This post has been a long time coming and I apologize to everyone that we have taken so long. With that said…drum roll…here is Anonymous Questions Answered Episode 1! We encourage anyone who has any question(s) about sexual addiction recovery to submit questions and we will get therapists, men in recovery or whoever is needed to get a real effective answer. I give huge props to those who had the courage and were unashamed and unafraid enough to submit these questions. Thank you for helping us built a larger open conversation around sexual addiction recovery!
Question: Hi Steve! Thank you so much for coming and sharing your story with your wife at AMCAP in Virginia this past weekend. Do you have a recording somewhere of you and your wife sharing on your website? I want to share your story with leadership in my stake and hope a video exists somewhere. Wishing you and your family well. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story with others...I was so touched and inspired! Caitlin
Answer: Thank you for your kind comments and glad you were able to be with us! Our next post will be the audio from that AMCAP presentation. I will also do a later post of two different audios of just Kayla and I sharing our story.
Question: So what do you do about wanting to have a temple marriage when it will deprive you of seeing your girl in lingerie? Temple garments mean no girl in undies and most secular guys wouldn't make such a sacrifice I think.
Answer: Chris talks about how the church does not have any guidelines against women wearing lingerie. Chris, Duane, and Rocky talk about their own experience. I think it was best expressed by Rocky’s unofficial “three S's” “You have your three S’s right? Sports, Sex, and Swimming which are all areas where active garments wearing members often do not wear them. We did a post with Corey from LifeSTAR on Healthy Sex. The men talked about how sex, which is about safety and connection, is the best sex, so we recommend not forcing the issue on any woman who is not comfortable.
Question: Is there help for women who have sexual addiction? This isn't a gender-isolated addiction. It runs the same gamut as for men, but there is very little help available. Is there an online group?
Answer: Excellent question! Yes, there are a lot of resources. SA.org and addictionrecovery.lds.org are two that you can go to to find meetings for women. Lots of the SA meetings are for men and women, which Rocky, Duane, and Chris all have been to and talk about how it wasn’t really weird with woman there. Don’t worry: I had the same initial reaction you did! Also, you can go to any CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist) and they will be able to help you.
Question: I know I need to start somewhere I am just too fearful of the effects it's going to have on my wife.
Answer: Haven’t we all been there! The first thing the group brought up was to do a full disclosure. Chris makes a great statement on this: “When you decide to do disclosure, do full disclosure so you’re not leaving anything out. (This is KEY) Try not to control the outcome by minimizing what you're doing. Nothing was more freeing to me than letting my wife know everything.” I recommend having a counselor in the room. Rocky commented that this is key for her and that she needs help to deal with all the aftermath. Duane brought up a good thing: “It sounds like you’ve got some fears that it is going to harm her. I can promise you, in the long-run you will bless her life immensely by being in recovery.” I would also recommend having some recovery plans in place for when you disclose. So you can say, "Here is what I’ve done and now here is what I’m going to do about it to change". This will help you create safety. Also, realize if this is all new to her she will likely need sometime to digest the disclosure and deal with it. Be patient and let her be hurt, mad, etc. But remember that Duane is right, and that this group of men all have different marriage scenarios and disclosure timing. Yet these principles have worked for all of us. Rocky also made this great comment: “It’s okay to recognize that you don’t know how to do this and tell her that you need to learn. [For example, you say,} 'So here is my plan, but I don’t know how to do this and I need to find some help.'”
Question: Listened to your podcast on Leading LDS this morning. It was excellent. Wow! What a ride you've been on. I have much respect for your desire to reach out and help others. My question is, do you know of any software that will monitor the words your kids type into their computer and if a bad word is detected, immediately send a TEXT to the parent? I know many of the monitoring software’s send emails, but I haven't found any that send immediate texts.
Answer: Chris talked about Uknowkids.com which monitors texts and all social media. I think Duane summarized our thoughts well: “There has to be a balance and you have to be careful to not be too controlling as well. Remember to not let co-dependency creep in, because that will foster your own addiction if you are trying to control everyone in your life. ‘My kids will…’ It’s just going to create problems for your kids down the road if you’re too controlling. You need to have open dialogue…if do it in the right way to where your kids are willing to share with you.” We recommend monitoring/accountability software (I like, EverAccountable). Most importantly have an ongoing open conversation about pornography and sexuality. However, this doesn’t mean you should not have boundaries and attempt to create safety. Chris, Rocky, and Duane all talked about how their kids aren’t allowed to have devices in their rooms or at night, etc. But you won’t be able to stop your kids from making mistakes fully. Yet if you have a relationship where they are willing to be open with you, that will make the biggest difference.
