What Is Sex Addiction?
Sex Addiction can involve a wide variety of practices. Sometimes an addict has trouble with just one unwanted behavior, sometimes with many. A large number of sex addicts say their unhealthy use of sex has been a progressive process. It may have started with an addiction to masturbation, pornography (either printed or electronic), or a relationship, but over the years progressed to increasingly dangerous behaviors.
The essence of all addiction is the addicts’ experience of powerlessness over a compulsive behavior, resulting in their lives becoming unmanageable. The addict is out of control and experiences tremendous shame, pain and self-loathing. The addict may wish to stop — yet repeatedly fails to do so. The unmanageability of addicts’ lives can be seen in the consequences they suffer: losing relationships, difficulties with work, arrests, financial troubles, a loss of interest in things not sexual, low self-esteem and despair.
Sexual preoccupation takes up tremendous amounts of energy. As this increases for the sex addict, a pattern of behavior (or rituals) follows, which usually leads to acting out (for some it is flirting, searching the net for pornography, or driving to the park.) When the acting out happens, there is a denial of feelings usually followed by despair and shame or a feeling of hopelessness and confusion.
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If you believe that you need help for your addictive sexual behavior, there is help available. There are over 20 SAA meetings in greater Austin each week, and you are welcome to come to a meeting to see if our program can help you. There is also a weekly Newcomer’s Meeting every Sunday. While addicts seeking help are welcome at any meeting, the New Comers meeting is specially focused on addressing the questions and concerns of those who are interested in learning what the program can offer them.
If you aren’t sure if a meeting is right for you, you can also leave a voicemail on our Info Line at 512-956-6868, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Somebody will get back to you within a day or two.
On our resources page, you can find books and pamphlets that many of us have found useful in getting our lives back in order.
If you aren’t sure if you have a problem or not, our self-assesment quiz can help point you in the right direction.