WHAT MAKES A SEXUAL ADDICT?
Many of the articles in this series discuss steps to overcoming sexual addiction, such as where to start and the importance of an accountability partner. However, sometimes as people become aware of potentially destructive behaviors, they may wonder: Am I a sexual addict, or am I merely seeking pleasure?
It is normal to want to do things that make you feel good, but when those things get in the way of a healthy, happy life, it can become an unsafe or unhealthy addiction. As you read through the lists below, consider if you recognize yourself or a loved one.
Signs of a casual pleasure-seeker:
- Use is intermittent and occasional.
- Usage may increase after a difficult life event, but decrease after life gets better.
- Life includes long-term, stable relationships and a sense of community.
- Able to seek, find and maintain honest, committed partnerships.
- Don’t experience profound shame over usage.
Signs of a possible sex or pornography addiction:
- Keeping secrets, and sacrificing intimacy for an outward appearance of “normalcy.”
- A history of substance abuse.
- Reacting to emotional stressors with anger, blame, sarcasm or other externalized feelings.
- Being sensitive or taking things personally.
- Being narcissistic, not taking responsibility or not understanding their part in a conflict.
While not all possible addictive behavior is a sign of addiction, it can often signify at-risk users. The difference is often that at-risk users can stop their behavior at any time, while sexual addicts cannot.
The easiest way to diagnose an addiction is to talk with a certified sexual addiction therapist about the risky behavior. Sex addiction counseling, such as offered at Coeur d’Alene Counseling in North Idaho, can discuss the next step for treatment with the addict or with a concerned loved one.
Do you have questions about the possibility of sex or pornography addiction? Contact our office today to set up an appointment.