10 Common Questions Men Have About Sex Addiction

1. Question: Am I a sex addict?

Answer: There are a number of red flags that can signal an addiction to sex. A person who uses sexual activity be it intercourse, viewing pornography, phone sex, chat rooms, prostitution or masturbation as a numbing agent, something to prevent them from feeling bad, may have a sex addiction. Other indicators the sexual behavior is causing the addict problems include their spouse becoming upset over their behavior or they’ve gone into debt over payment for phone sex lines or Internet pornography sites. Spending an excessive amount of time viewing pornography Over 10 hours a week is another red flag, since this sexual behavior is interfering with time spent with friends, family or at work.

Another key factor is the addict has tried to stop engaging in sexual behavior but failed. When all these things come together, it’s time to ask a professional about getting help.

2. Question: Can I be cured?

Answer: Many sex addicts have reported being able to bring their sexual behavior under control, through any one of a variety of treatment methods. Some attend intensive rehabilitation facilities; others go to therapy sessions, attend 12 step meetings or use medication and a host of other techniques to control their sexual behavior. This can include finding a trusted person to act as an “accountability partner.” Or for pornography addicts, it can mean the use of pornography blocking computer programs.

3. Question: Does being cured mean I give up sex?

Answer: No. Unlike chemical dependencies related to alcohol or drugs, sex is recognized as a healthy aspect of life. Treatment for sex addiction, while it does involve a period of abstinence, seeks to bring harmful and unwanted troublesome sexual activity under control to where it is no longer causing harm. It may lead to stopping viewing pornography, discontinuing solicitation of prostitutes and other “bottom line” behaviors or even illegal activities. The goal is stopping harmful behavior, but certainly not giving up sex.

4. Question: Is sex addiction even real, or just something people use to excuse their behavior?

Answer: Truth be told, there are some experts who don’t feel sex addiction is real and say it’s more a product of conflicting social norms and mores. Other say sex addiction exists but do not feel it meets the definition of an addiction in the same way addiction to alcohol or drugs does. For a sex addict seeking treatment, it may be a moot point. To get treatment, first one has to recognize they have a problem and stop trying to use their own willpower alone to control it. Many people have sought treatment for sex addiction and reported results. Much of the criticism about its validity has been aimed at celebrities embroiled in public sex scandals and is hardly analogous to the average person not living in the public eye. Sex addiction is real and one struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors certainly can attest to that fact.

5. Question: What caused this? How did I get to be this way?

Answer: There is no definitive cause for sex addiction, and for each person it will be different. Many sex addicts report being sexually abused at a young age and growing up with a distorted view of sex and what a healthy sex life should be. For others, it is simply the rush of chemicals in their brain after discovering a parent’s pornography stash or coming across it in some other fashion. Still others indicate the accessibility of Internet pornography had them fall into a cycle, while there are those who turned to using sex as a numbing agent during a difficult period in their lives and began relying on it as a coping mechanism. For some growing up with abuse, neglect, abandonment and enmeshment have cause the to seek out other ways to feel good about life and themselves.

While knowing the cause of sex addiction is important, those on the path to recovery should not seek to dwell on the unchangeable past; instead, they need to focus on their present actions.

6. Question: Does viewing pornography and sexual interaction over the Internet count as cheating on my spouse?

Answer: Not to be glib, but it can depend on the spouse. Certainly many women do feel that their spouses having cybersex or phone sex with another woman qualifies as infidelity. They may not react in the exact same way as if it had been physical sex with another woman, but the impact on a relationship can be dire. First, the wife will feel betrayed. She won’t trust her husband if he’s been hiding his behavior. She may can feel bad about herself, perhaps thinking some failing on her part led the husband to seek these sexual outlets.

Even pornography viewing can be a sore spot for women. Society places a lot of pressure on women to be physically attractive and sexually desirable and they may feel they are in competition with actresses in pornographic videos. This can affect their self-esteem, even if they do not confront their husband about the behavior.

7. Question: Can medication lower my sex drive so I don’t have this problem.

Answer: Yes and no. There are medications out there that can lower a person’s sex drive, and they are often used to treat sex addiction. However, they are limited in their power to erase the problem completely. Some form of therapy, be it a 12 step program or other process, is required.

