Birchard T. (2017) Compulsive sexual behaviour and religious practice.

Chapter in: The Routledge International Handbook of Sexual Addiction.


The information gathered from both American and British projects on the prevalence rates of clergy sexual misconduct suggests the clergy have substantially higher rates of sexual misconduct than other caring professionals. This chapter takes the view that religious vocation, no matter the religious tradition, is often about the use of religion and religious practice to manage endemic shame caused by narcissistic damage. Sexual behaviour can also be a way of escaping from this endemic shame. It is the author’s view that the clergy have these higher rates of misconduct because religious behaviour and sexual behaviour are both solutions to the pain of narcissistic damage.