When Sex Becomes An Addiction

Posted in When Sex Becomes an Addiction

As harmful to a person’s mental and physical health as any chemical or alcohol addiction, sexual addiction wille eventually destroy family relationships, marriages and lifelong friendships unless recognized and successfully treated. Addiction to sex is also frequently co-morbid with drug and/or alcohol addiction and presents an array of complex and deep-seated psychological issues requiring intensive cognitive behavioral counseling with trained therapists.

Signs of Sexual Addiction

Certain behaviorial patterns exist in the life of someone who may be addicted to sex. These include:

Preoccupation with sexual fantasies and masturbation to the point of alienating family and friends
Engaging in frequent and inappropriate seductive behavior
Repeated infections with STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis
Engaging in voyeurism to feel sexually aroused (viewing pornography, secretly videotaping someone in the act of having sex)
Participating in simultaneous multiple sexual relationships without regard for partners’ feelings
Frequent sexual activity involving anonymous partners
Spending large amounts of money for sex (prostitutes, phone sex) or trading drugs for sex

People who are suffering from sexual addiction experience problems remaining employed because they feel compelled to pursue sexually addictive behaviors that preclude any other responsibilities. Additionally, many sex addicts possess criminal records due to repeated arrests for solicitation, indecent exposure or drug possession, which makes it harder for them to find jobs. As a result, sexual addicts often find themselves homeless, ostracized by family members and living on the fringes of society.

Treatment Methods

Treating sexual addiction involves methods similar to other addiction recovery programs. Addicts will need to realize the addiction exists, participate in support groups comprised of other sexual addicts, regularly attend counseling sessions with a professional addiction therapist and take antidepressants to help relieve the depression, anxiety and overwhelming compulsion to seek sexual attention and gratification. Couples who have been affected by one member developing a sex addiction should attend counseling sessions together in order to re-establish and strengthen the relationship.

Residential treatment centers specializing in sexual addiction are also available for those who may need to participate in a more structured environment. Intense therapy is often required to determine the underlying cause of the sexual addiction so that the person affected can fully comprehend and learn to cope with these self-destructive impulses.

How To Know When Sex Becomes An Addiction

Posted in When Sex Becomes an Addiction

The average individual possesses a natural and inherent need for regular intimacy and sexual stimulation. The proliferation of sexual imagery in advertising and via nearly every form of media, however, has served to hyper-sexualize children and adults alike, creating generations of people who often think about sex on a near constant basis. Sex is at the heart of nearly all marketing endeavors and it is what keeps theater seats packed and high-priced fashion items rolling off the shelves. The less than conscious awareness that many people maintain of both the subtle and not-so subtle imagery that is a constant part of living in the modern world can make it difficult to discern when sexual attractions, attentions and actions become problematic. Learning how to identify and address sexual addiction, however, is vital for maintaining a whole and healthy existence in a world filled with sexual distraction.

Damaging Personal Relationships With Impulse Decisions

Acting on sexual impulses is perhaps the defining characteristic of sexual disorder, as this usually means that an individual loses all inhibitions when erotically or otherwise sexually motivated. Acting on impulses of this nature becomes especially dangerous when people feel motivated to harm themselves or harm others in a sexual fashion such as through the pursuit of non-consensual sex acts or the performance of demeaning acts on a known partner whose measure of consent is at best, dubious. These impulses are the basis of many sex crimes and the resulting criminal charges and sentences. When the need to act on harmful impulses overcomes the individual’s self-will, there can be a total lack of control. Each indulgence of this type can result in an even lesser ability to control one’s impulse actions in the future and may ultimately create a need for more aggressive behavior and an increased need for increasingly taboo stimuli.

The Consequences Of Making Sexual Decisions That Are Not In Line With Your Values

Self-preservation is another key consideration that those with sexual addictions must make. Consistently acting on desires or urges that are potentially harmful to self is another sure sign of addictive behavior. Sexually transmitted disease and the likelihood for unwanted pregnancies can both have a very detrimental impact on males and females alike. When impulse actions include the practice of unprotected sex, the risk associated with the and individual’s life choices increases significantly. The harmful effects can be exponential when there are multiple partners involved in the equation, or monogamous relationship commitments that are broken. Thus, partners of sexual addicts will have a much increased likelihood of contracting reproductive diseases, even when they remain personally dedicated to lifestyles of monogamy. While few couples aggressively address individual sexual impulses or addictions until the consequences of these are too glaring to ignore, the potential for contracting disease makes these conversations both urgent and necessary.

How D You Know When Sex Becomes an Addiction

Posted in When Sex Becomes an Addiction

Many people take for granted their own healthy sex lives. The importance of maintaining a physical and emotional connection with another person is a crucial part of a fulfilling life. What happens, however, when the physical overwhelms the emotional and sensation seeking overtakes someone’s life?

Sex addiction is defined as an escalating pattern of risky sexual behavior. In the early stages, the addict may become distant with family and friends and appear distracted from activities they formerly enjoyed. Inwardly, the addict may begin to experience extreme stress and anxiety, with a constant fear of discovery. The actions of the addict become increasingly reckless, with no real connection to the people with whom they share sexual encounters. While excessive masturbation and viewing of graphic pornography may not seem dangerous, this is often just the tip of the iceberg for the sex addict. The thrill of pornography leads to the acting out of such fantasies. A married sex addict may begin to engage in multiple extramarital sexual encounters, often in unsafe ways. Cybersex, phone sex, strip clubs and having sex with prostitutes are not uncommon occurrences. The addict may feel extreme guilt, as their actions do not portray their true feelings, morality, values or beliefs. Even in that knowledge, they are unable to stop on their own. Acting out in their addiction often will lead to financial consequences, separation or divorce, the loss of employment, among the potential physical consequences of their actions, such as HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Hitting rock bottom, and having a realization that they are now alone, can lead to their seeking out treatment and healing.

Like other addictions, healing can only come with the acceptance that they are helpless to overcome on their own, and the desire to change is key for success. There are several programs available to the addict, including traditional twelve step programs utilized for alcoholics and drug addicts. Learning how to control compulsions and institute a healthy form of sexuality is the targeted outcome for treatment. Counseling should be ongoing, with not only the addict participating, but also family and close friends. In some people, the use of psychiatric medication can be implemented to help control behavior and to regulate certain important chemicals within the brain of an addict. While there is no simple cure for any addiction, there are effective treatment options available for those who truly seek to change.