8. Question: Will I ever be cured or is this a lifelong problem?

Answer: Many people report being able to bring their sexual behaviors under control, sometimes after a period of months or years, and are living lives relatively free of problems related to sex addiction. These people have addressed the factors in their life they had once sought to control by using sex; they have now embedded into their lives multiple tools to avoid falling back into destructive addiction cycles. For some, there is always the fear they will relapse, and some do struggle with sex addiction for long periods of time. There is no quick fix for the problem.

9. Question: I’m also addicted to alcohol. Is my sex addiction just a sign that I’m susceptible to addictive behaviors in general?

Answer: In some ways, yes. Many sex addicts report being addicted to alcohol, drugs, or behaviors such as gambling. They also claim family members with various addictions. It’s certainly been theorized that a person can have a genetic predisposition to addictive behaviors. As to treating multiple addictions, it should be noted that many sex addiction treatment programs are modeled after alcohol treatment techniques developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. 12 step programs such as Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous model their programs after and borrow their literature from that organization.

10. Question: Am I really a sex addict or is my sex drive just naturally high?

Answer: The difference between a sex addict and a person who enjoys a lot of sex has to do with why the behavior is being sought and the inability to stop an unwanted behavior as well as the obsession and compulsion. A person with a high sex drive is aroused and in most cases can control acting on that arousal. A sex addict is engaging in sex as a coping mechanism, isolating themselves from others even if they have a real life partner for the sex, and engaging in the sex act compulsively. They may feel shame after they complete the act, or some general feelings of depression. Actual arousal is not the primary motivator.

How To Revive Your Sex Drive And Enjoy Sex Again

Chances are probably pretty good that when you got married, when you said “I Do,” you thought you would always “Do… it”.

While completely enveloped by the excitement of all the passionate, late nights during your honeymooning phase in the relationship, it’s a good bet you probably didn’t think much about the fact that your sex drive would decrease, in fact, you probably didn’t even know it was a possibility.

I mean, what with the great personality qualities you like, the wicked physical attraction to him; there’s no mistaking these are the reasons you decided to tie the knot in the first place. You had most likely heard of long marriages having their problems, like developing wandering eyes, the inability to find excitement in the bedroom, being easily irritated with your spouse, or even falling out of love; but you may have never thought you’d end up being in one of these marriages. This sort of thing was only supposed to happen to everyone else but you, right?

Unfortunately, life happens; the honeymoon period, which could last up to the first three years of your marriage, will ultimately fade, changing the way your relationship works, especially when it comes to sex.

Even though each relationship is unique, it is most likely that your relationship will follow the same path as most others have, go through the same stages. It seems that because there is a huge amount of attention given to sexuality, especially in intimate relationships, there is little room left to focus on the downfalls and issues that come up that many people are just unprepared to deal with and work through them. As we work to take care of ourselves, becoming exhausted by our jobs, or not being able to think of anything else as problems at work come up – even thinking of passionate sexual encounters just become more of a burden than something to delight at.

The fact of the matter is that there is much more you are responsible in your life other than making sure the two of you have an amazing relationship and sex life; finances, work, having children, dealing with the terrible twos, rebellious teenagers, taking care of your own parents. All of these things are part and parcel of living, having a family, and they all take away our focus and desire for sex. More often than not, even if you do continue having sex all along, it can become very monotonous; you go through the motions, and probably don’t even really remember it the next day because it’s exactly like the time before, and the time before that… Basically what this does is kill your once alive and kicking sex drive. It’s like figuring out which came first, the chicken or the egg; the less you have sex, the lower your sex drive, the lower your sex drive, the less you have sex. Therefore, it just becomes a vicious cycle; there’s seemingly no end, and you’re not quite sure how it began.

So how can we possibly bounce back from this? It’s very possible you will need to just grab the bull by the horns and put some urgent emergency action plans in place to revive a limp sex drive.

Just think about it, for those who currently have great sex, or have in the past, you know a lot of it has to do with your own mind, just thinking of some naughty things can get you going. If you want to start to get your sex drive on an incline, you’ve got to start thinking about sexual things. Even though I may not agree with fantasizing of other people, we should use what we’ve already experienced with our spouse; relive past encounters, invent new ones with some things you’d like to try that excite you. You cannot enjoy sex when you’re mind isn’t working, thinking about sex; the brain hasn’t been called the most important sexual organ without reason. So, we need to learn how to use it to get us back in the game. It can be as simple as just reading some great articles, watching illuminating videos, which can teach us and therefore allow us to know some areas where we need to just focus more energy. In the end, it is imperative that your mind shouldn’t be allowed to just sit there, never being used when it comes to your sexuality, and therefore eventually become empty of any thought of sex.

