Sexual addiction means any sexually-related behavior associated 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 hinder with a person’s normal living. Sex addiction is very different from having high sexual drive. A sex addict is dependent on sex. 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.
The exact cause of sexual addiction is yet to be known. Nevertheless, certain factors have been studied that could possibly be the reason of this kind of addiction. the abnormal levels of sex hormones and chemicals in our 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 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 childhood could increase the risk for sex addiction during adulthood. Severe experience of neglect, rejection, and emotional trauma during childhood could also 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 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 happen 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.
Behaviors 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. These people view sex as a getaway 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 typically feel tremendous guilt and shame about their out-of-control behavior. These people exist in constant fear of discovery. So, they deny their state 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 stop the idea that there is nothing wrong with them. Then professional help would 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. To determine the causing factor of the abnormal behavior, a full history so to be conducted on the patient. As part of this cognitive/behavioral task-oriented approach, a sexual abstinence plan is constructed wherein the patient will abstain from sex for a period of time. After abstaining, 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.
Sexual addiction involves any type of uncontrollable 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.