Sex addiction is defined as any sexually-related manners associated with compulsivity and obsession. This behavior makes it difficult for the person to establish a healthy personal relationship. The behaviors associated with this addiction hinder with a person’s normal living. Sex addiction is very different from having high sexual drive. When you are identified as a sex addict, you are sex dependent. You look for sexual pleasure even from non-sexual objects. A high sexual drive is only associated with aggressive behavior when it comes to sex. People with high sexual drive do not necessarily depend on sex and are able to build a healthy sexual or personal relationship with other people. Sexual addicts make sex a priority over their family, friends, and work. Like alcoholics who could not stop drinking, sexual addicts are unable to manage their sexual behavior to the point of destroying their lives as well as the lives of those who cared for them.
There is no known cause of sexual addiction. However, certain factors have been studied to have possibly be the reason of this kind of addiction. the abnormal levels of sex hormones and chemicals in the brain such as androgens, dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin. Moreover, unusualities in the brain caused by neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, dementia, and seizures, and medications such as dopamine agonists could also be a possible cause of sexual addiction. Changes in nerve circuits in the brain may also result in abnormal physical reactions to sexual activity. Psychologically, sexual, physical, and mental abuse during our early years could increase the risk for sex addiction during adulthood. Sexual addiction might be caused by the harsh incidents of our early years that lead to an increased risk for developing addictions, specifically sexual addiction. Studies have shown that victims of abuse, trauma, and neglect may have low levels of certain chemicals in the brain that affect how they experience pleasure. Furthermore, according to mental health professionals, sexual addiction can also be related to other psychological disorders such as impulse control and eating disorders.
Sexual addiction does not tell apart. You and me could be a sexual addict. It could be a minister, physician, factory worker or an executive. It could take place to anyone from all walks of life. According to studies, people who are sexually addicted have come from families where there is already a history of addiction. This can be in forms of alcoholism, compulsive eating, and compulsive gambling. To take into account the factor of gender, there has no known difference between men and women. On the other hand, an interesting discovery have been found that sexually addicted women is increasing in number.
Actions associated with sexual addiction includes, compulsive masturbation, multiple affairs, consistent use of pornography, unsafe sex, cybersex, prostitution or use of prostitutes, exhibitionism, stalking, sexual harassment, and molestation. People inflicted with sexual addiction experiences little or no satisfaction at all from their sexual activities. Sexual addicts find it hard form emotional bond with his or her partner. Sex is thought to be their means of escape from stress, boredom, anxiety, and emotional strain. With sex, the addict feels powerful and desirable.
Usually, a sexual addict is in denial that he/she is an addict. These people usually feel tremendous guilt and shame about their out-of-control behavior. These people live in constant fear of discovery. So, they deny their condition and make believe that there is nothing wrong with them. Thus, the first step to treat sexual addiction, just like any other addiction, is to admit that there is something wrong with them. Then professional help would come at hand. Curing is done with a therapist. As it is more of a behavioral and cognitive problem, cognitive-behavioral therapy is best to be used as treatment. The patient is assessed whereby his full history is examined so as to determine the root or possible cause of the behavior problem. As part of this cognitive/behavioral task-oriented approach, a sexual sobriety plan is constructed wherein the patient is going to abstain from sex for a period of time. After being able to abstain, people often report a sense of well-being, a restored sense of dignity and hope for a future free of sexually compulsive behaviors. Once, the positive emotions and cognitions are achieved, group therapy is recommended.
Sex addiction involves any type of unmanageable sexual activity which can be a resulting factor of early childhood traumatic experiences. For an individual to recover, an individual should admit and identify the problem before the help of a professional.