joseph found himself in a dangerous sexual situation, he said to the would-be adulteress, “How can I do this and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9).


The problem with porn addicts is not getting them to admit their addiction, for few realize they are actually trapped. They suffer from guilt, anguish, fear, remorse – and many develop suicidal tendencies. There is only one solution for those hooked on sexual sin and that is total deliverance from all sin. If the porn addict does not voluntarily and earnestly seek to escape, they will never be free.

In John chapter eight we read of a young woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus knew what she needed was not punishment but complete deliverance from her sex sins. The Lord told her, “I’m not condemning you – but go and don’t sin any more.” There is a crying need today to call sin by its right name. Transformation through Christ is essential.

Men and women need to be free from addictions in this life, but they must have permanent deliverance to enjoy eternal life. God not only rescues us from darkness, He brings us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).


Software which filters internet use provides boundary lines. Parents must converse with their children about what they view on-line. If necessary, they should also purchase time restrictors which simply shut down all the child’s electronic devices at a specific time each day.

Recommended sites include:

Effective filters and blockers may cost a few dollars each month, but no parent can afford to affix a price tag to Christian character.


Periodic abstinence can deceive an addict into believing they are completely cured. But recovering sexaholics need effective blockers. Above all, he/she needs a responsible and sensible accountability partner. This carefully selected individual will work closely with one who really wants to be free from sexual addiction. The addict needs someone who knows all the possible self-deceptions involved. Christian counselors usually do not recommend the spouse for this task unless they are committed to the strategic oversight of their mate’s recovery process.

It is also essential the recovering addict join an effective and pro-active support group. Some have recommended:

A recovering sexaholic must:

~ get Christian therapy
~ establish boundaries
~ block every single porn site
~ avoid what triggers the behavior
~ stay off chat lines  
~ never enter a sex club
~ make amends to all they have harmed because of their addiction.

On line porn addiction is a problem that does not show signs of diminishing. However, we can help understand the root
cause and ask God to totally deliver those who have been ensnared by satanic influence. Anything less is a band aid on cancer.

Maxim of the Moment

Chase your passion – not your pension. - Denis Waitley