Sexual addiction is when a person struggle with sexuality just like they would with alcohol if they had an alcohol problem. Addiction is about a compulsion that brings comfort. It happens to anyone if the conditions, history and predisposition are there. Addiction is about numbing, avoidance and isolation. It is about a secret life.
Sexual addiction lends itself well to this double life. Drinking, spending, gambling, overeating and even some drugs are done with others. Sexual addiction oftentimes is done in isolation. No one would know that you look at porn, masturbate or visit the prostitute. There is less physical evidence. Alcohol you have to stash and can me smelled on one’s breath. Compulsive debting and spending leaves behind money problems. Drug addiction can leave side effects and physical symptoms. But, sexual addiction is sneakier than that. One can leave some internet porn trail or email trail. Unfortunately, it can also bring sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s).
How do I know if I have a Sexual Addiction?
1. Have I ever thought I needed help for my sexual thinking or behavior?
2. Have I ever thought that sex is controlling my life?
3. Have I ever tried to stop or limit doing what I felt was wrong in my sexual behavior?
4. Do I resort to sex to escape, relieve anxiety, or because I feel I can’t cope?
5. Do I feel guilt, remorse or depression afterward?
6. Has my pursuit of sex become more compulsive over time?
7. Has my level sexual behaviors progressed, i.e. “I have done things now that I thought I would never do?
8. Does it interfere with relations with my spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend?
9. Do I have to resort to images or memories during sex?
10. Do I keep going from one “relationship” or lover to another?
11. Do I feel if I had a better sexual relationship with my spouse that this would help me stop lusting, masturbating, or being so promiscuous?
12. Does the pursuit of sex make me careless for myself or the welfare of my family or others?
13. Has my effectiveness or concentration decreased as sex has become more compulsive?
14. Do I lose time from work for it?
15. Do I turn to a lower environment when pursuing sex? Has it taken me to places in a city, I never thought I would go?
16. Do I want to get away from the sex partner as soon as possible after the act?
17. Have I used alcohol and drugs in the past?
18. Have I ever been in a situation that I might have considered sexually abusive?
19. Have I felt I had to keep this a secret?
20. Do I have difficulty expressing my feelings?
21. Was it difficult for me to answer these questions, or did I try to minimize and rational some of the answers?
Well, how did you do? If you have answered “yes” to one of two of these questions you might consider thinking about your situation in terms of a sexual addiction. Why? Well, here is something to consider.
Say, like you got caught by your spouse or significant other looking at porn or trying to have a secret relationship So, say you are sorry, you stop and then you start again. You are then caught again. By this time they are less patient with you. Now the spouse is going to ask these questions. If they don’t, they are what we might call denial.
“Why is he (she) doing this again?”
“What else do I not know?”
“If he (she) has control of this, why do they doing again? and also why do they lie again?”
An addiction model of seeing this problem can explain why the person is continuing to do the behavior and lie about it. Otherwise, without an addiction model would be seeing this as something they want to do, the choose to do it (i.e. “there is not compulsive, they have full control”) and the choose to lie about it (what they won’t know, won’t hurt them).
Addiction of this sort can be rather mild or it can be severe and really do damage. The treatment is the same. One needs to look a the causes of this, develop a program of recovery and then follow it. It is the following it that is the most difficult.
Our culture promotes sexual addiction on one hand and shames the person who struggles with it on the other