Addictions come in many shapes and sizes. Some are more obvious, such as drug or alcohol addiction; others we may not commonly consider to be addictions, such as the addiction to being right, or to receiving approval. Yet all addictions have this in common: they are an attempt to escape our inner discontent through external stimulus or distraction. Sex is a very common addiction. Like all addictions, it is not the act in itself but the way we use it that matters: sex can be used as an escape, or if we choose, as a celebration of life, an expression of joy on the path of self discovery.
Sex becomes an addiction when we cannot bear to be with ourselves. If we are constantly looking for someone to feel attracted to or fall in love with, someone to save us from ourselves, then sex has become an addiction. Instead of connecting internally with what we are feeling, we prefer to lose ourselves in fantasies that seldom reflect reality.
Addiction creates dependence, which in turn creates fear and anxiety. The only way out of this is to see through the addiction, to revert the energy that propels us towards the object of our desire by turning it inwards, and seeking to be with ourselves with the same intensity we sought to be with another. By strengthening the bond with ourselves, we create strong and solid roots: a base from which we can share our life with a partner, without getting lost in the drama and suffering generated by the frustrated search for external satisfaction.
Thirty years ago we were breaking barriers; the taboos around sex were being challenged and reinvented, but it’s not about that anymore. Now it is time for us to take responsibility for our own happiness, and instead of seeking to take satisfaction from our world, to focus on what we can give. If we have a sexual addiction, we are taking from others; using them for entertainment, like a toy. It’s time to grow up.