Sexual addiction may have many different definitions depending on whom you ask. I define sexual addiction as an intense sexual drive or obsession with sex. Sexuality is use to appease the emotional condition when the individual is experiencing emotional distress or an outburst of emotions (it can be joy, anxiety, stress, fear, etc.) I believe sexual compulsivity or sexual addiction is an illness!
This disease has three dimensions: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Physically, you engage in sexual behaviors that are known to be unhealthy for you or that it places you in legal, physical, and/or spiritual jeopardy. Emotionally, you experience a "high" in contemplating and engaging in the "acting out" sexual behavior, followed by an emotional let-down after the acting out has concluded. Spiritually, you feel disconnected from others and everything. You feel guilty about your sexuality and remorse is often an emotion experienced after a “sexual binge.” Furthermore, sexual addiction is secretive.
Sex and thoughts of sex dominate the sex addict's thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships.
The Twenty Yes/NO Questions
1.- Do you frequently experience remorse, depression, or guilt about your sexual activity?
2.- Do you feel your sexual drive and activity is getting out of control? Have you repeatedly tried to stop or reduce certain sexual behaviors, but inevitably you could not?
3.- Are you unable to resist sexual advances, or turn down sexual propositions when offered?
4.- Do you use sex to escape from uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, guilt, etc. which seem to disappear when the sexual obsession starts?
5.- Do you spend excessive time obsessing about sex or engaged in sexual activity?
6.- Have you neglected your family, friends, spouse or relationship because of the time you spend in sexual activity?
7.- Do your sexual pursuits interfere with your work or professional development?
8.- Is your sexual life secretive, a source of shame, and not in keeping with your values? Do you lie to others to cover up your sexual activity?
9.- Are you afraid of sex? Do you avoid romantic and sexual relationships with others and restrict your sexual activity to fantasy, masturbation, and solitary or anonymous activity?
10.- Are you increasingly unable to perform sexually without other stimuli such as pornography, videos, "poppers," drugs/alcohol, "toys," etc.?
11.- Do you have to resort increasingly to abusive, humiliating, or painful sexual fantasies or behaviors to get sexually aroused?
12.- Has your sexual activity prevented you from developing a close, loving relationship with a partner? Or, have you developed a pattern of intense romantic or sexual relationships that never seem to last once the excitement wears off?
13.- Do you only have anonymous sex or one-night stands? Do you usually want to get away from your sexual partner after the encounter?
14. Do you have sex with people with whom you normally would not associate?
15.- Do you frequent clubs, bars, adult bookstores, restrooms, parks and other public places in search of sexual partners?
16.- Have you ever been arrested or placed yourself in legal jeopardy for your sexual activity?
17.- Have you ever risked your physical health with exposure to sexually transmitted diseases by engaging in "unsafe" sexual activity?
18.- Has the money you spent on pornography, videos, phone sex, or hustlers/prostitutes strained your financial resources?
19.- Have people you trust expressed concern about your sexual activity?
20.-Does life seem meaningless and hopeless without a romantic or sexual relationship?
What's your score?
If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a warning sign indicating that you may be a sex addict.
If you have answered YES to any two, the chances are that you sexuality might be out of control.
If you answered YES to three or more, you can definitely benefit from exploring more about sexual addiction, possible consequences and treatment alternatives.
(The test questions are used at Sexual Compulsive Anonymous [SCA])
Behaviors associated with sexual addiction include:
- Compulsive masturbation (self-stimulation)
- Multiple affairs (extra-marital affairs)
- Multiple or anonymous sexual partners and/or one-night stands
- Consistent use of pornography
- Unsafe sex
- Phone or computer sex (cybersex)
- Prostitution or use of prostitutes
- Prostitution or use of prostitutes
- Obsessive dating through personal ads
- Voyeurism (watching others) and/or stalking
- Sexual harassment
- Other sexual-related activities
Generally, a person with a sex addiction gains little satisfaction from the sexual activity and forms no emotional bond with his or her sex partners. A sex addict also feels a lack of control over the behavior, despite negative consequences (financial, health, social, and emotional).
Most sex addicts live in denial of their addiction, and treating an addiction is dependent on the person accepting and admitting that he or she has a problem. In many cases, it takes a significant event—such as the loss of a job, the break-up of a marriage, an arrest, or health crisis—to force the addict to admit to his or her problem.!
Treatment of sexual addiction focuses on controlling the addictive behavior and helping the person develop a healthy sexuality. Treatment includes education about healthy sexuality, individual counseling, and marital and/or family therapy. Support groups and 12 step recovery programs for people with sexual addictions (like Sex Addicts Anonymous) also are available. In some cases, medications used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder may be used to curb the compulsive nature of the sex addiction. These medications may include Prozac and Anafranil.