In a recent interview, Becky, a reformed “sex addict” shares her story;
‘I think I realised I had a problem when I was walking back to the house of a man that had physically hurt me badly in the act of sex, and I was willingly about to give myself up to him again.
“Despite being terrified and it making me tremble and sick, I somehow couldn’t stop myself, I had to have my fix.”’
‘Afterwards I felt used, I hated myself for what I had done, but that didn’t stop me. Married, attached, fathers, brothers of other conquests, it made no difference the more screwed up the better in the heat of the moment – the higher the rush, and the deeper the low.’ She continues.
‘It wasn’t just men, it was Porn, dangerous sex, exhibitionism, everything was just sex, sex, sex, which meant just about anything that could give me that high. The more intense, the more I needed, like it wasn’t enough, I had become desensitised to it.’
sex addiction is a hotly debated topic on which psychologists simply cannot agree. An addiction originally referred to a chemical dependence on a substance that had physical and psychological effects. ‘Behavioural’ addictions, for example to gambling, shopping or sex, are more open to interpretation as they cannot be scientifically understood.
sex does create chemical reactions within us and some psychologists believe that this can create a sort of semi-physical dependency as well as the behavioural element to this particular ‘addiction’.
It is quite commonly agreed that an addiction is present when a person cannot easily stop something, even when not stopping is detrimental to their lives. In Becky’s case she explains that her need for sex was creating very real difficulties for her.
‘It was affecting other areas of my life, my self esteem, the relationships I had with my friends and my family, who by the way could see what I had become, but I was determined I was in control.’
When asked why she felt the need to behave this way Becky says:
‘It really was like a drug, the adrenaline, the fear, the ‘buzz’ was intense, then the low afterwards was just like a comedown, yet sex seemed to be the only way I felt appreciated or ‘good’ at something.’
Although it is more common for men to admit to sexual addictions, and some of these ‘addictions’ surface only when an indiscretion has forced someone to look at their inappropriate behaviour, there are women like Becky who are finally coming out of the shadows and discussing this issue.
‘I know where it stems from (Becky refers to abuse in her childhood she does not want to discuss), but even with the knowledge it’s not as simple as just stopping a pattern of behaviour, I had to change everything including the way I looked at myself.’
Thankfully Becky is now in a stable and loving relationship and has received counselling. Although her darkest days are behind her she admits:
‘I am learning everything from scratch, relationships, boundaries, and my own values. It isn’t easy but when you love someone you do change, I have always been able to do things for other people that I cannot do for myself.’
‘I still place very high value on sex, I need to feel wanted in that way or my world falls down, if my husband say’s ‘not tonight’ I feel like it’s the end of the world, but hey I am finally having great, fun, non-dangerous sex, I want as much as I can get!’
People can change their behaviours and addictions can be overcome. Becky had counselling that she say’s ‘really helped’ her but agreed that the biggest change came from within. If you are struggling with your desires and think you need help please see our resources below.