~ C. S. Lewis
From my last post, I’m sure you gathered that sex and sex connections via the internet cause a ton of pain for many people—people who you love dearly and deeply regret hurting.
I’m sure if I sat down with you over a cup of coffee, you and I could come up with at least twenty names of people who had it all going for them in a relationship or marriage, but fell dramatically because of sexual sin.
Those men and women would be politicians, musicians, actors/actresses, successful business people, and even pastors. But then again, we must also include your next-door neighbor, your co-worker, your best friend, and of course, you or your spouse.
So what gives? Why would someone in their right mind risk it all for momentary pleasure, a pleasure that gets one hooked for years or even a lifetime?
I think we need to focus on the phrase, “their right mind.” Something very chemically real occurs when someone gets sucked into internet sex. And it’s the same chemical reaction that is responsible for all addictions, on a physical level (we’ll discuss the spiritual levels in a later post).
In this discussion, I am NOT excusing someone's illicit behavior. I am EXPLAINING the pull. Being drawn into internet sex is most definitely a sin. We are accountable and responsible for our own actions. But sometimes we need to understand what goes on in the brain in order to target the real problem of why someone falls in the first place.
Dopamine, also known as the “reward hormone,” is released in the brain at the prospect and the fulfillment of an activity that brings arousal. That very feeling of pleasure is what we call the “high.” It’s not only in regard to sexual matters. Food brings the feeling. So do cigarettes, drugs, alcohol. And unfortunately, in deviant cases, so do forms of violence or perversions.
Let’s take food, for example. Someone with a food addiction problem experiences a slight initial high when they think about something they’re really in the mood to eat. Ah-ha! That’s it. I feel like pizza. The more I think about it, the more high over it I get.
When I walk into Giovanni’s Pizzeria, the smells invade my senses. The sights of all the cooked pizzas do the same. And you know how agonizing it can be as soon as Marco behind the counter says, “I’m sorry, ma’am. Your pizza will take a while…30 minutes.” Then you wait, and wait, and wait. Ugh!
Finally, it’s in your hands. Do I eat some of it in the car before I get home? Drawing it out makes you more crazy. So when you finally do get that first bite in your mouth, you get the tingles all over your body.
Now you’re thinking, but isn’t that how God has created us, so that we can give ourselves nourishment for survival? Yes, you’re right. And He even created us to have the same healthy reaction to sex.
But something can go askew. We get addicted to the dopamine release more and more, if we don’t watch it. Then, when we have a deep hurt, we go to that hormone release for relief.
In hearing testimonies of sexual or other kinds of addicts, it seems to all be the same story…
“My wife just ticked me off. I feel so rejected. I need to feel better.”
“My husband doesn’t pay any attention to me. I need to feel good, and now!”
Some of these deep hurts date back to childhood. Some, we are aware of. Others, we are not.
Yes, our Lord has given us a tremendous responsibility regarding our hurts. First, He wants us to bring ALL of our hurts, ALL of our disappointments, ALL of our longings for life done differently, to HIM!
Granted, some people are caught in addiction by some mishap. I received a letter from a woman who told me that a man got addicted to porn when he and his wife went to a fertility clinic. As you may or may not know, they have porn materials in these clinics so that the man can produce sperm for the doctor. Innocent intentions. But he was hooked.
For the most part, however, men and women are addicted to internet sex because something is either lacking in their lives or something is deeply hurting them or both!
With all my heart, if you are reading this now and you are caught in the web of internet sex, I want you to set aside a lot of time for you to spend with your Savior. Have it out with Him! I don’t mean get angry at Him. I mean, open your heart and your mouth to Jesus, and let the floodgates open!
Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to true healing. The Father can only work in a heart that is honest, humble, and broken.
Trust me. You can trust HIM with this.
If possible, do it now. I am praying for you.