Sexual addictions

Sexual addiction is a roller coaster with all kinds of negative acts. It is an obsessive preoccupation and compulsive acting-out that spirals out of control. Sexual addiction with intimacy towards the partner you love can be considered good when properly managed.

PsyCentral has this to say- “Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict usually has to intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results”.

The double life, the inconsistencies, the demands, all takes great energy. The apex of addiction is that sex becomes the organizing principle of daily life. Every spare moment is devoted to fantasize, and planning the next experience, enacting it and later agonizing over the guilt and shame it leaves behind. The unending desire manifests itself in an infinite variety of forms, moods and settings.

God created sex, if it’s so wrong, why would he put the desire in me? You may ask. “A man was asked about sex with his wife and he said, “when I am not aggressive during sexual intercourse, I don’t feel in control nor powerful”. Sexual addicts confuse sex with love and the body interprets the rush of adrenaline as triumph over fear, loneliness and inadequacy.

Sexual addiction is oftentimes about power and control than about sexual release and ecstasy. The desire to be in control during sexual intercourse with partners is becoming one of the reason for rape, violence, and abuses in homes today. If you are unloved, unsecured, abused, molested, having any form or feelings of intimacy becomes redundant. With intimacy comes trust, and commitments, and that’s something sexual addicts don’t have time for.

All races, class, religion, gender, is getting addicted to sex on a daily basis. Often, people first get trapped in other addictions like alcohol, drugs, and in some cases eating disorder. Sexual addiction tends to come later. What marks an addiction is not the activity itself alone, but how you feel about it and how it dominates, damages your life. I have listened to people when they come for counselling tell me how they feel depressed shortly after having sexual intercourse and they take alcohol to feel better. In the long run, they don’t feel better, they find themselves indulging more.

Addicts might obsessively: fantasize or play roles, seduce coworkers- for example, “a senior management staff sleeping with a cleaner in his office”. Has anonymous or public sex, masturbate compulsively- for example, “the young executive who spends his employers’ time on internet pornography in the office. I must state that not all sex offenders are sex addicts.

Furthermore, they could rub themselves against unsuspecting strangers, exhibit themselves subconsciously, pay or barter for sex, watch others undress or have sex, inflict pain on their sexual partners during intercourse as they tend to be violent during sex. Also, they invade boundaries in ways ranging from unwelcome flirting to rape, molest children and animals, sexualize clothing or objects, engage in phone sex. Often times, most addicts don’t know they are addicted until it’s too late and they can’t help themselves anymore.

They want to stop, but then, rationalize and say “one last time”. And every time, its insanity. They find themselves doing the same old thing and think, ” after this one time, I will stop”. But the result is always the same. When sex takes over in a man’s life, his rational, emotional life dies off. You suddenly don’t feel depressed, sadness, or joy. Everything you do becomes sexualized, until all you feel is a kind of numb anxiety.

It’s no secret that the internet has become a way of feeding sexual urges and desires. It comes cheap and easily accessible to both young and old. Pornography sites have age restrictions, but how have they been able to checkmate the age of its users? Most users register with anonymous.

Sex is undoubtedly intoxicating because of the hit of adrenaline that comes with the excitement. When you’re having sex with someone you just met and barely know, it is usually void of commitment and intimacy. True intimacy is having a deep relationship with another person. It is bonded with commitments, trust, love, and fidelity. It’s amusing when I hear people say, “fantasy-sex is fun and you don’t owe each other any commitment”. There’s nothing fun about such act. What it does, is that it gives you the temporary illusion of satisfaction. You feel supremely powerful, and in control of absolutely nothing.

Dr Mark Schwartz, the clinical co-director of the Masters & Johnson Clinic, famous for rehabilitative therapy, says, “people discover that they can get high from sexual intercourse”. Having sexual relationship void of intimacy is dangerous, contrary to popular believes that it is fun. True intimacy strengthens sexual relationship but casual sex punctuates it.

What is the appeal of sex without mutual intimacy, tenderness, fidelity, and all the positive values we’ve been taught and told to cherish? Shwartz opines: Its partly the circumstances and the newness and partly the fact that you are conquering somebody and somebody wants you. Or at least you have the illusion that somebody wants you. If casual sex is so much fun, why is there an alarming increase in rape and abuse in the society?

Every sex addict would say, “I’m only as good as my last hit”
– meaning, “I felt like I was okay, because that person wanted me, but as soon as what I do sink in, I hated myself so bad the only way I could feel better was to go back out and do it again”. Shwartz writes – “Sexual addiction is like crack. You go all the way up and down very fast. You feel somebody wants you, they engage in sexual intercourse that is often void of intimacy with you, and about three seconds later, you ejaculate and go low”.

Conventional love making is gradually becoming undesirable, insufficiently stimulating. For some people, the addiction is so severe that they have sex with all kinds of people. There’s nothing our rational mind would not do when it comes to sex.

Oftentimes, when sexual addiction is mentioned, people consider it a farce and that’s a problem. How do you know if you’re sexually addicted? Below are a few symptoms:

  1. When you have no real intimacy in your life, nor desire one.

  2. If you discover that your sexual desires, choices, put you in a dangerous and compromising position.

  3. When your sexual behavior and desires become compulsive and impulsive.

  4. Do you feel drawn to masturbating and pornography, no matter how hard you try to stop? Then, you’ve got sexual addictions.

  5. Constantly engaging in casual and anonymous sex

  6. Neglecting important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of uncontrollable sexual behaviors.

  7. Always feeling the need to be in control and powerful during sexual intercourse

  8. Having multiple and random sexual partners

  9. Angered and repressed when denied of sex by your partner(s).

When an addicts energy becomes focused on relationships which have sexual potential, other relationships, such as family, friends, work, activities, talents and values suffer a trophy from neglect. Long term relationships becomes unsuccessful while short term relationship becomes the norm.

Is sexual addiction treatable? Yes. It can be treated through the following means:

  1. Individual counselling.

  2. Individual therapy.

  3. Personal discussions with old and matured minds.

Whitney Edna Ibe is the Executive Consultant, Life & Mental Health Coach, and Writer/ Editor at Whitney Edna Ibe Consult (Blog),, The Social Talks,, and Mental Wellness Society International. She is in charge of consultations, services, and implementation.

3 Thoughts on “The ills Of Sexual Addictions”

  • Beautiful piece!
    Our world needs more emotional surgeons than medical surgeons.
    You’re one great emotional surgeon!

    • That’s very kind of you to say, AB. Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to seeing more of you.

      Thank you for dropping by.??

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