What is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual Addiction the has been the subject of countless jokes. But it is no joke for those whose lives it engulfs. It ruins relationships and careers.  It sometimes leads to arrests and court involvements. If you are suffering from Sexual Addiction, then you know it is no joke. If it has not already threatened your marriage or relationship, you know that is probable. And you live on edge, never knowing when you will be caught. It may have already lowered your self-esteem. You probably turned to it to soothe yourself from anxiety, but that numbing does not last.


Sexual Addiction, according to the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), is a persistent and escalating pattern of sexual behaviors acted out in spite of increasingly negative consequences to yourself or others. It is an intimacy disorder. It stems from early childhood attachment problems; these can include emotional neglect or abuse. The pain from early life experiences leads to detachment, which then generates anxiety.  The anxiety becomes overwhelming. The person then finds that sexual activities or sexual fantasies can relieve the anxiety and pain.  A different state of being develops, often referred to as "the addict."  The person may find that the activities often need to change and become more involved (i.e., "escalate") in order for the numbing effect to continue.  The addict develops tolerance for the addictive activities. And if they are discontinued, the person goes into withdrawal, including overwhelming anxiety.  You can see that this is quite a cycle!