Sexual addiction vs. a cheater

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD describes the differences between someone who has multiple affairs and someone who is a sex addict
Relationship Advice | Sexual addiction vs. a cheater
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Sexual addiction vs. a cheater

People are asking a question often about the difference between someone who has infidelity versus somebody with a sexual addiction. The criteria for addiction almost always involves loss of control, consequences as a result of the loss of control, and the inability to stop. So when we see something like that and that can occur with drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating, and sex. And we have lots of emerging research that documents that the rewards centers of the brain can be activated in very high states of arousal by being exposed to sexual images, for example, versus somebody who might have an affair who is an opportunist, who doesn't have a history of compulsion. So he would have more of what we refer to as a character problem, somebody who's willing to take advantage of somebody. Somebody who's willing to break a trust that it's been implied or explicit in the relationship, although they share similarities. There's always somebody hurt, somebody feels betrayed, somebody feels injured as either a result of the infidelity or the sexual addiction.

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD describes the differences between someone who has multiple affairs and someone who is a sex addict


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit


More Parenting Videos from Kenneth M. Adams, PhD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter