What is Sex Addiction?
It is a term that refers to many different behaviors. Marnie Ferree, an expert in sex addiction, says sex addiction is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of behaviors similar to the way we use the term alcoholism, whether the drink of choice is wine, whiskey or champagne. There are different ways to act out, but they have the same roots and dynamics. A few of the many ways sexual addiction can show itself are romance addicts, fantasy addicts, exhibitionism, pornography, cybersex, masturbation, binging on sex, and/or a multitude of sexual partners.
Marnie Ferree gives interesting insight when she says that “Sexual addiction is actually not about sex at all. It’s an intimacy disorder – using sexual activity or a relationship in a desperate search for connection, affirmation or love.”
Four Key Elements of Addiction
Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself, "Am I an addict?"
Here are some thoughts to consider in evaluating whether you are an addict. Keep in mind this is simply an overview, If you find that these are indicative of your lifestyle, seek the advice of a professional.
The following information has been adopted from the book Women Reaching Women In Crisis, Sexual Addiction by Marnie Ferree, 2005, Lifeway Press.
1. Compulsive – An addict keeps doing what she does not want to do despite her best efforts to stop.
2. Obsessive – An addict constantly has sex on her mind. Sexual activity, whether actual involvement, trying to hide the involvement, or feeling shame because of it, is the organizing factor of the addict’s life.
3. Continues despite negative consequences – Someone who is addicted does not learn from her mistakes, but instead, keeps being involved despite the fact that she faces severe consequences or repercussions. One example would be a woman who continues surfing the Web for pornographic Internet sites at work, even after being warned (or confronted) by her boss. When she repeatedly makes the same “mistake” others wonder why she does not change and stop her destructive behavior.
4. Tolerance – For the sexually addicted woman, as for all addicts, acting out her behavior is never completely satisfying. She’ll always want more, either of the same activity or of escalating activities. She’ll need more and more to feel the “high” she seeks.
Self-Tests for Men and Women (sexual addiction)
Here is a link to a free confidential self-test for sexual addiction. There are several self-tests available at this link. Look in the left column on the page to choose your desired confidential test.
Not everyone agrees with the term “addiction” being used when it comes to the topic of sex and pornography. Whether you agree or disagree I hope you will not get distracted from the message of hope and healing contained in this website simply due to terminology.
 http://www.bethesdaworkshops.org/ Ferree, Marnie C.