I don’t assume most people have the word sexaholism in their vocabulary. I am grateful for this word because it explained a host of things I was experiencing in my marriage. Sexaholism (also referred to as problematic sexual behavior or sex addiction) is very similar to alcoholism. But instead of being powerless over alcohol, sexaholics are powerless over lust. Sex addiction is a process addiction which means it’s an addiction to a behavior instead of a substance. It’s used like a drug and acts like a drug in the heart, brain, and soul (check out Fight the New Drug to learn more).
Problematic sexual behaviors can range from viewing pornography, to seeking hook ups, to frequenting strip clubs, soliciting prostitutes, and the list goes on. Like any addiction, without intervention, the compulsive obligation to act out will progress and evolve over time. In 12 step language, an addict becomes powerless over the addiction and life becomes unmanageable. Loss is certain for addicts. The hope is that an addict hits rock bottom, enters recovery, and works a program of healing before he or she has lost everything (check out this video).
Addiction is brutal. No addict chooses to be an addict. Yet, it is the addict that has to choose to recover. As one expert in the field described, addiction is 100% nature, 100% nurture, and 100% choice. The problematic symptoms are the tip of the iceberg. A massive boulder lies below the surface. Recovery is the process of excavating the boulder in order to heal the wounds that lie below. Unless the boulder is eliminated, problematic symptoms will continue to surface. Recovery requires hard work, dedication, rigorous honesty, vulnerability, education, support communities, and specialized professional help.