I have been in a recovery program for eight years now, in counseling just as long, and it’s taken me this long to realize that I the addiction I have to sex is compounded by a less known and understood addiction. I have an addiction to praise. In this post, I’ll discuss how they work together to create the equivalent of a sexual speedball, making the joint addiction stronger than each part separately. This post will be anecdotal, but I will do another post which addresses the brain chemistry of these joint addictions.
I did not come to my sex addiction through abuse, like many of the people I have met through the program, at least not through direct abuse. Through my middle school and high school years, I was ostracized by most of my peers for being different. I only had a few friends during this time.
The praise of women, and their subsequent sexual surrender, acted like a drug on me. If a woman liked me, it created mania in me. The sexual act, and the actual orgasm, reinforced this feeling. The interaction of these two things made my addiction very powerful, and affected my inability to have non-sexual close relationships with women.
The absence of the praise made the sexual component much weaker. Masturbation or sex with escorts always left me feeling depressed. Even sex with my spouse felt less powerful when she was not providing praise.
This need for praise has been a character defect of mine, and makes me vulnerable to the advances of others. In the past, there were some women who knew this, and used it to their own aims. On my end, I am guilty of manipulating people to praise me.
In my time in the program, I have witnessed other addicts with this same issue. Some have explained to me that it was the praise that was essential, the offer of sex was enough for them to get their high.
The recognition of my praise addiction, and the interplay with sex addiction, has started me on a new facet of my recovery. It has been difficult, but I have discussed this with my spouse. I think honest praise is still important, and I’d like to receive it for doing the right things for people who are important to me.
I’d welcome comments and shares on this.