Every day is a struggle for someone who is suffering from or in recovery from sex addiction. The excessive and repeated sexual fantasies and behaviors will have left the addict’s life in a downward spiral. Not one part of the addict’s life has been left untouched by the devastating impact of the addiction. The 10 biggest problems that people with sex addiction face are explained here. Understanding these problems can help those working with and supporting the sex addict throughout his or her recovery.
1. Spiritual – People who are struggling with or recovering from sex addiction will experience many spiritual problems. They will likely suffer with loneliness, resentment, self-pity and self-blame. These emotions will affect an addict deeply on a very spiritual level and the recovery process will require the addict to come to terms with those feelings. Ultimately, they will have to reach full spiritual health before they can fully deal with their addiction.
2. Occupational – A sex addiction will engulf the addict’s thoughts from the moment they awaken to the moment they fall asleep. Often the compulsion to engage in sexual thoughts and behavior will take priority over work, work responsibilities, and even sleep.
Therefore, job performance will be severely affected and job loss a real possibility. Even when the addict is faced with the loss of a job and serious financial problems, the need for their addiction is too strong for most who are seriously addicted.
3. Financial -In addition to job loss, sex addicts will often spend exorbitant amounts of money on pornography, strip clubs, prostitutes, phone sex, cyber sex, and other sexual activities and devices. Combine this with job loss and the person will be in financial trouble within a short period of time.
4. Legal – People with a sex addiction will commit acts they ordinarily wouldn’t and so run afoul of the law. Sex addicts have been charged with sexual harassment, obscenity, voyeurism, exhibitionism, rape, prostitution, incest and child molestation. These are severe acts, misdemeanors and felonies, that can seriously impact a person’s life. That is why it is so important for people to get help with this addiction as soon as possible.
5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) – Risky sexual behavior by the addict can lead to the contraction of many STDs. While people who aren’t struggling with a sex addiction sometimes engage in sexual activities with anonymous or multiple partners, they reportedly take more precautions than a sex addict. Therefore the risk of contracting an STD is greater with the addict.
6. Physical injury – In addition to the risks of contracting an STD, addicts can also injure themselves or expose themselves to serious physical genital injury from aggressive sexual activity. Often times, compulsive and obsessive masturbation in sex addicts leads to bruising and soreness in the genitals, men have been knows to masturbate their penis raw and women the same with their clitoris and vagina.
7. Risk taking – A key characteristic of sex addiction is the escalation of sexual behavior. In many cases, this leads addicts to taking some potentially damaging and harmful risks. Encounters with complete strangers can be extremely risky for anyone but even more so with the sex addict whose compulsion to engage in sexual activity may compromise his judgment and lead to potentially harmful situations. The addict will ride the excitement and the high of the addiction and do things and get involved in situations a “normal” person would never get involved in.
8. Emotional – People struggling with sex addiction often suffer from a wide range of emotions, including anxiety, stress, fear of getting caught, shame, guilt, boredom, fatigue and despair. They can devastate the addict and lead him or her deeper into addiction. In order to recover from this addiction, the addict will have to learn how to cope with these emotions.
9. Social – Addicts put their addiction at the center of their lives, causing social relationships to suffer. People struggling with an addiction will isolate themselves and put a strain on even the strongest relationships. The secrecy, dishonesty, shame, embarrassment and guilt will often cause the addict to push people away. In order to recover, the addict will need a close support system of family and friends. Therefore it is important that the people who are close to the addict understand the disease and put aside their own hurt in order to aid in the recovery.
10. Relationship – An addict who is in a relationship and is struggling with sex addiction will most likely see that relationship suffer. The physical relationship between the couple will likely become more and more distant as the addict becomes more involved in his or her own fantasies and activities. Emotionally, the couple will become isolated, angry and confused. Feelings of guilt and inadequacy will fill the of the addict’s partner. Yet, this is the person who will have to play a large role in the addict’s recovery. However, the problems of the relationship will exist for a long time, and therapy is often necessary for both people involved.