Sex addiction is an epidemic. It is huge—and not just in America, but all over the globe. Billions of dollars a month transfer into the porn industry. Porn is not just vogue anymore. It has become something that now even nine-year-olds have on their phones. It has become something that every elementary school, junior high, high school, and college campus has to deal with. It is costing us billions of dollars as men and women sit and watch pornography at their office. Why are these people becoming so addicted?
If you’re struggling with sex addiction, often you know you’re addicted. Often you’re the only one who knows. You have a double life. You have secret ways you store information on your cell phone. You have secret ways of keeping money, if you’re using money in your sex addiction. You know you have a sex addiction, and if you do, then you want to continue reading to find out what type. Once you know what type of addict you are, getting better is so much easier.
Biological Sex Addict
When you have a sexual release, an endogenous opiates hits the prefrontal cortex of your brain, and boom—you get this big chemical enchilada. Whatever you’re looking at, you attach to, whether that’s fantasy, pornography, or anything other than the human soul. You are attaching to an it, to an object. The repetition of that—ring the bell, feed the dog, ring the bell, feed the dog—all by itself can cause you to attach, at a very deep level, to fantasy, pornography, or objects.
If you do that, you can create an addictive type behavior, attaching yourself to an it instead of to someone. It’s the same attachment that causes people to want to stay married for decades. This desire for the fantasy, object, or pornography, all by itself, can biologically attach you to that thing. It hijacks your sexual reward system and moves you toward whatever it is that you are actually putting in front of it.
Psychological Sex Addict
Most people with sex addiction have some kind of background: physical abuse, abandonment, psychological issues, emotional neglect, not being spoken to, not being encouraged, not being noticed, just being managed, emotional abuse, being called names, or being shamed.
Psychological pain needs medicine, just like physical pain. Often the medicine is self-sex behavior or pornography. Often in the fantasy world, when someone has psychological pain, they compensate. If they have no control in the real world, maybe they want to be controlled, or they want to control others in the fantasy world. If they’re not wanted in the real world as a 12, 14, or 16-year-old, they turn to the fantasy and porn role to feel wanted. The psychological balancing that happens in sex addiction is something that helps a young adolescent survive adolescence, especially if there’s been psychological pain.
Spiritual Sex Addict
It doesn’t really matter what the spiritual community is. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, New Age—any of them could include someone who is sexually out of control. They have a spiritual awakening, a come-to-Jesus moment, a finding-God moment, an existential awakening—and they stop. See, what they were doing was filling the God hole that everyone has with sex, pornography, self-behavior, or behavior with others. As soon as they get that awakening, they’re pretty much done.
I have worked with people of every faith—Hindu, Muslim, rabbis, pastors, and priests. Even though they were fully spiritually aware and mature, they still had a sexual addiction. For them, it wasn’t for spiritual reasons. They usually had the biological, psychological, or another type.
Sexual Trauma Sex Addict
These addicts are unique in that they tend to repeat—either as victim or perpetrator—the exact same sex acts. I can tell you countless stories of men and women who were sexually abused in a bathroom, and from there would end up being sexual in bathrooms. Or cars. Or with a certain type of person. Whatever the sexual abuse was, it tends to duplicate itself in the way that they act out.
I’ll never forget a man who was in a hospital early in my career. The hospital called me to do an assessment on a guy who was suicidal. I went into the psych ward and they put me in a kind of closet with him. I asked him why he was here. He said he wanted to commit suicide. I said, “Why do you want to kill yourself?” He said, “Well, I’m having an affair with nine women, and I can’t keep up with it.”
I went through his sexual history. The first time he had a sexual act with someone was in very early adolescence, about 14 or so, when he went down innocently to his friend’s house. His friend wasn’t there, and the dad wasn’t there, and the mom brought him in, and they had sex. And again the next day. And that went on two, three, four times a week, until he got married in his early 30s. He didn’t see that as sexual trauma. Guess how old every one of the nine women was that he was having a sexual affair with: they were all 15 or more years older than him. He was duplicating his sexual trauma.
Mood Disorder Sex Addict
The adolescent has some kind of chemical imbalance, like major depression, feeling down, low energy, worthlessness, maybe even suicidal, or something in the bipolar family—bipolar 1, bipolar 2, or manic depression, where the brain is going up and down at a moderate level or or extreme level, and even cyclothymic disorder, the very mildest up and down. I’ve found clients who’ve had that throughout their lives, and what they found is that they act out in a sexual way, with self, others, or pornography.
The chemicals that hit the brain through sex actually balance them out. They feel good for moments, or hours, or they’re able to go to sleep if they were in a manic state. They’re able to crash. Especially if they’re men, because men get a chemical after sexual release that can put them to sleep. That’s something that can happen. They don’t know that they found the medicine that makes them feel better, which is the sexual release. Over time, if they’re pairing that medicine with pornography, or fantasy, or an object, they begin to create an attachment and addictive style to it.
Intimacy Anorexic Sex Addict
This is someone who acts out with self or others but will avoid spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy with their spouse. They’re too busy for their spouse. They blame their spouse. They withhold love. They withhold praise. They withhold spiritually. They withhold sex. They are unable to talk about their feelings. They may be critical toward their spouse. They use anger or silence against their spouse. Sometimes they use control and shame with money issues, or the spouse feels like a roommate. This person has two addictive processes going on: one inside the marriage or primary relationship, and another with themselves, or fantasy, or others in a sexual way.
Sex addiction is a huge issue. If you have a sex addiction, you try to stop, and you make promises to stop. Sometimes you have consequences. Sexual addiction is a big thing. If you have other addictions, like alcohol or drugs, you want to deal with these things because they keep you underdeveloped and immature, and they keep you unable to really obtain what you could if you were fully developing and fully actualizing your dreams and your life.