Healthy sexuality is a natural drive, is respectful, mutual, responsible, safe, and reflects your values. It has boundaries. Naughty sexual behavior is secretive, irresponsible, goes against your values, requires a double life, and has no limits. And then there’s Anthony Weiner who takes sexual behavior to a different level. His behavior is described by some as sex addiction.
Anthony Weiner’s sexual behavior is highly publicized. Weiner is a former congressman who resigned in 2011 upon revelations that he sent photos and messages of a sexual nature to various women, outside his marriage. In 2013, he sought the office of mayor of New York City which was thwarted by allegations of more pictures and sexting. And now, he is in the news again for the same behavior causing his wife to end their marriage. Furthermore, one of his “selfie’s” included a sexualized picture of himself with his son lying next to him. This caused an investigation by the Administration for Children’s Services to ensure their son’s welfare. He’s admitted to sexting to between 6-10 women outside of marriage.
So what constitutes sex addiction? The APA (American Psychiatric Association) referred to sex addiction as distress about a pattern of repeated sexual conquests . . . involving a succession of people who exist only as things to be used. Other examples of problematic sexual behavior include hyper-sexuality, compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships, and compulsive sexuality in a relationship.
Treatment programs have blossomed with the advent of the internet and sexting. There are many different kinds of 12-Step programs besides AA. There is a group for everyone. There is Sex Addicts Anonymous, not to be confused with Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Sexual Recovery Anonymous and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.
Some of the hallmarks of addictive behavior include such things as an inability to stop and continued use in spite of negative consequences. There is also compulsiveness, poor impulse control, risky behavior and poor judgment. When it comes to sex addiction, it includes a lack of empathy for the other, and behavior that is objectifying of the other as a sexual object.
Anthony Weiner’s prognosis is guarded. In spite of acknowledging wrong doing, making apologies and expressing a desire for change, he continued his behavior. His behavior persisted in spite of severe and negative consequences to his career, his marriage and his role as a parent. Whether we call this problematic behavior or sex addiction, it appears that he is unable to stop himself.
Is a sex addict always a sex addict? Not necessarily according to Sex Addicts Anonymous. But you have to want to change. SAA meetings are open to individuals who have a desire to stop their addictive behavior. Sexual sobriety is complicated, but each person creates their own definition based upon their personal list of compulsive behaviors to be avoided.
If you are concerned about your own sexual behavior, I recommend that you take a SAA sponsored questionnaire that can be used as a self assessment to determine if you are likely a sex addict. https://saa-recovery.org/IsSAAForYou/SelfAssessment/