There are several criteria used to determine if a sexual addiction is present. One of the most telling is that the behavior continues despite negative consequences. For example, getting fired from three jobs in succession for viewing pornography at work or contracting STDs due to unprotected escort sex, not once, but four times.
Distorted thinking is a major contributor to the inability to alter or stop sexual behavior even when consequences are severe. Three types of distorted thinking are especially powerful and make up this troublesome trio.
DENIAL–Denial basically asserts that there is no problem. Consequences are ignored, the possibility of addiction is totally dismissed. Here are some typical denial statements: “I could stop any time I want–I just don’t want to.” “I believe sex addiction is a myth.” “My partner being upset at what I do is her problem, not mine.”
MINIMIZING–Minimization attempts to “shrink” the problem so that the addiction can appear as a very minor issue. Here are typical minimizing statements: “I don’t do it as often as others do.” “I used to see escorts, now I just watch porn.” “Other people do a lot worse stuff than I do.”
RATIONALIZING–Rationalization tries to reason the problem away. Arguments are put forth to try to show that objections to the behavior defy common sense and logic. Here are examples of rationalizing statements: “I just have a very strong sex drive.” “Everyone watches porn.” “What my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
It is important to recognize that the above trio serves only one purpose–to allow the addiction to continue unhindered and untreated. A commitment to truth and integrity can help the addict recognize that these types of distorted thinking are destructive, dangerous and need to be identified and challenged at every turn.