The Six Types of Sex Addicts

While there are many that understand that a sexual addiction might be at play, few recognize that all sex addictions are not the same. The reality is that there are six different types of sex addiction and they all have an impact on the addict in different ways. An addict can be one of the six types or any combination of the six types of sex addiction.

1. The Biological Sex Addict

Someone with a biological sex addiction is someone whose excessive masturbation and pornography viewing has high-jacked the sexual response to attaching to images and fantasy. This person may have challenges with relational sex. Although most people have the biological type as one component of their addiction, only about 15 percent (in Dr. Weiss’s experience) are solely biologically based.

2. The Psychological Sex Addict

Research shows that most sex addicts have suffered some form of past abuse or neglect. This person finds the combination of the messages in the fantasy world and the sexual chemical cocktail to the brain to be a salve for their hurting soul. Simply put, they medicate the past pain in their souls with sexual acting out, which is their form of medicine.

In our clinical experience, 80 percent or more of those who struggle with sex addiction have abandonment, abuse or neglect issues of some type in their past. These painful events will ultimately need to be addressed for the sex addict to fully heal.

3. The Spiritual Sex Addict

The person with this type is looking for a spiritual connection in all the wrong places. In recovery, we talk about our spiritual hole. This person tries sex for this spiritual void and finds it doesn’t scratch the itch over time.

4. The Trauma Based Sex Addict

The person with the trauma based sex addiction has experienced sexual trauma(s) as a child or adolescent. This trauma becomes the major repetitive behavior in their addiction. For the trauma based, the trauma determines the flavor of the sexual addiction. Here trauma work will need to be addressed for the addict to heal.

5. The Mood Disorder Sex Addict

In a journal article Dr. Weiss wrote called The Prevalence of Depression in Male Sex Addicts Residing in the United States, Weiss discovered that 28% of male sex addicts suffered from depression. People with this type have chemical imbalances in adolescence or young adulthood. This young person finds the sexual release as a way to medicate or alter their present chemical imbalance. They then use this sexual response regularly and over time unexpectedly create an addiction.

6. The Intimacy Anorexia Sex Addict

In earlier research we determined 29% fit into the category of intimacy anorexia as well. This subject is covered in great detail in the Intimacy Anorexia DVD and book.

To be brief, I will list the characteristics of intimacy anorexia. Answer these the way your spouse or partner would answer them about you. If you believe that five or more criteria apply to you, then you are probably an intimacy anorexic.

  • Withhold love
  • Withhold praise or appreciation
  • Control by silence/anger
  • Criticism causing isolation
  • Withholding sex
  • Blaming partner for everything
  • Staying very busy to avoid partner time
  • Control/Shame with money issues
  • Unable to share feelings
  • Withholding spiritual connection
  • Feel more like a roommate

Many addicts who have been trying to get sober but keep having what I call “flat tire” recovery (relapsing regularly) often are identified as intimacy anorexics. If you have been sober from acting out behaviors for a year but your wife wants to leave you now because “nothing’s changed” you might also be a sexual/emotional anorexic.

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