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Demons of Lust

The phone rang a couple of days ago in my office and when I answered it the voice on the other end said; “I understand that you’re a pastor and that you counsel people who are addicted.”  I replied to him that yes I was a pastor and that I had worked with many addicted persons throughout the years.  He asked if we could meet and a time was scheduled.  The man on the other end of the line said; “I am in love with a woman who is sexually addicted.”  I was told that he would share more with me when we met but the long and short of the discussion would be about how to help a woman who was addicted to sex and the fact that he knew full well that one of her recent lovers had passed on an STD (sexually transmitted disease) to her.  He noted further that this woman was continuing to carry on a passionate love affair despite those adverse effects and that he wanted to know how to help her break free from “demons of lust.”  We agreed to talk about his broken heart and the ravages of body, mind and soul that were leaving him a tormented soul.

The next day Louis arrived at the scheduled time, rang the doorbell and joined me in the captains quarters where over a cup of coffee he began to share this story.  He said that he had fallen in love with a certain woman several months ago after her husband had died.  His intent and deepest desire was to marry this very attractive woman in her late 40’s and to have a life together that would be filled with love and passion that would bring joy and fulfillment to the second half of their lives. They almost made it to the altar on two separate occasions, but in each case certain “red flags” were raised just prior to the date that the vows would be shared.  Perhaps it was more than just a red flag when my visitor noted that one morning last fall he drove by his girl friend’s house and noticed a pick-up truck that he recognized parked in front of the house.  He knew the owner of the truck and he knew something else!  He knew they attended the same church and served on the same board of elders together.  The full impact of the discovery was to become known as he confronted both the new love of his life and the man that he had called “friend.”  Louis exploded and blurted out a string of hurtful accusations to the woman that he said he loved.  In just a few moments he ripped her with words like whore, slut and tramp.  She responded by becoming defensive and withdrawing.  His friend with tears in his eyes pleaded for his forgiveness.  Louis acknowledged that in time he was able to forgive his friend but that the consequential damage had been done. 

There have been multiple lovers and the most recent involves a man who left his wife and 5 year old daughter for this lady who has a compulsion to engage in sexual extravaganzas that would make a marine blush.  The woman believes that she is tormented by demons of lust.  The church elder who made love to this woman has continued to serve on the church board without repentance or accountability.  I suppose that there are those who believe that the Ostrich approach works best.  Allegedly there have been throughout the years numerous sexual liaisons with many partners that have left various emotional casualties along the way.  Louis describes himself as a tortured soul who has lost 30 pounds, endured sleepless nights and is experiencing depression, anxiety and guilt.  His question to me on the day that we met was; “I love a woman who is sexually addicted, how can I help her?” 

Can people overcome sexual addiction?" You've asked yourself that question many times.  It's difficult to believe that the answer is "Yes" and too depressing to give up all hope. So what is the answer? The answer is: "It depends." It depends on the help you get. If you get competent help you certainly can achieve your goal. A sexual addiction results from an abuse of the natural sex drive that each person is born with. The abuse can start at any time in life and then progresses until it becomes a compulsion which the sexually addicted person cannot cope with. The sexual addiction eventually affects every part of the person's life, including self-respect, relationships with family and friends, and finances and career. For the sexually addicted person, sex is not a profoundly wonderful experience. A sexual addiction is like alcohol to an alcoholic and drugs to a junkie. It is a fix that the sexually addicted person will do just about anything to get. Despite what's shown in the movies and hyped in the media, sexual addiction is not fun.  It is a compulsive drive that brings short term thrills and long term miseries. And just like alcohol or drugs, overcoming it can be the most important decision in your life.