Children are sponges; they actively soak up information in order to learn about the world around them. This is a good thing in positive learning environments and family situations, but it can have a negative impact when the child has a parent with unresolved sexual addiction.
Whether or not a child shows signs of distress, growing up around sex addiction can have a significant negative impact on their future. Having a parent with sex addiction does not mean a child will grow up to be an addict, but it does increase the possibility that they will experience abuse or trauma. Children can be given harmful information about sex instead of appropriate, accurate, or useful information. They can also experience shame or confusion about their own body, gender, and sexuality when they see their parent participating in unhealthy sexual behaviors. Furthermore, children can mirror their parent's disrespectful behaviors or remarks about gender and sexuality.
Researchers have found that even when a child is not fully aware of their parent's abnormal behaviors, they may eventually replicate the behaviors themselves. Young children have nothing to compare their parents' behavior to, and will grow up thinking these behaviors are normal. If you are a sex addict with one or more children, be aware of the huge impact that your behaviors have on your children. Seek therapy, improve your behaviors, and communicate with your child. Hopefully, with the help of your family and others around you, you can learn to live with sexual freedom and integrity and encourage and model healthy sexual behaviors in your children.
"Growing up Around Sex Addiction: Impact on Children Part 2" by Linda Hatch http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2013/01/growing-up-around-sex-addiction-impact-on-children-part-2/