As I mentioned in a previous blog, sex addiction is on the rise at an alarming rate and you only need to watch the evening news for a few nights before that becomes evident. But what might not be so evident is why sex addiction is on the rise. I’d like to touch on two recent news stories to help answer that question.
The first story involves the advertising icon Jared Fogle, previously associated with Subway. Jared was recently charged with possessing child pornography and commercial sex acts with a minor. He’s planned to be tried in a federal court and faces up to 12 years in prison along with being put on the sex offender list for 25 years.
The second story revolves around the affair promoting website Ashley Madison which claims to have over 30 millions registered users, and was hacked. The hackers then began releasing the data on the internet exposing many who wished to remain anonymous. One famous name that came to light was Josh Duggar fresh off his most recent scandal of admitting he sexually abused a sister.
How does a man like Josh Duggar, who grew up in a Christian home, sexually abuse a sister, and appears to have engaged in at least seeking an extra marital affair? Why did Jared seek sex from 16 year old girls when he was married with children of his own? How did Josh and Jared end up where they are? If they had a problem in their past that drove this type of behavior why didn’t they seek help earlier before others became victims?
The answers to these questions come in two parts.
1. Our culture allows and even promotes pornography, extra martial affairs, and underage sex.
Our culture is highly sexualized and promotes an immoral set of sexual values through our entertainment, and most every other venue of marketing and communication! Our entertainment reinforces sexual themes to the extent that if doesn’t only entice us; it numbs us and desensitizes us to its presence.
Society holds to a double standard. The standard we have in public and the standard we have in private. Let me illustrate, in 1996 the movie Striptease was released. I was living in Memphis, TN at the time. The city was outraged that this filth was even being considered at the local movie theaters. As a result of many public demonstrations the movie was pulled from cinemas in Memphis just one day after its release. However, six months later when it was released on video, the local video stores offered dozens of copies which were sold out for months. The same city that had it pulled from cinemas was enjoying that entertainment in their living rooms.
We allow what we don’t attempt to stop.
Pornography gets its protection under the 1st Amendment and is considered art while 9 out of 10 children are exposed to some type of pornography by age 8 years old. And we wonder why child porn is on the rise. It’s likely because were allowing children to view porn.
The fashion industry and female trend magazines continue to use younger models and portrays them in sexual poses, clothing, and with headlines like six ways to drive your man crazy in bed. Guess what ladies, men see these magazine covers at the store and think that all women want sex and that you should be seen as only a sexual object. Then society wonders why someone like Jared would be enticed to engage in sex with 16 year old girls. That’s what society promoted isn’t it?
And in terms of extramarital affairs, the stories related to the Ashley Madison case seem to be focused on the fact that site was hacked, the breach of privacy, and how peoples lives and marriages are now ruined because their personal information was leaked. Where are the stories or public outcry over why there even exists such a website as Ashley Madison? As a society have allowed it and promoted it!
2. Because of this double standard people who do need help are resistant to seek it for fear of publish shame and condemnation.
I’m not condoning any type of behavior, and I am not absolving the personal responsibility of men and women to make their own moral sexual decisions, but I can tell you with certainty that both Josh Duggar and Jared Fogle need help. I don’t know them personally so I can’t speculate on what led them to their current behavior, but my experience with sex addicts would indicate childhood trauma, possible sexual abuse, poor parental attachments, and intense emotional pain looking for an outlet to sooth. And our society is more than accommodating on providing sex as an available soothing option. It’s likely they knew their behaviors were wrong and out of control, because like I mentioned last week, addiction always escalates. So why didn’t they reach out for help? Shame is likely the answer. That’s why at Renewal our focus when working with sex addicts to reduce the shame and move towards hope and healing.
Renewal Christian Counseling Center offers individual and group therapy to those suffering from sexual addiction or pornography addiction. Contact our offices in Port Huron, MI at 810-966-0099 or Clinton Twp, MI at 586-783-2950 to find out more.