Loved ones struggle to believe that sex can be a real addiction. Isn’t it simply bad behavior and selfishness? Isn’t it just a lack of self-control? Surely serial infidelity is a moral failing and should be punished? Those suffering from compulsive sexual behavior are also confused. It’s not like drugs or alcohol – which are not things that you need. Sex is like food – we all want and need it.
Sufferers are often exasperated.
“I love my wife and my family. They are the most important part of my life. I can’t live without them. But the thought of losing them just doesn’t seem to stop me. I can’t figure out why. It’s so crazy!”
Compulsions are defined in many ways – but there is a common thread. When a person is bonded to compulsive behavior: their life is unmanageable, and they cannot stop. What does that look like for sexual compulsion?
Here is a checklist.
Is the person about to lose or have they already lost their job? Their marriage? Their children? Their health (e.g. an STD)? Their finances?
And are they still acting out anyway?
Are they isolated from their friends?
Do they want to act out rather than spend time with their spouse or children?
Do they stop hobbies and sports?
Do they lie? Cheat? Deny? Justify? Rationalize and minimize – even about the most trivial things?
Do they spend most of their time obsessing about acting out?
When they are not acting out: are they anxious? Fearful? Jumpy? Depressed? Sleepless? Restless? Angry and snappy? Distracted and distant? Aloof and tearful?
Do they appear to drink more? Smoke more? Eat more junk food? Or lose interest in eating?
Do they go back to using sex to deal with all these things?
If the answer to more than one question is “yes” – there may be a problem.
Sex addiction is as real as the suffering it causes. But there is good news! It is manageable and it is treatable. Professionals and self-groups can help. If you are suffering or know others to be suffering, there is hope. At Promises Healthcare, we are committed to helping you through your journey to recovery. Discover a new life, away from addiction and find renewed hope. Please contact our clinic for inquiries and consultations.
Written by: Andrew da Roza – Psychotherapist and sex addiction specialist, Promise Healthcare Pte. Ltd.: