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.

Do You Know Someone With A Sex Addiction?

Sex is not a comfortable topic for many people, even though talk about it has become more open and relaxed. People may speak freely of their sexual experiences and particular taste, but what remains taboo are the sexual problems of individuals. Men find talking to their doctors about erectile dysfunction problematic, so it’s not surprising that confronting another person about their possible sex addiction would be even more challenging and awkward.

Many addicts choose to seek help from a licensed professional, an expert in the field. However, sex addiction is probably a subject most comfortably discussed among family, closes friends and spouses. For the moment let’s address the issue from the friend and family point of view.

Here are some signs a person you know might have a sex addiction:

1. Is their sexual behavior leading to problems?

Are pregnancy scares a common thing for them? Have they caught or transmitted an STD? Being careless about safe sex, having random sex, or having multiple partners are signs of sex addiction. These behaviors show the person has placed fulfillment of sexual needs above all other priorities. Are they putting themselves at risk for problems as a result of their sexual behavior? Sex in the workplace creates a risk of being fired, as does masturbation and viewing pornography while on the job. Even if this is done off site during a lunch hour, these activities show a lack of control and the inability to separate appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.

Some other problems not as tangible, and not as easy to see, are ones involving how much time an individual spends on sex. Oftentimes, the addict will cancel plans to go out or visit, preferring to stay in to watch porn, and/or masturbate. People with an addiction to porn will spend inordinate amounts of time watching videos and films, excluding family and friends. Have they given up hobbies they once enjoyed? Stopped going out on weekends? Maybe you used to talk to them often and they haven’t been as available recently?

What might be more visible are their romantic relationships. Do they bounce from one person to another in rapid succession? Are they having a series of “one-night stands? While there is no definitive amount of time one should devote to sex, or a way to measure how much sex is “normal,” if someone you know seems like he or she is only in a relationship for the sex, and have been frustrated in forming a real bond, that could be a sign of addiction.

Keep in mind one can be “addicted to love.” The act of seduction and the rush of brain chemicals produced when a relationship is in its early stages can form a sex addiction. While men and women can suffer this, female sex addicts are more likely to exhibit this behavior. It may not involve actual sex, but a person who is constantly starting new relationships (sometimes before the previous one ends) or flirts excessively may be showing signs of sex addiction.

2. Do they often talk about sex?

People tend to discuss subjects of interest to them, daily occurrences or events they have experienced. Is your friend bringing up pornography often in idle conversation? Such talk between friends is normal, but note how often the individual talks about it. Does it seem like that is the only thing he or she has to discuss? Are sex and pornography the only topics that seem to peak this person’s interest or gets the individual animated? It is possible that’s all he or she talks about because it’s all that person has to talk about. A porn addict can spend the bulk of his or her free time viewing pornography, leaving them with little else to speak of in conversation.

This can be tricky; each person is different, as is each friendship. A person addicted to sex may not talk about it, feeling shame and guilt, or they may bring it up at inappropriate times.

Note things other than speech, too. Having a poster of an attractive model in one’s room is common. Having one’s screen saver set to show hardcore pornography might be cause for concern. Do they have pornographic backgrounds on their mobile phones? Inappropriate ring tones? While these may be signs of mere tastelessness, they can also be signs of this addiction.

3. Have they brought up sex addiction in conversation?

Many sex addicts suffer from this addiction for a long time before suspecting they have it, and then a longer time before they stop denying it. If they’ve broached the subject of sex addiction, they may be testing the waters, so to speak, to see how you will react. Many sex addicts feel ashamed of themselves and keep their addiction a secret for fear they will lose friends. It’s not likely they will admit to having a sex addiction, but they may ask you your opinion on it, or talk more in depth about a high profile celebrity claiming to suffer from the issue. They may even mock the notion of sex addiction, feeling you suspect them of it and wanting to alleviate your suspicions.

How you feel about sex addiction is up to you, but most people taking this approach are scared and looking for support and your reaction could affect their choice in receiving professional help.

For spouses and romantic partners, you have a more intimate knowledge of the suspected sex addict than anyone else. Some things you should look for if you suspect your significant other may be suffering from this addiction are:

· Are they becoming more demanding about sex with you?

If is fairly normal for two people in a couple to have differing libidos. It’s also pretty common for sex to put a strain on a relationship. How your partner reacts to being told “no” and how insistent is he/she on the subject of sex is an example of where red flags may appear. An addict in need of a substance can become highly agitated when they don’t get it. Spousal rape is a real thing, and just because they didn’t coerce you into sex with force doesn’t mean there wasn’t a transgression. A sex addict can exploit the power dynamic in a relationship, threaten to do something negative, or withhold something from their spouse to get sex. If they’ve resorted to these harmful behaviors, oblivious to the emotional damage being caused, that’s a sign of addiction.

· Are they going somewhere else for sex?

Being unfaithful doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is a sex addict, but it is certainly one indication, especially if this isn’t the first time. While this may be a sign of a troubled marriage, if the bond between you is otherwise strong, the infidelity may be sue to the addiction. An addict craves the physical act of sex, or the intoxicating feeling of a new relationship, they are not necessarily in love with the other person or not in love with you. Often, addicts aren’t even interested in the act of sex, but in the repetitive behavior that leads up to the act, creating the dopamine levels the addict craves.

Remember, pornography and masturbation are sex acts. Is your spouse on the computer in the early morning hours before work? Do they hide large amounts of pornography on the computer? Are they less interested in sex with you? How you feel about some masturbation and pornography use is up to you. Some levels of self-gratification and porn are not detrimental, but if the use of these sex acts is at a point of contention, and your partner hasn’t given it up, that’s a sign they’re dealing with an unhealthy compulsion.

It is important to realize that only the addict himself/herself can really know the depths of their addiction and it is the individual that must realize he or she is suffering before treatment and recovery can be sought.

Cultivating a Profound Relationship With Your Sexuality

Let’s talk about sex!

But let’s talk about it in a different way. We’re not going to talk about the oh-that-feels-so-good, get-me-off kind of sex, but the kind of sex that is all-encompassing where you feel you are making love to life.

This is a journey of remembering the profound nature of your sexuality and the wild ride which may await you.

Your relationship with your sexuality is like a dance, and you can reap great benefits when you learn to trust this part of yourself. Are you ready to embrace letting go of everything in order to feel the infinite places this kind of relationship with your sexuality may take you?

Sex is magic. It is an unspoken language that deserves reverence, understanding, deep listening. It is voice, it is expression and your personal presence. When you truly open yourself that way, a force arises in you that has a presence like a black-belt black-belt or a Samurai warrior: one graceful step takes you out of harm’s way, your decisions are decisive and they align with your own body, mind, sex, and spirit.

With the right intention, you can truly unleash your spirit in your sex life.

This is where you bring your potent, rooted, turned-on self, to share with another who matches you in their own rooted, emotionally clear, turned-on self. And it does not depend on physical penetration. It is a shamanic journey in itself, so hold onto something or just be willing to lose everything.

Because each moment life will either penetrate you, will come towards you because you attract it – or it will be repulsed by you and remain at arm’s length; you will be untouchable, un-penetrable.

Now imagine cultivating such a relationship with your sexuality which was far beyond the mere act of sex with another person. How different it is from that boring old story: meeting someone in a bar, feeling physically turned on, taking them home, having wild, explosive, sex, and it being over and fizzling out. You know, the sex where it’s all about thrusting? It only touches the physical, superficial layers of your being.

And then there is sex that is abusive. where there is no awareness at all. All that shows up is disconnect. One is so consumed with their emotional burdens and pains that, rather than receiving what they need to transform and be loved, they lose touch with life. They may walk around not feeling their body and all they feel and know is anger, rage, sadness, discord.

Let’s not judge these situations as right or wrong. Let’s look closely and use them to finally bring some much needed awareness and compassion to the topic. Let us discover what it is that all beings need to receive to finally remember and enjoy the richness of this connection with their own sexuality.

Sex is far bigger than many of us realize. We aren’t taught as children about the potential and bigness of our sexuality and life force. Sex, we are taught, is this superficial thing we give away, share with another for great pleasure or feel obligated to give away to another. And yet it is so powerful that it can stir up so much emotional chaos.

As I sit here and write, after a one-hour vipassana meditation on my week-long solo retreat, I feel my body so open, so available to life. I close my eyes and feel the pumping of my blood through my veins, the temperature changes within my body, the softness and tensions of various parts of my musculature. I feel as if life is entering my heart and caressing my sex!

I am in tune with the subtle movements of the trees, the soft caress of the wind. My ears are so sensitive to the sweet sounds of the song birds, the buzzing of the bees, and the echoes of the crows in the distance. Vitality, connection, information and wisdom. I am in my eyes, being penetrated by nature. I have said yes to joining, in divine partnership, with what life offers.

But it was not always so.

