On our way to living the full, beautiful, awesomeness of our sexuality (the Mystical path – which we’ll happily look at next week), we often veer off into two other paths: the Stoic or the Addict. Sometimes we bounce back and forth between the two.

We believe it is important, with compassion and honesty, to see how our sex is lived in dysfunctional ways so we can embrace the functional way. When we allow it, our sexuality can take us right to the Divine – that’s the Mystical path.

We all know the thrill, the excitement, the emotional high, the passion that’s such a great part of the human condition. We also know deeply that we long for something greater that life only seems to provide sometimes, if at all.

The Addict is in touch with this pang – this beautiful, sharp, vibrantly alive part of life. We’re made for the infinite, for the boundless, for the ecstatic! The problem is that the Addict tries to meet this need with things, including his/her own sexuality. And it doesn’t work.

We all know this if we’ve found ourselves repeatedly trying to “fill” our inner hole on things, and we can never be satisfied. As we noted last week, the Stoic basically denies his sexuality. If the Stoic wounds himself and others by withholding love, the Addict wounds by detaching sex from it’s greater purpose.

So, sex become something the Defended Self uses, instead of a deep expression of the Healthy Self. Like with all addiction, the Addict in us wants to avoid fully experiencing the present moment, because it may be painful. So, our sexuality becomes a tool for defense or distraction, often in a compulsive way.

Like a beautiful work of art that stirs us and calls us to go deeper, sex is made to be a doorway to the Divine. The addict gets fascinated with the art itself, rather than the transcendent calling behind the art. It’s like looking at Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night and being mesmerized by the paint and the brush strokes while missing the extraordinary, deeper gift of the painting.


By being fascinated by sex, the Addict misses the greater calling of his or her own body – our sexuality is meant to make us a gift; just as we are made to freely receive from the source upstream, we are meant to freely give ourselves without holding back – body, heart, and soul.  

Instead of being a gift, for the addict sex over time becomes utilitarian, self-involved and profoundly unfulfilling. It’s not helpful that our culture seems to idolize sex, which is to cut it off from it’s greater purpose.

The Addict in us is fascinated by sex for it’s own sake and so we miss the real power, the real beauty. Sexual union is meant to be a doorway to that real power and true beauty. The addict thinks she places a very high value on sex, when actually she undervalues it and misuses it – and herself.

We can learn a lot from the Addict. We learn that we do need to be deeply in touch with our sexuality. The good news is that the Addict has a lot in common with the Mystic. There’s one major difference. We’ll take a look at that next week.

We invite you to reflect on the ways the Addict shows up in your relationship to sexuality. How has your sexual passion – a very good thing – been used as a defense or even a weapon? Gently turn the light of compassionate curiosity on your Addict. Pay special attention to the need that drives your Addict. That same passion can become the lifeblood of the Mystic.