In a survey reported by NBC, studies show that 10% of men may have encountered or have suffered from sex addiction. Although not as widely known as other mental health issues, sex addiction has severely impacted the lives of many people, destroying relationships and families, and ruining careers and personal lives because of the problems that it raises longer-term both physically, mentally, and emotionally.
We are here to help you identify the most common sexual addiction symptoms so you can help yourself, a friend, or a family member to detect this problem early on to avoid long-term irreparable damage. Continue reading to find out more.
Sex Addiction Explained
Sex addiction is a psychological disorder that involves compulsive sexual behavior, despite negative consequences. It is often accompanied by substance abuse, which can lead to several problems in the workplace, including harassment and lawsuits.
To understand sex addiction, it's essential to understand some of the core concepts that are associated with it.
It is defined as compulsive sexual behavior, even though this behavior has negative consequences for the person engaging in it. For example, someone with sex addiction may be unable to stop himself from having affairs or from using prostitutes even though his partner finds out about his activities and threatens to leave him if he doesn't stop.
Sex addiction is closely related to other addictions such as alcoholism and drug use because an individual experiences cravings for a particular substance or activity in much the same way that they would crave alcohol or drugs.
Symptoms of Sexual Addiction
Compulsive sexual behavior or sex addiction is characterized by frequent or intense sexual thoughts or behaviors that cause significant distress and impairment in your life.
Some common symptoms include:
- An increased sense of excitement when you think about sex
- Avoiding other activities because you want to have sex
- Engaging in sexual activity despite negative consequences (such as having an affair and losing a job)
- Blaming problems on not having enough sex
What Causes Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is a condition in which someone has an obsession with having sex, and feels compelled to act on that obsession. This behavior can cause problems in their life, such as increasing the risk of STDs or unwanted pregnancies or causing stress in relationships.
There are many possible causes for sex addiction, including biological factors such as genetics and neurochemistry. Other possible causes include an individual's environment growing up and certain experiences in their lives.
Sex addiction is usually diagnosed by a mental health professional who will take into account the individual's medical history, symptoms, and family history before making a diagnosis.
Am I a Sex Addict? 7 Signs of Sex Addiction Disorders
Escalating sexual activity
Sex addicts are constantly seeking new partners, more extreme sex acts, or different forms of expression. They may also be more likely to cheat on a partner or spouse. Often they may resort to using the Internet, such as with a hookup or dating app, or even through phone sex.
Their sexual impulses may also lead them to randomly hook up with people they meet on the street or in seedy public places like bars and sex clubs.
Individuals who are addicted to sex are unable to stop masturbating even when they know it is causing them problems. This may interfere with their daily life and affect even personal relationships with their partners, especially in terms of intimacy. When their sexual addiction worsens, they can even resort to sexual acts such as voyeurism or exhibitionism as a form of sexual gratification when it declines.
Using pornography and prostitution to avoid emotional connection
Sex addicts will use pornography or prostitution as a way to avoid intimacy with another person. When this happens, they may tend to consume abnormal amounts of pornography just to curb their sexual urges. This may be worrisome when it worsens especially if a person only relies on pornography to satisfy their sexual cravings. When this worsens, it may also become a co-occurring disorder aggravated by porn addiction.
It's crucial to understand that intimacy is part of any healthy relationship. Issues with intimacy due to excessive porn addiction can lead to unhappy marriages that may need the aid of marriage counseling.
Frequent sexual fantasies
Sexual addicts often have graphic sexual fantasies that interfere with their daily life and relationships with others (e.g., thinking about one’s behavior). These fantasies can also lead to compulsive masturbation or other forms of sexual acting out (e.g., using pornography).
This kind of sexual dysfunction can also be dangerous especially when sex addicts go about their sexual fantasies and engage in intercourse with multiple partners. Worse, they could even do risky sexual behaviors that may put them in physical harm.
Those who suffer from sex addiction often have multiple affairs each year (or month) with people they barely know or do not know at all (e.g., prostitutes). Having multiple partners puts a strain on a couple's relationship. It may impact family members directly leading to the development of a relationship disorder or the other party developing clinical depression.
