The Disease of Sex Addiction II

Many people resist the notion that sex addiction is a disease. But in The Minnesota Model, a seminal book on addiction recovery, Spicer points out the similarities between chemical dependence and the disease concept. Borrowing from George Vaillant’s The Natural History of Alcoholism, Spicer shows how chemical dependence, like a disease, cuts across cultural and socioeconomic lines, is progressive, has specific signs and symptoms, and has a recommended course of treatment. In our view, sex addiction is no different. Here’s why:

Does Not Discriminate

First, like other diseases, sex addiction is an equal opportunity disease. It could care less about your race or culture. It doesn’t care about the fact that you’re young, middle-aged, or elderly. And it doesn’t care if you’re broke or wealthy. It’s a debilitating disease that affects people from all walks of life without discrimination or prejudice.

Progressive

Second, like other diseases, sex addiction is progressive. The frequency, intensity, and measure of risk increases with time. Masturbation may progress from once-a-week to three times a day. What began as a once-a-year trip to get an erotic massage turns into a twice-a-week event. The need for greater intensity leads to greater risk-taking. In the process, sex addicts contract sexually transmitted diseases, get caught in sting operations, and even commit suicide. Spicer writes that “people with a disease find their responses are less flexible.” The sex addict’s response to the normal ups and downs of life become progressively confined to a single, destructive response: the search for sexual satisfaction.

Has Recognizable Signs and Symptoms

Third, like other diseases, sex addiction shows certain signs and symptoms. Addicts often display some of the following symptoms: a deep feeling of shame and guilt following acting out behavior, constant obsession with acting out, and general malaise if unable to engage in the behavior. They also show the following signs: an inordinate amount of time spent in the pursuit of and recuperating from sex, unsuccessful attempts at stopping their behavior on their own, and decreased engagement in social, professional, or recreational activities. Once people acknowledge that they need help, they complain of having most, if not all of these signs and symptoms.

Has a Recommended Treatment

Finally, like other diseases, the diagnosis comes with a set of specific interventions that promote recovery. In its simplest form the prescription is this: individual therapy, group therapy, and 12-step meetings. In the process of participating in these relational activities, one needs learn about their disease and the tools needed to recover from it, how to manage their emotions without acting out, and maybe most importantly, how to be honest with themselves and others. When sex addicts follow the suggested course of treatment, it’s our experience that they recover to live happy and meaningful lives.

Sex Addiction – Is It Really a Disease?

Perhaps you have heard about sex addiction but don’t know too much about it. People hear about different stereotypes that fit the disease and many assume it’s a made up disease that perverts or overly sexual people use as an excuse for their behavior. But, NO! Sex addiction is a real, recognized medical condition that has only come to light in recent years within the psychological and medical profession.

Another reason many people don’t know much about the disease is because most addicts don’t freely talk about sexual disorders. They are either too embarrassed, uncomfortable or ignorant about the topic to discuss it openly with family, friends, or others. As a result, there are many misconceptions and stereotypes about sex addiction that are completely untrue.

When someone hears the term sex addict… Many different thoughts come… Are they thinking about the person who kidnaps and rapes children, the spouse who has multiple affairs, the person who exposes themselves or peeps in windows… or is the person who views pornography at work, or stays online for hours on end… or is the person who has sex with underage partners… or is the “pervert” in the raincoat with the long beard who lives in the scary house at the end of the street… And the example go on… There are so many misconceptions of the term sex addiction.

The National Council on Sex Addiction and Compulsive defines sexual addiction as the “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.” Essentially, this means that addicts are so strongly compelled to carry out their addictive behaviors they are willing to risk their:

Health
Relationships
Financial well-being
Employment
Freedom
and in some cases criminal charges.

This disease is much more than someone using it as an excuse for reckless sexual activities. It is a disease, much like alcohol or drug addiction.

In fact, clinicians and researchers have defined the disorder based on criteria used for chemical dependency literature. According to Psych Central, these criteria include the following:

— Frequently engaging in more sex with more partners than intended

— Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity.

— Thinking of sex to the detriment of other activities or continually engaging in excessive sexual practices despite a desire to stop.

— Spending considerable time in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic websites.

— Neglecting obligations such as work, school or family in pursuit of sex.

— Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or potential health risks.

