Lies are the foundation of the temptations we face in sex addiction. The devil is a master liar. Jesus explained, “He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” ( John 8:44 NIV).
People were first exposed to Satan’s lies in the Garden of Eden. Satan suggested to Eve that God was keeping back good things from her. As Eve started to doubt God, she lusted for the fruit and sinned. In the same way, Satan tempts us using combinations of things we desire and lies. If he can get us to doubt God’s goodness through lies, then we’re more likely to sin.
An example of the common sexual temptation
Satan often tries to convince people that restricting sex to marriage is outdated and impractical. He tells people (singles & teens, especially) that God is unfairly withholding sex from them. He tells them that there will be little or no consequences for having sex outside of marriage and/or looking at pornography. The result is that many people doubt God’s good plan for sex and give-in to fornication, adultery, or looking at pornography. After going down those paths, people often discover that the consequences are real and often much more serious than they had originally thought.
Destroy the lies with truth
The power of lies is broken by truth. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32 NKJV). As Jesus said, we need to be familiar with his word, which is recorded in the Bible. Spending time in Bible study (e.g. daily quiet time) is therefore an important discipline for success on the battlefield of temptations. It takes study and memory work to learn the applicable verses for the different temptations we may face in sex addiction, but the investment of your time and energy will pay off. (see our Sword of the Spirit page for more info)
As you read the following lies, ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize lies you may have believed. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13 NKJV). We’ve attempted to answer each lie with truth from the Bible.
Lie: “I’ll never get free of sex addiction”
Truth: Jesus died on the cross so we CAN get free of whatever sin struggle we are involved in. The Holy Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, gives life to our mortal body so we can live in freedom (Romans 8:11,13). Life through Jesus Christ brings spiritual renewal and a new nature that enables us to walk in purity, just as Jesus did (2 Corinthians 5:17).
No matter how bad we may have sinned, we can still come to Jesus and receive forgiveness and cleansing. Jesus’ blood covers all our sins. Hebrews 6:17-20 affirms that we have hope in Jesus, who is the anchor of our soul.
Lie: “Pornography helps my marriage sex life”
Truth: Pornography destroys a marriage’s sex life through lust. Though it may bring a short-term pleasure, it harms your marriage by supplanting love-inspired affection with lustful gratification. It’s only a matter of time before things deteriorate. Lust naturally craves more and more, so you’ll find yourself looking for more exciting outlets when your spouse is unable to keep up.
Lie:” I can’t live without my porn” (and/or sex sin)
Truth: The enemy wants us to believe that we cannot survive and enjoy life without a diet of sin. The truth is that sinful living produces spiritual and ultimately physical death. True life begins with living according to God’s Spirit, and making no provision for sin’s fulfillment (Romans 13:14, John 6:63). We CAN live without sin!
When we obey God with our sex life, we will experience peace and are best able to reap the fruits of a healthy marriage (current or future). Sex is not a right given to every person, but rather, it is a gift from God to every person who marries. For those who have not married, the challenge is to trust God and wait on Him for His provision for life, marriage and sex.
Lie: “God won’t accept me because I keep falling to temptation”
Truth: Satan specializes in condemnation and despair. Once he entices us to sin, he condemns us for sinning, telling us we’ll never be free. He tells us we’ll never be able to please God. Jesus died so that we have peace with God. God is not angry with us for sinning, and he longs for us to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and live in the reality of the new life he prepared for us. Jesus bore all of God’s wrath due to us for our sin (Isaiah 53:4-12; Isaiah 54:10). God will not reject us when we approach him for help.
Lie: “God made me this way”
Truth: God doesn’t make mistakes. He created us good, but we are corrupted from birth by the sinful nature we inherit from Adam (Romans 5:12). We can become enslaved to sin when we obey sin’s desires (Romans 6:16). When enslaved, it’s easy to blame our bondage on God. When we do this, it seems to free us from the responsibility for our sin. But, God is not to blame – we are! Steps to gaining freedom begin with taking responsibility for our sin by confessing it to God.
Lie: “Forbidden sex is more enjoyable”
Truth: Forbidden sex enslaves us to lust. For a time, our forays into the forbidden may deliver pleasure, but soon we’ll want more risk, more exposure, more thrill, etc., and we’ll go deeper into depravity. Our own actions can bring a type of curse upon ourselves, such that we are unable to enjoy the good things God has given us. Romans 1:20-32 describes what can happen when we follow the path of depravity. Those who wait on God for their sexual needs will enjoy lasting pleasure and contentment (Psalm 36:7-9; John 4:14). God’s provision meets our needs (Philippians 4:19).
Lie: “All sex is good”
Truth: God gave us some very specific guidance on what kind of sex is acceptable. God restricts sex to marriage between one man and one woman (Mark 10:6-9, Genesis 2:24). Any sexual activity outside of this context is sin, which has consequences that, in some cases have lifelong effects (see consequences). God also gave us specific guidance on nakedness, telling us not to reveal our sexual organs to any person other than our spouse (Habakkuk 2:14-16, Isaiah 57:8, Ezekiel 23:18). Pornography exploits nakedness and disgusts God (Ezekiel 23:18).
Lie: “The Bible teaches that sex is dirty”
Truth: The Bible teaches that sex is good! God created sex as a wonderful gift to be enjoyed between a man and woman in marriage. He intended it to be an intimate expression of love exclusively between a husband and wife. Consider what the Bible says about this kind of sex:
“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer–may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?” Proverbs 5:18-20 NIV
When sex is removed from this context and/or exploited through pornography or other means, it becomes an addictive and destructive practice.
