Category Archives: Sex Addiction

The Dating Advice No One Talks About

Tiger Woods. Amber Smith. Kanye. Bill Cosby. Lindsay Lohan. Seungri. Lamar Odom. Their sex addictions have made huge headlines and/or ruined lives. Chances are, you have someone in your circle as well who has a sex addiction. Various polls have shown that roughly 25% of females in the church self-report compulsive sexual behavior, and men nearly triple that percentage. Yet, hardly anyone is talking about it. Especially during the dating stage.

This silence is problematic because if the dating couple ends up marrying, the sex addiction will reveal itself at some point during the marriage. Sex addiction does not magically go away in marriage. It is a myth that regular sex with your spouse will cure sex addiction. This then turns into crisis, a complete breach of trust, and perhaps divorce. The betrayed and traumatized spouse will cry out, “Why didn’t you tell me you had this problem when we were dating?!”

One of the most common responses to the above question is: You wouldn’t have married me if I told you. If you think about it, this answer is jacked up on so many levels. In a way, it’s one person “tricking” another person into marrying them by omission or by deceit. Tragically, hiding a significant part of one’s self is a hallmark of most addicts. The shame they feel about themselves gets so heavy that they feel compelled to lie in order to be accepted. When they are alone, however, the two-faced reality hits hard and they go back to the activity that provides relief: sexual behaviors.

Friends, I have advice for any reader who is currently dating, or interested in dating. This advice differs for the one who has the sex addiction, and the one who does not have the sex addiction.

First, for the one without the sex addiction, be courageous and ask the person you are dating if they have a porn/sex addiction. Or any addiction for that matter. Substance, gambling, eating, gaming, hoarding. If they say no, and then you discover later while dating that they were lying, you have a clear character red flag which should make you seriously reconsider staying in the relationship, let alone marrying the person.

If they say yes they do have an addiction, ask them what they are doing about it. This, too, will reveal their character. As a marriage and family therapist, I can testify that character makes or breaks marriages. It does not matter how hot they are, how much money they will potentially earn, how great their family is, how talented their musical skill, or how kindly they treat you. If their character breaches your trust, you will have a frozen, miserable marriage. I would even say the earlier you ask them about addictions the better, before you get too emotionally attached. If you are already sexually active with this person, the attachment is unfortunately even stronger.

I realize this is terrifying material for the sex addict. You may be thinking, “Roy just shut up please, just shut up.” Trust me, I am trying to help you, not hurt you. More important than my fear of making you uncomfortable, however, is my goal of breaking the wheel of sex addiction because I see what it does to families and churches. Any prevention of devastation is worth this level of discomfort. So here is my advice to those of you with the sex addiction: Start recovery NOW, not later.

Consider this scenario. You’re on date #3 with someone you’re starting to really like. This person asks you, “I know this is awkward but I have to ask you something important. I saw my church split because my pastor lied for years about his sex addiction. If he had been upfront and gotten treatment, I think it would have gone a whole lot better. Do you have a porn or sex addiction?”

You now have choices as your heart starts thumping. You can lie. Or you can tell the truth. But even if you tell the truth, will you minimize it? Most people minimize it for self protection. But those who have started true recovery have already begun the process of being authentic. So let’s say the truth is, you know you have an addiction, and you are considering getting treatment. Credit to you for being truthful. However, what confidence will your date have if you haven’t even started treatment?

Now consider this alternate scenario. It’s the same date #3 with the same person, with the same question posed to you. This time, you tell this truth: “I was compulsive in looking at porn since 4th grade, all the way up until the start of college. I also objectified people, trying to hook up with random people, and even paying for sex. I started treatment 3 years ago with a certified sex addiction therapist. I attended group therapy weekly, and still do for accountability. I haven’t looked at porn for 2.5 years, and because I know this will be my life long temptation, I have 8 structures in place so that I’ll never go back to it. I have 3 go-to people to talk to when I get tempted to fantasize, and I have never felt so free in my life.” Now, contrast how your date will feel after hearing this answer, as opposed to the previous answer.

This is character. This is knowing yourself, knowing your weakness, and confronting it instead of hiding it and lying about it to others. If the polls are correct, there are way more people with sex addiction than you think. The question is, what are they doing about it? If someone told me they were controlling it by prayer and reading Scripture, I’d say: And?

Even if you tell your date that you are 10 years sober, there is the chance that they will not want to date you anymore. I don’t shy away from that reality. That is their choice, and it will sting. Part of our character building though, is being able to accept another person’s answer. Another part of our character building is being able to accept that we may not be quite ready to date right now. We may need to work on our health so that we become safe to others.

If you are convicted that this dating advice is what you (and God) would want, here are some ways to start:

  • Make an appointment with your local CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist). They specialize in getting you on the road to recovery. You can go to and use the search filters to find one in your area.
  • If your CSAT does not offer group therapy, find a group to attend via These meetings are free. Though they are not moderated by a therapist, the community aspect is essential for any sex addict’s recovery. Isolating is one of the worst things a sex addict can do.
  • Listen to podcasts that focus on sex addiction. Some of my favorites are “Sexual Addiction:Strength/Hope/Recovery” hosted by Carol the Coach, and “Pure Desire Podcast.” I also host a podcast called “SA speakeasy” that centers on the topic of sex addiction.

I would not be hitting hard with this advice if I didn’t have strong personal conviction. As a recovering addict myself, I know how terrifying it is to reveal my true nature to others. But the blood of Christ has paid for our shame. We can now focus on working hard towards sobriety. If His gospel does not reach the level of dealing with our shame, and we are still living a double life, then what really has He set us free from? It is liberating to know Christ is my strongest advocate in my own sobriety, and in yours as well.

