Dillon was surprised to hear his therapist say she believed he was experiencing a kind of sexual addiction. He wasn’t particularly interested in sex; it was the chase he loved. He couldn’t get enough of that. No, what interested Dillon was the seduction, the flirt. He wanted to pursue, and he didn’t necessarily want it to be easy. He enjoyed the intrigue of almost, of maybe but not yet.
Over and over he’d met women—in his morning coffee shop, at his gym, at the office, at his daughter’s school—and he’d begun the slow chase. It always started with eye contact. When she looked, he didn’t look away. He smiled. He’d play this game for weeks if he had to; he liked dragging it out. He liked making her wonder when he’d speak. Just when she was certain he was only being polite and had no real interest, he’d sneak up behind and speak in a low voice, just for her, but always something innocuous that couldn’t be misconstrued as too personal. It was the tone and the way he spoke that was the enticement.
Again, it would be weeks before he’d touch her hand while chatting, and another before he made her laugh. Watching women laugh was a particular thrill—the way they opened their throats and threw their heads back, as if in ecstasy. By then, he couldn’t go too much further; he needed to finalize his work. But when he finally kissed a willing woman, it was as if a light switched off, a stage curtain closed. He lost interest; his work was done.
Dillon only wanted to catch, not to keep. And besides, he was married.
‘Predatory Flirting’ And ‘Intriguing’ In Sex Addiction
For seductive-role sex addicts like Dillon, symptoms such as “predatory flirting” are common. Dr. Patrick Carnes, groundbreaking sex addiction expert and author of Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction writes, “Seductive sex focuses on charming, persuading or manipulating others into sexual contact, and involves treating the other person as a conquest or a challenge, rather than someone else to connect with.”
Not all seductive-role sex addicts stop at the kiss like Dillon, but all are merely interested in the seduction. They use predatory flirting in order to seduce. While the term may sound alarming, the “predatory” part does not indicate an illegal action. Regarding seductive-role sex addicts, predatory flirting refers to the way they seek out individuals solely for the purpose of fulfilling their need to experience the high of the chase.
“Intriguing” is another word frequently used to refer to seductive-role sex addicts; in their case, it is used as a verb. Intriguing here is the act of romantic intrigue—the high that comes from seeking a romantic connection with another person. It’s important to understand that for sex addicts, this connection is surface-only, rather than deep or lasting.
In seductive-role sex addiction, the addicts use another person as an object to make themselves feel more powerful and secure.
Intimacy Disorder In Sex Addiction
Seductive-role sex addicts, like all sex addicts, experience an intimacy disorder. Though they seek romantic connections again and again, they are incapable of experiencing true emotional intimacy. The sustained honesty and willingness to be emotionally vulnerable that are necessary for authentic intimacy are too difficult for them to sustain.
This is because sex addicts often come from difficult upbringings in which they experienced “intimacy injury” with a parent or primary caregiver. Sex addiction recovery is all about healing this underlying intimacy disorder so that a person can experience honesty and genuine intimacy in his or her relationships.
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