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For Gay Men with Sex Addiction

Sex, love, and porn addiction are not just problems among gay men. These diagnoses are as widespread and problematic among straight men and bi-sexuals as they are among gays. Heterosexual male sex addicts act out in many of the same ways gay men do; they just act out in different settings and choose women rather than men to play with. Gay men go to sex clubs, straight men go to strip clubs; gay men use Grinder, straight men use Ashley Madison. In fact, the similarities between gay and straight sex addicts are much more apparent than their differences.

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Those concerned that the diagnosis of sexual addiction might be “sex negative” or worse, a condemnation of gay men, should note that over 80% of men who currently seek sexual addiction treatment are married heterosexuals with children. Despite the fact that a greater percentage of gay men suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, and often sexual addiction, straight men are more likely to actually seek help for problems with compulsive or addictive sex. As gay male culture has traditionally been more accepting of sexual promiscuity, it has been easier for gay sex addicts to remain in denial. Without the right to marry and with fewer resources available toward developing healthy communities and “families,” gay sex addicts often experience fewer consequences for their compulsive sexuality than straight men, making it less likely they will face the kinds of threats (e.g, divorce, loss of children) that bring straight men to seek help, although this is beginning to change.

Sex addiction, like gambling addiction, is a behavioral disorder that is ultimately more driven by anxiety and the person’s need to escape difficult emotional challenges than by orgasm or even the sexual act itself. Gay sex addicts lose themselves in endless hours and days of searching online for porn and hook-ups or cruising steam rooms, adult bookstores, and sex clubs, often spending more time and energy pursuing sex than they do developing healthy, intimate relationships. While no one is saying that all gay men need to get “married” or live in a way that mirrors the lives of heterosexuals, there are those gay men who utilize the intensity and emotional power of addictive sex to self-soothe, distract, and emotionally medicate themselves in ways that may not even match their own belief systems or values, while often bringing them emotional, health, relationship, and legal problems.

For those gay men who may have a problem with anonymous online hook-ups, porn, sex clubs, and prostitutes, or those whose loved ones are concerned about their sexual behavior, the first step toward personal growth is to gain as much knowledge as possible about sexual addiction. Take the sex addiction self-evaluation test. Seeing a sexual addiction professional for assessment is a useful and non-judgmental way to learn more about the problem. You can contact the Sexual Recovery Institute for a confidential assessment (link to contact form). Current books on the subject include this author’s Cruise Control: Understanding Sexual Addiction in Gay Men, and a chapter about sexual addiction in Joe Kort’s Ten Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives.