Approximately six to 10 million men suffer an addiction to pornography or other sexual addictions. The Internet has brought powerfully addictive pornography into the homes and offices of most Americans. As men get caught up in the web of sexual addiction they cut off emotionally from their children and wives. Their marriages become a shell.
Sexual addiction is not gender exclusive. Women are becoming addicted in record numbers due to the Internet. Millions of women access adult websites each month.
Like other addictions, there are signs for sex addiction. Possible signs include: behavior that is out of control; suffering consequences in their life; not able to stop the high-risk behavior though wanting to; obsessions and fantasy are primary coping strategy; needing to increase behavior to get the same “high;” change of moods around activity; time spent in activity is more than desired; and neglecting other areas of life due to addiction. There is no set standard for a sex addict -- a casual activity for one person may become an addiction for another. What to look for is a pattern, not how many times an activity is done.
There are many sexual addictive activities, including: fantasy, seductive role, anonymous, paying for, trading, voyeuristic, exhibitionist, intrusive, pain exchange, using objects, with minors. Sex addicts do more of these behaviors, do them more often, and report the behaviors as more powerful than do the general population. These behaviors have reached such a level that the individual is powerless to stop them.
Sex addiction is often accompanied with other addictions, and a multitude of addictions is not uncommon. Chemical dependency, food addictions, gambling, work, and over-spending are some of the other addictions that may join with the sex addiction.
The overall sense of unmanageability of life with sex addiction is intensified. There are heavy costs to health, family, employer, and the individual's emotional health.
Many sex addicts were raised in an addictive home environment and will continue this pattern with their own children because they learned to cope without outside intervention. We pass on the unhealthy ways of relating to our children, which may lead them into their own addictions. And the cycle goes on. What we learned, we will teach.
Below are books that are used to help sex addiction recovery.