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Wiener addiction?

One can hardly miss the news reports of Anthony Wiener’s latest indiscretions. Observers are asking all kinds of questions about his behavior? I have not treated Mark Anthony. This information comes solely from public sources of information. However much of the behaviors that have been observed over the years are symptoms of a sex addiction.

What we want to believe romance is like.

Sex addiction has not been widely accepted among main stream addiction professionals. Sex can become an addiction when the act of sex becomes a way to cope with negative feelings. An example would be when a person begins to feel anxious, or depressed, and the person uses sex as a way to release those feelings.

The cycle would go like this. A person feels an unpleasant feeling such as anxiety, stress, or depression; the urge to release through a compulsive behavior begins to build. When the urge to engage in the compulsive behavior reaches an intolerable point the person engages in the behavior. After the person has engaged in the behavior whether it was masturbation, adultery, or online sex activities the person feels guilt and shame surrounding their activity. The negative feelings return to normal or what would be called baseline in therapy terms until the cycle begins again.

Some of the symptoms of a sex addict are very similar to other addictions. No matter what the addiction the question “Does the behavior cause a problem in your life?” can be asked. Usually because of denial the person will say “no” but it is a problem for my wife, my family, my job, and the legal system. In Anthony Weiner’s case his behavior cost him the senate seat in 2011. The fact that he continued to engage in the behavior after this indicates the behavior could be compulsive.

The fact that Anthony Weiner does not see his behavior as a problem is a product of denial very similar to an alcoholic. How many times have you heard an alcoholic say “I don’t have an alcohol problem” even though they lost their job, multiple DUI’s. It is the same denial system at work just a different addiction.

The difference between sex as an addiction and being a philanderer is the compulsiveness of the behavior. A sex addict will engage in sexual behavior with anyone who is willing to engage in the sexual behavior of his choice. A philanderer picks their partner based on attraction both physical and emotional. A philanderer may have several affairs; however, the compulsiveness of the behavior is not part of their behavior. A philanderer is less likely to have problems at work, or in the legal system for their behavior.

Some of the other symptoms of sexual addiction can only be reported to a therapist. These symptoms are how often the person is thinking about the behavior; every five minutes, every ten minutes. Has the amount of partners increased over time? In Anthony Weiner’s case it is widely reported that while in the Senate he had one partner. Now, he has come out with number between 8 and 10. This is quite an increase, and this is the amount he is willing to share.

Only time will tell if Anthony Weiner has a sex addiction. There is help if you recognize yourself or someone you love in the symptoms described above. Seek help from a therapist trained in sex addictions, and begin attending support groups.

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