Affairs are commonplace in our society. Tabloids are sold by the millions due to our cultural fascination over celebrities or politicians straying from their marriage or relationship. And for sex addicts, rationalization is fueled by what they regard in the culture as “normal.” However, after close examination, what is often the case for sex addicts is a pattern of affairs over the course of many relationships.
Sex addiction is essentially an intimacy disorder—a failure to bond. For the sex addict, arousal is sometimes difficult to achieve in a relationship based in intimacy. With heightened levels of intimacy come heightened levels of anxiety, creating an impasse to intimacy. Essentially, the sex addict is fleeing the intimacy of their relationship into the safety of a less intimate encounter. The affair is arousing because it is safe. Treatment for a sex addict who engages in affairs requires the discontinuation of the affair and a broad exploration into the addict’s fear of intimacy.