— Escalating scope or frequency of sexual activity to achieve a desired effect, such as more frequent visits to prostitutes or more sex partners.

— Feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired behavior.

As you can see, all of the criteria focus on repetitive activities that are carried out continually by the sex addict. The nature of the activities also is defined by escalation, which is also typical of any addiction. Professionals feel that if a person engages in three or more of the above criteria for a period of at least six months that they are a suffering from sex addiction.

The American Psychiatric Association has issued its own set of preliminary criteria for what they call “Hypersexual Disorder.” Essentially, it is another term for sexual addiction. The symptoms are similar to the above criteria and can be used by medical professionals to help identify sex addiction in people who are seeking help or are in desperate need of care.

It is important that the level of awareness about sexual addiction increases among the general public because there are myriad people suffering from this disease in silence. If it were better understood, addicts would feel more comfortable to come forward and seek treatment. As it is right now, addicts are often ashamed, embarrassed and afraid of how people would react to their sex addiction.

Christian Sex 101

There are very few silver bullets in life. I have yet to see the magic pill for weight loss. I am personally still looking for the five thousand dollar a day work from home business! I have no idea how people who make these claims, preying on people with real problems, sleep at night. Take a moment sometime and look at all the Christian  “save your marriage” claims out there. Some of the products look more like comedy routines than real solutions. They are as laughable as they are sad.

Seldom are the real answers to complicated problems easy. Especially when you are dealing with personal relationships. Throw sex into the discussion and you can almost automatically expect limited breakthrough. Almost…

There are a couple simple truths in the world of sex and marriage that on the surface seem almost benign. But when you really GET these simple truths and you put them into practice you experience what you can quite possibly classify as your first real SILVER BULLET! Let’s break these “truths” into two different sections… “What men should know” and “What woman should know”. Let’s start with the men…!

Men are very simple creatures when it comes to sex. God knew how complicated women were going to be and felt he needed to even things up! (Sorry ladies…!) They say the average man (Christian or not) thinks about sex hundreds of times a day. That is probably a conservative estimate. Why is that you think? While we have no way of knowing for certain this is my understanding. Men are turned on by what they SEE. Sometimes I think mans visual response skips their brain and goes right to their mid section. How many movies have we all seen where a man and woman are sitting together and a beautiful woman walks buy causing the mans eyes to follow as though it is an involuntary act? Our vision starts off the sexual experience for us. We see and we act. Even if we choose to look away from that beautiful woman we have to deliberately make that choice.

When in that same movie the woman gets upset thinking this is an insult to her personally, she makes some comment challenging his commitment to her. As it sounds shallow for the man to say “hey, God made me that way” it is the truth. I am not saying this is a license for men to ogle every attractive woman they see. I believe deliberate “oogling” in the presence of your wife or girlfriend is insensitive and wrong. On the other hand, when out of instinct a man looks as a woman passes, and catches himself, his wife should commend him. He has just fought and won a battle to preserve her honor. That first glance is not about will power, the continued glaring is. This is the part where the woman need to understand how God created men. Woman need to understand what turns a man on sexually. This understanding is a little easier for woman as this is how the media tells us everyone is sexually excited.

Men Look at things and decide right there if they like them. Woman are no exception. There is a reason woman won’t leave the house in curlers. Why do women were high heels? Ask them. You will not hear the word comfort I assure you. Look at lesbians. Real lesbians. They use the term butch. If you look at these woman almost none of them dress in miniskirts and heels. They all wear Reebok tennis shoes and beige pants. Why? First reason is comfort. The second is there is no reason to wear heels and skirts. Woman could care less what other woman are wearing. They have no need to “hook” another woman visually. So ladies, do your best to understand this even if you don’t feel it. While your appearance is not the know all and end all of your relationship, to your husband it is a big part. Why? Because for whatever reason the Lord in his infinite wisdom made him.

Women. Being a Christian, heterosexual man I love women. I have zero clue how a man could have sex with another man.  When God put a woman together physically he could not have done a better job. Man being designed first he knew we liked what we saw. Guys I am sure you will agree he did not disappoint. How much easier life would be if woman were “turned on” the same way men are. Unfortunately, the two processes are not even close.

Women are human. Christian or not does not matter. They like what they see as men do. They use there vision as a first response vehicle much like men do. That is where the similarity ends. The process that occurs after that can even trump that first opinion her eyes gave her. I wish I could say woman just “feel” their way through relationships. But that over simplifies what is really going on.

