What does it mean to be addicted to sex?
You may be someone who needs frequent and regular sex. This need not be anything to be concerned about, especially if you are at the beginning of a relationship when limerence is high. Or perhaps you are still passionate with your partner and enjoy a wonderful sex life along with other fulfilling parts of your relationship.
But are you someone who never seems to be able to get enough sex and are consumed (and you know it’s not normal) by thoughts of when you are going to have your next sexual encounter? Such a person is known as a sexually dependent person or more commonly, a sex addict.
This is not a problem of the person having too much desire… it is more that the sexually dependent person uses sex to avoid facing uncomfortable feelings and situations in his or her life.
Like drug or alcohol addicts, the sex addict is looking for an anaesthetic, something to numb his or her feelings of anger, grief, resentment or fear. The sex addict uses masturbation or sex with a partner the same way an alcoholic takes a drink – to escape reality or to ease an emotional pain. Unfortunately the relief is short-lived and the addict must continue to seek out sexual activity.
The sex addict (male or female) often wakes in the morning wondering where he can get sex that day, and after he has had one sexual encounter he starts thinking about where he can ‘score’ again. He will pursue sexual activity even though he risks harmful, even life-threatening consequences. He is impulsive and has little control over his urges. As time goes on he needs more and more sex to satisfy his need for sexual euphoria.
People who suffer from sexual dependency can’t or won’t see they have a problem.
Often they blame their partner, calling them frigid and unresponsive. The addict expects the partner to have sex based on his or her need with little or no consideration for the partner’s feelings, and may use various types of manipulation, or even bullying, to get those needs met.
A sex addict typically goes outside his relationship to fulfill his abnormal sexual need. Such a person may discover that these sexual needs become more important than other things, such as getting to work on time, or keeping up to date with regular chores or commitments.
The sexual addict experiences a regular, persistent sexual need that tends to be stronger when he or she is under emotional pressure. At those times, he becomes agitated, tense or preoccupied with sexual feelings if there is no opportunity for sexual release.
How can I tell if I’m just a normal person who loves to have sex?
- Am I someone who is always thinking about having sex?
- Do I consider the sexual needs, desires and preferences of my partner?
- Do I ever think about other aspects of my relationship?
- Do I enjoy recreational time together, activities outside the home?
- Do I spend time talking with my partner about his or her feelings and making plans for the future?
- What does being in a relationship mean to me?
- Do I want this particular relationship to continue or am I just ‘using’ my partner to meet my own needs?