The answer may surprise you. It looks like you, or me, or your neighbor down the street. Sex addicts don’t “stand out” from the crowd. We have families, go to work or school, might be community leaders or even spiritual leaders. We’re college presidents and college students. CEOs and mail clerks. Beauticians and physicians. We are regular people, just like the person in the mirror.
There is no “face of sexual addiction.”
You won’t identify an addict the way you might a meth addict, who wears his addiction on his face, or an alcoholic, who manages to get drunk at every opportunity, or the food addict, who can’t seem to stop eating. People addicted to sex are normal people who have an abnormal need to act out. We Addicts use sexual activity to seek pleasure, avoid unpleasant feelings or respond to outside stressors, such as work difficulties or interpersonal problems. This is not unlike how an alcoholic uses alcohol. In both instances, any reward gained from the experience soon gives way to guilt, remorse and promises to change. need to satisfy a craving deep within that often has very little to do with sexual satisfaction.
A sex addict might use his addiction for power, or to relieve stress, or to avoid problems in his daily life. It’s an escape mechanism, much the way alcohol is for an alcoholic. There are dozens of theories about how sex addiction has to do with biochemical changes in the brain, but I don’t want to dwell on the brain right now; this book isn’t about “how did this happen?” but more about “what do I do now?” It’s about recognizing the face of sex addiction and figuring out how to help yourself to escape the trap in which you find yourself.
Consider the case of Sam G:
How did he get to be a sex addict?
Sam was your average 35-year old with an MBA and a great job that had the makings of a brilliant career. He had a wife, 2.5 kids, and a pretty house with two cars in the garage. The future looked bright for Sam and his family. But with that great job came a lot of stress, and he started to use the Internet on his lunch hour to wind down and relax.
Sam’s “extracurricular activity” had started innocently enough. He’d been trolling websites on the Internet one day, when he happened upon a racy looking site with scantily-clad girls in provocative poses. The girls were gorgeous, and what healthy man, married or not, didn’t like to look? With a lot of quiet time at work, there was just so much opportunity to view more and more of the sites. Sam noticed that the girls seemed to be getting younger and sexier looking but he shoved any misgivings to the back of his mind – he was enjoying himself too much.
Until the day he was called into the boss’s office. They knew what he was looking at in all those hours he was supposed to be working. They would not press charges, to report him to the police, but he was fired and told to leave immediately.
Now he had no job, but that wasn’t the worst part of this mess. How in the world was he going to tell his wife what happened?
Does sexual addiction sound familiar? Does this ring a bell about someone you know or someone you heard about, or even someone in your family? What started out as a seemingly innocent pastime turned into a criminal act capable of ruining a lot of lives.
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