Mental illnesses impact not only the life of the person suffering from the illnesses but those around them. To understand how people are affected by those with sexual addictions, it is important to understand the criteria for a sexual addiction. Sexual addictions can cover many behaviors that the addict cannot restrain from doing, from online viewing of pornography to rape, frequent masturbation to excessive and compulsive sexual intercourse, and everything in between. Any sexual behavior that is nearly impossible to control for a person is a sexual addiction. With this in mind, we can now begin to understand who this mental illness affects and how.
For a lot of people, sexual addictions create an unhealthy idea of what being with someone, physically, should look like. Through pornography, the world now has a view of sex like it has never had before. Because of its ready availability, it is the gateway to losing every innocent idea of physical affection one can have. It is an object. Sex is free and tainted by pixels and the late-night glow of screens around the globe. Women worry about their husbands’ empty browser histories, parents set up elaborate snooping accounts to track their children’s every click, and teens have elaborate passwords and hide their camera rolls in their phones. Families have taken a hard hit from the over-sexualization suffered by our culture. Parents have begun to distrust their children and spouses doubt each other’s words due to the knowledge of what the other can hear, see, and/or touch if they so desired.
Other casualties of sex addictions are spouses, girl-/boyfriends, and S.O.s. Addictions tend to make it difficult for relationships to not only thrive, but survive, and most cannot function in a healthy way. The non-addict suffers in many ways when he or she is in a relationship with the addict if they know about the addiction. First, he or she is most likely going to feel a sense of betrayal and distrust. These two things can do enough damage to the non-addict on their own. Next, the non-addict partner might start to lose confidence in his or her appearance and sexual attraction and/or performance. Knowing that your partner is finding pleasure in something or someone else is a difficult thing to live with. Lastly, the addict’s S.O. mental health might suffer from depression and/or anxiety. He or she could quite easily develop both ailments due to the stress and/or loss of confidence mentioned above.
The person who is most affected and afflicted by this mental illness is, of course, the addict. He or she might not even know they have an addiction at all, and this can make it difficult for this person to see and understand the ways the addiction affects him/her. For most people suffering from an addiction, they are able to recognize the compulsive behaviors as an addiction, especially when they can see that it is difficult to control themselves around an object or substance. However, because sex is so normal, so human, the addict might not even recognize that his or her compulsive sexual behaviors are that abnormal. Because of this, many sex addicts do not realize the people they hurt by their actions, including themselves. Sexual addictions can affect one’s ability to perceive sex as anything but a way to scratch an
Sexual addictions can affect one’s ability to perceive sex as anything but a way to scratch an itch or satisfy a need. They can also affect one’s relationships, current and future, because of the lack of trust the partner has. Oftentimes, those with a sex addiction suffer from other mental ailments as well, such as depression and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. A lot of addicts feel disgusted with themselves, and some are so extreme as to believe they do not deserve to have basic human interaction with others. Sexual addictions can be severely damaging. They are like grenades affecting not only the person nearest but those surrounding him/her as well. It is important to find the appropriate help before the energy and willpower to overcome it is gone.