Sexual addiction is not simply a desire for having lots of sex. Instead, it’s a condition that involves the addicted person becoming persistently preoccupied with compulsive sexual urges, behaviors, or thoughts.
Medically, it is often referred as a progressive intimacy disorder that includes sexual compulsivity and sexual impulsivity. The negative pattern of sexual thought or behavior doesn’t come naturally in a sex addict.
Sex addiction is a progressive disorder
Researchers have suggested that sex addiction is connected with a number of potential complications, including legal, social, occupational, medical, and emotional. In addition, many underlying problems — anxiety, stress, depression, shock — play a big part that drives sex addicts to have risky sexual acts or urges.
Moreover, as sex addiction is a progressive disorder, its negative consequence on the addict also increases overtime. The sex addict requires exaggerating the compulsive behavior to have the same results.
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Signs and Symptoms of Sex Addiction
Unlike other addictions, signs of sex addiction aren’t easy to mark from the outside. Individuals with a sex addiction problem can keep it a secret from their partners, spouses, and family members for years. Overtime, they become more and more skilled at hiding their sexual behavior. They usually tell countless lies to hide their compulsive activities and engage in them when others can’t have a doubt.
Although there are no definite signs and symptoms for sex addiction, researchers have identified some to characterize the disorder.
- Compulsive sexual urges, thoughts, or fantasies
- Frequent sexual engagement with multiple partners, including strangers
- Persistent craving for having sex
- Involvement in illegal sexual activity
- Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home in pursuit of sex
- Lying, hiding, and secreting to cover the addiction
- Unusually dominant or rough in sexual intercourses with partners
- Inability to quit or limit the behaviors
- Feeling guilt, shame, and/or remorse after sex
Sex addiction self-assessment
Are you worried about your sexual behaviors? Do you think your sexual activities are leading you to significant problems or distress? Oddly enough, but if your answer is a “yes”, then you may have a sex addiction problem.
To depict a clear picture about the impacts of your sexual behaviors, consider asking yourself the following 10 questions. If you identify yourself with three or more of the following criteria, you’re probably having an addiction to sex and you need treatment.
The 10 questions are as follows:
- Are you frequently engaged in more sex than you intended?
- Do you feel distracted or preoccupied by your sexual urges or thoughts?
- Have your extreme activities related to sex become greater than your relationship with romantic partners?
- Are continually engaged in excessive sexual activities despite knowing the negative consequences?
- Is your persistent pursuit of sex forcing you to involve in illegal sexual activity?
- Have your cravings for sex driven you in places or with certain people that later disgusted you?
- Do you keep the extent of your sexual behavior secret from those near (partners, friends, and/or family members) to you?
- Do you feel irritable when unable to achieve the same level of excitement?
- Are you continuing the sexual behavior despite coping with physical or psychological problems?
- Have you made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control the behaviors?
How to Help Someone with a Sex Addiction?
If your partner, friend, or a family member is having a sex addiction problem, consider seeking professional help and support. A number of treatment options, including inpatient program, 12 step program, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications, are available for those who are in need.
Don’t react severely with the addicted person, because help and support from partners, family members, and friends are critical for his/her treatment. Try having a friendly discussion without being judgmental and express your concerns about him/her in a positive manner.
The treatment approach for sex addiction is slightly different from other addictions. Sex addicts don’t require to give up sexual engagement for the rest of their life, but rather they need to realize the fundamentals of having a healthy sexual behavior and terminate the compulsive, unhealthy sex activity. For a complete recovery, the treatment program can take months or even years.
For more help and support, call and speak with a compassionate Devotions Recovery Center counselor today.