This interview explains aspects of sex addiction you might not have been aware of. It will help you understand if you are sexually by discussing the symptoms of masturbation addiction, pornography addiction, infidelity, phone sex addiction, an addiction to prostitutes and promiscuity. It is designed to help you, not beat you up or put you down.
Do you go from one partner to another?
One of the most glaring signs of addiction is the compulsive need for a new thrill. In drugs, for instance, the addicted person gets high for a period of time. But the high wears off, as do all highs. Now the drug user must seek the next high. The user eventually ends up in a merciless cycle of getting high, crashing down and getting high again.
In addictive sex, the addicted person gets his or her charge, which wears off too soon. So they seek a new charge with another person in the hope that this new person will give them the thrill they seek. But just like drugs and alcohol, the addictive sexual thrill can never be enough. Despite the sexually addicted person's continual sexual activity, he or she can never experience true sexual satisfaction.
Just like the alcoholic and drug addict can never find peace and contentment, the sexually addicted person is doomed to a life of short thrills and meaningless relationships until he or she overcomes their addiction.
The Most Personal Addiction offers guidance on how to overcome sexual addiction.
Do you use masturbation to get to sleep?
Another common sign of addiction is dependence on the substance or activity to get to sleep. Usually, though not in all cases, trouble falling asleep means there are unsettled issues that need to be faced before you can sleep calmly. The addicted person feels that s/he cannot face their problems; so they turn to their addiction to help them sleep. Just as people who use alcohol and drugs to fall asleep can't escape their problems, sex can't help the addict escape his or her problems. Unfortunately, many people who use alcohol, drugs or sleeping pills to fall asleep don't believe they have a problem. Many sexually addicted people don't think that dependency on masturbation is a problem. What they don't realize is that masturbation, like eating, or anything else, can become addictive with devastating results.
The reason that overcoming a masturbation addiction adds sexual pleasure to one's life is the same reason that overcoming drugs or alcohol makes one's life better: the person can find more pleasure and enjoyment in real life.
Do you engage in telephone sex and/or Internet sex?
The purpose of addictive sex is to get a quick, non-intimate thrill. Techno-sex (telephone or Internet sex) is a variation of addictive, meaningless sex. The thrill of techno-sex, like the thrill of drugs or alcohol, is very short-lived and sadly shallow. Most sexually addicted people do not use telephone or Internet sex as their main form of addictive sexual activity, although some do. No matter how little or greatly techno-sex is indulged, it is a definite sign of sexual addiction.
The article "The complexities sex addiction" in The Home Page Topics goes into more depth about the difference between telephone/Internet sex and other sexual addictions. So does The Most Personal Addiction.
It will also guide you through the process of overcoming sexual addiction.
Do you masturbate after sex with another person?
If anything proves that masturbation can become an addiction, this is it. Even after the sexually addicted person has had a sexual encounter s/he needs to masturbate because just like the alcoholic needs a drink, and the junkie needs a fix, the addicted masturbator must have his or her masturbatory thrill.
This behavior establishes:
Sex with a person and masturbatory sex are two different activities driven by different needs.
Masturbation can become so addictive it becomes more important than sex with your partner, although that is not your intention.
An addicted masturbator will neglect his or her partner in order to pursue the compulsive need to masturbate.
Neglecting someone close to you in order to pursue compulsive behavior is another sure sign of addiction.
Meaningful, relationship-oriented sex enhances one's closest relationships. Addictive sex destroys them.
One of the most rewarding aspects of overcoming a masturbation addiction is being able to completely enjoy sex with your partner. See The Most Personal Addiction, The Advisories, and Masturbation Addiction for more insights.
Do you go to prostitutes?
One characteristic of addiction is abuse. Eating is not an
addiction. Overeating is. Sex is not an addiction. Impersonal sex is a
sign of abuse. It means that rather than deal with the underlying
emotions of developing a genuine sexual relationship with a partner,
the sexually addicted person buys a thrill. Just like alcoholics buy
alcohol and drug addicts buy drugs to escape dealing with life, the
sexually addicted person rents a body.
