How Does a Sex Addict Become a Sex Addict?
June 6, 2016

Sex Addiction Treatment and ADD: is Your Brain to Blame?

Sex Addiction NYC

A New York sex addiction patient shares his story in the hope that it will help others. To protect his real name, let’s call him “Peter”. While he was still in college, he began to visit prostitutes. When he couldn’t afford that, he would resort to phone sex services, porn and compulsive masturbation. As with other forms of addiction, he at first experienced real feelings of reward, just as drug addicts enjoy a “rush”.

Real intimacy eluded him. He was too shy to date, but would indulge in sexual fantasies when he should be concentrating on his work. Several times a day, he would masturbate, and he couldn’t sleep at night without masturbating first. It began to take over his life. Although he managed to pass his coursework, he would often be late for class. He spent less time on personal grooming, and became known for a disheveled appearance.

Sex addiction didn’t end there

Once Peter entered the professional world, he enjoyed certain aspects of his job, but he struggled to concentrate on the present when things got dull or routine. His mind would wonder to his most recent encounter with a prostitute or to the porn he would watch that evening. This lack of focus affected his work performance, another similarity between sex addiction and drug addiction that is commonly seen. He would forget to hand in reports, turn up late for meetings, and he seemed to be in trouble at work most of the time.

Returning home in the evenings, he felt aching loneliness, and symptoms of clinical depression began to surface. Everything felt like too much trouble – everything, that is, but sex and masturbation. Sometimes, he would date ordinary women who weren’t prostitutes, but they invariably found him overly pushy and inconsiderate.

He experienced violent mood-swings, and life was a misery, but somehow, porn seemed to make it all better. Realizing he had a problem, he joined a support group and was able to get his life back on track, at least, for the time being. Things went better in the workplace, and he even got married. But still, the urge to call a prostitute or indulge in a porn and masturbation binge was almost overwhelming.

Sadomasochism ups the ante

When he finally gave in to temptation, it was in order to indulge sadomasochist fantasies that he knew could not be brought into his marital relationship. Lately, things hadn’t been going very well at work, and his old feelings of inadequacy had resurfaced. He needed to feel better about himself, and his abnormal sexual behavior would fit the bill – but only until the moment of release. Thereafter, he would feel guilty and ashamed of hi lack of self-control and would swear to himself that this time really would be the last. But it never was. Through sheer willpower, he avoided prostitutes, but instead he would indulge in cybersex and online porn.

What went wrong?

Peter had never been for sex treatment therapy with a trained counsellor, in fact, he had never been for any kind of evaluation. When he did, the cause of his problem was uncovered. Peter suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD). Although ADD doesn’t necessarily result in sex or substance addiction, it increases the likelihood of it developing.

ADD makes us more reckless, more impulsive and less able to concentrate on the things that really matter in our lives. The temptation to leap from one thrill-seeking activity to another is great. Typically, this means a succession of jobs, broken relationships and an escalation of the thrill-seeking behavior. We see this in Peter as he moves from basic sex and porn addiction to preferring S&M.

Peter knows that his sex addiction ruined many opportunities for him, but treating it in isolation will never be effective. Instead, both ADD and addiction need to be tackled side-by-side. New coping mechanisms have to be learned. As Peter grows to understand himself better, he is experiencing positive changes in his personal and work life. He looks forward to fulfilling his individual potential, and already, he is noticing personal growth that he previously missed out on. Getting help is the first step towards a positive, productive and happier life.

Sex addiction treatment for a better life

Peter chose to share his story in the hope that others who identify with this sequence of events would get help. If this is you, or reflects a situation similar to yours, expert help is at hand. Contact me through this website or give me a call. Get yourself on the road to recovery by getting the right treatment program.

Dorothy Hayden, LCSW has 20 years of experience treating sex and porn addicts, love addiction, codependency, fetishes, sadomasochism, "kink friendly", crossdressers and their wives, partners of sex addicts. She has been interviewed on "HBO", "20/20" and Anderson Cooper 360. Ms. Hayden has authored the book "Total Sex Addiction Recovery - A Guide to Therapy"


  1. Charles Michael Hodgins says:

    This is all exactly what I’m going through. I’m gay, I’ve lost my job, and on the verge of losing my husband. I thought that the excessive amounts of Ritalin prescribed to me preteen in the late eighties caused my substance abuse as an adult,. But I never viewed all of this as an actual psychological issue. I felt like giving me a pill was a quick alternative and I didn’t really have a problem. Now I’m realizing, not only am I an alcoholic, but a “sex addict” too! I would be the poster boy for what you practice!! If you could help me or find someone pro bono in NYC, I might actually live a normally fulfilled life. Thanks in advance.

    • treatment says:

      Dear Charles,
      I’m truly sorry you’re going through so much havoc. Unfortunately, I know of no one who does therapy pro-bono. You’re best bet is to hit the free 12-step meetings (AA and SAA) and plenty of them. You might also benefit from an ADD coach.

      Best of luck to you, Charles

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