The Nature of Sex Addiction

The Nature of Sex Addiction
All of my sexually addicted clients get the same things that drugs and alcohol give to chemically dependent individuals. What do they get from it?

  • an intense high, comparable to nothing else in their lives;
  • a way to numb painful feelings such as anger, anxiety or fear;
  • a way to escape stressor inherent in life;
  • unable to resist urges and cravings

However, the sex addict’s high lasts only as long as the orgasm.  Sex addicts then feel shame guilt-ridden and depressed.  Each time they indulge, he comes face-to-fact with reality.  But that is not to stop them.  The feelings of guilt and remorse drive them back to the addiction to numb those feelings.  It’s a vicious cycle.

How can Sex Be A Drug?

Most people think of sex as a wonderful part of life.  No so with drug addicts. To understand sex addiction, it’s helpful to think of it as a drug – the sex addict‘s drug of choice.  Some of the benefits are:

  • It’s anesthetic – it numbs the pain
  • As a tranquilizer to relieve anxiety and fear
  • It’s a mood elevator – it alleviates depression
  • It’s used as a mood-changer so they can escape reality

What is it to be addicted to sex?

One alcoholic prefers beer, another wine, another whiskey, the sex addict has his preferred way of acting out.  Among them are:

  • compulsive masturbation
  • exhibitionism
  • voyeurism
  • pornographic images on computers and Smart Phones
  • live web-cam sexual activities
  • “sexting”
  • erotic messages over the phone
  • a steady stream of affairs
  • regular one-night stands
  • sexual masochism
  • regular visits to prostitutes
  • erotic chat rooms
  • seeing single women as objects to be “conquered”

The Obsessive Preoccupation

Sex addicts’ waking hours are consumed with thoughts of their next sexual “high”.  The constant preoccupation with it interferes with living in reality — with relating to family and spouse, with productivity on the job, with enjoying time with friends, with enjoying the simple acts of daily living. Obsessive preoccupation hinders them in enjoying a book or becoming engaged in a movie, or having hobbies and interests.  In effect, it takes up their lives.

Sex as a Compulsion

An obsession is a repetitive thought; a compulsion is a repetitive behavior.  Sex addicts compel them to act it sexual rituals over and over and over again.

This overwhelming urge to continually repeat a destructive behavior – despite the negative consequences forms a distortion of thinking.  He becomes totally illogical, morality, values and even the strongest desire to not engage in the behavior.  The obsession takes control of his mind; the compulsion takes over his actions.

The acting out is not a conscious decision.  Either an inner mood or an external event triggers and he automatically acts in a sexual way.  Once that dynamic is under way, the addict is virtually unable to control himself – driven to satisfy the overpowering need for the sexual “hit”

It is only through entering sex addiction recovery that the cycle can be broken.

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