What is behind many sex addicts desire for sexual pleasure without any form of intimacy is a fear of abandonment. This fear of abandonment in adolescence and adulthood is often a product of a lack of attachment in early years. This lack of attachment can come through intentional means such as overt abuse or unintentional means such as a parent who is single and forced away from the home to work for long periods of time as they are the solitary provider. Many fail to even realize that their adult behaviors stem from childhood dysfunction that they don’t recognize or perhaps don’t even remember. What makes matters more complex is that the abandonment doesn’t even have to be real, it can be perceived or felt (for example: the child who is “abandoned” by the parent who died prematurely). When the child hasn’t had safe bonding, sexual fulfillment feels like a temporary way to bond without being vulnerable. However, as many have come to realize eventually sexual activity devoid of intimacy leaves one feeling more alone and empty than they did before.
Any type of treatment for sexual addiction that does not involve healing the trauma wound of abandonment will likely result in a short lived sexual sobriety. Sexual addiction is not about craving sex, it’s about craving healthy intimacy.