Question: I have just learned that my husband of 15 years has a "sexual addiction"…says that he feels dead inside, and as he doesn't even recognize the heartbreak this is causing…I am heartsick for him and us. I just am not sure how to proceed. Does he need to be the one to see that this is an addiction?...He said that there are things in his past that he will not talk about that is between him and God., and Satan was right there too. He says that he is ashamed and used to have integrity. He will then say that "this is just the way I am". What am I to do to help him/us? I love my husband…He wants to tell me everything, but I don't feel that he is emotionally connected, and doesn't understand the depth of pain that this is. Advice please.
Answer: Chris starts by saying, “Love him for who he is, but this doesn’t mean you have to stay with him.” He also gives the advice that you need to pray and decide how long and to what extent you are willing to be with someone who actively chooses not to be in recovery. That is a personal choice for you. I would add that God wants you to be happy. That path is different for everyone, but if you feel “it is what it is” “this is my lot”, “I’m stuck in this”, or “I just have to deal with this forever” then that’s not the answer God has for you. He wants you to be happy and emotionally connected and there is a path to that. Duane said, “Be careful to not get into a place of co-dependence, because the addiction is his battle to fight (and his problem that he need to be accountable for)” There are a lot of resources out there for women who have experienced betrayal trauma (psst this is you) and you need to find healing and recovery for yourself. No matter what he chooses to do with his recovery, you can get health and start on your recovery today. I recommend listening to our post with Dorothy at LifeSTAR about betrayal trauma and go to Bloom, and HopeandHealingLDS.com (join the forum). All of these will be helpful.
Question: Hi, I am 21 years old and I have been addicted to pornography and masturbation since I was about ten. Like you, I spoke with my bishop and also shared most of my issues I was having. I felt forgiven and went on my mission. I acted up on my mission with pornography, spoke to my mission president, felt forgiven and kept serving. As soon as I came back, it started again. I've been home for a year and I've had the issue for a while. I even had sex with a few different girls. Of course, I'm keeping it hidden as I also go to church weekly. You seem to have a similar experience, so I was really hoping to hear what you have to say. I know what I'm doing is wrong, but the issue is I have no desire to change. I'm currently single if that helps. Any advice? Thanks
Answer: There are a lot of things we could talk about around this, but my largest recommendation is to listen to all of the men’s stories here at UnashamedUnafraid. All of our stories are different, but each describes how in addiction, we were living in denial and that when we could see through our denial we could easily see how the addiction had huge negative effects. Not just on others but for ourselves. I have yet to find a man who having worked through real recovery and had any regrets about it. Also, statistically the odd of you getting married and not having your addiction come up in a major way and disrupt the relationship is a virtual zero. I’ll end with the quote that inspired the name of the site and invite you to come join us in recovery, “I said there's plenty people like me, all outsiders like me, and all unashamed and all unafraid to live out what they supposed to be.” -Lecrae
Question: My wife has always been sexually .... shy, I guess. Reluctant to try new things, and always seemed bothered by the suggestions. Recently, I found out she had been sext-ing a coworker, but not before I noticed she was easing into more pornographic sex…Should I worry? If so, why? If not, why?
Answer: This sounds very much like addictive behavior. Duane talks about how addicts act in denial. Ask the questions you need to ask and if she is defensive than it is likely that you have addiction going on. “You got to have open dialogue and talk to your spouse about this stuff and it needs to go both ways” - Chris. If her risky behavior is affecting your safety, that’s obviously a problem, but if you are fine with the risky behavior it is likely that you both might be struggling with sexual addiction behavior. I would seek as many resources as possible to start working on sexual addiction recovery. We have outlined many resources throughout this post and here on the resources page.
Unashamed & Unafraid
You can make comments to posts anonymously, so please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share your experiences in recovery.