13. Should the partner of a sex addict seek help even if the addict does not?
1. What is sex addiction?
When sexual compulsions or thoughts are used to manage emotions in a harmful way, sex addiction has taken hold of the person’s life. Every area of a person’s life can be dominated and damaged by sexually addictive thoughts and behavior, and without professional help a person can be controlled by sex addiction for an extended time period. A sexual addict will devote large amounts of time and energy to entertaining sexual activities and thoughts until every other aspect of their life is consumed by the addiction. For more information on sex addiction, please view the video Am I a Sex Addict?
2. What causes sex addiction?
There are a variety of root causes for sex addiction which usually fall into the categories of physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological influences. If a person’s spiritual life is suffering, they may try to use sex as a way of filling the spiritual void they feel due to a separation from God. A physical addiction to sex occurs when a person cannot control their need for the endorphin’s and enkephalins that sexual pleasure releases in the brain. Past abuse or trauma can lead to emotional and psychological addiction to sex. In this case of addiction, sexual acts and thoughts are used as a way to relieve emotional scarring. Drugs and alcohol are often used in the same way, the difference being which pleasurable activity the addict discovered first. Using the services of a sex addiction specialist is the most likely way to make a complete recovery, especially when the addiction has more than one root cause.
3. Can a person become addicted to masturbation?
Masturbation is one of the most commonly treated sexual addictions there is because it is usually the first sexual experience a person has, and it is the most readily available mode of sexual gratification. For most people, masturbation begins in adolescence and continues through puberty. Masturbation occurs heavily in teen years during critical brain development, and a sex addict will often bring this behavior with them into their adult years.
4. If I use adult dating websites, am I a sex addict?
The use of adult dating websites does not make you an addict, however, these sites are popular among addicts. Anonymous sexual encounters are frequently sought by sex addicts and adult dating websites make these encounters much easier to come by, so it is safe to assume that a certain percentage of adult dating website users are sex addicts.
5. Can women be addicted to sex?
A common misconception about sexual addiction is that it only affects men, when in fact women are highly prone to it as well. Statistically, men are more likely to become addicted to sex, but the number of women seeking treatment for sex addiction is on the rise. Both genders exhibit the same addictive behavior, such as seeking anonymous encounters, frequently masturbating, having affairs, using pornography, frequenting swinging or dating websites and engaging in high-risk sexual behavior. Men and women also respond to sex addiction treatment similarly, proving the potential of a full recovery regardless of gender. Several excellent resources to aid female sex addiction recovery are She Has a Secret: Understanding Female Sexual Addiction, a book collaboration between twenty different female authors who are recovering sex addicts, and the Secret Solutions Workbook, featuring over 100 successful recovery techniques for sexually addicted women.
6. What is the difference between an active libido and a sex addiction?
A person can have a high sex drive and still be sexually healthy and non-addicted. This person will be honest and satisfied with their partner and will be understanding towards a sexual refusal from them. An addict, on the other hand, will take sexual refusal personally and have an inappropriate reaction, such as an angry outburst or infidelity for the sake of punishing the refusing partner.
7. What is it like to be in a relationship with a sex addict?
Sexual addiction does not just affect the addict, but the people close to them as well; none more so than their significant other. The partners of sex addicts frequently feel inadequate and responsible for their significant other’s straying tendencies, and loneliness sets in as the addict builds emotional walls to keep their partner out. The relationship can become strained and distant, and the non-addicted partner can experience intense anger and frustration over their significant other’s tendencies.
8. What role does pornography play in sexual addiction?
Pornography and masturbation are two commonly linked sexual addiction problems, and the combination of the two is a difficult habit to break. Pornography is highly accessible through the internet and is frequently discovered at an early age, when masturbation is the most common sexual activity. The fantasy that pornography perpetuates becomes a fixation and source of satisfaction for the addict, proving destructive to their relationship abilities. For more information on how pornography and sex addiction work together, click here.
9. What is sex addiction prevention for young people?
Studies have shown that sexual addiction prevention for children has proven effective. Two common factors found amongst sex addicts are fathers who also had a sexual addiction (demonstrated through behaviors such as having affairs, buying prostitutes or indulging in pornography), and they never received a proper education on sexuality from their parents or anyone else that would allow them to form healthy ideas on the subject. One highly recommended sex addiction prevention tool for adolescents is the video “Good Enough to Wait.” By making kids aware of the role that spirituality, emotionality and physicality plays in their sexual health, this video explains to kids how their brains and bodies will change because of sexuality, how to achieve a healthy sexual identity that can be shared lovingly with a long-term partner and how pornography and other addictive triggers can be damaging when they become habitual.
10. Can a person make a full recovery from a sex addiction?
When a person has a strong enough commitment to becoming sexually healthy, a full recovery can be made. Recovery can be very difficult, particularly in its beginning stages, but many have achieved it successfully with the help of sex addiction specialists. Recovered sex addicts have voiced feelings of freedom from the spiritual, physical and emotional brokenness that their addiction put them through, as well as describing positive changes in their relationships and in their general outlook on life.
11. What research has been done on sex addiction?
Valiant Recovery has access to the most current and influential research done on sex addiction, and you, as the client, will have access to it as well. We provide our clients with academic level research excerpts, workbook exercises and the most statistically successful treatment methods that are available in the field of addiction recovery.
12. Do sex addicts ever turn down sex?
In the more advanced stages of sex addiction, it has been observed that the addict will lose interest in sexual intimacy with their partner and begin to refuse them. This behavior is termed “Sexual anorexia:” when a sex addict prefers the sexual fantasies they imagine or act out to a sexual relationship with their significant other. The addict’s partner begins to feel resentful and hurt by this withdrawal and feels the urge to withhold sex from their partner in retribution.
13. Should the partner of a sex addict seek help even if the addict does not?
It is not uncommon for a sex addict to deny that they have a problem, which means that they are disinterested in receiving help. However, their partner may be fully aware of the problem in the relationship and may be suffering immensely because of it. This non-addicted partner will benefit enormously from counselling to deal with the negative emotions that their partner’s behavior has caused. People who remain in relationships with addicts can become destructive themselves due to the emotional weight they are burdened with, and people who choose to leave an addicted partner can still carry the emotional pain of their past relationship into a future one. Most important is that the non-addicted partner comes to understand that they are not responsible for their significant other’s choices. If you think you are in a relationship with a sexually addicted person, please contact us for a phone counselling session or to receive our newsletter “Partners.”