What is Sex Addiction? by Mark Laaser
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.
It is definitely possible to recover from a sexual addiction and to break free from a life of sexual sin. You may suffer feelings of discouragement, doubt, depression, and hopelessness. You may have even made previous attempts to break free by talking to pastors, reading books, and seeing counselors...
We hope and pray that if you are a spouse, family member, loved one, or a friend of a person who struggles with sexual addiction you will also find our website beneficial and helpful. You may also feel hurt, frustrated, angry, and even question why you still love them as much as you do. Know that there is hope for you too.
To Mark and Marnee thank you so much for sharing your stories and offering hope.
Keep reading for the Male Sexual/Relationship Addiction Self-test from Bethesda Workshops.
1. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
2. Have you subscribed or regularly purchased/rented sexually explicit magazines or videos?
3. Did your parents have trouble with their sexual or romantic behavior?
4. Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
5. Has your use of phone lines, computer sex lines, etc. exceeded your ability to pay for those devices?
6. Does your significant other, friends, or family ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior?
7. Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate or dangerous to your health?
8. Has your involvement with pornography, phone sex, computer board sex, etc. become greater than your intimate contact with romantic partners?
9. Do you keep the extent or nature of your sexual activities hidden from your parents or spouse/partner?
10. Do you look forward to events with friends or family being over so that you can go out to have sex?
11. Do you visit sexual bath houses, sex clubs, and/or video bookstores as a regular part of your sexual activity?
12. Do you believe that anonymous or casual sex has kept you from having more long term intimate relationships or from achieving your personal goals?
13. Do you have trouble maintaining intimate relationships once the ‘sexual newness’ has worn off?
14. Do your sexual encounters place you in danger of arrest for lewd conduct or public indecency?
15. Are you HIV positive yet continue to engage in risky or unsafe sexual behavior?
16. Has anyone ever been hurt emotionally by events related to your sexual behavior eg. Lying to partner/spouse or friends, not showing up for appointments due to sexual liaisons, etc.?
17. Have you ever been approached, charged, arrested by the police/security due to sexual activity in a public place?
18. Have you ever been sexual with a minor?
19. When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards?
20. Have you made repeated promises to yourself to change some form or your sexual activity only to break them later?
21. Have your sexual activities interfered with some aspect of your professional or personal life e.g. unable to perform at work, loss of relationship?
22. Have you engaged in unsafe or ‘risky’ sexual practices even though you know it could cause harm?
23. Have you ever paid for sex?
24. Have you ever had sex with somebody just because you were aroused and later felt shame or regretted it?
25. Have you ever cruised public restrooms, rest areas, and or parks looking for strangers to have sex with?
Feelings of concern, shame or fear created by answering these questions may indicate the need to contact a professional for guidance. Checking off several items usually indicates a need to address these issues.
1-3 1-3 of these symptoms found to be true may be an area of concern. You may want to consider openly discussing this with a friend of family member.
3-10 Consultation with a professional may be helpful in deciding if you have a sexual addiction problem. Based on your responses, you may benefit seeking help from appropriate resources such as a professional knowledgeable about addiction and addiction-related issues or a 12 Step program such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.
10-13 Scoring within this range may mean that you have done some things you regret or it may mean that you are in early stage addiction. Based on your responses, you would benefit by seeking help from appropriate recourses such as a professional knowledgeable about addiction and addiction-related issues or a 12 Step program such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.
>13 If you scored over 13 points your answers parallel other sex addicts. A high score indicates issues of sexual addiction and a need to further explore this area with a professional clinician. You may also want to look into a 12 Step program such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.
Developed by Patrick Carnes, PhD & Robert Weiss, LCSW, CAS