The relationship between sexual abuse and addiction
The previous article in this series introduced the topic, clarified the terms, and focused on the relationship between sexual harassment and sexual addiction. This edition will focus on the relationship between sexual abuse and addiction.
First off, I want to acknowledge that this is a broad topic, and entire books are written about these themes by people who are experts in this subject. (One classic is The Betrayal Bond, by Patrick Carnes.) I’m writing here to share some of my observations, as a spiritual teacher, and as one who worked in the sex addiction field for a number of years, working with many hundreds of sex addicts.
Here’s my observation:
Many sex addicts have been victims of sexual abuse
(but of course, not all of them)
and only a small group of sex addicts become abusers.
Those who do become abusers have issues beyond addiction.
To be sure we’re clear about our terms, sexual abuse, as defined by the The American Psychological Associate (APA) is “unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” It is often used to refer to sexual activity with minors … those unable to give consent.
Many Sex Addicts Have Been Victims of Sexual Abuse
When kids are exposed to early sexual activity, they respond in two ways: They either shut down sexually, and withdraw from any kind of future sexual activity, or they shift the other way, seeking out sexual activity on a large, unhealthy scale. This creates the energy for sexual addiction, also sometimes referred to as “hypersexuality.”