Lie: “Pornography doesn’t hurt anyone”
Truth: Porn damages the viewer. Proverbs 6:27 says: “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?” The implied answer is “No.” Lusting after people with our eyes and thoughts is equivalent to committing the sin with them (Matthew 5:28). Porn trains us to practice lust and live in a fantasy world of evil thoughts. As a result, we burn with insatiable lust that drives us to seek gratification. The memories resulting from our porn activities can last a lifetime and damage our ability to enjoy sex in our marriage. Pornography also can lead us down the destructive path of perversion. Pedophilia, homosexuality, rape and abuse are just a few of the many possible activities that porn promotes.
Porn damages the viewer’s family. For example, your children could be tormented by any evil spirits that are tormenting you, or they may simply get hooked on porn when they stumble across your porn stash. Your spouse could be devastated if he/she discovers you’ve been committing “mental adultery” through porn. He/she may have difficulty ever trusting you again when they discover your secret life. It could take years for you to re-learn how to love your spouse and eliminate the stranglehold lust has on you. You may have to relearn how to have sex in a loving way, since you have become tuned for lust through porn.
Lie: “Getting married will stop my pornography addiction”
Truth: Marriage can make porn addiction worse, and porn addiction will ruin a marriage’s sex life! There are several reasons for this, but one of the key reasons is that porn addicts have sexually tuned themselves to respond to lust by porn pictures and masturbation. Married sex, by design, is to be built on love. Lust and love are total opposites. The porn addict should break his addiction before getting married.
Lie: “Lust is the same as love”
Truth: Lust is the exact opposite of love.
Lie: “There is nothing wrong with lust”
Truth: Lust is sin (Matthew 5:28). Lust is very harmful and is often the starting point for many other kinds of evil. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us that lust will actually prevent God’s love from being in us. If we lack God’s love, we are vulnerable to being filled with every other form of evil. Romans 1:20-32 gives us an example of what happened when Roman Christians followed lust. They were filled with every form of evil (29-30).
Lie: “Masturbation is harmless and healthy”
Truth: Masturbation is addictive and gives lust a foothold to control our minds. It also destroys our marriage sex life by sexually tuning us to ourselves. Masturbation teaches us nothing about loving our spouse and giving to him/her during sex. It’s all about satisfying our own selfish desires. (see masturbation page)
Lie: “God is unfair and unloving to restrict sex to marriage.”
Truth: God is holy, which means perfect in goodness and righteousness. God also loves us very much. He proved his love for us by sacrificing Jesus for our sins (see God’s Love). God restricted sex to marriage to protect us from the many sorrows that come with sexual sin. Sex sin brings spiritual confusion, perversion, bondage, addiction, destruction of families and a host of other possible side effects (see sex sin consequences). Sex is so powerful that it can only be safely contained in a loving marriage where there is lifelong commitment, trust and intimacy. Once we extract sex from that context, it becomes unstable and easily converts to a lustful endeavor.
Lie: “Lots of sex brings satisfaction and fulfillment”
Truth: Lasting fulfillment comes from knowing God. When we follow God, He satisfies us with good things that bring lasting fulfillment (see Psalm 103:2-5, Psalm 107:9, Psalm 145:16, Psalm 36:7-9, John 4:14). Indulging in sexual sin yields lust which is a continual desire for more. Lust is a total lack of fulfillment (see lust).
Lie: “Pre-marital sex is OK as long as you’re planning to marry the person or are in a committed monogamous relationship”
Truth: Whether you are engaged to be married or are thinking that you will eventually get married, the fact is that you are not yet married. The Bible is clear about sex outside of marriage being sin (1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19; Hebrews 13:4; Colossians 3:5, Deuteronomy 22:13-28). The consequences of pre-marital sex will include damaged intimacy in your future marriage.
Lie: “God doesn’t care about what I do with my body”
Truth: God is deeply concerned with what we do with our bodies, because our bodies are literally temples for his Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 describes this special function of our bodies and how we are called to honor God by not defiling our bodies with sexual sin in particular. Sexual sin unites us spiritually with whatever we’re having sex with (physically or mentally). Since God’s Spirit lives in us as Christians, we dishonor our bodies and defile God’s temple through our sexual sin. Keeping our bodies from sexual sin is a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1-2).
Lie: “My addiction disqualifies me from Christian ministry”
Truth: All people have sinned and have fallen short of God’s holy standard (Romans 3:23). Every minister of the Gospel has sinned at one point or another. Sex addiction does not disqualify you from being in ministry. Granted, if your ministry is causing you to fall to temptation, you should step back for a time until you have broken the bondage with God’s help. Your victory over it will likely open up doors for you to help other people looking for the path to freedom.
Lie: “Your body is not good enough to be sexually successful”
Truth: This lie is promoted by vendors of sexual enhancement products. While there may be legitimate needs for some of these products, too often people feel sexually inferior because they don’t have the “perfect” physical setup as seen in porn or elsewhere. The enemy’s goal is to get us to doubt that God created us with the capacity and the ability to naturally enjoy sexual union with our spouse. The enemy wants us to sabotage our enjoyment of sex by inspiring fear of failure and/or rejection from the opposite sex. This kind of performance orientation is advanced by porn’s themes like “size matters,” and other nonsense. When considering sex, we can trust God that he has given us all we need to enjoy sex with our spouse. We also can ask him to help us overcome any fears we may have about sex, such that we can enjoy the full experience of sex (spiritually, emotionally and physically).