One of the most controversial topics in our times is sexual addiction or disorder. WHY?
Because our modern society- led by the Western nations- has nurtured a big paradox- the freedom of expression has spawned a massive pornography industry on the internet that has given birth to the social epidemic of sexual disorders if we broaden our definition to include all forms of sexual lifestyles outside the conventional institution of marriage. Yet, at the same time, our disordered wounded society does not want to openly embrace sexual permissiveness with its different hydra-heads (such as gay values, child sexual abuses, swinging lifestyles etc etc) that have contaminated our modern values either directly or indirectly.
Sometimes, I just wonder why is it so difficult to uproot the fundamental cause of our sexual disorders if our modern societies have the political will to ban the pornography industry (soft or hardcore) on the internet. I suppose this is the paradox of our human condition- that we secretly envy or even embrace sexual values and pleasures in various forms and yet we don’t want to be tainted by the toxic shame that comes along with activities related to sexual disorders. That is why from time to time, some scandals involving celebrities bubble up to the surface and inflict lots of toxic shame on the parties involved. But yet these disgraced public figures involved some of our most-admired people such as Tiger Wood or ex-President Clinton. So what we really see on the headlines of the mass-media represents the tip of the iceberg. The bulk of the iceberg really symbolizes our subconscious human condition that is basically wounded by the original sin. It is so easy to tar these fallen people with the barb, “Serve them right. They are truly despicable.” Such common social moral comparisons often make us feel better about ourselves -`Thank God, that we are not like that.’ On the surface that may be true as long as one does not search for the truth inside one’s heart.
Yet when we look deeper at the various unconventional forms of sexual practices or sexual preferences, we know that over the past one or two decades, there has been a sea change in our sexual values and preferences. What are the real sexual norms? What are the real criteria that will define us as normal or typical decent human beings?Yet what is acceptable to the West is strictly unacceptable in the Muslim world and vice versa. Like it or not, admit it or not, we are all basically and essentially flawed in one way or another.The only difference is that some of us are more flawed than others or some of us are more honest with themselves than others or some have more self-denials. Our perceptions often create our own personal or communal realities. Whatever it is, we are fundamentally flawed or wounded. Once we are aware of this broad definition of our human brokenness, then we can look at sexual disorders in a more realistic light with more compassion and love for others as well as for ourselves.This may also be the beginning of our true humility
When true humility takes hold in the human heart, then one begins to recognize that one is really sick when one suffers from sex addiction or sexual disorders. Sex addiction is a very different kind of sickness- the sickness of the soul. Let us look at sexual addiction from another medical perspective- “Sexual addictions are <strong>not about sex.</strong> They are about insecurity, low self-esteem, and the need for affirmation and reassurance. The sex addict feels unloved and unlovable and therefore looks obsessively for proof that this is not so.The sex addict disguises his feelings or worthlessness from himself and from the world. The sex addict uses sex to deaden and avoid psychological pain and conflict, reassure and bolster fragile self-esteem, and bury deeply embedded feelings of self-hatred.” (Jerome D. Levin,PhD, author of `The Clinton Syndrome’)
For sexual addicts, the stubborn persistence of their disorder does not stem from lack of effort or will-power. If will-power is the main culprit, then the solution will be a simple one. The real meaningful answer to any compulsive addiction in general and sexual addiction in particular, is often complicated by many other powerful unseen or unknown forces that are often beyond our control. The author of `The Clinton Syndrome’, Jerome D. Levin, is a psychotherapist with more than 30 years of experience in treating addictive behavior and his following comments would shed more light on this mysterious topic,”For addicts, the repeated resolution to stop or control their behavior and the failure to do so is not only common but also extremely painful. The failure to control themselves leaves addicts feeling powerless, as indeed they are, and that sense of being out of control is terrifying. Therefore, the addict seeks to avoid this terror by engaging in more of the soothing activity- in this case, sex. Again, we see the makings of a vicious cycle. The addict becomes depressed and anxious, partly because of his or her sexual activity, and then needs even more sex to quell the anxiety or deaden the depression.”
It is therefore important to be aware of the psychological condition of the sexual addict. As the author has noted above, sexual addiction is not about sex, it is really insecurity and low self-esteem. Once the outsider as well as the victim become aware of the nature of sexual addiction, then they can truly become part of the solution to this illness that is afflicting our modern society. If the outsiders are ignorant about the medical conditions of the sexual addicts, then they can do more damage to their wounded self-esteems by inflicting more shame through gossips on them, thereby aggravating and perpetuating their psychological illness. The result may be more rage and more unwanted rapes or even mass killing contributing more damage to our broken world. What we really need is more compassion, more love and more understanding towards the sexual addicts so that given sufficient time, God’s love will heal their inner wounds and eventually integrate them back into our society as wholesome human beings.
When one is sick, one needs a master physician or God who can really understand this complex soul sickness. Only He can touch the soul of the victim with His healing grace and His unconditional love.This common effective panacea to the cure of addictions has been born out by the many thousands of recovery cases in AA.Jesus Christ has provided an effective approach for treating disordered individuals (e.g.the prostitute) suffering from wounded self-esteem.He did not even reprimand or condemn them. His approach was one of love and forgiveness because He knows that God’s unconditional love is the key to open the door to the victim’s inner psyche for His healing grace. On the contrary, the negative judgment, condemnation and social rejection of society only serve to harden and enhance the pain of toxic shame and guilt of the victims thereby pushing them towards social isolation and self-hatred. That is why Jesus repeated and emphasized so clearly, “Love one another as I love you; by this will you be known (or defined) as my disciples.”