Whenever I read, in a story, an article or a blog entry or wherever, that a person has self-diagnosed as a sex addict after being caught cheating, because theoretically it’s a good excuse for bad behavior, I sigh.
Whenever I hear someone call someone else a sex addict because the target of hate and disdain partook in creepy, depraved, selfish sexual acts, usually extramarital, sometimes even convincing the spouse to join in, and it’s all so easily judged, and slammed, I cringe.
When I read about someone denouncing the term sex addict, for themselves, or someone else, or EVERYONE else, because a person can’t be “addicted” to sex, and they were able to just stop cheating, just like that, because you know, they were just being an arsehole/asshole, I am now able to simply turn the proverbial page. I know better, now. It’s mighty easy to sit in judgment. Not as easy to be compassionate and understanding, and heal.
In my opinion, always on this blog, my blog, it’s my opinion, that the term sex addict is a diagnosis that can lead the afflicted to a pathway for healing. Everyone’s healing journey is different. Even the term used could be different: sex addict/ion, sexual compulsive/compulsivity, sexual dependency, hyper sexuality…. The term sex addict is not meant to be thrown around as an excuse for bad behavior or as a generic catch-all negative moniker for what some people define as deviant. In fact doing this, especially in the media, actually undermines the usefulness of the diagnosis and it’s potential for healing, and causes a great deal of shame in individuals already riddled with shame. Some addicts take their diagnosis seriously and seek recovery in whatever form. Some succeed at sobriety and recovery. Some don’t.
Sex addicts are like other addicts in that they are using a drug to medicate. Their use of that drug is affecting their lives negatively. Often they lie, cheat, and steal to get their drug. They feel they can’t survive without the drug. Many (most?) hate what they are doing, and hate the fact that they can’t seem to stop on their own. Because… addiction is hard. We acknowledge that for alcoholics, and drug addicts. What once was considered weakness is now considered a disease. Sex addiction is the same. The brain is altered to receive hits to medicate pain and suffering, stressful situations, mental illness, so many things. Each addict is different. Each person’s relationship with sex is different. There is no easy treatment. It’s life long.
In the end, however, for me it’s always about behaving in a manner that is kind and nurturing to oneself and others. Recovering from addiction is a life long battle. Making fun, demonizing, belittling, or attacking an addict really has no positive outcome. Blaming the victim, as in they are bad spouses, frigid, unloving… is cruel. Sex addiction is a complicated issue. It, like so many other facets of life, cannot be neatly categorized in a tight little box. Sex addiction, like other addictions, affects relationships, families, lives, whether the addict has been diagnosed or not. Sex addiction is often about a hidden life designed to fill empty voids. Secrets and lies dominate the addict’s life and those secrets and lies get in the way of relationships… all relationships.
I am grateful that there are treatments available for sex addiction. My husband’s life and our continued relationship have been dependent on the availability of a number of those treatments. Likewise, my livelihood since discovery of my husband’s addiction has been dependent on receiving treatment for my sex addiction induced trauma. I feel lucky that in this day and age, simply googling “sex addiction treatment” brings up so many options for help. I sincerely hope that sex addicts, partners, and family members seek the help they need.
Just a few of the Resources we have found helpful, for Sex Addicts:
Please feel free to post in the comment section, any resources you have found helpful on your journey.