Sex Addiction – Do I have a sexual addiction?
Sex addiction is characterized by out-of-control sexual behavior with distinct consequences in which the behaviors continue despite sincere and persistent efforts to stop. Sex addicts use denial, rationalization, minimization, and lying to avoid the truth about life. The sex addict will often have difficulty with emotional intimacy in committed relationships and escape painful and stressful feelings through the sexually addicted behavior. The behaviors of sex addiction produce the same chemical “high” experience (produced by the body) that is sought in other addictions such as drugs or alcohol. The addict will typically, in an effort to avoid stressful or painful feelings, engage in a cycle of preoccupation, ritualization, compulsive sexual behavior, and despair (shame and guilt). The despair pushes the addict to repeat the cycle in an effort to avoid feeling the despair.
Ask yourself if you would say yes to three or more of the following criteria.
- Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses in order to engage in specific behaviors.
- Frequently engaging in those behaviors to a greater extent, or over a longer period of time than intended.
- Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control those behaviors.
- Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences.
- Preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities.
- Frequently engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations.
- Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the problem.
- The need to increase the intensity, frequency, number, or risk level of behaviors in order to achieve the desired effect; or diminished effect with continued behaviors at the same level of intensity, frequency, number, or risk.
- Giving up or limiting social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behavior.
- Distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior.
If you answered “yes” to three or more of the above criteria we encourage you to call Alaska Counseling Excellence to begin your recovery journey. Recovery starts with admitting that there is a problem and we want you to know that there is hope. At Alaska Counseling Excellence we treat individuals struggling with porn and sex addiction, partners, and family members find the healing and understanding that is needed to live life well.