Sexual addiction can come in many forms. It aims to rob marriages of their purity, beauty, and God-given design. For those who are actively giving into temptation, or get the sense that they are heading down the wrong path, Stephen Arterburn says it’s important to look at the area of secrecy.

“We have to look at the word, secret. A lot of people think, they rationalize, that in a marriage or dating relationship that secrets are okay. ‘We have to have our own space’ and everything like that, but I disagree. The first thing to do is ask ourselves, ‘Are there things that I keep secret from the person that I love?'”

“When we start to open up about whatever it is and deal with those secrets, then we can kind of look at ‘Is this just a minor problem that I need counseling and correction for? Or is this something that I’ve been dealing with since childhood?’ That’s what we find so often that when a person starts to look at the truth, it’s a childhood issue. It didn’t just start after they got married.”

After identifying if there are any secrets that need to be exposed, Stephen says the next step is to identify any connection barriers between you and your spouse.

“The second thing we ask ourselves, ‘Is what I’m involved with connecting or is it disconnecting? As a result of what I’m doing, am I moving closer to this other person? Am I growing deeper in this relationship? Or is this a disconnection here that I have? Does it provide a means of escape or relief from the relationship?’”

“If you wanted to give everything that you are, in every way that you could to another human being, then why would you do anything that would disconnect or harm that relationship?”

He speaks the destructive nature of sexual temptation and reminds men and women who are struggling that it’s not too late to seek help and protect your marriage from harm.

“Maybe there’s a force that’s driving it. Whether it’s addiction or not, don’t wait to figure that out. Get some help if you’re involved in secrecy or very disruptive and disconnecting behaviors.”

Breaking an addiction requires humility, honesty, and the willingness to change. If you or someone you know is struggling with a sexual addiction, healing and freedom is available.  


Steve Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show New Life Live! heard and watched by over 2 million people each week. He is author of several books including Understanding and Loving a Person with Sexual Addiction.

Understanding the battle of sexual addiction with Stephen Arterburn

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