Some sex addicts don't care whether you get off or not; others want nothing more than to be the best sex you have ever had.
But whatever your addict is into, he's going to start doing it to you. He has had plenty of partners in the past and, as he describes it, all of them were in his thrall. Maybe you're with a sex addict..
Woman at work "love" him. When you go out to a bar, if a cute girl is bartending, he chats her up.
He talks to the young woman behind the register when you shop. He still sends birthday cards to ex-girlfriends. He sends fun texts to your female friends, never crossing the line, of course. Basically he flirts with every woman who catches his eye. With some guys this is just their way of getting out that dark side, and flirting is more or less innocent fun.
With a sex addict, it's a way of getting off and often of grooming potential victims. When you call him on any of his shit, he manipulates you and turns things around. If he's caught, he'll do his best to make it seem that he's innocent, even to the point of questioning your integrity or sanity for suspecting him.
He may tell you he makes more money than he really does. Sex addicts in withdrawal tend to become either depressive or restless, lonely, irritable, and discontented. Don't be all "Oh, he doesn't think I am attractive. You feel powerless over how you act sexually. If you come at him with "You fucking asshole, I know you cheated on me," you won't get an honest response. If you ask to use his computer, he logs out of everything.
The mind of a cornered sex addict can be like an animal caught in a trap. When it's all going down, he will fight and claw and pretty much do anything necessary to avoid admitting that he might be the freak he believes, deep down, the world thinks he is. He also spends a lot of time being suspicious of you and acts like you're the untrustworthy one. When a person has a habit of treating others badly, they often think that others are capable of treating them the same way.
You aren't stupid or crazy. You see what you see. You know this guy better than his family, his friends and maybe even his previous partners. Don't try to persuade yourself that nothing much is going on. Recognize it and talk about it. The worst place for you, and your addict, to be is the place that stays within the lie. You may assume, after all you've been through, that he won't be receptive to talking, but you have some influence here.
If you come at him with "You fucking asshole, I know you cheated on me," you won't get an honest response. But if you can find it within yourself to ask if he has a problem, and letting him talk about it without shaming him, he may surprise you. That said, you're not his therapist, and your first priority is to you. I acted out sexually for 25 years before I trusted a woman enough to talk to her about it. I had never believed that I could tell someone how fucked up I was and have her still be my friend.
It was because of that conversation that I went and got help. His previous piece for Substance. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. He lies all the time. How do you know when a sex addict is lying? He opens his mouth. He cheats on you. This is a tricky one. A lot of guys cheat. He has had no long-term stable relationships. The list of behaviors associated with a sexual addict is so mundane, practically anyone can tick off at least a couple. Consistent use of pornography.
Phone or chat-room sex.
One-night stands, extra-marital affairs, GPS hook-ups, obsessive online dating. The list is long and gets darker the further down you go: Compulsive sexual behavior, the clinical phrase for sex addiction, is what experts call a "progressive intimacy disorder," meaning that it worsens the longer it's left untreated.
However, the idea that sex is clinically addictive remains controversial. As we've reported in the the Fix, sex addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a diagnosable disorder. While many comparisons have been made to drug addiction, Dr.
Michael First, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, disagrees, citing a lack of quantifiable research. The number of reported sex addicts varies widely, anywhere from nine to 15 million adults in the U. Certainly the number of people affected goes well beyond the number of addicts. Take the case of Megan and Frank. Routine tests revealed she had chlamydia. The couple began therapy, where Frank quickly realized he was a sex addict. Megan could have left, but she chose to stay for five more rocky years.
Like many sex addicts, Frank had been sexually abused. Megan understood he needed to recover, but she needed to get on with her life. Anti-androgens , medications that block the effects of male hormones, present with an array of side effects:. When a person satisfies a need or desire that is vital to survival or reproduction, dopamine is released, causing the person to experience pleasure or euphoria.
This reinforces the expectation of reward and increases the desire to engage in the underlying behavior. This is what makes it so difficult for addicts to quit and why professional help should be sought. Many sex addicts believe that they are in control of their behaviors, but without proper treatment, they can develop dependence. A few signs include:.
Perhaps the most important sign that one is dependent on sex is that the person continues to partake in sexual behavior despite negative consequences caused by the behavior, such as:. Withdrawal is a characteristic feature of chemical addictions and reports indicate that individuals struggling with sexual addictions frequently report experiencing withdrawal after a reduction in sexual activity.
Withdrawal symptoms can include but are not limited to:. It is important to note that no two sex addicts are the same and that withdrawal symptoms may vary.
Treating co-occurring addictions is a complex process. Medical professionals must assess the pattern of drug use and sexual behaviors and how they relate to each other. Research indicates that there are two important things to consider when evaluating the relation:. Once the interaction of multiple addictions is assessed, then proper treatment can be administered. While some sex addicts use substances in order to cope with the pain and guilt caused by their sexual behaviors, others use them to enhance the sexual experience. If you think that you have issues with both sex addiction and substance addiction, it is critical to your recovery that you find a treatment center that can cater to both of these addictions.
There seems to be a high correlation between sex addiction and psychiatric conditions, particularly mood, anxiety and personality disorders. Clinical depression, which is often co-occurring with sex addiction, is a serious mental health illness that, if left untreated, can be life-threatening.