Dr. Patrick Carnes, sex therapist and author of "Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction," provides an operational definition of sexual addiction: "a pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience." Contrary to real love, the sex addict obsesses over and depends on sex for comfort from inner pain. He or she uses it for nurturing, relief from stress etc.
Once, I heard a married man saying that he has sex with multiple women because "God is love." Indeed, the notion of sexual addiction can be confused like that! It's also confused with what is positive and legitimately pleasurable in married love enjoyed by the "normal" population. As life unravels, the sex addict despairs, helplessly stucked in the cycle of shame, degradation, and danger. Like a broken car, the sex addict needs a mechanic!
Nowadays, people need education and a clearer perspective about sexual addiction as an illness. Often this is obscured by media and by our reluctance to face sexual issues - personally, professionally, and publicly. The illness is further masked by secrecy and shame that inherently characterizes it.
The world is full of helpless sexual addicts in need of help.
Related post: "My Radio Interview on Sex"