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Sex addiction is real


Credit: Antonio Ponte/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Antonio Ponte/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dr. Stefanie Carnes is president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). She recently came out against those in the therapy community who do not believe people can be sex addicts.

IITAP provides materials and support for those working in the addiction community.

She pointed to several studies that show sex addiction is a very real problem. In particular, she cited the recent research of Ji-Woo Seok and Jin-Hun Sohn at Chungnam National University in South Korea. The two work at the university’s brain research institute.

Their findings confirmed what earlier studies have shown — sex addiction is real for both men and women.

In their study, Seok and Sohn found that people with a sex addiction share many similarities to those with alcohol and drug addictions.

  • Like other addicts, those with a sex addiction spend an inordinate amount of time searching for pornography to satisfy their craving.
  • Sex addicts have the same level of sexual desire as the normal population, but similar to other addictions have a higher degree of wanting it.
  • The brains of sex addicts react similarly to pornographic stimulation as people with other addictions responded to cues related to their specific addiction. This differs from those who do not have addictions.
  • Much in the same way that drug and alcohol addicts are drawn into increased usage, sex addicts similarly crave more intense and often bizarre sexual porn to satisfy their desires.

Though some believe the Bible is quiet on the issue of addictions this is not the case. The problem partly stems to some modern translations that have weakened references speaking of addiction to make the Bible more readable.

To see what I mean look at the following verse that speaks of generational curses:

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity (Hebrew awon) of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. (Exodus 20:5 NASV)

In the New American Standard Version and New King James Bible, the Hebrew word ‘awon’ is translated iniquity, while popular versions such as the NIV, New Living Translation and The Message Bible translate ‘awon’ as sin.

Though ‘awon’ includes the idea of sin, it is different from sin as we can see in the Prophet Isaiah’s encounter with God. After the prophet confessed his sin, an angel took a coal off the altar and touched the prophet’s lips:

“Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity (awon) is taken away and your sin (chattaah) is forgiven.” (Isaiah 6:7 NASV)

In this verse, we see references to both ‘awon’ translated iniquity and ‘chattaah’ (the Hebrew word commonly translated sin) showing these are two distinct things. We also notice that while sin could be forgiven, the iniquity (awon) had to be removed.

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia defines ‘awon’ as the character or nature behind the sin.  Iniquity is something that has gripped the very nature of a person.

Once iniquity has established itself in a person’s life, similar to an addiction it now has power over the person. The prophet Isaiah uses the analogy of a withered leaf that has lost its connection to the tree and the wind which he likens to iniquity now controls where it goes. Because of its lost connection, the leaf is now powerless to control its destiny.

For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities (awon), like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities (awon). (Isaiah 64:6-7 NASV)

The leaf is described as being withered (Hebrew nabel) and means to droop, to be faint and to fall away. It became a metaphor for being senseless or foolish — a description of people with addictions who have lost control of their life to alcohol, sex or drugs.

I use this analogy to explain the process — a person can receive an email promoting pornography. They are tempted and click on the link. However, after a while they no longer need tempting emails to view porn as urges began rising up within them to go to these websites.

At this point, sin has become iniquity.

Sources:

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