As discussed in my previous posting to this site, the vast majority of sex addicts also have a secondary addiction, whether it’s a cross addiction, where they switch back and forth between sex addiction and another addiction, or a co-occurring addiction, where they engage in more than one addiction at the same time.
For multiply-addicted sex addicts, stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine are often the secondary drug of choice. Typically, this manifests as a co-occurring (simultaneous) addiction rather than a cross addiction. In other words, sex and stimulant addicts typically use drugs and chase sex at the same time.
There are two primary reasons sex and stimulant drugs seem to go together.
- Stimulant drugs (and most other addictive substances) are disinhibiting. So using stimulants reduces or eliminates the sexual hang-ups that might prevent an addict from engaging in the sexual behaviors he or she truly desires. For instance, a closeted gay man might do cocaine as a way to “loosen up” and be sexual with men met online or in a gay club.
- Stimulant drugs can both heighten and prolong the high of sexual activity. For instance, the rush of methamphetamine paired with the rush of sexual activity can be more intense than just one or the other by itself. Plus, stimulants provide users with boundless energy, helping them do whatever it is they want to do for hours (sometimes even days) on end. And this includes being sexual, especially if erection enhancers like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are also in the mix.
Because of this, many hookup profiles (on both websites and apps) use the availability of stimulant drugs as an enticement. Offers might read:
- Come over to PNP with me and my BFF Crystal.
- Speed on over to my place for some Amped up PNP. Everyone invited.
- Let’s ride the Rails and get down and dirty with some serious PNP.
In case you’re wondering, “crystal,” “speed,” “amp,” and “rails” are street names for meth, “everyone invited” signifies a desire for multiple sex partners, and “PNP” stands for party and play, with “party” referring to drugs and “play” referring to sex. So yeah, the implications are clear, and for dual sex and stimulant addicts, the allure is unmistakable.
Unfortunately, because stimulant drugs (and other addictive drugs) are disinhibiting, a user’s values and beliefs about things like safer sex may disappear when high, significantly increasing the risk for STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and all sorts of other potential problems. Not to mention the fact that stimulant drug use is highly destructive all by itself, leading to a wide variety of potentially serious and sometimes long-lasting physical and psychological problems. (Rotting teeth, skin lesions, paranoia, hallucinations, violent outbursts, etc.) Plus, other addictive drugs may also be abused, often as a cross addiction. For instance, alcohol, over-the-counter cold medicines, and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and the like) may be taken as a way to “come down” and get some sleep when the addict finally wants or needs a break from all the PNP.
When addictive sexual behavior and stimulant drug abuse are consistently paired, they can and usually do become mutually reinforcing. In such cases, the two addictions may become so tightly paired that they are one and the same. For this type of addict, getting high and seeking/finding/having sex become a single fused addiction.
This, of course, makes sobriety and recovery much more difficult, because even the simplest sexual fantasies become a powerful psychological trigger for stimulant drug abuse, and vice versa. Thus, a dual addiction to sex and stimulants is double-trouble in terms of potential consequences and risk for relapse. As such, sex and stimulant addicts must address both of their addictions simultaneously. If they don’t, they are unlikely to heal from either.
For more information about sexual addiction (and its interaction with other addictions), check out my recently published books, Sex Addiction 101 and Sex Addiction 101, The Workbook. If you feel you need clinical assistance with sex addiction, therapist and treatment referrals can be found here and here. I also conduct an open-ended discussion about sex addiction at InTheRooms.com, Friday nights at 6 p.m. PST. For stimulant drug abuse issues, treatment referrals can be found here.