Sex Addiction is when someone has turned compulsively to sexual behaviors in order to cope with negative feelings and the ups and downs of life. These behaviors can range from masturbation, looking at pornography, anonymous encounters, fantasizing, etc. The sex addict is unable to stop these behaviors for any great length without outside help.
Sexual addiction symptoms include:
- Pornography Use
- Compulsive Masturbation
- Extramarital Affairs
- Sexual Activity with a Minor
58% of Divorces & 1 in 4 Marriages are Failing Due to Porn Usage & Sexual Addiction
Is there a difference between high sex drive and sexual addiction?
Yes! Different individuals do have differing sex drives. The difference between someone who has a healthy sex drive and one who has a sexual addiction lies in the issue of satisfaction. A person with a healthy or even high sex drive is satisfied with sex. There is no need to go elsewhere to find validation. In addition, if the person with a healthy sex drive hears “no, not tonight” from his or her partner it is not taken personally or as rejection.
Why do people become sexually addicted?
As with any addictive behavior, there are many reasons that can influence the reason for an addiction. There can be biological, psychological or spiritual reasons-or a combination of many reasons. Sexual acting-out happens to be the “drug of choice” that is used to numb the pain.
Biological reasons: Endorphins and enkephlines are the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. They are released to give a feeling of happiness and well-being. The biological addict gets his fix by ejaculating or fantasizing, which in turn, supplies these chemicals to the brain.
Psychological reasons: The addict may sometimes use the rush of endorphins to escape emotional stresses that have come from emotional or physical trauma or sexual abuse that has occurred in the addict’s life. Feelings of lack of control due to these reasons can be triggered by countless sources. The addict may also be meeting the need to act-out due to an intimacy disorder.
Spiritual reasons: All humans have a need for God. There is a hole in each one of us that only He can fill. The sexual addict may use his or her addiction in place of true spirituality-sex becomes the addict’s God. It comforts, celebrates, and is always available or present.
For these reasons, it becomes obvious that outside help is necessary for the addict to be able to work through the roots of his or her addiction and to pass on to recovery. In addition to support groups, we also encourage the individual to seek professional counseling for even more in depth healing and recovery.
Can masturbation be a form of sex addiction?
Yes. Masturbation is the most common form of sex addiction. It is also, most commonly the first repeated sexual behavior that can lead to further exploration of other forms of “acting out”. It is a quick fix and is seemingly harmless.
What role does pornography play in sex addiction?
Pornography coupled with masturbation and fantasy is often the cornerstone for sexual addiction. This is a dangerous combination and is a hard cycle for the addict to break out of and attain sobriety. A fantasy world is created, sometimes as early as adolescence, that is visited throughout developmental stages. The sex addict’s emotional and sexual self comes to depend upon these fantasies to meet his or her needs on countless occasions, even before he or she ever has sex with another person.
Is it possible for a woman to be a sex addict?
Definitely. Women sex addicts exhibit many of the same behaviors as their male counterparts. Such behaviors include, pornography, internet activity, anonymous encounters, affairs, as well as an addiction to romantic novels and movies. There is a high success rate of recovery for female sex addicts-even prostitutes have been known to achieve sobriety!
Can a sex addict still be sexual with a spouse or in a committed relationship?
Yes. But at this stage, sex is usually no longer relational, but based on fantasy.
Is the sex addict’s addiction the fault of the spouse or partner?
No. The addiction was NOT the fault of the spouse or partner. The addict’s addiction began at a much earlier stage of development-long before marriageable age. The addiction, left untreated, would have grown regardless of who the addict married and would have wounded anyone who got close enough. Once again, there IS help for the spouse or partner of a sex addict in the form of support groups and professional counseling.
How can I keep my children from becoming sexually addicted?
Even though patterns of addiction are frequently passed down from one generation to the next, there is hope! In this day and age, there are many places where there can be a positive influence for the youth of America-such as dynamic youth groups. The important issue is that they are informed. Talk to your children about sex and Godly relationships.
Are recovery and sobriety possible for the sex addict?
Yes. Recovery and sobriety ARE possible for the sex addict! It takes time and hard work, with the first year being the hardest. But with guidance and support, the sex addict can experience restoration in his or her emotional, relational, sexual, financial, and spiritual lives. L.I.F.E. recovery has ministered to hundreds of addicts and spouses of addicts over the past several years. These marriages are better than they ever were and recovering addicts live much happier and fulfilled lives than they ever thought were possible!
What is it like to be the partner of a sex addict?
There are many similar feelings reported by the partners/wives of sex addicts. Aloneness, hopelessness, confusion, anger, and a general feeling of disconnectedness from one’s partner are among the most common. The partner can be confused due to the addict’s elusiveness or defensiveness as to the level of which he or she is “let in” to the addict’s L.I.F.E.. There is also a feeling that the partner doesn’t and can’t possibly measure up-resulting in a feeling that he or she will never be good enough. Anger is common as well due to the partner’s unmet emotional and physical needs. Fantasy worlds are perfect places. There is neither room for the addict’s partner or that partner’s needs.
Can the sex addict’s partner get help?
Yes! The sex addict’s partner can get help with or without the sex addict! Whether or not the addict is ready to admit to having a problem, his or her partner CAN get help. There are spouses’ support groups and personal counseling to deal with his or her feelings of loss, rejection, aloneness, anger, etc. that have built up over the years of living with a sex addict. The spouse or partner most likely has his or her own areas that need healing which caused he or she to be drawn to the addict in the first place. Such feelings can include low self-esteem, lack of confidence, denial, rejection, as well as many others. These feelings must be dealt with and validated through professional help. Once these feelings are dealt with, then, depending on the health of the addict, reconciliation can be attempted.