If you’re going to be a sexual person, you have to look like a sexual person. We are visual creatures, and dressing sexy is a great stimulant. When we look good, we feel good; and when we look good, we show that we are confident and feel good about ourselves. It’s just a snowball effect of feeling sexy and exuding sexiness. It’s so simple to just go out, pick up a new outfit, a new bottle of perfume, maybe a makeover, or new hairdo; this all just goes to show that we still care what we look like to our own self, and our spouse. Even though we all become very used to living with our partners, seeing each other every day, it is important to keep the surprise element in the relationship, even in the way we make ourselves look. This is also relevant for men; popping out to the gym a few times a week to get back the muscle that may have been lost over the years can be a great way to keep in shape and look and feel more attractive. If we allow ourselves to look like a wreck, we end up feeling like a wreck, and then more often than not, our sex life becomes a wreck.

The next thing you need to do is talk. We all know how powerful words can be, affecting us for the rest of our lives, in some cases. When you speak to your spouse in a flirty and sexy way, it can be an easy way for you to start reconnecting as a sexual couple. You can do this by initiating it yourself, deciding to talk together at the same time; more often than not, if you are telling each other all of the things you would like to do, and miss doing, this will be enough to get you both going. The words you speak can be like a romantic, sweet, poetic, and flowery love letter; or you can get naughty and use graphic words, like a passionate novel. You can write them, speak them; heck, why not both? Whatever you may choose to do, use this sexy language to help you increase both your sex drives in a boring marriage – all that you need to do is either open your mouth, or pick up that pen.

Don’t test the waters first, just jump in. Well, you haven’t had sex in a while, your interest is nigh nil, and you would really like to fix this and get that sexual spark back. Just have sex. “Just do it,” as Nike’s catch phrase tells us. There’s solid research that shows that the more we have sex, the more we want to have sex. Keeping up a healthy sex life allows the brain to release a hormone called oxytocin, which lends strength to our attachment, our bond to our spouse, leading to more desire for sex. Sex is also good when you’re in a bad mood, it changes the chemicals flowing through our bodies, so just allow it to happen. It’s also very important to keep in mind that keeping away from sex because you are waiting for only the most magical of moments to have it can be incredibly counter-productive. Just jump in, even if you don’t feel in the mood, you could be pleasantly surprised by how good you feel during and after.

Keep a lookout for good advice. If you are suffering from a low sex drive, and lack of sexual encounters in your relationship, it is possible that there are some serious issues that need to be dealt with that are affecting the lack of desire for sex. These issues should not be made out to be nothing, or ignored. When it comes to abuse, infidelity, or previous individual trauma, it would be a very good idea to seek help in resolving and healing. Finding a counselor, therapist, or even your pastor to help you heal old wounds can help you to open up to your sexuality again. If this is the case, then getting your sex life back on track may need you to be strong and finally deal with the issue, whether it is an issue the both of you share, or an individual issue. This will take time, but it is the foundation for a stronger sexual relationship in the future.

Sex Addiction FAQ

1. What is sex addiction? Sex addiction is a way some people medicate their feelings and/or cope with their stresses to the degree that their sexual behavior becomes their major coping mechanism for stresses in their life. The individual often can not stop this sexual behavior for any great length of time by themselves. The sex addict spends a lot of time in the pursuit of his or her sexual behavior/fantasy or they may have a binge of sexual behaviors.

2. Why do people become sexually addicted? This is different for every sex addict but generally speaking there are biological, psychological, and spiritual reasons. The following is a short explanation of each reason why someone can become a sex addict. The biological addict is someone who has conditioned their body to receive endorphins and enkephlines (brain chemicals) primarily through reinforcing a fantasy state with the ejaculation that provides these chemicals to their brain. Psychologically, the need to medicate or escape physical, emotional or sexual abuse can demand a substance, the early addict finds the sex medicine usually before alcohol or drugs. Spiritually, a person is filling up the God hole in them with their sexual addiction. The addiction is their spirituality, it comforts them, celebrates them and is always available and present. Then there is the sex addict who can be two or even three of the above reasons. This is why a specialist in sex addiction is the best route for recovery with sex addiction.

