What is a Sex Addict?

Following and answering your curiosity is the first step to healing and wholeness.

While this is a popular question today, let’s first agree on one thing. All of us are living in the human experience, that unique set of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual characteristics that make up each of our lives. Sex can have a strong, positive impact on our human experience, and like other good things such as exercise, food, and drink, we can find ourselves misusing, overindulging, or habitualizing sex.

Sex Addicts are people who suffer from persistent, uncontrollable, and overwhelming sexual impulses and urges over an extended period of time. These impulses and urges are severe enough that the sufferer experiences unusually high amounts of distress, depression, self-loathing, excitability, and or social conflicts with partners, friends, family, or coworkers.

Here are four common habits of someone suffering from sexual addiction:

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My Husband / Boyfriend is a Sex Addict. What should I do?

Do not fret. You’re not alone. There are millions of other women on this journey with you, which means there is a clear path to recovery for your partner. Please remember that you have a compassionate heart, and that’s why you’re here.

While your love for them has been rattled by this painful and traumatic discovery, you’ve made the right choice to ask for the support and guidance you deserve. We will support your desire for truthful and complete disclosure in a manner that rebuilds trust, and we will help you stand firm in requiring treatment for your partner without any sense of judgement, betrayal, or any other emotionally charged response.

My Wife / Girlfriend is a Sex Addict. What should I do?

We get it. You’re confused. You thought everything was okay, but now you find yourself in the same shoes as millions of other men. First things first—this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of your partner. Be there for her as you have before, and initiate the first step in her recovery. You may be concerned with how she responds to your desire for treatment. Don’t worry, we’ll bring our twenty-five years of compassion and empathy to the conversation by involving our team of female counselors. It’s important to your partner’s recovery to remove any notion of gender bias, so rest assured we’ll establish relatability with a female identity. We’ll also help you recover from the pain and anguish you experienced during this trial. You will receive personalized tools for coping in healthy ways during the recovery process, and [ video? ] tracks for personal growth along the way.

What is a Male Sex Addict Called?

In Greek mythology – a male described as a Satyr – was known for riotous and lascivious living, a lecher, and later a Don Juan. Don Juanism – a definition first recorded in the late 1800’s, describes a syndrome, occurring in males, of excessive preoccupation with sexual gratification or conquest and leading to persistently transient and sometimes exploitative relationships.

The majority of individuals with compulsive sexual behavior are males, primarily due to their unique biological, psychological, and sociological constructs as well as cultural influences.

Please Note: City Gate does not formally distinguish between a male or female in assessment and diagnosis of problematic sexual behavior.

What is a Female Sex Addict Called?

In Greek mythology – a nymph was conceived as a beautiful maiden inhabiting the sea, woods, rivers, trees, etc. The definition included “a beautiful or graceful young woman, a maiden”. By the late 1700’s, Greek mythos expanded and tweaked the Nymph definition to refer to nymphomania – an abnormal, excessive and uncontrollable sexual desire in women.

Henceforth, a woman who exhibited excessive and uncontrollable sexual desire was referred to as a nymphomaniac, or nympho. While males make up the majority of compulsive sexual behavior, females also have unique biological, psychological, and sociological constructs and cultural influences.

Please Note: City Gate does not formally distinguish between a male or female in assessment and diagnosis of problematic sexual behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your natural interest in sexual activity has seemingly become excessive or risky and is accompanied by a daily sense of denial, deception, isolation, blame shifting, or excuses for your not being “present” in your relationships or work environment.

Do not hate yourself if this describes your present state, or do not neglect your partner or colleague if they match this description. There are over 10 million new cases of sex addiction every year in the United States alone. There’s only so much you can control, and we can help you or your loved ones regain that control with a sense of relief and empowerment.

While the consequences of sex addiction are bad, being a sex addict does not make a person intrinsically bad.

Sex addiction has a detrimental impact on the addict’s behavior.  They often find themselves crossing someone else’s comfort boundaries, manipulating or coercing their partner, violating trust and intimacy, and in some rare cases exercising adultery or violence. This behavior has profoundly negative consequences on the addict and their loves ones.

Here’s a promise…

We at City Gate will not judge your personhood. We recognize that most individuals who manifest as sex addicts are acting out unresolved trauma. A secondary diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often arises once the obsessions and behavior are being managed. That is when the deeper emotions that have been denied, buried or ignored are allowed to surface in a safe therapeutic environment to begin the healing of the root issues of the compulsive sexual behavior.

Yes. Even those who are celibate, abstinent, or have never had sex can be sexually obsessed but not physically acting out the behavior with others. Pornography is the most frequent outlet for those who are focused on sexual fantasy and self-gratification, and it can be extremely detrimental to their emotional, psychological, and phsyical health in the short-term and long-term.

Additionally, it is very common for individuals with compulsive sexual behaviors to experience periods of binging and purging. An example would be an excessive period of viewing hard core pornography with masturbation. Then the shadow of shame and guilt would scare the sex addict into a self-determined frenzy of purging materials, deleting bookmarks, canceling subscriptions, deleting contact information, blocking websites, etc. and promises to self, “I am not going to waste my time on that trash”, which is followed by a period of relief in abstinence from the compulsive behavior. Sometimes days, weeks, months, or even years will pass without the unwanted behavior. However, if the compulsive behavior is not assessed and understood by a certified professional, and positive coping behaviors are not established and practiced consistently, the sexual abstinence will often be eroded, or a potentially worse substituted obsessive behavior will surface as the primary coping and avoidance behavior. Other obsessions/compulsions can be work, binge eating, drinking and drugging, gambling, gaming, shopping, spending, binge-watching TV/movies, or other pleasure seeking behaviors. Underlying mental health issues commonly surface – depression, social or generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, mood disorder, personality disorders.