1. Question: Am I a sex addict?
Answer: There are a number of red flags that could signal a sex addiction. A person who uses sexual activity be it sexual intercourse, viewing pornography, telephone sex, chat rooms, prostitution or masturbation as a numbing agent, something to prevent them from feeling bad, may have a sex addiction. Other indicators that sexual behavior is causing an addict’s problems include their partner becoming angry over their behavior or they have been in debt for payment for a sex phone line or Internet pornography site. Spending too much time watching pornography More than 10 hours a week is another red flag, as this sexual behavior interferes with time spent with friends, family, or at work.
Another key factor is that the addict has tried to give up sexual behavior but failed. When all of these things happen, it’s time to ask a professional about getting help.
2. Question: Can I recover?
Answer: Many sex addicts have reported being able to control their sexual behavior, through one of a variety of treatment methods. Some attend intensive rehabilitation facilities; others go to therapy sessions, attend 12-step meetings or use drugs and other techniques to control their sexual behavior. This could include finding a trusted person to act as an “accountability partner.” Or for porn addicts, it could mean the use of pornography blocks computer programs.
3. Question: Does getting well mean I stop having sex?
Answer: No. Unlike chemical dependence related to alcohol or drugs, sex is recognized as an aspect of a healthy life. Treatment for sex addiction, although it involves periods of abstinence, seeks to control harmful and unwanted problematic sexual activity to a place that no longer causes harm. This can lead to stopping viewing pornography, stopping soliciting prostitutes and other “basic” behavior or even illegal activities. The goal is to stop the harmful behavior, but certainly not to stop having sex.
4. Question: Is sex addiction real, or is it just something people use to excuse their behavior?
Answer: To be honest, there are some experts who don’t think sex addiction is real and say it’s more a product of conflicting norms and customs. Others say sex addiction exists but don’t feel it meets the definition of addiction in the same way as addiction to alcohol or drugs. For a sex addict seeking treatment, this may be a moot point. To get treatment, people must first recognize that they have a problem and stop trying to use their own will to control it. Many people have sought treatment for sex addiction and reported results.Much of the criticism of its validity has been leveled at celebrities who are embroiled in public sex scandals and can hardly be compared to the average person who does not live in the public eye. Sex addiction is real and someone who struggles with unwanted sexual behavior can certainly attest to that fact.
5. Question: What causes this? How can I be like this?
Answer: There is no definite cause for sex addiction, and it will vary from person to person. Many sex addicts report being sexually abused at a young age and growing up with distorted views about sex and what a healthy sex life should be. For others, it’s just a rush of chemicals in their brains after discovering a parent’s stash of pornography or finding it some other way. Still others point out that the accessibility of Internet pornography makes them fall into cycles, while there are those who turn to using sex as a numbing agent during difficult times in their lives and begin to rely on it as a coping mechanism.For some people growing up with abuse, neglect, abandonment, and entanglement has led them to seek other ways to feel good about life and themselves.
While knowing the cause of sex addiction is important, those who are on the road to recovery should not try to think about the past that cannot be changed; instead, they need to focus on their current actions.
6. Question: Is watching pornography and sexual interactions over the Internet considered cheating on my partner?
Answer: Not to be fluent, but it can depend on the partner. Of course many women feel that their partners have cyber sex or phone sex with other women qualifies as infidelity. They may not react in the exact same way as if it was physical sex with another woman, but the impact it can have on a relationship can be dire. First, the wife will feel betrayed. She will not trust her husband if he hides his behavior. She may feel bad about herself, may think some failure on her part led her husband to seek this sexual channel.
Even watching pornography can be painful for women. Society places a lot of pressure on women to be physically attractive and sexually desirable and they may feel competitive with actresses in porn videos. This can affect their self-esteem, even if they do not confront their husbands about the behavior.
7. Question: Can drugs lower my sex drive so I don’t have this problem.
Answer: Yes and no. There are drugs out there that can lower a person’s sex drive, and they are often used to treat sex addiction. However, they were limited in their power to remove the problem completely. Some form of therapy, be it a 12-step program or another process, is required.
8. Question: Will I be cured or is this a lifelong problem?
Answer: Many people report being able to control their sexual behavior, sometimes after a few months or years, and leading lives relatively free of the problems associated with sex addiction. These people have discussed factors in their lives that they have tried to control using sex; they have now implanted into their lives various tools to avoid falling back into the destructive cycle of addiction. For some, there is always a fear that they will relapse, and some struggle with sex addiction for a long period of time. There is no quick fix for this problem.
9. Question: I am also addicted to alcohol. Is my sex addiction just a sign that I’m prone to addictive behaviors in general?
Answer: In some ways, yes. Many sex addicts report addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling-like behavior. They also claim family members with various addictions. It’s definitely theorized that a person can have a genetic predisposition for addictive behaviors. To treat some addictions, it should be noted that many sex addiction treatment programs are modeled after alcohol treatment techniques developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. 12-step programs such as Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous imitate their programs and borrow their literature from these organizations.
10. Question: Am I really a sex addict or am I naturally high in sex drive?
Answer: The difference between a sex addict and a person who enjoys a lot of sex has to do with why the behavior is sought and the inability to stop unwanted behaviors and obsessions and compulsions. A person with a high sex drive is aroused and in most cases can control the act of that arousal. A sex addict engages in sex as a coping mechanism, isolates themselves from others even if they have a real life partner for sex, and engages in sexual acts compulsively. They may feel embarrassed after completing the action, or a general feeling of depression. True passion is not the primary motivator.