3. What’s the difference between sex addiction and a high sex drive? I have heard this question on almost every national talk show or radio show I have been on over the years. A person with a high sex drive is satisfied with sex. It’s not about a fix for something; when their partner says “NO” it doesn’t make them go off the handle thinking their partner is totally rejecting them and have to leave the house or act out in some other way. If you can relate to this the chances are there may be an addiction issue.

4. Can you be addicted to masturbation? Yes, this is by far the most common sex addiction that I have treated in working with sex addiction. This usually is the first sexual behavior many of us will have on a repeated basis. This is usually where the sexual compulsion starts with sex addicts and this behavior, regardless of other acquired behaviors, usually stays active.

5. What role does pornography play in sex addiction? Pornography for many sex addicts combined with regular masturbation is the cornerstone for most sex addicts. Many sex addicts have great difficulty getting sober from this combination of behavior. The pornography with fantasy creates an unreal world that the sex addict visits throughout their adolescence and other developmental stages and creates an object relationship that conditions their emotional and sexual self to depend upon these objects and fantasies to meet their emotional and sexual needs hundreds of times before having sex with a real person.

6. Can someone be a sex addict and not be sexual with their spouse or committed relationship? YES! We call this later stage of sex addiction, sexual anorexia. In this stage of sex addiction, the addict prefers the fantasy world and fantasy sex with themselves or others instead of relational sex with their spouse or partner. The addict/anorexic avoids relational sex and hence this couple has sex infrequently and often at the partners request not the addict/anorexics.

7. What is it like to live with a sex addict from a partner’s or wife’s perspective? The partners/wives of sex addicts report many similar feelings about living with the sex addict. The feeling of aloneness is a common experience with partners of sex addicts, the sense that he can’t open up and tell you about his “real” self. The confusion of even after you do certain behaviors that this still is not enough and the hopelessness that there isn’t enough. Anger for many different unmet needs as a person and as a woman are often common.

8. Can partners get help even if the sex addict doesn’t? Yes, even if the addict stays in denial of their addiction the partner can receive help and support for herself. The feelings of anger, loss, loneliness and many other feelings encountered over the years of living with this addiction will effect a person. These feelings need to be dealt with therapeutically whether they stay married to the addict or not. The addiction was in no way your doing as a partner or wife, the addicts addiction started many years before you even met your addict. This addiction would have grown and damaged anyone they would have related to in any relationship.

9. Is there recovery for sex addiction? Yes, there is recovery for sex addiction. This recovery takes time and hard work especially in the first year but with guided help the sex addict can experience restoration in their emotional, relational, sexual, financial and even spiritual lives. I have seen marriages made better than they ever were and addicts live much happier lives than they ever thought possible. I have been in successful recovery over eleven years and I know it’s available for those who choose to work for and maintain recovery.

10. Is there research on sex addiction available? There is research being done in the field of sexual addiction. The monitored mail list of Heart to Heart Counseling centers provides weekly research information as well as excerpts from 101 Practical Exercises for sexual addiction recovery as well as Twelve Step discussions.

11. Can women be sex addicted? Yes! The number of women desiring treatment is growing significantly. The behaviors are the same as their male counterparts including: masturbation, pornography, internet activity, anonymous encounters and affairs. Over twenty recovering female sex addicts contributed in writing She Has a Secret: Understanding Female Sexual Addiction. This book plus the Secret Solutions Workbook, with over 115 helpful techniques for recovery is just for her. If you would like to set up a telephone counseling appointment to start your journey of recovery, call today. There is hope for female sex addicts to recovery.

12. Is there any way to help our children not become sexually addicted? Yes! Even though many of our adult male clients report that their fathers were sex addicts (porn, affairs, prostitutes etc.) they also report getting little to no proper sexual information to balance their sexual perspective. Good Enough to Wait is the first video of this kind to help your children understand sex and the brain, the long-term affects of pornography, long term sexual satisfaction and a whole lot more. This is the best combination of sex research and spiritual principles to date for youth to watch to give them a proper and currently informed sex talk.