Sexual addiction refers to a condition in which a sufferer cannot gain control over his or her sexual thoughts and/or activities. Persons suffering from sex addiction spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about, planning, and participating in sexual activities, often to the detriment of their work and personal life. If you are preoccupied by thoughts of sex, unable to control your sexual behaviors, or engaged in risky sexual activity, you may be suffering from sex addiction. Fortunately, help is available—and it begins by learning the nature and underlying issues of sexual addiction.
As with all types of addiction, sexual addiction is usually a manifestation of a deeper problem that needs to be addressed. Healing from sexual addiction requires probing your deepest self and uncovering the root cause of the problem. A qualified and compassionate Christian counselor can help you discern the driving force of your sexual thoughts and behaviors, and he or she can also help you foster healthier habits. Whereas treatment programs for other types of addiction (such as drug or alcohol) promote total abstinence, sexual addiction therapy focuses on changing behavior.
It is extremely difficult to maintain a relationship with a sex addict, and it takes patience, commitment, and complete honesty to heal a relationship from sex addiction. If you or your partner has been diagnosed with a sex addiction, recovering your relationship will require healing of both parties. Counseling is an excellent way to navigate the recovery process; in the safe space of the therapy room, you and your partner can explore the reasons for the sex addiction and discuss strategies for healing.
If you’re reading this, you are likely wondering if either you or someone you know is struggling with sex addiction symptoms. In fact, you may still be a skeptic concerning the idea that sexual addiction is even a real thing; if so, I understand that. After all, God created us to be sexual beings with the purpose of us procreating – so how can we possibly do too much of that?
I’m glad you (hypothetically) asked. Perhaps if I phrase this question in a different way, it may illuminate the topic in a different light for you:
If you or someone you know engages in the consumption of alcohol to the extent that it could potentially lead to negative legal, relational, occupational, physical, emotional, or financial consequences – and thoughts of how to obtain that next drink were at the forefront of one’s mind more often than not – wouldn’t we agree that this person may in fact be struggling with an addiction to alcohol?
One might be able to exchange alcohol in this scenario with a drug of choice, or even another behavior of choice such as gambling, to further understand the concept of addiction.
You see, when we have an addiction to something (regardless of what it is) – we get a “fix” of sorts, when it moves from a thought of wanting that thing – to a behavior of actually acquiring or using that thing. Our...Read More
More than any other addiction, sex addiction has the most potential to dial up shame. This is what can make it so hard to talk about, and therefore too often it stays hidden.
Unfortunately, as they say in 12-step programs, we are only as sick as our secrets. What this means is when we do things we know are wrong and then hide those behaviors from our loved ones, we gradually poison our soul, and the longer we wait, the worse it is when our behavior comes to light. The good news is that God does not think we are disgusting or hopeless. We are loved and worthy of redemption, no matter what.
Our bodies are created with the capacity for sexual response, and at the physical level that response is involuntary. People in scientific studies who are shown photos of animals mating often respond with disgust, but almost without exception their bodies display the physical attributes of arousal. This is important to understand when beginning to think about addiction.
We are created to be in relationship, to bond, to join, to procreate, and these needs are interwoven with our deepest emotions of hope (to be seen, known, and loved as we are) and fear (that we will be judged, found inadequate, and be rejected). Addictive behaviors are activated by those needs and fears.
The more early trauma we have in our story, the more likely we will be susceptible to addictive tendencies...Read More
This article references the book, Mending a Shattered Heart, edited by Stefanie Carnes
Finding out your partner has been unfaithful is devastating. If the behavior proves to be the result of a sexual addiction, there can be even more overwhelming feelings of shame, confusion, loss, and pain; sometimes there are symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), such as hypervigilance and intrusive thinking.
Following are ten key criteria for sex addiction. If someone meets three or more of these ten criteria, he or she would be considered a sex addict. These criteria need to be present over a prolonged period of time (e.g., six months) and not be part of a major mood swing, such as in bipolar disorder.
1. Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses in order to engage in specific sexual behaviors
2. Frequently engaging in those behaviors to a great extent or over a longer period of time than intended
3. Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control those behaviors
4. Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences
5. Preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities
6. Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations
7. Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the behavior
8. The need to increase the intensity, frequency, number, or risk level of behaviors in order to achieve the desired effect; or diminished effect with...Read More