Sex addicts commonly answer yes to one or more of the 7 questions below. If you even lean towards saying yes one any of the questions below, consider getting help. Many of us start out in extreme denial. Don’t hold back from yourself.
- Do you ever feel like your sexual behavior is “out of control”? Do you want to stop but feel like you’re unable to?
- Have you ever made a promise to yourself that you would stop a behavior, only to break it? Has this become a cycle?
- Do you keep your behavior a secret? Are you careful to clear your browser history, or do you lie about where you’ve been?
- Does your behavior violate your personal beliefs or values? Do you feel guilt or shame afterwards? Are you afraid people at work, church, or school will find out?
- Are your behaviors illegal? Do you fear getting caught by the police? Do you continue the behavior in spite of your fear?
- Do the things that used to satisfy you fail to satisfy you now? Do you need to engage in more extreme or riskier behaviors to reach the same level of satisfaction?
- Do you ever seek to avoid sex altogether? Do you “swear off” sex, only to return to your old behavior? Do you have a “binge and purge” pattern of engaging in undesirable behavior, obsessively or compulsively avoiding all sex, then returning to your undesirable behavior? Do you replace your sexual behaviors with other problematic behaviors such as excessive drinking, eating, drug use, gambling, spending, etc.?
There are also unique criteria that resonates with many Catholics.
- Do you go to confession with intent to not sin again, but you routinely (and often quickly) return to the same sexual behaviors?
- Do you prayers become babbling, where you expect to be cured by your many words (Matthew 6:7)?
- Have you become scrupulous, or do you engage in unsafe and unhealthy mortifications?
What makes something an addiction is compulsivity. If you are trying to stop, but can’t, or if you are doing things you know you shouldn’t, or if you try replacing one problem with another, that is a strong indicator you might be an addict. Now is the time to seek help through a twelve-step fellowship or Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT).
Also, never discount the advice and direction of spiritual directors, especially priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters.