Are you a sex addict?

I have updated the self-assessment page and reprinted the content below. I highly recommend reading my 7 questions in conjunction with the self-assessments at Sex Addicts Anonymous or Sexhelp.com.

Sex addicts commonly answer yes to one or more of the 7 questions below.  If you even lean towards saying yes one any of the questions below, consider getting help.  Many of us start out in extreme denial.  Don’t hold back from yourself.

  1. Do you ever feel like your sexual behavior is “out of control”?  Do you want to stop but feel like you’re unable to?
  2. Have you ever made a promise to yourself that you would stop a behavior, only to break it?  Has this become a cycle?
  3. Do you keep your behavior a secret?  Are you careful to clear your browser history, or do you lie about where you’ve been?
  4. Does your behavior violate your personal beliefs or values?  Do you feel guilt or shame afterwards? Are you afraid people at work, church, or school will find out?
  5. Are your behaviors illegal? Do you fear getting caught by the police? Do you continue the behavior in spite of your fear?
  6. Do the things that used to satisfy you fail to satisfy you now? Do you need to engage in more extreme or riskier behaviors to reach the same level of satisfaction?
  7. Do you ever seek to avoid sex altogether? Do you “swear off” sex, only to return to your old behavior? Do you have a “binge and purge” pattern of engaging in undesirable behavior, obsessively or compulsively avoiding all sex, then returning to your undesirable behavior? Do you replace your sexual behaviors with other problematic behaviors such as excessive drinking, eating, drug use, gambling, spending, etc.?

What makes something an addiction is compulsivity.  If you are trying to stop, but can’t, or if you are doing things you know you shouldn’t, or if you try replacing one problem with another, that is a strong indicator you might be an addict.  Now is the time to seek help through a twelve-step fellowship or Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT).

Lust

“I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus, Matthew 5:28

Sexaholics Anonymous seeks to remove lust from the mind of the addict. Other groups say this is an unrealistic goal.

I think that both views are correct, to an extent.

Removal of lust, that is, inordinate sexual desire, sexual fantasy outside of marriage, fantasy for fantasy’s sake, or adultery of the mind; is most certainly a good thing. Lust serves to objectify others, including our spouse.  For the addict, it can easily become a form of escapism, preferred over intimacy with another.

Yet, insofar as sexual desire is natural, so is lust, but natural sexual desire isn’t really lust, is it?

Thoughts are difficult, if not impossible at times, to control. Sometimes we can will thoughts out of our minds, but other times they won’t leave no matter how many times we click our heels together, just ask any PTSD sufferer.

Removal of lust must be a goal, but not our primary focus. If we work on recovery in other ways, the lust will diminish in time.

Here are 5 things you can start doing today :

  1. Go to a meeting. It can be face-to-face, by phone, or online. Interact with the people who understand you best.
  2. Get some exercise. Go for a walk, go to your gym, or do jumping jacks. Do something.
  3. Call up an old friend. Relationships are essential to recovery.
  4. Call your mother (or some other close family member). Our relationship with family is the second most important one we have. Don’t call to reopen old wounds. Rather, call someone you’re on good terms with. Step nine, not now, is the time for those often painful amends.
  5. Spend five minutes (or more) in prayer. This is your most important relationship. When did you last speak to your Father in Heaven? He’s waiting to hear from you, even if you don’t know what to say. Just be with Him.