Sex addiction may be the source of a lot of jokes, but for people affected by it, this condition is no laughing matter. It causes tremendous guilt and shame, not to mention it can result in failed relationships and marriages. Fortunately, there are ways to successfully treat sex addiction. Knowing the warning signs and getting help early can make a big difference.
Sexual addiction is the term that describes a person with an unusually strong sex drive or an unhealthy obsession with sex. Thoughts about sex will control the person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. As with other addictions, sex addicts often do not understand that they have a problem. They will blame others for their condition or create elaborate explanations to rationalize and justify their behavior.
Sexual addiction is very risky. Sex addicts engage in dangerous sexual behaviors, regardless of the potential consequences. It puts them at risk for physical injury or illness, as well as emotional injury. For some people with sex addiction, it results in them participating in illegal activities such as soliciting a prostitute or exhibitionism. Not all sex addicts become sex offenders, however.
The symptoms of sex addiction include: multiple partners, frequent sexual encounters, compulsive masturbation, phone and cyber sex, frequent and consistent use of pornography, participating in unsafe sex, sexual harassment, rape or molestation, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. Not every sex addict will have the same symptoms, or even all the symptoms, but will usually display more than one.
The first step for a sex addict to receive treatment is they must admit that they have a problem. Often this does not occur until a traumatic event, such as loss of a job or breakup of a relationship, forces the addict to admit there is a problem. Once the person can admit there is an addiction, treatment can begin and he or she is on the path to recovery.
Treatment for sex addiction focuses on helping the person control the addictive behavior and develop healthy sexual attitudes. Treatment begins with sexual education about healthy behaviors. The person will also receive individual counseling and martial counseling if applicable. Family therapy may also be used if the addict has a strong, supportive family environment. There are also support groups and recovery programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous. A doctor may prescribe medications used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorders, such as Paxil or Prozac, to help in the recovery process.