It can often be hard to spot a sex addict. Unlike drug or alcohol addicts (or even shopaholics!), there is little physical evidence (yellow or shallow skin, bad teeth, jittery and nervous) to show that someone is addicted to sex. A good way to help identify a sex addict is to pinpoint certain habitual behaviors.
This kind of addict leads a double life. He has his front-facing world that is filled with lies and deception meant to cover his addiction. Behind that is his addiction. He keeps it to himself because he fully believes that if others truly knew him, they could not love or accept him. The sex addict does tend to be impulsive and is a hard worker. There is a restless energy that drives the addict to accomplish fulfillment in whatever he is doing. This energy is rarely satisfied and can result in compulsive inconsistencies in life. The addict will seem distracted because he is thinking of ways to keep his addiction going while keeping it a secret.
The addict has a deep need to live on the edge. There is an adrenalin rush in the fear and even anticipation of exposure that causes the addict to play out on more risky levels because of the stress and the pressure. With the growth of the addiction, there is an increase in energy needed to keep the addiction a secret, and the more energy he is pouring into his deception, the less energy he has for other things. So, the addict is both driven and distracted.
Understanding the traits of a sex addict may cause you to uncover those traits in others. Though your intentions may be pure, confronting an addict is very dangerous. Be cautious with your accusations and remember God is the one who brings healing.
A common theme in addiction is pain. In regards to the sex addict, he battles feelings of inadequacy and the loss of or lack of purpose. He feels it is impossible to love himself due to the pain living inside of him. These feelings are heightened when around other people. The addict can be socially isolated, awkward, and all too often have very few friends. Often, relationships they may have—whether simple friendships or a marriage—are shallow. The addict fears intimacy, most likely due to the betrayal of intimacy that occurs after sexual abuse. This fear causes him not to allow people to get too close. Sexual addicts hope that sex will create the intimacy they crave and that it will drown out the pain that they feel. That pain and emptiness is what fuels the addiction cycle.
God heals the pain and fills the empty void, rendering addiction powerless. With a mix of God’s healing powers and good Christian counselling, any addict can find freedom from the pain.
Sexual love is a part of marriage, but sexual love is a lot more than intercourse and achieving an orgasm. It is lying close to another and being conscious of the other’s body even without intercourse. It is reunion after being apart, tender loving touches, and the random hug during the day. It is holding hands for no apparent reason and sharing memories while creating new thoughts for the future. It is the tentative reaching out with one’s fingers or toes after an argument while there is an ongoing awareness that one belongs to the other. These things are all a part of the sexual relationship that is vastly different from a sexual encounter to gain immediate sexual gratification.
From the very beginning, sex is blatantly on the scene of human interaction as a great point of motivation. When Adam saw Eve, he called her “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” Adam obviously liked what he saw and he was not just looking at her eyes. They were both unclothed. In Genesis 2:24, it is written, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” This one flesh includes the intimacy of the sexual relationship. In Genesis 2:25, the writer further notes that Adam and Eve were naked with each other but felt no shame.
Hiding from society is, in some regards, the cause of many of the issues we struggle with today; however, it is important to turn and face the truth of what is going on in the world around us. Sex is everywhere. That is understood. Telling youth to “just say no” and to “not have sex or else” has long proven futile; however, since we now have a more solid understanding of society’s opinions, we can move forward in the quest to dismantle the lies and embrace the truth, and the best place to find truth is in the one place where it has endured throughout the ages—the Bible.