Recently a client asked me if visiting prostitutes constituted a sexual addiction. The more we talked about it, the more clear became the answer. Let’s review that conversation.
He was visiting prostitutes about twice a month on average. He was “careful” in many ways – always paid with cash, used a condom, avoided anything “out of the ordinary”. He said he didn’t think it was an addiction, he just liked a variety of women – heights, weights, skin colors, hair colors, etc. – and thought that paying a prostitute was a more efficient way of satisfying his need for variety than dating. Plus, he said, it wasn’t fair to the women if he dated more than one and tried to have relations and relationships with several. It all sounded so understandable, the way he told the story.
Then we looked deeper. When do you hire prostitutes? What is happening in your world when you decide to go to your usual place to find a girl?
What came out of those two basic questions was a discussion of the stress in his life at work and financially that usually happened right before he drove to find a girl. He also realized that sometimes, when things were good – closed a big deal or had a good week – he would reward himself with a trip to his favorite strip or a phone call to set up a “date”.
He realized, with strong emotion, that his life was empty, that personally he had many girls, but no one to share his life with. He came to the conclusion that he was basically alone and that he used these women to fill a void in his life. There was, of course, so much more that came out that day.
His is an addiction to sex. Often sex addiction takes many forms and may not involve prostitution. One client I heard about has sex 4 or 5 times a day with his wife and has for 20+ years of marriage. He also spends significant time online viewing porn sites. He sees no problem in this because, as he says, “it’s my wife and we can do what we want.” She doesn’t see it that way – thus causing a problem.
Sex addiction takes many forms. This story is an example of one.