Sex addiction, when it comes in the form of paid sex, can have a greater negative impact on a person’s life than some other sex addiction behaviors. Not only can it form a dependence on faulty relationships, but can cause financial, legal, and health problems.
Paid sex comes in many forms, from the most common phone sex to the highest profile, prostitution, but all are forms of sex addiction.
Phone sex is one of the easiest to access version of paid sex, but because the calls are charged by the minute, it can quickly become a large financial burden for a person with sex addiction seeking this as an outlet. Phone sex offers a level of intimacy, or false intimacy, if you will, above pornography, but allows for some distancing, making it an attractive option for an addict looking for a minimal degree of intimacy but may be too shy or lack the social skills to obtain sex in another fashion.
A number of things can occur during phone sex. Different services offer different options, and paid sex workers, sometimes referred to as “fantasy artists” or “adult phone entertainers,” are usually trained to provide these various services to callers. The conversations can include suggestive language, descriptions of sexual acts, the verbal acting out of sexual acts, or guided sex tours. These things can revolve around taboos or other acts the caller does not have access to in real life. Callers will often masturbate during the conversations or shortly after.
Someone who uses phone sex to cope with a problem or fill a need can quickly find him or herself in a large amount of credit card debt, or with a high phone bill. If the person is suffering a true sex addiction, the initial “sticker shock” may not have enough shock value at first to get them to stop, and in fact can escalate the addiction by incurring even more credit card and phone bills. This can cause a downward spiral, with the financial pressure pushing the sex addict deeper into the behavior, or causing them to seek other outlets for it. If they are left unstopped, they may resort to criminal behavior to pay for phone sex, such as stealing cell phones or credit cards.
Because of the level of human interaction going on, a person with this addiction can develop an unrealistic sense of what a real relationship entails. If the behavior carries on for a long time and the sex addiction is deep enough, it can prevent a person from forming valid relationships when the opportunity arises, or sabotaging an existing relationship. The sex addict comes to rely on these “relationships” as real. Phone sex is considered cheating by many, and because of the billing situation can be difficult for a sex addict to conceal. This can lead to emotionally charged and unexpected scenarios when the spouse or partner discovers their significant other is not only in debt, but had been paying for phone sex.
Aside from paid phone sex, an addict can also use Websites that have a paying component. There is an abundance of free pornography online, however, and while these Websites are able to do business, a sex addict who is relying on them has them as less costly options compared to phone sex or prostitution.
Like phone sex, prostitution raises a cost issue which we have covered. Besides financial ramifications, prostitution presents significant health risks to the addict, not the least of which are sexually transmitted diseases. Prostitution is also illegal in most places and is usually surrounded by other illegal activities and violent people supporting and practicing them. A person with a sex addiction who sees prostitutes on a regular basis also exposes him or herself to legal consequences which can damage a reputation or cost a person their marriage, family, relationships or job.
A sex addict using prostitution may be seeking a level of intimacy not found with other forms of sexual release available to them. While the interaction may simulate the intimate parts of a real relationship, it only leads the sex addict to develop a poor understanding of meaningful romantic interaction. And like phone sex, it can stunt or block a valid relationship from forming or destroy an existing one.
Prostitution, and to a lesser extent, phone sex, also creates a false power dynamic that can add to the distorted idea of what a relationship should be. The prostitute is a paid contractor, and will perform sex acts the client might not otherwise be able to engage in with someone not performing for money. The prostitute is in a subservient position more akin to an employee rather than a caring romantic partner. This may become part of the attraction to the person with this addiction and they may carry some of the mindset into a real relationship by attempting to trade favors, gifts, or affection for sex.