Is There Really Such a Thing as Sexual Addiction?

I know people who think there’s no such thing as sexual addiction. Maybe you think that, too.

Some say it’s just an excuse, something people (guys, mostly) only claim when they get caught doing something they’re not supposed to be doing. A way of avoiding blame, getting out of trouble.

Others say sex addiction is a label that conservative, controlling people put on others who like having lots of sex. In most cases, this theory goes, these are simply normal, healthy people who have an appetite for a lot of sex, maybe adventurous sex.

As long as no one is hurt and no one’s freedoms are abused, they say, there is no problem. The only problem is using the label “sex addiction” to control the behavior of others.

But neither approach faces reality. There really is such a thing as sexual addiction, labeled compulsive sexual behavior disorder by the World Health Organization.

I know. I have struggled with it. For a long time.

Some of us simply misuse our sexuality, making an occasional bad choice, or regretting something we’ve done. Hopefully our mistakes don’t cause any lingering consequences. This is not addiction.

Some of us abuse our sexuality. We misuse it and hurt ourselves, and possibly others in more sustained or repetitive ways. This can be for a short season or possibly a significant stretch. But then for whatever reason our run through sexual craziness comes to an end. While definitely destructive, this is not addiction, either.

However, others of us have inadvertently crossed an invisible line where our sexual impulses regularly overrule our true hearts. We find it impossible to resist our sexual cravings, even when convinced this is against our best interests.

When this happens our unhealthy sexual choices reinforce false beliefs and scrambled feelings and intensify the control our sexual impulses have over how we live.

So how do you know if you or someone you are close to has become addicted to using/misusing their sexuality?

We have likely developed a sexual addiction if we:

  • Have trouble concentrating, our minds preoccupied by sex we have had or might have

  • Find the escalation of pornography tastes disturbing

  • Pursue sexual activity in spite of having suffered consequences for those same activities

  • Have difficulty functioning sexually with real partners

  • Keep engaging in behaviors we promise ourselves we’ll quit

  • Are never satisfied, have to have more sex, maybe different sex, yet the cravings continue

There really is such a thing as sexual addiction. It’s not an excuse and it’s not a control tool. It’s a real thing and it is robbing more and more people of a healthy life.

And that’s why LivingIntegrated exists. We help people who are struggling with compulsive sexual behavior disorder find hope and healing by integrating their spirituality with sound recovery practices. We are here for you, and for those you care about. tcr

T. C. RyanLivingIntegrated