Sexual Addiction

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I am a 23-year-old female. I started having sex when I was fifteen. I would have sex with several different people all in the same night. A lot of time it was unprotected sex. There were times when I would feel guilty about my encounters afterwards. When I was 18, I was caught by police with a 16 and 17 year old, having sex. While dating the man I am married to now, I would cheat on him compulsively. When we did get married, 1 year and a half into the marriage, I had an affair with a co-worker. Since recovering from the affair that I had, I have been obsessive about searching the personal ads online to find a man, woman or a couple to join me and my husband for sex. My husband stated that he wouldn’t mind but then later told me he did not want to do that. I noticed that I still browse the personal ads and I cannot stop. I’m addicted to it, even though I know I wouldn’t engage in such activities. One of my main concerns about my addiction is that since the day that I met my husband (6 years ago) we have had sex everyday at least once. Up until about 3 years ago, my husband stated that he would like to take breaks every once in a while. I can understand his point of view. Especially, because I do not want him to become tired of having sex with me. But, if he doesn’t have sex with me before we go to bed, I cannot sleep. I also get very angry and upset. We have spent many night arguing about this. I can tell that it makes his self esteem go down. I feel very bad about this. I feel like we cannot enjoy healthy sex because of my demands. All I think about is having sex with him. I obsessively think about it. Please help me!!

A: You have taken a brave first step in coping with this issue. Let’s see if we can focus this effort.

I think you have accurately identified your addiction. Browsing through the personal ads is like an alcoholic gargling with whiskey. Each component of your behavior and thinking indicates this is operating like an addiction.

Just like the compulsive behaviors that come with alcoholism there is some help. Sex Addicts Anonymous is a good place to start and there are several facilities that treat this behavior. I would start by looking at the material on the SAA site and go from there.

I am impressed with your courage in wanting to deal with this directly.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Sexual Addiction. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/03/13/sexual-addiction/