Sex addiction can be a devastating disease to deal with because it affects every aspect of a person's life. The repercussions of sex addiction disrupt the addict's social, emotional, physical, legal and financial life.
1. How Sex Addiction Affects an Individual Socially
Sex addiction isolates the addict from everyone around him since the addiction becomes the primary focus of life, creating a great many social problems as a result. Naturally, if the person was in a social relationship, that relationship will be in turmoil. Feelings of isolation, abandonment, inadequacy, guilt, embarrassment and anger all will be present at one point or another throughout the addiction and recovery process. Other relationships will suffer as well, including those with family, friends and co-workers. The addict will have isolated himself from everyone, the focus on the sexually compulsive and obsessive behaviors escalates and the individual isolates and goes deeper in the relationship with the behaviors. Changing that pattern of habits takes time and it will also take a great deal of effort and time to help restore those neglected and sometimes broken relationships. Nonetheless, a social life is very important for any healthy human being and the addict will need a strong social support system to help in his recovery.
2. How Sex Addiction Affects an Individual Emotionally
Sex addicts have a wide range of troubling emotions. Anxiety, anger, frustration, stress, shame, guilt and fear of discovery are all common emotions for addicts to experience throughout the entire process, from addiction to recovery.
In order to have successful recovery, the addict will need to be able to address their emotional problems effectively. Shame and guilt are among the most prevalent emotions with sex addicts because they are struggling with an addiction which contradicts their moral and spiritual beliefs. As much as they want to be "normal" their true beliefs say otherwise, this causes such strong shame and guilt and keeps the addict in the spiral of addiction.
In addition, boredom, fatigue and despair can envelop in the addict enduring a prolonged struggle with their addiction. In extreme cases, these emotional struggles can lead to suicide.
3. How Sex Addiction Affects an Individual Physically
The addict engaging in risky sexual behavior can expose himself to any number of physical problems related to sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Genital injury, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, herpes, genital warts and other STDs are common among sex addicts. In some cases, the addict's desires may even put them in harm's way, resulting in physical injury or even death. Many of these individuals spend so much time in their unwanted sexual behaviors, they lose sleep, don't exercise or eat properly. This in itself, takes a great toll on the body.
When an addict puts themselves in risky sexual situations, their ability to put the brakes on disappears. They become so intent on getting their fix they'll go places they never thought they'd go, sleep with people then never dreamed they would and take risks that carry with them extreme danger. Often times the lust for the sex escalates to a point where the rush and high of the experience become so intense and then after the danger, the addict crashes hard and at times has been physically abused or hurt.
4. How Sex Addiction Affects an Individual Legally
This addiction can result in people breaking the law. Addicts often engage in sexual harassment, obscene phone calls, exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitution, rape, incest and child molestation.. It has become more and more prevalent with the onset of chat rooms, instant messaging and social media for sex addicts to prey on members of the opposite sex, same sex and often times underage children. As the disease progresses, some addicts break the law and have a need to engage in illegal activities. As the need to act out sexually escalates, addicts commit crimes they wouldn't ordinarily consider. The results can have serious legal consequences.
5. How Sex Addiction Affects an Individual Financially
People who struggle with sex addiction often put their lives on hold. They'll show up late to work, call out sick from work, neglect responsibilities, miss deadlines and act irrationally while on the job. They become so exhausted from living the life of sexually acting out, they have trouble focusing on anything else and often times go through life in a zombie like state.
This behavior can often lead to job loss. To make matters worse, many addicts will spend a great deal of money on pornography, adult phone services, prostitutes and other costly sexual activities. The combination of job loss and excessive spending to fuel a sex addiction can lead to serious financial problems. Not only can the financial loss be measured I dollars spent on the addiction, one must take into consideration the hours spent acting out sexually and for many, the opportunity cost of what could have been accomplished while they were acting out.
As you can see, someone suffering from this compulsion will have a great many problems to overcome aside from just the addiction itself. The number and scale of the problems facing an addict can be overwhelming and the need for a strong support system is essential during and after the recovery process.