A promiscuous person has meaningless sexual encounters with numerous people.
By comparison, some people who engage in meaningless sex have only one partner.
The promiscuous person and the person who has meaningless sex with only one partner share a common trait. They are both attempting to avoid intimacy.
Genuine loving sex requires commitment and emotional vulnerability.
The difference between meaningless sex and loving sex is the difference between addiction and intimacy
Meaningless sex releases a person from emotional vulnerability. The person might be completely faithful to his or her partner, but they are not emotionally committed to the partner. The partner is a human sex toy. Some people take a warm bath for relaxation and enjoyment. Some people read a book, listen to music, take a walk, or spend time with friends. For the person with one meaningless sex partner, sex is just another form of taking a warm bath, or any other non-intimate activity.
The promiscuous person doesn't even make the effort to create any kind of loyal relationship. To him or her, people are interchangeable bodies. As one promiscuous person told me, "I don't want to be stuck with just one flavor of ice cream." He wasn't kidding. To him, people were just different flavors to be sampled and discarded.
Helping the promiscuous person overcome his or her sexual addiction is more difficult than helping the person who engages in meaningless sex but is not promiscuous. The path to overcoming sex addiction for both persons is traveled by opening oneself up to the need for intimacy.
Infidelity occurs when someone in a committed relationship is unfaithful to his or her partner. In the context of sexual addiction, the unfaithful person might be promiscuous or might be unfaithful with only one person. But the underlying emotions behind the unfaithful activity are the same: sex without intimacy or emotional involvement. (Note: if the infidelity involves an emotional affair based on a real connection, it might not be addictive behavior.)
What makes infidelity worse than promiscuity or meaningless sex with one person is the lying and dishonesty that accompanies the unfaithful acts. Ask any person who's been victimized by infidelity and they will tell you, "The lying and betrayal hurt more than the unfaithful sex."
The unfaithful person needs to go beyond just sex addiction. He or she needs to deal with honesty issues also.
The Most Personal Addiction discusses honesty issues and other factors necessary for overcoming sexual addiction. For a more in-depth discussion about these sex addictions, Download or print the first 48 chapters of The Most Personal Addiction.
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