Sexual addiction is what we can also call hypersexuality or sexual dependency. An individual is considered to have a sexual addiction when he or she is unable to function properly at work or at home due to uncontrollable sexual urges and thoughts. These urges, thoughts and sometimes even actions affect the way the individual handles personal relationships and even destroys their usual daily routine. Just like any other form of addiction, sexual addiction can also be very harmful to the addict’s life and health.
Satyromania is the term used for hypersexuality in men, while nymphomania is what we call the condition in women. Sexual addiction may come in different forms and could be caused by different traumatic events in a person’s life. A detailed discussion about the causes and treatments for sexual addiction will be provided in this article.
Causes of Sexual Addiction
There have been several claims by professionals about how a person gets sexual addiction. Out of all the reasons out there, most people who admit to being a sex addict claim to have undergone sexual abuse at one point in their lives. Although it has not been medically proven that sexual abuse results in sexual addiction, it is considered a big factor in a person’s response to sex. Being through a traumatic experience can change a person’s view of a specific act or thing, in this case, sex.
While most sexual abuse victims steer away from any sexual interaction, there are some who develop a different way to cope with the trauma. Being introduced to sexual actions by force or unexpectedly can trigger someone to think of it differently, some can develop apathy to their partners and would just like to indulge in sexual acts without any other factors like emotions or attraction. There are others who develop the urge to gratify themselves with masturbation all the time. Just like other addictive drugs, some people use the euphoric effect of sex to escape any emotional distress they are in. Whichever way sexual addiction develops in someone; it will always be harmful to their well-being.
There are also certain studies that connect sexual addiction to anatomy. It is said that sexual urges are controlled by certain parts of the brain and chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters or changes can affect it. Serotonin and Dopamine are some of the well-known neurotransmitters that help regulate our moods, appetite, behaviour and sexual desire. Although they are not yet 100% proven to cause sexual addiction, scientists and doctors around the work continue to study these neurotransmitters and how they affect a person with a sexual addiction.
We can say that sexual interaction is one of the most enjoyable things on this planet. Some might even consider themselves addicted to sex because of their heightened sex drive. So how would you know if you really are becoming or already a sexual addict? In case of doubt, you should never hesitate to counsel with a psychologist for help in relation to any addiction. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine. Learn about sex addiction here and watch out for and know when to get help.
Activities and behaviours associated with sexual addiction:
- Masturbating compulsively regardless of the event and place
- Multiple sexual partners and apathetic sex like one night stands
- Pornography obsession
- Disregard for safe and responsible sex
- Cybersex with multiple partners
- Prostitution for self-gratification and not for profit
- Being an exhibitionist
- Unable to contain sexual urges and advances in the wrong venue and at the wrong people
- Not gaining emotional satisfaction from sexual relationships
- Feeling guilty and shameful after sexual acts
- Disregards financial problems because of sexual urges
- Has not taken own physical wellbeing into account
- Prefers sexual contact or acts overwork, social activities and other life priorities
- Feeling anxious, angry and impatient when sexual urges cannot be satisfied.These are just some symptoms an individual should be worried about. Some might argue that some of the symptoms listed above are normal, anything excessive is not healthy.
So if you do feel that you’ve experienced or known someone with these symptoms, it is always best to get help.
Treatment for Sexual Addiction
People with sexual addiction are difficult to treat unless they are self-aware. Just like in other forms of addiction like substance abuse and alcoholism, most sexual addicts are in denial. Those who care about the person with sexual addiction like family and friends should be very careful in offering help. Sexual addicts are afraid to be judged and might just cause them to spiral deeper into their addiction.
Here are some treatments or activities that can help sexual addicts recover:
- They can join self-help organizations just like how alcoholics join AA meetings. Find a local organization in your area and contact them. Some organizations offer 12-step programs to help an individual recover from sexual addiction.
- An individual can also choose to be treated in residential treatment centres. There are many sexual addiction treatment centres around the globe and anyone can choose to be committed in-patient or have out-patient treatment from addiction therapists.
- Another known therapy is the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. It basically teaches the patient to refocus his energy on other thoughts and activities with the help of tools and new techniques. It helps people with sexual addiction avoid relapse and learn how to behave in situations that might cause them to increase their sexual urges.
- Families or partners can also choose to undergo counselling so that the person with a sexual addiction can talk about what causes them stress and why they focus on sexual interaction.
With all these types of treatments, nothing is more important than the support and acceptance of the person’s family, friends and partners.
Sexual addiction is indeed a very sensitive topic. Although some people might not be comfortable talking about this, it has affected a lot of lives today. Always keep an open mind when discussing sexual addiction and not shrug it off as something perverse. Some people really need help and understanding from the people around them to overcome this addiction. Be on the look-out for unusual sexual behaviours and choose the best option to help that person. If you suspect someone or yourself of having sexual addiction keep in mind that there are many ways to take control of your life. Build a better world of understanding for those who struggle with sexual addiction.