Sex Addiction is an Intimacy Disorder

Chris Williams and I discuss the essential yet often frightening topic of intimacy in the latest episode of SA speakeasy. Some of the questions we cover:

  • What are the pros and cons of allowing someone to know all of me?
  • Would you rather be admired, or loved?
  • What effect does social media have on intimacy?
  • What is a surefire way to increase intimacy?
  • How well does the church handle true intimacy?
  • Do pastors struggle with sex addiction?
  • What does Andy Crouch mean when he defines vulnerability as meaningful risk?

I hope you find our discussion illuminating and helpful for you or anyone you care about. Click here for the episode link and I welcome your feedback 🗣

Most Sex Addicts Believe These 4 Things

Whether they realize it or not, at the core of most sex addicts are 4 fundamental beliefs:

  • I am a bad person, unworthy of love
  • No one will accept me if they really knew me
  • I cannot count on others to meet my needs
  • My most important need is sex

Keaton Kleiner and I discuss these 4 beliefs and how these beliefs shape the course of a sex addict’s life in the latest episode of SA speakeasy.  For more about Keaton’s work in Omaha, Nebraska, go to:

You can find the podcast episode here

Getting Clarity about Sex Offenders

Do you know the difference between a sex addict and a sex offender? Sometimes they are one and the same. Other times they are not. My guest on this episode is Charla Thorstad, a sex offender specialist, and she will help us get clarity about the very important topic of sex offense. If you’d like to listen to our conversation, please click here!

*Note: The website will phase out and its contents will be subsumed under

What if I’m not an addict per se?

Some people have full blown porn and sex addictions. Without proper treatment, they will likely live a life laden with shame and destruction. But what about the other people who don’t quite qualify for an addiction? What if their behaviors are “merely problematic?”

I discuss this issue with Heather Seguin of Clear Choice Counseling, who specializes in sex addiction treatment, as well as helping the partners of sex addicts.  If you’d like to listen to the conversation, click here!

Key talking points:

  • Do people need treatment if they “only” have problematic behavior? If so, what does that treatment look like?
  • The difficulty of getting out of isolation if we never learned social skills
  • The importance of finding a specialist in therapy is similar to finding a specialist in the medical field. 

[Editor’s note: Heather’s office is now in Upland, CA]

The appeal and tragedy of sex and drugs

What happens when we combine sex with substance use? Many report that the sexual experience is exponentially better than “normal” sex. It makes sense that once experiencing this combination, one would keep wanting to go back to it.

Andy Park (LMFT and Certified Multiple Addiction Therapist) and I discuss the appeal and tragedy of combining sex and drugs. Some of the topics and questions we cover:

  • Why do substance addicts tend to also have a sex addiction?
  • How do drugs spoil sexual experiences in the future?
  • How much do substance addicts connect with their partners while high?
  • Mistaking intensity for intimacy
  • The haunting question for addicts: Why do I do what I do?
  • How to provide treatment for someone who is addicted to both
  • What sobriety feels like for someone committed to treatment

Listen to our conversation on Episode 14 of SA speakeasy!

How much does sex addiction treatment cost?

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Tony Ramynke rejoins me to discuss the cost of sex addiction treatment. More importantly, we discuss the potential cost of NOT getting treatment. We also talk about the common occurrence of multiple factors underlying a sex addiction that need to be assessed and treated.

Some of the questions we address in this episode:

  • Why isn’t sobriety the ultimate goal of sex addiction therapy?
  • Can we be depressed and/or anxious and not know it?
  • What’s the connection between sexually acting out and depression/anxiety?
  • What is the monetary value of living shame-free and lie-free? Of being able to see your kids everyday?

Find Tony at

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Sex addiction is a form of emotional deafness

Chris Williams (Licensed Marriage/Family Therapist & Co-Host of New Life Live) rejoins me to discuss how sex addiction is a form of emotional deafness. 

Some of the topics we cover:

  • Why ignoring our feelings is a mistake.
  • How to experience love at a deeper level.
  • Why many men struggle with anger management and empathy.
  • What happens when we squash our children’s emotions.
  • Porn during bad times, porn during good times.
  • Why it’s hard to delight in simple pleasures and blessings.

Contact Chris at

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Coping with life intentionally

Keaton Kleiner (an LMHP in Omaha, Nebraska) and I discuss the difference between coping with life’s struggles in what he coins a “lazy versus intentional” way. We find that it’s important to know the difference because sex addicts can help themselves recover by learning intentional ways to cope with hardship. 

Some of the topics we discuss:

  • Why alcohol and pornography are some of the lazy skills
  • Why even certain ways of “using God” can be lazy!
  • Why masturbating leads to feelings of despair
  • Why we end up substituting one addiction for another addiction
  • How do we intentionally cope with life?
  • One interesting intervention: Go ahead and view porn, but on one condition…
  • How do people even get started being intentional when they have never learned how?
  • The importance, and even the necessity, of group therapy

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God, sex addiction, and sexual health

In Episode 10 of SA speakeasy, Grace Erickson and I discuss the significance of spirituality when treating sex addiction. Grace is currently one of the few, if not only, Catholic sex addiction therapists in the Seattle area. Some of the issues we talk about in this episode: 

Can God love me even if I repeat sexual sins?

The high number of men who lack meaningful friendships.

The deep guilt and shame of sex addicts.

The amazing strengths of our clients.

The real hope that sex addicts have to become sexually healthy.