The Exploration of my personal sexual evolution:

Exploring my personal sexual evolution takes me back to when I was ten years old, to when my menstrual cycle began, to the heavy blood flow and extreme physical and emotional pain that came with it.

This was the beginning of learning about who I was as a sensitive sexual being. So often this stage of life for a young woman or young man is overlooked. What was the environment like for you during this rite of passage called “puberty?”

My parents were newly separated at the time. I remember being with my father out for breakfast at a small town restaurant in Connecticut. It was morning, most likely on a Sunday because I spent the weekends with Dad.

I remember suddenly being hit with so much physical pain and cramping, the start of a very heavy cycle. This was the beginning of some big changes in my body, and no one ever sat me down to talk to me about the emotions, the physical discomfort and the feelings that would only grow from this day forward.

So often children are left to figure things out for themselves. These days there are many places where the way children are raised in holistic mindful ways is increasing, which is an extraordinary gift. When I was ten years old things were not so open yet.

Being as sensitive as I was, I can imagine how much easier puberty would have been if I’d had the support, the community, even a mentor as a younger child to help me understand my body, my emotions and my sexuality on a bigger scale.

I traveled many places on my sexual journey, and many of the places I traveled are considered not-so-conservative by some. Her (my sex) and I have explored many places together and today we have created an enriching relationship. I have always been an explorer of life and human nature. And in all my explorations of life I have always had a deep reverence for (her) my sexuality.

I explored fun places, riding that dangerous edge with my sexual energy and discovering the vast world of pleasure through my teens – even though I did not share the fullness of my virginity until I was eighteen. I waited for no other reason than I always felt that when someone was going to penetrate me in such a way and enter my body, they needed to have a certain amount of presence and care.

In my 20′s things took a turn for me. After three years in a relationship, I found myself curious about life again, open to adventure and the changes happening within me. My partner at the time was not as sexual as I was. We would joke that, at 20, he was like he was 60. He understood this and we laughed about it, and at times, even processed about it.

My sexual life force and connection pulsed through me and I yearned to be met in this way. I yearned to have a partner to share this wordless communication with. We loved each other but we had different needs at the time. Back then I did not yet have the tools to communicate my sexual needs. I was in an environment where I didn’t understand whole parts of my emotional body.

Then it happened: the kiss. A single kiss I shared with a man I was attracted to who was not my boyfriend – that triggered an avalanche of guilt, shame and self-punishment. I judged myself so harshly, and, without the support to help me understand my feelings, I instantly ended my relationship. It is not what my boyfriend wanted, but I ended it. I felt confused, very confused.

Today I am grateful to be aware of just how many ways there are to relate. That awareness took two decades of self-transformation and cultivating rich relationships to develop. Twenty five years ago, I was still stuck in a shell of old concepts, conditioned stories and other people’s truths.

This is when I entered the wild, free-spirit nymph phase of my sex life.What began as a free-spirited nymph who was open and light-hearted shifted into a place to run and hide my heart.

These were an intense few years where shame and self-punishment lead the way. I dishonored my body and spirit with sex, and I dismissed my voice because I thought I was undeserving. This is when I forgot that sex is magic.

For me, sex became less about feeling, and more and more about emptiness. I allowed men to touch me the way they wanted – in whatever way they wanted. It became all about getting the guy in bed, and it hurt, physically and emotionally.

The years started to numb me out. I grew more and more numb until finally I had no choice. Everything in my life came to a full stop. It was a wake-up call. After nearly six years of intense competitive bodybuilding, dysfunctional relationships, and disconnection from my sex and my emotions, I collapsed. It felt like my life was over, yet it was the start to actually living!

It was time to allow all that experience to be my teacher, to be the wisdom and the fuel for serving others. It was time to cultivate a new relationship – body, mind and spirit – with myself through nearly seven years of celibacy. I knew it was time, and that I had the power within me – that, indeed, I was the only one who had the power – to change my life and my relationship with my body and my sex.

Looking back is so interesting. Today I feel alive in my sexual journey, giving voice to my sex and giving my desires permission to be lived. I put my personal story here so that you know you are not alone. We are in this together!

Today, this article is here to supply you with information and support to do something different. Together, we will revolutionize your relationship to intimacy, to sex, to connection, to life itself! I want you to know that you don’t have to wait until something big knocks you on the head or drops you to your knees to start your revolution.

