Sexual Addiction -- Is it real?

"New Rule: Stop saying “Sex Addict”, like it’s a bad thing." Bill Maher



The Brain







Cross Addiction


Q &A

Next Month:

Jokes about sexual addiction are everywhere –- particularly lately, with Tiger Woods going off to rehab to stop his affairs. Was that great PR to get public sympathy or can sex really be an addiction?

I’ve been asked in all seriousness, ‘what’s wrong with being a sex addict?’ But ask any sex addict, and they’ll tell you that it’s not funny. They’re troubled by their behavior and they want to change.

Is sexual addiction really an addiction or is it an excuse for having multiple affairs? The topic for May is: sex Addiction. Is it really an addiction? You decide.

Facts: Sexual Addiction has been studied and it’s been estimated that 3-6 % of adults are preoccupied with sexual gratification – spending hours preoccupied with sexual gratification. This consumes their thoughts and becomes an obsession, similar to other addictions, like gambling and food. Sex addicts engage in risky sexual behavior, and feel out of control and feel they can’t stop no matter how hard they try.

The Brain: Dr Aviel Goodman director of the Minnesota Institute of Psychology concluded that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain, similar to the cycle of alcoholism. The sex addict must increase the intensity and frequency of their behavior to get the same result.

Family Family history may be part of the issue as many addicts with sex addiction have reported that they were abused or neglected when they were young. However, this is not always the case.

Stress: Often stress triggers compulsive behavior and physical and psychological arousal is triggered by brain chemicals involving excitement, as well as other stress-related neurotransmitters.

Preoccupation: Sex addicts become preoccupied with their fantasies. These fantasies could be about any sexual act, fueling the addiction.

Rituals: Like all other addictions, rituals are part of the obsessive behavior. These fantasies can be a preferred sexual act with a known partner a fetish or stereotypical repetitive behavior with a stranger.

Compulsion:The obsession becomes a compulsion to act and the addict feels out of control. Regardless of consequences or wanting to stop, the sexual addict is compelled to carry out what he or she feels must be done to get relief.

Despair:Once the act is completed, there is a sense of despair and regret – extreme guilt and shame over what they’ve done and resolve that they won’t do it again – but they do.

Cross Addiction:Sex addicts put themselves at risk in many ways and if they have/an addictive personality, sex addiction can be accompanied by other addictions -- most common is addiction to drugs and alcohol.

So is Tiger Woods a sex addict? We’ll probably never know, but he and the other celebrities have unknowingly helped others by bringing publicity to the problem. Sex addicts don’t reveal their secret and so it’s hard for them to open up and get help. Having an awareness that others can be helped for the problem is the first step to help themselves .

Q & A

Q: My husband drinks about once a week but this has progressed to 5 nights. We have a combo drinking and gambling thing going on. Poker, Fantasy football and anything and everything he can bet on with the guys.

I have teenagers and I am concerned about them. I know they are aware of what he does because they see the aftermath. We don't speak to each other and when he opens his mouth, he is verbally abusive. He also seems to be depressed and angry. I am not enabling him and won't drive him, but others do. What should I do to save my marriage?


As you can see, your husband's drinking has progressed, but although he’s drinking too much, he may be abusing alcohol, but not be dependent on it. Only a professional assessment can tell you if he's an alcoholic at this point. Make sure the therapist is a specialist in addiction The big problem is that he's in denial of all his addictive behaviors and is being encouraged by his buddies. Because you're not supportive, you've become the 'bad guy'. It's not pleasant, but stand firm and continue not to enable him.

The abusive, depressive behavior is all part of his drinking/gambling behavior and here's where you have an opening.

Tell him that you love him and you don't want to leave but you are upset with all the arguments (that type of thing). Tell him that the kids know something's going on and that for the sake of the family the two of you must get help.

Get couple counseling. You may be able to find it free of charge, through the church or on a sliding scale. Al-anon would also be helpful for you to understand his behavior. You’ll also develop a support system of people in a similar situation, as well as receive information on other resources in your community.

This will not an easy, but I encourage you to stay firm and get the help both of you need! You deserve a healthy relationship

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