Many sexually addicted people use prostitutes even though the sexually addicted person is in a relationship. What the person doesn't realize is that in most situations they can find sexual satisfaction in their relationship - by overcoming their addiction.
Do you use sex to relieve anxiety?
Addiction is characterized by short-term thrills and long-term problems. Alcohol, drugs, and food can provide short-term relief for the addicted person. The price the person pays for their addiction is long-term dependency and aggravated problems. Anxiety is truly relieved by only one thing: facing the problem and overcoming it.
The momentary relief provided by addiction produces the illusion that the underlying anxiety is taken care of. That illusion is quickly wiped away by the harsh reality of increased anxiety. Then the addicted person makes an awful mistake: They believe they need the addiction to face the increased anxiety, so they seek another high. Tragically, the addiction becomes the bigger problem.
Using sex to overcome anxiety is not only a definite sign of addiction. It is a guaranteed way to worsen problems. Sex should be enjoyed for its own sake. It is not a tool for handling problems.
This leads to the next tragedy of sexual addiction: experiencing sex as an addictive reaction to stress rather than a profound pleasure for its own sake.
When the sexually addicted person overcomes their addiction, they are amazed to find out that their anxiety decreases as well. But it's no surprise, really. Addictions cause anxiety. And sex addiction causes profound anxiety.
The Most Personal Addiction will give you a more extensive discussion about the connection between sexual addiction and anxiety and how to overcome it correctly.
Is masturbation your favorite form of sex:
As established earlier in the interview, masturbation is motivated by different needs than sex with another person.
Instead of trying to establish an intense meaningful relationship with another person, the addicted masturbator relies on sex with him or herself. As masturbation becomes the addict's favorite form of sex, an intimate relationship becomes secondary.
When masturbation becomes more important than intimacy, something is definitely wrong. Sadly, the addict's relationships will always be limited until he or she overcomes their addiction.
Overcoming a masturbation addiction opens a whole new world for the sexually addicted person. It enables him or her to enjoy life for what it is and find pleasures in sex they never thought possible.
The Most Personal Addiction will explain the difficulties with overcoming a masturbation addiction and how to approach those difficulties.
Is pornography an alternate or primary part of your sex life?
Pornography is an excursion into a fantasy world in which the sexually addicted person cannot be rejected, does not have to reveal him or herself, and substitutes impersonal fantasies for genuine, loving sexual intimacy.
Pornography addicted people fall into two categories: those who have a real relationship besides porn and those whose primary relationship is porn.
The porn addicted person without a relationship goes through bouts of intense loneliness. To alleviate the loneliness they rely on pornography. The more dependent they become on pornography the lonelier they become.
On the other hand, the porn addicted person with a relationship keeps him or herself unaware of how their sex addiction is driving a wedge into the relationship. Too many pornography addicted people have lost loving spouses because of their addiction.
By overcoming the addiction the pornography addicted person with a relationship can hold on to his or her most important things in life: the people they love. Once the addiction is overcome the porn addicted person is amazed at how much they missed in life and becomes determined to stay free of porn. Pornography Addiction Counseling, The Most Personal Addiction, The Advisories, and The Home Page Topics provide more insights into porn addiction, relationships, and how the addiction is overcome.
Through the Positive Realism approach the recovered person is able to find more joy in the real world and in real relationships.
Do you experience impotency?
One of the greatest illusions about sexual addiction is that it makes you more sexy, increases your sexual drive, and brings more pleasure to your life.
Sexual addiction derives from a desire to escape dealing with real life. As a result, when it comes to dealing with real life a sexually addicted person will have increased difficulty engaging in real sex.
A common complaint of the spouses of sexually addicted people is, "He is more interested in his addiction than in me." Many sexually addicted people do not realize that the root cause of their bouts of impotency stems from their sexual addiction.
Throughout this site one of the constant themes you will see is: "Overcoming sexual addiction increases sexual pleasure." If you are experiencing bouts of impotency you now know why your sex life will improve dramatically when you overcome your sexual addiction. The Most Personal Addiction has a special section on this issue. It's in the download part of the book.
