By Douglas Weiss, PhD
The term ‘sex addiction’ is often used as a blanket term to describe all sorts of different issues regarding intimacy problems or addictions. Unfortunately, using the term this way isn’t very beneficial to those who have problems or for those coaches and counselors working to heal the problems, because the term ‘sex addiction’ itself is too broad to be used to describe the different forms of sexual addictions that exist.
It is certainly possible to have an addiction to sexual intercourse, which would be the most accurate situation to describe when using the term “sex addiction.” However, there are many different kinds of sexual addictions that can describe very different circumstances and require different kinds of treatment. These are what we’re going to describe today.
Douglas Weiss, Ph.D and sex addiction coach for more than 20 years, has identified six of the most common sex addictions. Through dedication and hard work, he learned to separate the different conditions that people seek help for under the blanket term of “sex addiction.” He has helped the growing field of sexual addiction treatment with his understanding and insight of these varying conditions.
His identification of these different conditions has proven, to a wider audience, that not all sex addicts are alike, or even similar. Here are the six different conditions that he has identified.
I. The biological sex addict
Some aspect of the majority of sexual addictions have a biological basis to them, considering that sex is a biological function. However, sexual addicts that function on a solely biological level are rather uncommon, says Dr. Weiss, with only about 15 percent of people seeking sexual addiction treatment from a purely biological standpoint.
Most often, people suffering from a biological sex addiction didn’t come from negligent homes or suffer through lots of trauma. They simply developed an unhealthy enjoyment of sex which led them into a cycle that resulted in an addictive behavior.
II. The psychological sex addict
People who suffer from psychological sex addictions are more likely to have had difficult or traumatic experiences during their earlier lives. These people are using sex in a similar manner that drug addicts use intoxicants – to cover up an internal emotional problem that’s difficult to cope with.
The main difference here is that, instead of using drugs, the person is relying on the chemical cascade that occurs in their own body as a result of sexual behavior or fantasy. To eliminate this sort of sexual addiction, the underlying traumatic experiences must be dealt with.
III. The spiritual sex addict
This particular type of addict is not that much different than the experience many people face everyday, as they seek external experiences (a better house, better relationships, etc.) in order to ‘fill the void,’ or add some sense of purpose to their life. However, nobody will ever be able to find purpose until they look within themselves, and any sort of external pursuit only slows down the process of looking within.
This type of sex addiction must be dealt with by allowing the person to recognize why they’re using sex and how impractical it is for these purposes. However, this is not always the case. Many spiritual teachers and students still suffer from sexual addictions, and require counsel with an addiction coach to help them.
IV. The trauma-based sex addict
This type of addict is very different from a psychological sex addict, though they may share similar traits. This particular type of addiction is characterized by the repetition of traumatic events, sexual in nature, that a person experienced when they were younger. These traumatic experiences then becomes repeated throughout their adulthood and form the basis of their addiction.
This trauma may become repeated in regards to the individual’s fantasies, choices of pornography, and re-enactment or roleplay during their sexual addictions. For example, someone who was molested by an older person may habitually seek out older people for the icon of their sexual behavior.
V. The intimacy anorexic sex addict
Roughly a third of people who suffer from sexual addictions also suffer from intimacy anorexia, a condition marked by difficulty or inability to engage in intimate situations, whether emotional, physical or spiritual. These people tend to hold back love or push away those who love them, avoid being appreciative, tend to be very critical, isolated, and characterized by casting blame, and also tend to withhold sex or love as a form of control.
People with intimacy anorexia have a very unique and usually detrimental relationship with sex, and this can make it difficult for them to lead happy lives or have fruitful relationships.
VI. Sex addiction with mood disorders
Some people develop sexual addictions as a result of chemical imbalances, whereas other people might use drugs to try and correct these same imbalances. Instead, using sexual behavior as a form of medication, the person develops a serious dependency on sex.
These people will use sex as a way to bolster their mood. This means that certain feelings and situations can trigger intense sexual desires which others may not typically experience during these situations.
It’s important to know that you can suffer from more than one type of sexual disorder, and that a sexual addiction coach can help you identify these.
If you find a sex addiction coach who understands the difference between these types of problems, then they will be able to help you understand the cause of your problem. Together, the two of you will be able to isolate the underlying causes and eliminate the problem of sexual addiction, no matter what type you may be suffering from!
Call my office today at (805) 644-0461 and let’s begin working toward healing together.