I think I must be a sex addict. I think about sex all the time, I’m constantly tempted to have sex with others – the people I work with, my friends’ partners and even my next door neighbour. This has been happening for a while. Actually, to be honest, ever since I started having sex. An ex-friend spread the message about a year ago that I’m a slut, so I dropped her, but now I’ve started to wonder if she’s actually right. What do I do? I thought only men were sex addicts. Is this curable? It’s good that you’ve summoned the courage now to have a look at your sexual behaviour and recognise that it may not be serving you well.
I don’t use the term sex addiction, as it’s not helpful or accurate, but I understand it sure feels like that to you – as it does with everyone else of any gender with out-of-control sexual behaviour. Feeling an urge to engage in sex several times a day every day, obsessing about this, not feeling satisfied from any sexual encounter so instantly craving for more are some of the experiences that lead people to self-diagnose sexual addiction.
Settling the urgency of your sexual drive and feeling able to break the compulsive cycle will require you understanding how sex has been serving you. What was going on in your life around the time you first had sex, what needs were you seeking through sex and how was that first experience? Deep down inside you, what are you still hoping to gain from sex? Feeling good enough? Loved? Powerful? Getting some anxiety relief? Once you understand the drivers, you can find more effective ways to get your needs met – sex hasn’t done that for you or you’d be having times of feeling calm and satisfied.
Do you have ways apart from sex to connect closely with important others? Can you trust? Can you make yourself vulnerable in sharing your feelings with someone? Are you getting love and affection from friends, partner/s or family? Learning the skills to receive love – and arranging your life in ways that ensure you do – is as fundamental to wellbeing as making sure you have food and shelter.