Eric Pierni, Registered Psychotherapist (Q), Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (Cand.) | Founder of Men Therapy Toronto interviewed on Men 101
Men who experience sex addiction feel an overwhelming loss of control surrounding their sexual behaviours. Their sexual behavior feels compulsive, excessive, and impacts their life in a negative way.
There is currently no agreed upon definition for sex addiction because it is very difficult to define normal sexual behaviors. The exact same behaviour might feel like a sex addiction to one man, and like healthy sexuality to another. It’s not necessarily the behavior that suggests an addiction, but how men feel about their behaviour.
Though there is no common definition, sex addiction does exist and has damaging consequences for the men who experience it, and their loved ones.
The reality is that many men suffer from sexual addiction. This compulsive behaviour is overwhelming, obsessive, and does not lead to fulfillment for the sufferer. In fact, many men live in cycles of shame and guilt, and feel that they are alone, powerless to change themselves.
But there is hope.
Through proven strategies of self-reflection we can explore the deeper roots of our compulsions and overcome sexual addiction. It is possible to regain control of our lives and focus on what we choose to focus on, instead of constantly feeling hijacked by our sexual compulsions.
Understanding Sexual Addiction
Though we have described it as a compulsion, sexual addiction can be more accurately described as an intimacy disorder. Most men who are engaging in sexually addictive behaviors are doing so because they are in terror of being intimate with a partner who is an equal.
There is often nothing less appealing to a man who is acting out sexually than the presence of a healthy, strong, and intelligent partner. To someone with a sex addiction, healthy individuals aren’t sexually desirable. They kill the rush.
Why do healthy partners kill the rush for someone with a sexual addiction?
Sexual addiction requires finding a partner who is perceived to be more vulnerable. The vulnerability of this other individual is unthreatening, and triggers the sexual addict because it allows him to experience what he feels he lacks—power.
Men experiencing sexual addiction are in very deep pain, feeling powerless and inadequate in their lives. These brief sexual exploits provide a temporary experience of power, something sufferers desperately crave.
Are you experiencing sexual addiction?
Below are common signs that suggest you may be struggling with a sex addiction. It is important to remember that there is no scientific definition of sexual addiction, so this list should be considered as a guide.
Signs that you may have a sexual addiction:
- Paying for sex
- Seeking sex from individuals you perceive are more vulnerable (i.e. people you can exploit)
- Rarely having sex with partners you would consider equal (actually, you are scared of those partners)
- Excessive reaction to the idea of sex (you get overly excited by the idea of getting sex and it becomes your primary focus)
- Always trying to seduce women (or men) regardless of situation
- Have tried to stop your sexual behaviour but can’t seem to do it
- Rarely in a committed relationship or compulsively unfaithful when in one
- Participating in exhibitionism or voyeurism
- Frequently visiting swingers’ and sex clubs
- Compulsive use of online dating sites to seek out sex
- Participating in excessive anonymous or casual sex
- Frequently visiting strip clubs
- Watching porn excessively
Treatment for Sexual Addiction
To first treat a sexual addiction we must realize that stopping the behaviours is not the key to recovery.
Sexually addictive behaviours are simply the negative consequence of how an individual feels about himself. They are the symptom, not the cause.
These behaviours are generally the negative consequence of long-held faulty beliefs about oneself. This is why focusing on stopping the sexually addictive behaviours will prove of little use if the beliefs about oneself do not change.
How a man feels about his masculinity is often at the core of sexual addiction. Feelings of being inadequate as a man, unworthy, and fundamentally unlovable are the areas that must be focused on in treatment.
By re-framing the problem and working on our beliefs about ourselves, those of us who suffer from sexual addiction can regain control of our lives.
- Sex & Porn Addiction Recovery Guide Toronto, Ontario (GTA)
- Sex Addiction Explained with 1 PowerPoint Slide
- “Am I Gay?” – 3 Words that can Terrorize Men
- Porn, Power, Men & Hope
- Sex Addiction: Gateway to an Authentic Masculinity?
- Am I a Sex Addict?
Sex, Porn & Love Addiction 12 Steps Groups in Toronto (GTA)
Additional Resources for Sex Addiction in Men
- Psych Central | What is a Sexual Addiction?
- Mayo Clinic [Diseases and Conditions] | Compulsive sexual behavior
- WebMD | Is Sex Addiction Real?
Men Therapy Toronto
Counselling & Therapy Services for Men
“Most men who are engaging in sexually addictive behaviors are doing so because they are in terror of being intimate with a partner who is an equal.”