Is Childhood The Foundation For Sexual Addiction?

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

In listening to sexual addict’s stories about their first sexual encounters varies in the content and context of when they believe they were exposed to pornography and/or a sexual encounter which came about during the ages of five to thirteen. Some of the information is commonplace but some are simply the beginning of them being sexually abused by a trusted adult or finding their father’s collection of playboy. So why do these exposures seem to send them twirling into an environment of constant sexual encounters in which they rely on to find satisfaction in their lives?

One individual told me that when he was five years old his sister came into his bedroom, pulled down his pants and had him get into his bed naked. He said she then inserted his penis into her vagina and attempted to have him ride her. This is all he remembers, but he knows it twisted his life into a tornado of ways he at first didn’t understand or could comprehend. Now looking back he has determined that his sexual addiction began that day and since has assisted in having an abnormal life.

Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. The issue of this article is can sexual addiction be formed into a daily routine when the child victim is exposed to the sexual act or pornography? I have discussed this question with hundreds of men and women and the theme is consistent, once exposed to the sexual act and/or pornography they begin acting out sexually i.e. masturbating or having sexual contacts with the same sex or opposite sex.

The problem with this analogy is that about 71 percent of child molesters are sex addicts. For many, their problems are so severe that imprisonment is the only way to ensure society’s safety against them. So what is this telling us? Does this mean the five year old child who is sexually assaulted, will begin sexually acting out and then turn into a sexual offender?

According to the National institute of Justice which found “that childhood abuse increased the odds of future delinquency and adult criminality overall by 40 percent” (Widom, 1992).  Therefore, the cycle of abuse becomes a risk once the child is exposed to sexual themes and/or sexually abuse. It becomes a way of life for the child and one of the paramount phases is becoming sexually addicted to the sexual acts, pornography and sexual themes.
Additionally, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime,One expert estimates that forty percent of sexual abusers were sexually abused as children (Vanderbilt, 1992). In addition, victims of child sexual abuse are 27.7 times more likely to be arrested for prostitution as adults than non-victims. Some victims become sexual abusers or prostitutes because they have a difficult time relating to others except on sexual terms.”
So how does a parent put a stop the sexual addiction once they have identified that the child has been sexually abused and/or presented with sexual themes? The problem with this question is that it assumes that a parent will ever hear that the child has become a victim of child sexual abuse and/or sexualized by sexual themes. However, if the parent is able to identify the sexual abuse or the exposure to sexual themes, there is professional help available to the child victim and the entire family.

The child victim should not have to become a sexual offender and placed into the criminal justice system to receive the necessary assistance for the early childhood sex abuse or sexual themes.

Will child sexual abuse victims see their world as so sexualized that they become distracted to the point that their behavior may be harmful to themselves? Compulsive masturbation will and can create soreness in the genitalia and anal area. If sores are created this can lead to infections and other functional problems. It would be difficult for a child victim to come to their parents and tell them that they masturbated to the point where they have sores and possible infections in or on their genitalia and anus.

In my discussions with sexual addicts they have disclosed that they have been depressed and angry for years. Their relationships with their partners are never satisfying enough to them. They perform sexually because this is what their role is in society. They would rather masturbate and get the sexual act over with. To them every day is a new challenge. They are frightened that someone will find out about their addiction.

It seems fair to conclude that those children who are sexualized or sexually abused at an early on are sexually stimulated whether they like it or not. This sexualization becomes a part of reality that prior to the sexualization did not exist. The problems associated with being sexualized or sexually abused are based on the individual. Each sexual addict responds differently to the sexual abuse or sexual themes. Some are not bothered by the sexual act, where others find themselves disabled.

The low self-esteem that some of the sexual addicts deal with on a daily basis comes from being sexually violated. Then the twist comes when the violation is the only way they can find satisfaction. In masturbating they find themselves fantasying about them being the man, the woman, the powerful, the sexual king and queen. This is where their world is in a land of fairytales and make believe.

Tomorrow, we will continue our exploration into the sexualized world of the child victims who are sexually abused and/or sexualized at a very young age. The issues surrounding the causes and affects around sexual addicts is very complicated and a sad area in our society. Let us beg and hope that we can find some answers for those who at one time were young and innocent and someone and somehow took this away from them.

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