Sex Addiction as a Way to Regulate Emotions

Many sex addicts grew up in homes where they were not given the level of emotional nurturing and care that were needed. As a result, they were left to try to find ways to handle their emotional worlds by themselves.

Take Sam as an example. Sam grew up in a violent home. As a result Sam felt great fear, anxiety, pain, rage, shame and loneliness. Because of the state of his home, Sam could not go to his parents for comfort. He had nowhere to go with all the feelings piling up inside of him. However, there was pornography. In Sam’s words, “I thought pornography could save me.”

Porn took him out of an awful situation allowing him an escape. Porn provided a fantasy that he was being focused on exclusively and given physical touch and affection that felt good. Porn gave him a sense that he was wanted. Masturbation gave him a way to soothe himself; to calm the anxiety that ran through his veins all day long. Sam turned to porn for the nurturing that he needed and could not get from his parents.

While many sex addicts do not have a story as severe as Sam’s, they often do come out of homes where they were left on their own to find ways to emotionally cope with whatever life was throwing at them.

As a result they may have learned to use sex to comfort themselves, soothe anxiety, relieve boredom, take them out of their present, calm themselves, make themselves feel alive, etc. Over time, they (and their brain chemistry) become dependent upon sex to regulate their emotions.

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