Does sex interfere with your work responsibilities?
Everything in life has its place. But to the sexually addicted person, sex is placed above everything. Leaving work in the middle of the day, sneaking sex in at the office, a quickie in the restroom are all part of the sexually addicted person's workday. Just as the alcoholic uses lunch as an excuse to get drunk or the drug addict sneaks in a hit at work, the sexually addicted person is driven to endanger his or her job. Many sexually addicted people, like alcoholics and drug addicts, convince themselves that their addiction is not really interfering with their work. Tragically, they find out the truth the hard way by getting fired, ruining their careers, or suffering unnecessary financial losses. It's true that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But addiction is not play. It's an obsession that endangers the addicted person's financial well-being.
Do you neglect your family because of your sexual activity?
One way an addicted person keeps indulging their addiction is by telling him or herself, "I've got it under control." Addicts can fool themselves, but at a certain point, they can't fool their loved ones. The people close to the sexually addicted person know they are being shut out of the addicted person's life. They might not know why they've been shut out, but they know something is more important to the sexually addicted person than the people who love him or her. Some sexually addicted people try to deny that they are neglecting their loved ones. Others don't realize it until it's too late.
The sexually addicted person's most precious relationships are in constant jeopardy. But overcoming the sexual addiction enables the addict to rebuild them.
Is your sexual activity a financial hindrance?
If the only price one paid for addiction was money, being addicted would merely be a bad investment. However, addiction is more than just a money thing. It's slavery. Slaves don't get paid for their labor. Addicted people make themselves slaves by sacrificing the fruits of their labor to their addiction.
Slaves know they're being ripped off. Many sexually addicted people don't know they're ripping themselves off. They look at the cost of their addiction as a worthwhile investment - until it's too late.
The sooner an addicted person overcomes their addiction the sooner he or she can use their money to enjoy the genuine pleasures of life - and they find out that the best pleasures are not for sale.
Do you lead a double life to conceal your sexual activity?
When a sexually addicted person enters counseling, a good counselor will help the addicted person realize that sex outside the relationship is not the greatest transgression. The most destructive thing that can happen to a relationship is the dissolution of trust.
If the counseling goes well, the sexually addicted person can overcome their compulsive behavior. Then the client can work on the next problem: rebuilding the trust s/he destroyed.
Many addicted people do not realize that the duplicity they've adopted is actually more painful and more destructive than the addictive behavior. Others are aware of it and are desperate to live an honest life.
One of the great rewards of overcoming an addiction is the freedom to be honest with the people closest to you.
Did you answer Yes to any of the questions?
I have never seen an addicted person honestly answer Yes to only one question. However, let's assume such a person exists and ask another question: Should they do something about their problem?
A long time ago a woman came to me and asked me to help her stop drinking. When I asked her how much she drank, she replied, "One glass of wine every day at 5:00 p.m."
I asked her why she wanted to stop drinking. She replied: "Because I can't get past 5:00 p.m. without my glass of wine."
The real story begins after I helped her stop. The wine had been
enabling her to escape facing the abusive relationship she was in. Her
husband was beating her and stealing from her. It wasn't until she
stopped drinking her one glass of wine every day at 5:00 p.m. that she
was able to leave the relationship and build a better life for herself.
Some people indulge their addiction lightly, others are consumed by it. But addiction is like a malignant tumor - no amount is tolerable in a person who wants to get the most out of life.
If you've answered these questions honestly you might be thinking, "Can I overcome this addiction?" I'll answer that question with another: "How much do you want out of life? Do you want the best it can possibly offer?" If your answer is yes, then: "Yes, you can overcome your addiction."
Download or print:
TO DOWNLOAD, right click, choose "Save Target As" | TO PRINT, left click
To continue in this section, click the next or previous button or pick an article from the Table of Contents.
Copyright Joe Zychik 1999-2008. Attn. Webmasters, students and researchers and everyone else: Please obey fair use laws. Thank you.