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Sexual Addiction...The Intimacy Thief
Determining The Difference Between Promiscuity And Addiction
Many of us go through times that we are indiscriminate or irresponsible with our sexuality. Does that make us addicts? Not at all. There is a distinct difference between promiscuity and addiction. The hallmark of any addiction is the lack of ability to stop or control ones behavior regardless of the consequences. We have all overridden that little warning voice in the back of our heads on occasion and engaged in risky behaviors. For the addict that voice has been over ridden so many times it is non existent until it speaks up in shame and guilt after the fact. Even then it only serves as a trigger to go deeper into the addiction. If you think that you or someone you may know is struggling with sexual addiction please refer to the chart below outlining the criteria for identifying sexual addiction.
Does A Sex Addict Enjoy Sex?
Does a sex addict enjoy sex? In a word, no. A sex addict does not enjoy sex anymore than an intravenous drug user enjoys the needle or an alcoholic enjoys the bottle. This begs the question if sex isn't enjoyable then why do it. The answer is simple. Like any other addict sex addicts do it because they have to. Sexual conquest is the only thing that blocks out stress and pain and makes the addict feel normal. For a sex addict the actual act of sex is merely a means to an end and may even seem like work.The high comes from the pursuit of sexual conquest, not from carrying out the actual the act. The pursuit of a partner, fantasizing and planning the encounter coupled with enjoying the power over the sex partner are the main attraction for the addict.See the diagram below for an explanation of the acting out process.
What Is It Like To Have Sex With An Addict?
You would think that the experience of having sex with a sex addict would be something near nirvana, It is not. It is frequently disappointing and leaves the partner feeling empty and used. Sex addicts are handicapped when it comes to relating to another person on any level. To do so would make that person real, a living being human with thoughts, goals, dreams and desires. To acknowledge the humanity of a sex partner would ruin the high and cause the addict to be unable to perform.Sexual addiction is an intimacy disorder that prohibits any involvement required outside the physical act other than what is absolutely necessary to keep the qualifier on the hook as a quick fix. Addicts feel vulnerable and exposed with a committed, loving partner. They cannot allow this to happen. They must feel powerful and in control.The ability to become aroused for an addict is dependent on the images inside his or her head and has little to do with the other person they are with at the time. These images are based on pornography, fantasy and past experiences. Those past experiences are viewed as conquests by the addict even though they may have viewed as an ordeal or possibly even abusive to the qualifier.
For those who become involved with an addict Initially the passionate attention can be mistaken for intimacy and the beginning of a real relationship.The addict has had many years of practice in saying all the right things. They may even share enough personal information to make the qualifier feel as if he or she is the love of their life. As the qualifier becomes more and more involved with and develops expectations of the relationship the addict pulls away and often ignores or rejects their reliable partner for the thrill of fantasy and the chase and conquest. Reality, emotion and sex do not mix for the addict and are avoided like the plague. Addicts live a torturous double life in which part of them craves love and stability and the other part insists the never ending quest of finding the ultimate partner must be fulfilled.
What Is It Like To Live With A Sex Addict?
Living with a sex addict has similarities to living with any other addict. It also has one major difference. Other addictions require the addict to procure a substance outside themselves to achieve a high. Sexual addiction does not. Memories and fantasies are internal and can be accessed anytime at any place. This happens often in social situations and during the stresses of everyday life when the addict cannot physically act out. This kind of "zoning out" is actually acting out minus the risk of getting caught.It serves as a substitute to curb the cravings. Zoning out or viewing porn are for the sex addict the same as a heroin addict smoking pot or taking pills if heroin is not obtainable.
For those involved with an addict if the addict refuses recovery the most important thing to do is to remove yourself from physical contact due to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. It is essential that you know that you did not cause the addiction, cannot cure it and cannot control it. Self care is essential and 12 Step recovery and/or counseling is recommended. The partner of an addict will suffer PTSD that needs to be addressed.
If you should decide to stay in the relationship keep in mind that the addict has spent his or her enter lifetime conditioning themselves to block out emotion. The addict may have no social skills apart from the ones necessary to attract and secure partners. Learning necessary social skills and appropriate responses to others will take time and work on the addict's part as well as patience on your part. Addicts lack the ability respond to appropriate sexual stimuli because they have spent so much of their lives responding to pornographic style stimuli. Recovery and the ability to achieve healthy sex will take be a journey that will take the rest of their lives.If you have opted to stay in the relationship this will become your journey also. Expectations will have to be adjusted. You must learn to respect your partners triggers and avoid them. Doing so will require you to make some sacrifices. You will need to work on your own recovery and learn to be hands off with your partners recovery. Couples do successfully recover, but not without communication, cooperation and patience. Be sure you are up to the challenge when making your decision.
Consequences of Sexual Addiction
Do sex addicts face the same risk of criminal charges and contracting diseases as substance abusers? Although sex is not illegal, the comprehensive answer is yes. Sex addicts often use illegal sources for acting out such as prostitution, voyeurism and public sex, They may touch people inappropriately and make sexual remarks, both of which are considered harassment. Added to the risk of criminal charges are the risks of loss of income, relationships, social standing and public humiliation.
Sexually transmitted diseases and infections are always a high risk. Sex addicts are not going to risk their high to engage in safe sex practices. Many of the practices they indulge in carry other health risks that are not necessarily considered sexually transmitted but are spread by contact with feces, blood and urine.
The long and short of it is that there is no difference in terms of risk between a sex addict and a drug addict.
Thanks For Sharing Review~ Trigger Alert
Thanks For Sharing
I highly recommend this movie. The language is rough and some of the scenes may trigger an addict, but the message is clear and unmistakable. It is accurate and honest. For partners of addicts there are some important scenes that emphasis the cost of indulging in activities that serve as triggers for the individual addict. This movie is a must see.