From our earliest sexual awakenings as boys, black males learn to connect a generous sexual appetite with the vigor of our manhood. But for some brothas, sex—including the online and DVD versions—becomes a way to escape other long-standing or deepseated issues, to self-medicate, or to drown out pain or depression. “Rather than get medical help, people become reliant on [sex] to deal with their problems,” says Dr. Matthew B. Johnson, a West Orange, New Jersey, psychologist. This can lead to addiction, not to mention the risks of HIV, STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
How can you determine if you’re in the danger zone? Experts say a major sign is when sexual preoccupation interferes with your work or your ability to sustain relationships or have fun. You feel as if you have lost control over the behavior. “The sex is not fulfilling and it’s creating more problems than it’s solving,” Johnson says.
Take the “Male Sexual Addiction Screening Test” at the website of the Sexual Recovery Institute. Go to www.sexualrecovery.com and look under the heading “Recovery Resources.”
Talk openly to a close friend, therapist or minister who won’t be judgmental, to help bring the problem to light.
If an underlying depression or anxiety is fueling your behavior, consult a mental health professional. Also, visit www.sca-recovery.org to learn about Sexual Compulsives Anonymous’ 12-step program.
The Not-So-Great Escape
When sex becomes an addiction, how do you get back on track?