So, here we go. What turns a woman on? Being a Christian and holding the belief pre marital sex is wrong, The women we are discussing here are our wives. So, what turns our wives on? Seeing as this woman married you we can assume she finds you attractive on some level. She loves you. At some point the two of you enjoyed sex with one another. Hopefully. (There are untold numbers of woman however that never really enjoyed sex. They just “did it” because it was expected. Or to satisfy her husband. Never really knowing or understanding how to enjoy it. Some fundementalist Christian women believe it is somehow wrong to enjoy sex!!  That is a whole other topic. Women, if that is you rejoice!! There is hope!! Stay tuned to these articles as we will be discussing that very subject). Guys, how do we get our wives to WANT to have sex with us??  Men like things in Steps so we can methodically follow them. Here are some steps you can take to begin the process..

  • Make the bed when you get up in the morning.
  • Make the kids lunch. Get them dressed and on their way to school.
  • Take out the trash
  • Clean the house
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • If you are going out that night make all the arraignments for the kids. Childcare, feeding them. Homework,etc.

Now guys, you might be looking at this list and laughing. Some of you might be in tears! It is my guess the majority of you just don’t get It. What does housework have to do with SEX? It is very simple. Now, as I explain this do yourself a HUGE favor. Do not try and make what I am saying more complicated than it is. Sometimes we don’t believe the simple thing works because it is so simple! WHY woman behave as they do is extremely complicated. HOW WE RESPOND to women is easy. Just so our response compliments how God created them. The list above is the women’s lingerie. A husband taking the time to do those things for his wife in the equivalent of the little black dress, black stockings and heels to a man. It’s her SEX ON A STICK!

Guys, our wives sex drive will always equal her sense of SECURITY. When we take the time to do the things that tell our wives “you matter, I understand how tough being a mom can be, I appreciate you, I need you, I thank God you are my wife” we provide the security every woman NEEDS. Guys, if we want our wives to respond to us sexually we need to respond to them in the way God made them. Do yourself a favor and give these things a try. What type things can you see would make your wife feel more secure? More appreciated? Telling our wives we love them is easy. Showing them is easy. Telling them AND showing them can be a challenge. When a woman sees her husband engaged in her daily activities, giving her some “me” time… Wow. Guys, the dividends are amazing. Think about this… How many times do you see really beautiful woman with men totally out of their league? Fat, bald guys with these 10.5 women on their arm?? I see them all the time. It used to bewilder me until I understood what made women tick. Christian or not. The first thing we might think is the guy has a ton of money. Maybe so for some. But isn’t that a form of security?? The biggest mistake men and woman make in their sex relationship is the belief we are aroused sexually in the same way! You can see the bedlam caused not understanding how God created us. Again, these truths are universal, Christian or not.

So, lets recap.

  • Men are visual beings. We are aroused by what we see. Period, Sure, love comes into play and we have a few feelings… a few. Men love sex with a beautiful women. So you women out there… If you want more attention sexually from your husband, rolling over in the morning with your hair going everywhere and breath that could peel paint is not your best plan. I love the song from R&B artist Beyonce’ called Freakum Dress. Get in your closet and pull out your Freakum Dress, put it on and get his attention. As I am a huge proponent of staying in your best possible shape physically for your spouse, sadly for women this weighs a little more heavily on your shoulders. Sorry ladies… Hey! Blame the Lord!!
  • Women like an attractive man. However woman are far more interested in safety and security. Being made to believe she is loved and the worth while. I hate the word feeling (feelings). It goes far deeper than just “feeling” this way once in a while. BEING safe and secure is a necessity for every woman. Even Gloria Steinem. The benefit to men for providing this environment is great sex!! So guys, Start with the list above and add activities particular to your relationship. Tell her your plan. Tell her ” I want to improve our sex life. I’ll take care of the kids and the house today. Go take the day and do as you please!! ” Then keep helping around the house, with the kids, etc. This will create the secure environment your wife needs. If Christian Sex 101 were a book, this would be in the first chapter. The good news is you’ll find many other areas of your life improving along with your sexual relationship.
  • Guys and Gals… You have the keys to the kingdom. Now GO DO IT!! This isn’t a complete Guide to Christian Sex but it is a good start!!