Sex addiction has been defined as an intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and actions. In this informative article, the UK’s top therapists discuss this problem, its causes and treatment.
Since the term “sex addiction” became a familiar concept there has been debate as to whether sex addiction is a real thing or not.
Yet many people each year seek help from mental health professionals and addiction programs to treat what they feel is sex addiction.
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction has been defined as a sexual intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and actions, and an obsession with sex. This causes marked distress in the addict’s personal life and often significant problems with their friends, family and work life. Like other addictions, left untreated, sex addiction tends to increase over time.
Some sex addicts engage in compulsive masturbation, consume excessive amounts of pornography, or engage in excessive amounts of computer or phone sex. For others it can involve excessive sexual experimentation, prostitution, or repeated adultery. And then for others still, sex addiction might also involve some illegal activities, such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone calls, child abuse or rape. That of course does not mean that all sex addicts take part in illegal activities.
Sex addiction has a progressive element to it. It has been defined by the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity as “engaging in persistent patterns of sexual behavior and increasing acting despite increasing negative consequences for oneself and others.” This means that sex addicts often continue their harmful and destructive behavior despite the negative effects it has on their health, personal relationships, and other areas of their lives.
What causes sex addiction?
Experts aren’t entirely sure why some people suffer from sex addiction and others don’t. Many theories have been put forward. Some think it may involve some kind of biochemical abnormality in the brain. Others question whether sex addiction may be related to some event or trauma in the person’s past. More research needs to be done to find the causes of sex addiction.
What Are the Symptoms of Sex Addiction?
Although there is no official diagnosis for sex addiction, many professionals working in the field take these factors into account when assessing a possible sex addiction:
– Frequently engaging in sexual acts with more partners than intended
– Always crave or think about sex
– Want to reduce your sexual activity, but can’t
– Engaging in an excessive amount of sex with different partners despite the intention of quitting
– Spending a lot of your time doing sex-related things (viewing pornography, masturbating, engaging in sex, sailing for partners)
– Ignoring any other responsibilities in your personal, work, or financial life to pursue sex
– Continue to engage in this behavior even after seeing the negative effect it has on your life and relationships
– Have an increased need for sex. You constantly need more and more to be satisfied
– Feel very irritable when unable to engage in the sexual act of your choice
While any of these things alone may not make you a sex addict, if some of them sound familiar to you, you may want to consider seeking help from a therapist or mental health care professional who specializes in sex addiction.
There are many different ways to treat sex addiction, from therapy, hypnotherapy, 12-step programs, and other options. The medical response can be a zoloft treatment of sexual addiction, but such antidepressants do not achieve the real cause of the problem.
If you think you have a sex addiction, the good news is that help is really available – but you need to reach out and get it.