Sex is surely one of the most powerful of all human experiences. It can drive people to the pinnacle of ecstasy or it can spiral others to the depths of self-loathing and despair. Sexual expression is meant to tie, or connect, to our core sense of self. Sexual energy is part of our life force, our energy for creative and productive attainments, and the source of our passion for life.

A core sense of self is the part of use that has self-awareness and self-understanding, a vision our our true nature or authenticity. Healthy sexuality gives rise to a desire to connect and enhances our sense of well-being. Positively expressing ourselves sexually is a life-enhancing experience; it is an expressing of true caring, an exchange of reciprocal pleasuring that cements an intimate connection.

The sex addict may think this is what he is experiencing. The opposite, however, is true. Sex for the sex addict involves high intensity, danger, constant novelty, a sense of power and conquest, emotional numbing and getting a high from the "rush". Sex addiction shores up a fragile ego and is a self-serving, exploitative, event. Even if the person is involved with giving another pleasure, the purpose is to build his ego and intensify his own pleasure. Pleasure giving does not come from a heart that is generous and loving.

There is no consequence that stops the sex addict: loss of self esteem, shame about his activities, marital discord, lost time and productivity, career and educational setbacks or loss of his dignity. The addict is caught in an intoxicating dance that is based on fantasy and a distorted sense of reality. I believe that the purposeful choice of a state of mind that distorts reality is an act of self-hate and represents a form of insanity. Furthermore, a life that is ridden in fantasy is another form of self-hate. Why would a person be so desperate to be something other than he is?

Remaining stuck in the cycle of sex/porn addiction is deadly, No, not physical death, but the death of your true, authentic self. It is a form of "soul" death that is masked when on the "hunt" or lost in a computer screen. Of course, the sex addict experiences a sense of power and control when in the "erotic haze" which is the opposite experience of the reality that he is really powerless and out-of-control. It is only after the orgasm and the lifting of the "erotic haze" that he experiences the magnitude of his inability to control himself.

Despite what the general population may think, sex addiction is NOT a moral issue; nor is in a weakness in the ability to exercise will and self-control.

It is a legitimate addiction and represents the only coping mechanism an addict has at his disposal to regulate intense feeling states born out of the his emotional and psychic wounds stemming from childhood experiences from long ago.

Sex addiction treatment teaches skills or coping mechanisms to deal with both external and internal realities so the addict doesn't need to resort to returning to his addiction to cope.

Author's Bio: 

Dorothy Hayden, LCSW, has been treating sex addiction for 15 years. With 30 articles and one e-book, "Total Sex Addiction Recovery -- A Guide to Therapy", she is considered a "thought leader" in the field. She has been interviewed by HBO, CNN and "20/20" about cybersex and sex addiction.