Is being addicted to sex a disorder?
In July 2018 the World Health Organisation finally acknowledged the fact that Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity is a reality. The WHO has recognized ‘Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder’ – which functions as a term encompassing ‘sex addiction’ and ‘porn addiction’ – as an impulse control disorder.
What is addiction?
Addiction is a thought process: as long as there is pleasure-seeking, there is addiction. Take pornography addiction as an example; when one consumes pornography, one takes great pleasure from it; the image and sound of the pornography trigger the sexual sensations, which is pleasure-seeking. The mind keeps replaying the images and sounds to trigger sexual sensations.
At first, the mind takes great pleasure – satisfaction, fulfilment, and all the rest of it, but this “replaying” due to the pleasure becomes a loop. The mind is inevitably in conflict when a loop or pattern form because the mind is always dynamic and resisting any pattern. This conflict brings about the mental challenges manifested in all kinds of symptoms described in words, but the symptoms are the wrong focus and can be a distraction that keeps one from dealing with the issue.
What is sexual addiction?
Sexual addiction can best be understood in two parts. These are “sex” and “addiction.”
- The first of these, sex, includes the cognitive, emotional, relational, and physical expression of sexuality. It is not limited to the act of sexual intercourse but includes all variations of sexual expression, thoughts, emotional components, and relationship dynamics.
- The second component is addiction. Addiction pathology is similar, in many ways, regardless of the object of the addiction. In this case, sex is the object. Addiction is a form of pathological avoidance of reality.
It is an issue of escape. Perhaps you have spoken to someone who is addicted and experienced the frustration of attempting to get them to see and acknowledge reality. It’s like they are living in another world. Addiction, oftentimes, originates as a means of escaping loneliness, hurt, sadness and fear. Addicts are committed to their avoidance. They will expend considerable effort to maintain this system, despite its destructive impact on both them and others. The sexually addicted individual utilizes sex as a means of destructive escape. Sex is no longer a part of a healthy, marital relationship, as God designed it to be. Instead, the addict becomes obsessively focused on increasing the arousal and intensity of sexual behaviors, at the expense of intimacy. Sex addicts compulsively seek out and obtain sexual gratification in harmful ways. They may utilize pornography, prostitution, anonymous encounters, swinging groups, voyeurism, and compulsive masturbation, to name a few.
• Do you keep secrets about your sexual behavior or romantic fantasies from those important to you? Do you lead a double life?
• Have your desires driven you to have sex in places or with people you would not normally choose?
• Do you need greater variety, increased frequency, or more extreme sexual activities to achieve the same level of excitement or relief?
• Does your use of pornography occupy large amounts of time and/or jeopardize your significant relationships or employment?
• Do your relationships become distorted with sexual preoccupation? Does each new relationship have the same destructive pattern which prompted you to leave the last one?
• Do you frequently want to get away from a partner after having sex? Do you feel remorse, shame, or guilt after a sexual encounter?
• Have your sexual practices caused you legal problems? Could your sexual practices cause you legal problems?
• Does your pursuit of sex or sexual fantasy conflict with your moral standards or interfere with your personal spiritual journey?
• Do your sexual activities involve coercion, violence, or the threat of disease?
• Has your sexual behaviour or pursuit of sexual relationships ever left you feeling hopeless, alienated from others, or suicidal?
• Does your preoccupation with sexual fantasies cause problems in any area of your life – even when you do not act out your fantasies?
• Do you compulsively avoid sexual activity due to fear of sex or intimacy?
Does your sexual avoidance consume you mentally? If you answered “Yes” to more than one of these questions, we encourage you to seek help.
Stories of Recovery
- The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.Oliver VGRead more
- On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.Johan BRead more
- I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!Carla SRead more
- "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."Angelique JRead more