As a counterpoint to this year’s Sex Issue, which deals with adding even more fun to your healthy sex life, we talked to Robert Weiss, the founding director of the Sexual Recovery Institute, which treats sexual addiction and intimacy disorders. Weiss has been on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live, among others. Sexual addiction is often treated lightly or as the butt of a joke, but Weiss clarifies that, like any other addiction, it’s a life-ruiner of epic proportions: “Recreational sex is fun, but sex addiction is not fun. You get diseases, you lose relationships, you end up with it controlling you.”
According to Weiss, here are the top five signs you are a sex addict:
1) You break promises “You make promises to yourself like, ‘I’m not going to look at that porn image anymore,’ and then you do it again anyway,“ says Weiss.
2) It’s already caused you problems… “[You’ve gotten] diseases, you’ve lost relationships, been stopped by the police when going through a red-light district, been challenged by the boss at work about your porn usage.”
3) …And yet, you do it anyway You’ve had a clear warning signs that what you’re doing might not be such a good idea. And despite those negative consequences, you say, ‘Well, I’ll just work around that.’ It’s sort of like, ‘I got a DUI, but then I drink and drive anyway.’”
4) You keep secrets “You’ve been challenged by a person about your sexual behavior, and instead of coming clean, you keep secrets. You’re living a double life or not having integrity.”
5) Sex rules your life “Sex is your most important priority when making decisions. ‘Should I make it to dinner on time, or should I stop off at the massage parlor?,’ that kind of thing.”
If any of this sounds uncomfortably familiar, seek help at:
Sexual Recovery Institute Robert Weiss’s organization offers telephone and online treatment, as well as in-person treatment located in California.
Sex Addicts Anonymous (800-477-8191) This nationwide 12-step recovery program is modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Safer Society Foundation (802-247-3132, 802-247-3132 for treatment referrals) This national database of treatment providers offers free referrals Monday through Friday during business hours.