The issue of infidelity and sexual addiction has been a hot topic in the media recently. Just because a person has been unfaithful to a spouse or partner does not mean they necessarily have an addiction. With that being said, sexual addiction does exist, and for many people this addiction can ruin their careers, relationships and lives.
Like most human behaviors, sexual problems fall along a continuum. The question often boils down to how much the person’s behavior is interfering with their ability to function normally or how much stress the behaviors create in their lives. Does their sexual behavior interfere with having normal healthy relationships? Does it interfere with their job? Does it put them at risk with the law? Someone with a sex addiction is compelled to act on their sexual urges. Their sexual compulsions begin to dominate their life. Just as with other addictions, the individual eventually begins to sacrifice what is most important to them in order to continue to engage in their sexually destructive behaviors. Some behaviors common to sex addicts are: compulsive masturbation, multiple affairs, prostitution, exhibitionism, excessive use of pornography, multiple anonymous partners, cybersex, voyeurism, and molestation/rape. A person does not have to engage in all of these acts to be a sex addict. Some sex addicts only engage in one of these types of sexual behaviors, others engage in many or all of them.
Many people often wonder why someone would cheat on a partner that seems to be such a good catch (Haley Berry, Sandra Bullock, etc.) But when someone has a sexual addiction it is not about their partner, or lack of a “good” partner. Although problems in one’s marriage or relationship can fuel a desire to stray, when someone has a true sexual addiction, their compulsion to act on their sexual urges and fantasies can over-ride even very healthy, stable and happy relationships.
Blaming infidelity on sexual addiction may be a ploy for some, but it may be a very real problem for others. It’s important to recognize sexual addiction as a serious problem. Educating yourself about the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction may help you to identify problem behaviors in yourself or others. Sexual addiction can be treated. Many people have been able to create healthier, happier lives once they treat their sex addiction.