Is sex addiction progressive? If so, how so?
Absolutely. For a sex addict, it may start off innocently. It may start off peer pressure, just natural experimenting, and like with the other addictions, there’s a natural progression. There’s early stages, middle stages, late stages. There’s different levels to sex addiction. There’s three levels that we talk about, level 1, which has to do with masturbating, pornography, escort services, prostitution. Level 2 can have some legal consequences, more of the exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone call. There’s more of a boundary violation with that one, and with level 3, it can be incest, rape, sexual abuse.
Just because someone’s in level 1 doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to progress to level 3, but the progression that I see with addiction and I use the example with substances. There’s alcohol, there’s pot and then came cocaine and crack and methamphetamine and the intensity is a lot higher. With addiction, with sex addiction, it’s very similar. You could masturbate by yourself, then you start watching porn, then the videos aren’t exciting enough so you up the ante a little bit more each time. Then you may get bored with the porn and come across Craigslist, back page and say, “Well, maybe I’ll just look at the pictures and I’m going to call but I’m not really going to meet them, and then I actually go and meet them.”
There could always be an escalation with the content, I guess would be the best way to put it and then the intensity of the times or you may do it once a week, and then it could go to everyday, two and three times a day, a lot of hours lost either thinking about it, doing it or recovering from it. The consequences, trying to just living the double life so there definitely is a progression with sex addiction like with the other addictions.