Q: I recently read a newspaper article about sexual addiction. I took the quiz and scored 13, which means “you’re a sex addict, get therapy”. I never thought of myself as a sex addict, but I feel something is severely wrong. I am once again in distress about a guy who I felt was a close friend who I had sex with, without a commitment. We’ve talked only once since then, but not about the experience, which deeply hurts me. I can’t bring myself to call him to talk about it. This has happened many times before, and I hate myself that I keep doing it. What should I do? I feel so lonely and depressed!
Dr. Klein: When two people consider being sexual together, it is important to discuss what this means. If one person considers it very casual while the other thinks it’s the beginning of an ongoing emotional connection, one or both are going to be very upset afterwards. While many people enjoy casual sex, it doesn’t sound like you do. As you say, your pattern of repeated choices that end in frustration raises an interesting question– why do you keep doing this? Psychotherapy or a women’s group could probably help you discover the answer. A book like “The Dance of Intimacy” might also help.
I do not find the “sex addict” concept to be helpful for anyone, and I hope you will forget about this quiz–which judges almost everyone a sex addict. In the future, use this rule of thumb when making sexual decisions–can you *talk* with this person about your concerns, about your fear of how he will behave afterwards, about the hurtful experiences you’ve had and don’t want to repeat? If, as you say in your question, you “can’t bring yourself to call him,” then you aren’t ready to have sex with him no matter how attracted or lonely you feel. As long as you continue to have sex when you aren’t able to talk about what’s important to you, you’ll be gambling on the kind of experience you’re going to have.