Using sex as a form of escape
Resorting to sex as a means of escapism may significantly impact one's life in many negative ways. This type of impulse control problem is just as worse as opioid addiction or alcohol abuse. Sex addicts often resort to sexual behaviors to make themselves feel good about themselves forget their problems or manage negative emotions brought about by other mental health disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and high-functioning anxiety.
Sexual addiction is dangerous as it may trigger sexual abuse in some people. Excessive sexual activities can also raise a person's exposure to sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Poor performance at work or in school
A sex addict may have problems with their work or academic performance longer-term. If they continuously have sex or sexual activities on their mind all the time, this may result in them neglecting their responsibilities. Apart from their duties as students or professionals, they may also neglect their relationships with friends and family which may cause them to become isolated from everyone, just because they are preoccupied with sexual acts or sex addiction in general.
Types of Treatment for Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is a complex issue that causes many people to struggle with their relationships and their self-esteem. There are several different kinds of treatment available for sex addiction, and some of them are more commonly used than others. The most common types of treatment include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This type of therapy for sex addiction seeks to reprogram your thought patterns about sex and other issues related to your addiction. Just like CBT treatment done for alcohol and opioid addiction, it teaches you how to recognize negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. CBT also helps build your self-esteem, which can improve your relationships with others.
A 12-step program for sex addiction is a structured system that allows addicts to find support from other individuals addicted to sex, similar to what you get from alcoholics anonymous. Former sex addicts have gone through similar experiences. Therefore, they can help newcomers participating in this program to transition with much ease.
These programs encourage individuals who are struggling with sex addiction to seek help and consult a healthcare professional by sharing their stories with others who have been through similar situations.
Support groups are usually led by trained professionals who guide how best to overcome sexual addiction through discussions with other members of the group. It's similar to what you see with love addicts anonymous and is sort of a "sex addicts anonymous" type of group that empowers and encourages members about their progress and rehabilitation journey.
This Treatment program allows you to work through the underlying issues that are causing your addiction while also providing a safe environment in which you can focus exclusively on your health. This type of treatment is ideal for those who struggle with severe addiction or those who need help dealing with co-occurring mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Outpatient therapy is often recommended for those who have less severe addictions and co-occurring mental health issues. It allows them to continue living their daily lives while receiving regular therapy sessions that meet their needs. In some cases, outpatient therapy can be combined with other forms of treatment such as group therapy or family counseling sessions.
This particular form of treatment is also seen when you treat alcohol or substance addiction. It allows you to meet with former sex addict members who are going through similar struggles with their mental disorders so that you can support each other through the process of recovery together.
Group therapy sessions usually take place in a group setting where members share their experiences when they were addicted to sex, and learn from one another's mistakes so they can avoid making them again in the future.
It's crucial to note before undergoing any form of treatment for sex addiction that a person always consults with a mental health professional before they decide to undergo any form of therapy. Your specialist will decide the best route to treat sex addiction and ultimately enrich your life. A sex addict should also understand that treatment may range between 6 months to more than a year depending on their progress and response to the treatment regimen.
In most cases, sober living may also help sex addiction sufferers as they are exposed to a positive and nurturing environment that tracks their progress and always reminds them of what's needed to be done to help them during their recovery stage.
Can Transcend Recovery Community Assist with Sex Addiction Treatment?
Although Transcend Recovery Community doesn't necessarily provide treatment for sexual addictions, we provide supplementary support to our clients as they work on their recovery and long-term sobriety.
Our holistic approach to serving our clients ensures that all key areas in their lives for recovery are given equal importance. We ensure that they feel cared for and that their feelings are always considered and attended to.
We also offer residences, such as transitional housing options, and gender-specific quarters, such as men's sober living homes, to provide security and a safe space for people as they work on boosting their mental health.
Curious to find out more about how we can help you or your loved one? If you know someone who suffers from various types of substance addiction or other forms of sexual addictions, just contact us so that we can easily reach out and get them started with their sobriety journey.
Always remember that we at Transcend are with you every step of the way of your sobriety and mental health recovery journey.