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Battling their sex addiction

Laguna Beach-based New Life Ministries specializes in workshops to help men with a problem that can be as damaging as drug, alcohol addiction.

December 08, 2011|By Joanna Clay

While many associate sex addiction with the high-profile struggles of celebrities like Tiger Woods or David Duchovny, Laguna Beach-based New Life Ministries says the issue isn't just a problem for those in the public eye.

Instead, they say, it's an addiction that everyday men suffer in private.

Founder of New Life Ministries Steve Arterburn said he didn't realize the demand for sex addiction counseling until he co-authored the book, "Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time," with Fred Stoeker more than 10 years ago.

With more than 3 million copies sold, Arterburn decided to start an intensive workshop to address the needs of thousands of men who claimed to be struggling with sexual addiction.

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He said he heard a statistic that as many as one in three people are affected by sexual addiction.

The nationwide monthly workshop, with the same name as the book, is a three-day program led by master's- or doctorate-level counselors who are also recovering sex addicts.

As many as 80 men attend each workshop, which "uses a combination of teaching sessions and small group work," according to New Life Ministries' website.

Jason Martinkus, a speaker at Every Man's Battle, says sex addiction isn't a blanket statement.

"It's an excuse for some people," he said.

However, for many men, including Martinkus, sex addiction was just as invasive and destructive as addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Martinkus recalled looking at pornography for the first time at 11 years old. He referred to a statistic that the average male sees pornography for the first time between the ages of 9 and 11.

He lost his virginity at 14. As he grew up, he said sex and pornography became an obsession.

After graduating college with a degree in finance, he traveled the U.S. working for different companies as a consultant. He recalled night after night of logging onto his computer in his hotel room and heading to chat rooms to find a willing woman to meet him for sex.

This whole time Martinkus was married and was essentially living a double life, because no one — family or friends — had any idea of the thoughts and actions that were starting to control him.

It came to a point where he was spending most of his time thinking about "acting out" — what he calls his sexually addictive actions, such as going on chat rooms, looking at porn and engaging in extramarital sex.

He also started to have suicidal thoughts.

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