Sex Addiction is NOT About Sex

addiction guest author sex true stories Mar 14, 2023
Marriage Recovery Course
Sex Addiction is NOT About Sex


"A sex drive is about sex.  A sex addiction is not. It took me a long time to learn that."

"It's just a way of coping with legitimate needs."


Most people falsely assume that pornography and affairs are about sex.  Over the course of a comprehensive recovery journey, men and women both come to understand the truth that pornography, masturbation and affairs are simply the symptoms of underlying issues, most often emotional in nature.  It's not about sex at all!

A sex drive is about connecting sexually with a person as an outflow of whole-person intimacy.  In contrast, a sexual addiction is about medicating emotions that are too hard to process.  It's using sexuality as a tool for emotional management, instead of learning to manage emotions and interpersonal connections in safe ways that eventually lead to the option of connecting sexually without the pressure to use it as a tool for other purposes.

In other words, men and women have legitimate underlying needs.  When emotionally healthy, they have tools to navigate the complex world of emotions without having to resort to sex as a coping mechanism.  On the other hand, when there is a lack of emotional health, sex becomes a mere soothing agent to numb out the unwanted and overwhelming emotions that a person simply cannot handle.  Sex becomes an illegitimate way to meet a legitimate need.

Here's how one woman came to understand this truth for herself:


"It took me a lot of work and counseling to even start to believe that my husband's sex addiction wasn't about sex. Almost 7 years later, I still have to remind myself of this fact. All addiction arises from a wound, a hurt, a loss, a need. These causes are all legitimate and valid, but the way that addiction seeks to treat these issues are not.

All forms of addiction (drugs, alcohol, sex, work, etc) release a dopamine hit in our brains which feels good and makes our bodies think our needs have "been met" for a very short amount of time, only to crash us down further. This causes shame, which only makes our wounds and our losses seem bigger. Unfortunately when we live in a very sexualized world with unlimited and secret access to pornography, this dopamine hit feels like an easy fix. If someone is addicted to pornography, it's very easy to assume it's because of sex.

One may assume you haven't had enough sex to prevent this addiction, or that you may even be able to solve this problem for him by providing more sex. Unfortunately, it's not the sex that his brain wants-it's the dopamine hit that his body has trained him to want throughā€‹ sex. This is one reason why addicts may bounce from one addiction to the next. If the wound and the true emotional needs are not being met, it doesn't matter what the addiction is.

Addiction, no matter the kind, is attempting to fill a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Though this feels so personal, try to remember that this isn't about's not even about sex! It's about an emotional need."



If you want to hear more about this and other hot topics about addiction, betrayal and recovery, click below to listen to an interview between two couples who experienced radical transformation due to the Marriage Recovery Course.




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