Sexual Addiction is Not What You Think

Sexuality is a part of life, much like eating, sleeping and breathing. Sex can build intimacy with a partner but it can also be a destructive force in a person’s life who has addiction. Some people develop unhealthy preoccupations to sex and, over time, are unable to control behaviors which become problematic. Struggling with sex addiction need not feel lonely. Learn why it is not exactly what it seems and how to move beyond addiction to freedom.

 

Behaviors

A person who struggles with sexual addiction will exhibit different behaviors than another person who wrestles with the same addiction. Every person’s preferences regarding sex are different and addiction may manifest in different ways including:

  • Multiple affairs
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Sex with strangers or prostitutes
  • Extensive use of pornography
  • Exhibitionism or working in prostitution
  • Voyeurism

Work may begin to suffer as a person spends more time thinking of sex or acting on compulsive behaviors. As addiction grows, a person may take greater risks for more intense experiences to feel the same rush of pleasure. If addiction has progressed, it is important to seek help before the behavior causes more damage to a person’s life.

 

Questions to Consider

Sex addiction will look different in others which is why symptoms may not be as recognizable right away. The following three questions can be helpful when deciding whether sex has become addictive:

  • Does sexual behavior feel uncontrollable?
  • Is lack of control causing significant trouble in life?
  • Do thoughts of sex interfere with work and daily life?

Answering ‘yes’ to the questions above may indicate it is time to seek help from professionals well versed in sexual addiction.

 

Mental Impact

A person addicted to sex will find the act itself rarely brings joy. It may bring up feelings of being used, emptiness or guilt. In spite of negative feelings, a person will pursue more sexual behavior, performing acts which cause mental distress. Some clinical signs of addiction may include (when paired with sexual behavior):

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Alcohol abuse

 

Defining Addiction

A debate has been ongoing about whether unhealthy sexual behaviors can be classified as addiction or are merely impulse control issues. Addiction is defined as a compulsive urge to do something in spite of knowing it will bring harm in some way. Some evidence suggests people have chemical-based addictions to sex as the brain releases pleasurable chemicals which reinforce the behavior. People will pursue what feels good even to the detriment of oneself and others. If a person cannot control behavior, it will only get better once help is given in the form of therapy, medication or both. Some mental health conditions are associated with sexual addiction. Receiving therapeutic intervention for any existing mental health disorders may help sexually addictive behavior cease.

If you or a loved one struggle with sexual addiction, it may be time to get help. If you cannot control sexual impulses, call Hired Power. We will support your journey to recovery.