Is being addicted to sex really a disorder? With what happened to Tiger Woods, sexual addiction has become part of the national conversation in the US. It has even reached all corners of the globe with golf fans, but for some partners, sexual addiction is all too real. This addiction is often characterized by impulses that are triggered by sights, sounds, or even thoughts. Some with sexual addiction don’t physically cheat on their partners, but instead, rely on self-pleasuring techniques and the extensive use of pornography.
Statistics on Sexual Addiction Recovery
1. The estimated number of people who have a sexual addiction in the United States alone: 12 to 30 million.
2. 80% of women who have a husband or partner that has been diagnosed with a sexual addiction suffered from depression in a recent study.
3. 4 out of 10 women say that they withdraw their emotional connections to a partner with a sexual addiction.
4. The percentage of women who developed an eating disorder after discovering the actions of a partner with a sexual addiction: 60%.
5. The chances of spontaneous remission of sexual addiction occurring: 1 in 100,000.
6. It is believed that only 5% of addicts who go into therapy will be able to succeed in beating their addiction, although this figure is disputed.
7. The year when a sexual addiction was first officially diagnosed under modern criteria: 1983.
8. Sexual addictions may be either paraphilic or nonparaphilic.
9. There is no 1 test that can conclusively prove that someone has a sexual addiction.
10. It is common among those with Bipolar Disorder to engage in high-risk sexual activities during manic states.
11. Victims of childhood sexual abuse often repeat a pattern of abuse in a subconscious attempt to gain control over their childhood trauma.
12. People who are questioning their own sexuality tend to engage in activities that are similar to sexual addiction, but may not qualify as an actual addiction.
13. People with Borderline Personality Disorder engage in unsafe sexual activities as a general pattern of self-injurious behavior.
14. Men with Aspergers Syndrome often exhibit out-of-control sexual behaviors.
15. The most common feeling that a partner with a sexual addiction has is betrayal. The most common feeling that an addict has is shame.
16. Sexual addiction appeared in a 1987 copy of the DSM, but it has been since removed.
17. Sex addicts lose time to their addiction, becoming preoccupied with their thoughts about sex and sexual materials that they have at their disposal. Everything comes after their addictions have been satisfied.
18. Most sexual addicts operate on a cash-only basis because most of the ways to satisfy their addiction don’t allow for credit card charges.
19. A vast majority of sex addicts will rarely be single and often have a history of cheating within their relationships.
20. Most sex addicts lead a double life and lying is a common occurrence.
21. 1 out of 3 men self-report that they are addicted to pornography.
22. The pornography industry alone generates $12 billion of revenue per year.
23. 66% of Internet-using 18- to 34-year-old men look at online pornography at least once a month.
24. 70% of Internet pornographic traffic occurs during the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Workday.
25. The percentage of internet sites that are pornographic in nature right now: 12%.
26. 2.5 billion emails per day are pornographic related in some way.
27. More than half of the men who identify themselves as Evangelical Christian admit that they have an addiction to pornography and used it in the last week for self satisfaction.
28. 55% of Christian pastors admitted to visiting a pornographic site.
29. Sex addiction is not about physical contact but as a way of alleviating pain, relief from depression or anxiety, or a form of escapism, addicts tend to avoid problems through sex.
30. In the UK, an average of 2,000 calls per month come from people who are seeking help from their addictions to sex.
31. As people grow older, issues with medication may cause sexual addictions or the inability to control sexual desires.
32. The average male sexual addict has 32 sexual partners.
33. The number of sexual partners, on average, for a female sexual addict: 22.
34. 98% of sex addicts have participated in at least some form of phone sex at least once.
35. The percentage of sex addicts that have used Skype in order to have video sex over the internet: 74%.
36. The percentage of sex addicts who say that they have not had a one night stand: 2%.
37. 7 out of 10 married sex addicts say that they’ve been able to convince their spouse to participate in swinging activities.
38. 94% of sex addicts have filmed themselves having sex.
39. 3 out of 4 addicts have admitted that they regularly post naked photos of themselves online.
Effects of Sexual Addiction
For other sexual addicts, however, the addiction can have a powerful force on their lives. As stimulation doesn’t provide the same amounts of pleasure, it becomes necessary for the addict to seek out alternative methods of sexual satisfaction to get the relief that their disorder demands. This can lead to someone committing acts of voyeurism or becoming an exhibitionist. In extreme cases, it can lead to violent conduct as well, including rape and molestation.
It isn’t fair to say that everyone who has a sexual addiction will become a predator. It isn’t fair to say that all convicted offenders of a sex crime are sexual addicts. Most offenders, in fact, don’t try to harm people because they have an overwhelming need to have sex like most people have an overwhelming need to have a cup of coffee in the morning. It is because there is a desire to have control and power in every situation.
For humanity, sex is an essential part of life. It is necessary for our survival just as eating is required. Some people choose to remain purposefully celibate, but a strong sexual drive is normal. Not having a sexual drive can actually be the indicator of a mental illness or a medical problem. For sexual addicts, that drive has gone out of control and it affects the quality of their lives. As the statistics and facts will show, it isn’t just the addict that is affected by this addiction. Those who are closest to those who struggle with this addiction also suffer.
It Can Happen to Anyone
Sexual addiction is something that can happen to anyone. You can be religious or not religious. You can be a man or a woman. You can be married, in a stable long-term relationship, or be single and never had a stable relationship. Up to 1 in 10 people are addicted to sex.
Because there is such a burning desire for sexual satisfaction, questions about our society must be brought up. Is it because pornography is more prevalent today than ever before that the numbers of sexual addiction are increasing? Or is it because we have tightened the grips on society and demanded conformity instead? If sex is natural, then why do we demand conformity when it comes to the structures of our relationships?
Although we may like to say that monogamy is a spiritual or religious virtue, having multiple partners is a common occurrence in all 3 major Abrahamic religions. Jesus spoke to the laws of having multiple wives in the book of Matthew, which is based on the laws of the Torah that are followed by Judaism. In Islam, men are allowed to have up to 4 wives. Although only an estimated 2% of Muslim marriages involve multiple partners and fewer Christian or Judaic marriages do, having sex with multiple people has been a common experience in humanity.
One can actually look to the Bible, in fact, to see that self-discipline from having multiple partners was considered an attribute of “strong” faith. A man, for example, could not become an elder of their church if they had more than one wife. When Jesus speaks to the woman at the well, he just tells her to go and sin no more, that her sins have been forgiven, even though she has been sleeping around with multiple men and her husband.
If the 5% “curative” rate of sexual addiction is factual, then it becomes easy to see why 95% of people seek treatment end up falling out of recovery. Some people are born toward a monogamous relationship and there’s nothing wrong with it. Sexual addiction, whether it is a mental disorder or not, also appears to be something that people are born with or can develop over time with constant sexual exposure. When this addiction comes out, it can cause a lot of hurt, pain, and shame. Partners feel like they aren’t good enough. Addicts feel like they should do better. In all cases, this common and often undiagnosed characteristic deserves more attention and understanding.