Patrick Carnes defines addiction as having a pathological relationship with a mood altering chemical or behavior. Simply stated, sexual addiction is the lack of control of some sexual behavior or relationship. Perhaps the most helpful definition is a practical one: sexual behavior that has a negative effect on
Like with alcohol or drugs, sex addiction fits the classic, four-component model of what comprises an addiction:
- compulsivity - the loss of control over a behavior. An addict continues in the behavior or relationship despite repeated attempts to stop.
- continuation despite negative consequences -
- preoccupation or obsession -
- tolerance - more of the same behavior or an escalation of progressive behaviors is required to get the same "high".
History of Sexual Addiction
In recent years, largely through the pioneering work of Dr. Patrick Carnes within the secular community, and Dr. Mark Laaser within the Christian community, attention has been drawn to the often scoffed problem of sexual addiction.
The reality of an addiction to sex is gaining acceptance, much as alcoholism came to be understood as an addiction forty years ago.
Programs of recovery based on the Twelve Steps originally used by Alcoholics Anonymous are rapidly expanding across the country.
There have been few programs that combine sound clinical treatment with Christian principles. This gap leaves men alone to struggle with the spiritual aspects of their sexual shame.
How it Presents in Men
"Sex addiction" is an umbrella term for what's actually a collection of often overlapping behaviors. First, there's the stereotypical sex addict, which covers things like using pornography in any of its forms, visiting prostitutes and massage parlors, engaging in exhibitionism and voyeurism, and compulsive masturbation. Most think of the "sex addict" as a male.
The romance addict, more often female, is addicted to the intrigue and the pursuit of romance. Think of the vast market for the romance novels, for example. This kind of addict thrives on the thrill of the chase, but finds it impossible to sustain an intimate, committed relationship.
The third main type of sex addict is the love or relationship addict. This flavor affects both men and women, and the main dynamic is the belief that a particular relationship or a specific partner will be "the one." Relationship addicts repeatedly become involved in intense, enmeshed, codependent relationships, even when those partners or relationships are destructive. One way of thinking about the relationship addict is to view him or her as the ultimate codependent.
Information provided by: Faithful and True Ministries
Return from sex-addiction is the lack of control of some sexual behavior or relationship to Home