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Behavioral Patterns of Sexual Addiction

As discussed, the symptoms of sexual addiction might not be easily decoded unless its effects
subsequently appeared to be destroying the addict’s individual life. But how do we determine if a sexual
act is still considered as normal to being abnormal, unhealthy or already destructive? There are list of
behavioral patterns that indicate sexual addiction. This is important so the addict himself or his family
will be able to accept and deal with the addiction.
First is the Out-of-control sexual behavior. The acts associated with sexual addiction such as
exhibitionism, prostitution, indulging in pornography, voyeurism, sexual harassment, multiple and
anonymous sexual partners, once transformed into a habit might be uncontrollable as the addict himself
ventures to some other acts to increase his pleasure. This might be committed regardless of the place or
the partner. The intensity arises if the addict considers it as an exploration or risk which he can get away
with later on.
Second is the inability to stop the sexual behavior knowing its severe consequences. The
addiction overpowers the person and he continues to satisfy his sexual desire notwithstanding its
consequences believing that he can deal with it. This includes health and legal risks, marital or
relationship problems, unwanted pregnancies, loss of job opportunity and others.
Third would be the persistent pursuit of self-destructive behavior and an attitude that says “I’ll
deal with the consequences when they come”. But in reality, when the consequences come, the addict is
in a position where he cannot redeem himself due to shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness, intense
anxiety, self-hatred and moral conflict.
Fourth is the ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior. When the addict later realizes of
the disorder and knowing that the addiction is inherently wrong, the addict tries to escape this situation by
shifting his attention to some other things. He could splurge on material things, move from one place to
another, get married or enter into a new relationship. He believes that this will at least distract or diminish
his acts.
Fifth is sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy. Every addiction started with
the simplest act of purchasing pornographic materials. Later on, its frequency and the search for some
level of pleasure aggravate the addiction. The addict becomes dissatisfied with the sexual fantasy and
would want to commit overt acts for some real pleasure.
Sixth is regularly increasing the amount of sexual experience because the current level of activity
is no longer sufficiently satisfying. As the addict becomes discontented of a particular sexual act, he tends
to increase the sexual experience to gain more satisfaction. For example, from a monogamous
relationship, he tries two, three or more sexual relationships which also increase the possibility of the
acquisition of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Seventh is the severe mood changes related to sexual activity. The addict does not develop any
emotional attachment to any of his partners as he engages himself to multiple risky sexual activities. This
causes his mood to be altered from time to time. The addict feels the conflict and inconsistency of his
emotions which he cannot control.
Eighth is the inordinate amount of time spent obtaining sex, being sexual and recovering from
sexual experiences. An addict is spending more time in engaging himself in sexual activities rather than
keeping himself productive from work and society as a whole. The addiction can also be rooted from
previous sexual abuses that the addict might have experienced.
Last is the neglect of important social occupational or recreation activities because of sexual
behavior. The addict already isolated himself from the society and might have set aside the more
important and pressing matters that is more helpful to his self-development. The steps to recovery are
acceptance not just by the addict but by his family, professional help and the involvement of the person to
his society as a refurbished individual.