The Tsunami of Sex Addiction

Now 15 years into the 21st century, we have seen amazing advancements in technology. We have gotten rid of our landlines and traded them in for smart phones. Many families have canceled their television cable plans for subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu. And what even happened to video rental stores, like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video? Why put in the effort to go to one of these establishments when we can rent directly from our televisions and computers via the Internet, right?

Technology coupled with the internet has become a fascinating phenomenon. Most of us can’t imagine going back to a world without it, and others of us can’t even fathom a world that once existed without it. We can do now do things faster, easier, and be more productive than ever before because of it. But, aside from all the positive reasons for having this level of technology at our fingertips (literally), sometimes I don’t think we have considered how dangerous it can be without parameters. In my work as a sex addictions therapist, I RARELY see an addict who has not utilized technology and the internet to aid in their addiction. In fact, for most, technology and the internet have become the primary gateway for “acting out” with their addiction. They can view pornography from the comfort of their home or office with the illusion no one is watching…..and it’s FREE! Utilizing GPS technology, they can download apps for their smartphones to fine others looking for a random sexual experience within 100 feet of their current location. Even prostitutes have their own websites!

Patrick Carnes, author of Out of the Shadows and founder of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), has often referred to the problem of sex addiction in the age of the internet as a tsunami that is well on its way. Well….. to my fellow therapists and clergy, I say:


I think I can accurately state that if you have been in practice as a licensed or pre-licensed professional for over a year, then you have had a client (most likely a few) who has expressed having sexually compulsive issues that have been disruptive to their lives in some way. If you are a ministry leader in a congregation of 50 or more members, then you have undoubtedly seen the devastating effects of this issue. Therefore, with the tsunami upon us, I can safely say that if you plan on staying in the field of mental & relational health and/or church ministry, then you are going to see more and more of the effects of sexual compulsion and addiction among your clients and church members.

If you know of someone who has been deeply effected by this evil we call sex addiction, then please reach out to a professional that is equipped in working with people suffering from this issue.  Additionally, if you are a clinician or ministry leader interested in learning more about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss how you can gain additional training and/or knowledge in effort to serve your clients or community more effectively. (Check out this upcoming workshop hosted by Family Solutions Counseling)

Taking on this challenge is not for the faint of heart; thus, I commend those of you who are up for the challenge.   – Joshua Nichols, LMFT, CSAT

Posted in