I have written something very related to this issue on another occasion – ‘This thing called sex addiction’, I captioned it. So I’m not going to talk about sex addiction directly this time around (I already did). I’ll talk round it instead. You would be amazed to hear the stories why many young people are addicted to sex or sexual behaviours today.
A friend once told me she had a heated argument with a guy who didn’t see anything wrong with casual sex. He even had a look of extreme sadness about him as he tried to convince this friend of mine that sex was actually good for her health. Interestingly, he wasn’t asking for sex on his own behalf (he claimed to have many sex partners lined up). He only wanted my friend to come join the club and have a taste of what she’s been missing. See? I bet you have friends like that, yes?
What’s sex or sexual addiction? It’s a state characterised by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences. See? It’s means being a “loose canon”, firing anyhow without any control even when there are negative repercussions.
Sometime ago, I had a long chat with another friend who pretended to be a lady, with a number I had never seen before. To cut the long story short, he basically wanted to see if I was interested in having sex with her. I was amused. If it were five years ago, when I was just ordained, I would have gotten angry, and probably begun raining down curses on her instantly. But you see, after five years, the Holy Spirit has led me to another way of dealing with these matters – DISCERNMENT! Trust me, I know what I do is risky (it comes with the vocation), but I trust God. Hey, if I didn’t, I would never have become a priest in the first place, cos I don’t trust myself anymore than you do. So I decided to slow things down a bit. I asked her name and her age. I wanted to get to know her better. But it turned out that my new friend was a guy I had known for a long time. I could tell. He was pretending to be a lady, but he wasn’t chatting like one. And he was too too daring (know what I mean?). Twisted, right? So why do we have guys like John Doe above who think sex is synonymous with oxygen, and that without it, they would give up the ghost and DIE? I bet all addicts behave in exactly the same manner. The Marijuana addict thinks Marijuana is life, and without it, death comes knocking. The same is true of the alcohol, and the cocaine addict. But you see, people as weird as my friend up there weren’t born that way. They have stories to tell. Stories that have shaped their very lives and existence – from the ordinary to the outright bizarre. Stories that some of them cannot tell differently. And you know, stories create lasting memories, and memories don’t die.
What these addicts won’t tell you is the sordid details of how many of them were abused when they were much younger. They won’t tell you what they had to face growing up in a hostile dog-eat-dog neighbourhood. They won’t tell you of their negative experiences in boarding schools. They won’t tell you how that trusted friend, nanny, brother, sister, uncle, pastor, priest, teacher, etc took their innocence for granted and turned them into what they’ve become. They can’t possibly talk about how dysfunctional their families are. They won’t mention the shouts, the bullying, the fighting and quarreling that’s part of their daily existence. So they come at you with a straight face, laden with stories, and make it seem like it’s normal to be a sex addict. My dear, it’s not.
So these days I’m not immediately thinking of casting and binding the sex addict as I used to do. I rather seek ways of getting to know their stories. In these stories lie the sources of their many problems, and in these stories lie the solutions as well. So if someone begins to beg (and I mean like BEG) you for sex like some demented demon, know that such a person needs prayers and psychological help. If another begins to offer you worldly arguments and philosophies as to why sex is life, and without it comes death, please after praying for such a person, kindly refer them to a therapist. They do need to be assessed.
That said, we must not forget that some persons are truly struggling to get back on their feet. They don’t like what they do. I met a lady once who told me she’s truly truly sorry for her past life and would sincerely want to make a U-turn. But she told me it’s been the most difficult thing to do; almost impossible. She said she keeps relapsing and going right back to her vomit. But I’ve told her to trust God and not herself, and keep up the struggle. The break will come, and when it does, she’ll be ready.
Some others are in relationships that have totally run amuck. Sex is everything. There’s no time for anything else, except sex. It’s sex in the morning, afternoon and evening, and anytime in between; sometimes with multiple partners, sometimes with one, sometimes with males and females at the same time. These too need our prayers, not condemnation. I’m pretty sure God’s wants a full heaven. It has to be a collective effort.
In your prayers today, please remember to pray for those who struggle with different shades of sex addiction. Don’t be bothered about those who claim not to have this problem, even when it’s obvious that they do. Pray for them still. Because not admitting there’s a problem is itself a greater problem.
-Rev. Fr. Oselumhense K. Anetor