Sex Addiction & Porn Addiction: You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets

Lance Armstrong has now finally admitted to his longtime use of performance enhancing drugs. As this story unfolds on the national stage, it can serve as a reminder particularly to those of us who struggle with sex and porn addiction, of the personal and collateral damage that unravels once lies are exposed.

If you are struggling with sex or porn addiction and are in recovery or if you have not yet started that journey, you were likely triggered by these stories. Lies, holding secrets, and living in shame serve as the foundation of compulsive sexual behavior. The line the addict tells himself is, “just this last time, and then I’ll stop for good.” That time turns into the next time and so on, and so on. This creates a burden of secretive and shameful behavior, a dread of telling anyone for the fear of being rejected or simply not being understood. Maybe you felt sympathetic towards Armstrong comprehending his reluctance in coming clean.

The good news is that you need not go on Oprah and tell a worldwide audience your secrets. You can start much smaller and locally… with yourself. You will never be ready to get help until you come to terms with your behavior and understand that you indeed have a problem.

If you think about Armstrong’s situation, he attempted to control the story in such a way that he damaged not only his own reputation but also the many lives of his supporters and once-close friends. His denial was so strong that he made these choices despite the possible consequences. Sound familiar?

How have you tried to control your behavior and the story from getting out? What secrets do you continue to hold on to? How would you begin to find your own truth and letting go of the burden of secrecy?

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result serves as a working definition of insanity. Wake up and take an objective look at your behavior. Perhaps you already know this and are ready for help. Addictive sexual behavior does not simply go away, you have to work at it. If you are wondering if your sexual behaviors are problematic, take our sex addiction or porn addiction quiz.

 Practice Honesty

Lying or withholding often is not solely related to your sexual behavior. Perhaps you weave many white lies and half-truths to the point where you forget where the lies end and the truth starts. You can practice telling the truth in a very small way.

 Tell Someone

Tell somebody. Not just anybody but someone who has the ability to understand and motivate you. Several of my clients have started with a best friend, a priest or a person of faith… or their spouse. Many people who act out are married or in a committed relationship and live in fear of their partner finding out.

Get Help

There are many options now for people who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior. If you are serious about your recovery, then the more tools you have, the better. Look into individual counseling with a trained professional who understands compulsive sexual behavior. Consider participating in a group that specializes in this area—church groups and SLAA or SA groups. Work on understanding your behavior and the root causes.

You’re only as sick as your secrets. You don’t have to wait as long as Lance did to finally tell the truth. You can start right now.

Comments 2

  1. Good article. In fact, feelings of guilt and shame are among most addicts. In an anonymous survey among our patients, 80% admitted that they feel ahamed. Unfortunately, the more somebody feels ashamed the more (s)he will need sex and porn to suppress those negative feelings. A vicious circle – before the beginning of a therapy.

    1. Hi Frank, thanks for your input. I often use the metaphor of a plant. A plant needs water, soil and sunlight to grow…if addiction were a plant, it’s fed by secrets and shame. Keep up your good work.
      Best, James

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