I have worked with clients who were stuck in a phase of repulsing life. I had one client say “I think my guardedness and armor is very much needed and beneficial in life.” I’m not trying to say that putting up armor is right or wrong. Rather, I want you to think about how deeply you desire to feel, to be touched, to feel alive, tuned in, creative, aroused; how deeply do you want to experience the fullness of life?

My sexuality is potent and in flow, even when physical penetration is non-existent. She (sex, sexual energy) is flowing, is creative. She is alive when I allow myself to listen to her, to embrace her, to touch her through my presence.

My sexuality is a language and the act of sex is a form of communication. It is a place where, when my partner matches my presence and connection, words no longer matter.

My sexuality is a kind of meditation; and meditation is a sexual act. In meditation, you becomes so still: you observe, you fill up, you open, and allow life and spirit to fully enter you. I want life to penetrate me. All of nature, the sounds of nature, the wind, the warmth of the sun, the water’s caress. I love feeling so alive, for, are we not meant to experience life to the fullest?

Through cultivating this partnership with nature and life itself, you are able to explore, get to know yourself in rich new ways. Why? Because you will be more open, more aware, sensitive and present.

To engage so deeply in sex, we must approach it from a holistic viewpoint. Sex is not a mere physical act where our genitals are touched to the point of orgasm. It is not even about reaching orgasm. I am so tired of hearing about the power of orgasm.

I believe it has become a distraction from cultivating a rich, deep relationship with sexuality and the penetrative reality of nature and life itself. Stop seeking the quick pleasure, the shallow bliss! Stop getting drunk on orgasms! They are a distraction. You can go deeper!

I am not saying to stop orgasming as orgasms are a part of our sexual nature. However, I am inviting you to uncover more, to broaden your perspective. Yes, orgasm is a part of our sexual experience, but it is such a small part of our potential experience. Think about the sensations that lead up to orgasm, that energy.

You know, where you lips start to quiver, your body heat rises, sweat dripping from your thighs, your heart and pussy become one. What if this aroused energy was there beyond the sexual encounter that may have stimulated it, yet you were not dependent on having an orgasm or outward response to maintain it?

When you show up with reverence and devotion to yourself, your sex is a part of that self, it mirrors how you relate to others. With reverence for yourself, you naturally begin to feel and see life differently. From this place of self-love, you can allow life to make love to you in every moment.

You move with a sense of grace, a sense of ease, of connection, of awareness, presence, compassion and even fierce vulnerability. There is power in this. Yet this power, which lives in your center, is not one of force or of manipulation, it is one of understanding.

Imagine your life, relationships and interactions are touched by such qualities. Your actions would become quite different. Like a martial arts or Qi Gong master, your movements change because life, breath, feeling is moving you. Your choices are different. People respond differently to you.

You melt a room like butter when you walk through it. You know where your own boundaries and the boundaries of others lie. Communication and conversation provide means for intimacy rather than argument. You become more productive and creative, which leads you to feel fulfilled on all levels.

Sex shifts from hard, physical, forceful penetration to ravishment, to whole-bodied, spiritual penetration that touches your soul.

A sexual union where even the slightest of touches puts you into greater connection with “pure existence”. Thought disappears, replaced by awareness of the most intricate of movements. You and your partner dance as if you are one. In each breath you can feel life pouring more life into you.

You feel liberated and safe within your own self, where you may give voice to all your desires and fantasies. In all of this you never lose yourself for an instant. Rather, you find yourself, you unleash your spirit as you allow yourself to disappear into formlessness.

What has your journey with sex been like? What mantles of shame, embarrassment, and unworthiness have you taken-on regarding your own potent beautiful sex?
I believe that when we open through sex we have the ability to feel the universe. Sex is as mysterious as the universe, and at times that may feel scary, intense, beautiful, and magically sweet all weaved together.

I invite you to give thanks for all ways your sexuality moves through you, and for all the ways your sexual experiences have taught you. There is wisdom in everything!

I invite you, as I have done, to apologize to your body, heart, spirit and sex for the times you may not have honored this part of yourself; to apologize for the times you have tuned out your own voice or thought yourself unworthy.

Remember the resilience of your spirit!

Take time today to reflect on your sexual journey, talk to your close friends about your sex and how your relationship with sex has evolved over the years. Write it in your journal and do an honoring ceremony for you and your sexual evolution. Mourn, laugh and feel.
There is wisdom in your sexual evolution.

Your sex has a voice and she wants to be acknowledged, heard and seen. Your sex is far bigger than you may imagine, so today, take another step, lean in, and embrace the power of your sexuality!

Acknowledge your own brilliance, your worth, and your beauty!