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Frequently Asked Questions about Sex Addiction

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What is a sex addict?

A sex addict is someone who keeps indulging in sexual activities even when these activities are causing pain and loss.

What do sex addicts do?

They may engage in one or more of the following: voyeurism, exposure, adultery, pedophilia, pornography, prostitution, Internet cruising, compulsive masturbation, or other behaviors.

I’m not a sex offender. Do I still have a problem?

Although sex addicts can progressively seek more dangerous behaviors until they become sex offenders, others are addicted to pornography, masturbation, etc. Their pain can however be just as devastating to them as is the sex offender’s.

What’s wrong with masturbation?

There is nothing “wrong” with masturbation itself. There are those among us for whom masturbation is not a problem. But when it becomes addictive sexual behavior, it can create intense feelings of loneliness and isolation for the addict. It may also cost the addict thousands of dollars for magazines, videos or phone sex services.

Why don’t they just stop?

Sex addicts are powerless over their compulsive sexual behavior. In most cases, their lives have become partly or completely unmanageable. They probably have tried to stop, but they can’t.

Why don’t we hear more about sex addiction?

Very few people like to discuss their sexual practices, especially those for which they feel shame. A person might admit with some pride that he or she is a recovering overeater or alcoholic or even drug addict, but there is still a powerful social stigma attached to the man or woman addicted to sexual behavior. It is unpleasant, difficult, and often risky to discuss this subject in most circles. In addition, there are still many counselors and therapists who have a limited or incomplete understanding of this addiction and who are not yet skilled at diagnosing it.

How many people are sex addicts?

No one knows for sure. Certainly there are many more sex addicts than the few thousand who have sought help within Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA). The vast majority of sex addicts probably do not even realize that they are suffering from sexual addiction. They may be completely unfamiliar with the concept itself. Everyone has heard of alcoholism and drug addiction, but sex addiction is not well known and is still poorly understood. People even joke about it, saying it would be a nice addiction to have.

Wouldn’t sex addiction be a nice addiction to have?

Yes, if you enjoy feeling alone, afraid, unworthy and ashamed. Like all addictions sex addiction both creates and feeds on shame. Because the concept is unknown to most people, the sex addict may feel more isolated and alone than other addicts. Many addicts believe that they were the only ones who did what they did. This is especially true of the sex offender. But virtually all sex addicts, regardless of their specific addictive behaviors, feel this intense isolation and loneliness. The saddest thing is that when one feels this separateness, the only way an addict knows to make it go away is to indulge in addictive behavior. It is a lonely cycle, one that relentlessly spirals further down, deeper into despair and degradation. That is, of course, until the cycle is broken with the help of a program of spiritual recovery based upon the Twelve Step.

Is sex addiction really a serious problem?

Sex addicts can tell you tragic stories of marriages ended, families destroyed, and jobs lost. Many have experienced serious financial difficulties as a result of their addiction. Some have even been to jail. Even if the addiction’s only cost is self disgust, and a feeling of having no integrity, the cost is too high.

What are the Twelve Steps?

They are the steps of a program of recovery developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous more than 50 years ago. Millions of men and women around the world have entered into recovery from alcohol addiction by following this simple program. Their lives have changed dramatically. The Twelve Steps have been successfully adapted for drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, overeaters and sex addicts, among others.

Are the Twelve Steps easy to follow?

Although it’s a simple program, working the steps is not always easy. The biggest hurdle may be the willingness to accept change. We strive for progress not perfection. All it takes is a willingness to follow some simple suggestions.

Why do you call it a program of spiritual Recovery?

Millions of recovering addicts will tell you that their recovery began when they finally admitted to themselves that they were powerless over their addiction. Turning to a power greater than themselves – to God, as they understood God – they received strength and hope. SAA is not aligned with any church sect, or denomination. SAA is not a religious group. However, our personal experiences do suggest that the way to true and lasting recovery is along a spiritual path.

Why do I have to join a group? Can’t I recover on my own?

Most of us tried for years to change our behavior on our own. When we admitted we couldn’t, and when we sought help, the healing began. The greatest gift to a sex addict is discovering that he or she is not alone. In SAA you’ll be surrounded by men and women who know how it feels, and who love you and accept you as you are.

How much does it cost to join?

It costs nothing. There are no dues or fees. The only requirement is a desire to stop your addictive sexual behavior. SAA is open to all people regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference. There are chapters in most major U.S. cities as well as in other countries around the world.

How can I learn more?

Simply pick up the phone and call (713) 405-1142. Because SAA is an anonymous fellowship, you need never give your full name or address.

Can my life really change?

If you are an addict, or you think you might be, you now have a choice. You can be free from the pain and isolation, starting today. Take the first step, and call SAA right now.