Even though those who suffer with sexual addiction are typically very aware of the negative consequences of their behaviors, they’re usually unable to successfully control their compulsion without appropriate professional treatment.
- Negative consequences affect all areas of life including:
- Meaningful relationships
Compulsive sexual thoughts and/or behaviors can lead to increasingly serious consequences in both the individuals’ internal and external world. The consequences may include severe depression, low self esteem, shame, self-hatred, hopelessness, despair, intense anxiety, loneliness, moral conflict, contradictions between ethical values and behaviors, fear if abandonment, spiritual bankruptcy, distorted thinking, remorse, and self deceit.
70 to 75% of sex addicts have thought about suicide. Many suffer from broken relationships and more than 40% experience severe marital and other relationship problems. Sexual activities outside the primary relationship result in loss of self esteem to both partners as well as severe stress to the relationship.
The sex addict is frequently absent from their home life (physically and/or emotionally) and if they have children this usually results in a significant loss of necessary parental role modeling. Pressure is then placed on the partner to provide the majority of parental support and nurturing of the children. In response to added pressures, partners of sex addicts
may develop their own addictions and compulsions, psychosomatic problems, or depression and other emotional difficulties. The cumulative effects of all of these factors can result in an unstable family environment. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect of the children may occur. Growing up in such a home increases the risk for the next generation to also have addictive disorders.
Serious health consequences of sex addiction may include a HIV infection, genital herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Sex addicts have an increased risk of STD’s. Genital injury may result from excessive sexual activity or the use of sex aids and foreign objects. Addictive sadomasochistic sex can lead to physical damage to the body.
Some sex addicts go to jail, lose their jobs, get sued, and of other financial and legal consequences because of their compulsive sexual behavior. Financial difficulties from the purchase of pornographic materials, use of prostitutes, telephone and computer sex, travel for the purpose is sexual contacts, another sexual activities can tax the addicts financial resources, sometimes to the point of bankruptcy, as can the expense of legal representation. 60% of addicts have faced financial difficulties, 58% engaged in illegal activities, an 83% of sex addicts also had concurrent addiction such as alcoholism, eating disorders, in compulsive gambling.
Legal consequences of sexual addiction result when illegal behaviors such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, or inappropriate touching, result in arrests in incarceration. Arrest in the workplace can be part of the sex addicts repertoire, and may result in legal difficulties on the job. Over half the cases of sexual exploitation by professionals are perpetrated by sex addicts.
Sexual addiction is primarily not a moral problem; it is a problem of out of control feelings and behaviors.