Sexual addiction means any sexually-related actions connected with compulsivity and obsession. Creating a healthy relationship would be quite hard for a person inflicted with this kind of addiction. The behaviors associated with this addiction hamper 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. Yet, certain factors have been studied that could possibly caused the addiction. One is the abnormal levels of sex hormones and chemicals in the brain such as androgens, dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin. Moreover, unusualities in the brain rooted from neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, dementia, and seizures, and medications such as dopamine agonists could really 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 childhood could increase the risk for sex addiction during adulthood. Sex addiction might be caused by the harsh incidents of our early years that lead to an increased risk for developing addictions, specifically sexual addiction. Experts have seen that people with experiences of being abused have low levels of certain chemicals in the brain that affect how they experience pleasure. In addition, according to mental health professionals, sexual addiction could be related to other psychological disorders such as impulse control and eating disorders.
Sexual addiction does not distinguish. Anyone 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. Studies have shown that people who are sexually addicted have come from families wherein addiction had already flourished, such as alcoholism, compulsive eating, and compulsive gambling. As for gender, there hasn’t been a definite difference with the occurrence of sexual addiction among men and women. However, studies have 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. They form no emotional bond with his or her partner. Sex is thought to be their means of escape from stress, boredom, anxiety, and emotional strain. Sex is a means of power and desirability for a sex addict.
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 survive in constant fear of discovery. So, they deny their condition and pretend that there is nothing wrong with them. As a result, we can say that the the first step to treat sexual addiction, just like any other addiction, is to admit that there is something wrong with them. Professional help would always come at hand. Treatment 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 moderation plan is constructed wherein the patient is going to abstain from sex for a period of time. After being able to abstain, they often report a sense of well-being, a reestablish 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 out of control sexual activity which can be a resulting factor of early childhood traumatic experiences. Aside from professional help, recognizing and accepting the behavior problem is one step to recovery.