Characteristics of Sex Addiction

Although the compulsive use of sexuality is as old as mankind, the conceptualization of it as an ‘addiction” goes only back to the early 80’s.   Therefore, there are a range of definitions of sexual addiction.

Patrick Carnes says, “The sex addict substitutes a sick relationsip to an event or process for a healthy relationship with others.  The addict’s relationship with a mood-altering ‘experience’ becomes central to his life.”

Charlotte Eliza Kasl says, “Addiction is, essentially, a spiritual breakdown, a journey away from the truth into emotional blindness.  Sexul addiction is about more than relationshhips or pairing.  It is a state of mind and a set of beliefs that can exist separately from other people.  It is about a relationship with oneself.”

Both these writers definitions emphasize important aspect of a sexual addiction.  Sex addiction, like any addiction, is mood altering.  It affect the individual like any mood-altering drug.  Sexual obsession becomes a “fix,” and addicts get their “high” from the sexual fix.

As in all addictions, in sex addiction there is a breadown of the addict’s own personal morality.  There is a progressive movement away from truth.  The addict moves away from reality and toward the state of “insanity”, defined as living in a state of perceptual distortion.  It is an obsession and preoccupation with sex, in which everything is defined sexually or by its sexuality and all perceptions and relationships are sexualized.

Like all other addicts, sex addicts become progressively dishonest, self-centered, isolated, fearful, confused, devoid of feelings, controlling, perfectionistic, blinded to their problem (denail), blaming and dysfunction.

In short, their lives become progressively unmangeable.

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