When you can no longer manage or control your sexual behavior, despite the fact that you’re aware of possible negative consequences, then you may already be suffering from an addiction to sex.
There are actually different types of sex addiction, and any one of them can impact your relationships, your daily life, and even your work. Being addicted to sex is not a light matter as it can cause harm to you and the people around you. If you’re wondering how you can tell if you have a sex addiction, read on.
As with any addiction, sex addiction is also characterized by a marked lack of control, specifically over one’s sexual behavior. Sex addiction is sometimes referred to as hypersexuality, sexual dependency, or compulsive sexual behavior.
The sex drive of a sexually addicted person is usually abnormally intense, causing the person to be obsessed with sex. A sexually addicted person’s thoughts are typically dominated by fantasies of sexual activities, and the sexual urges can be so uncontrollable that they affect the person’s daily activities and social interactions.
If you have a sex addiction, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to seek treatment. Without treatment, your addiction to sex can only get worse. More than ten million Americans are actually suffering from sex addiction, and many have gotten over their addiction through treatment.
Behaviors Associated with Sex Addiction
An addiction to sex can come in different forms, such as compulsive masturbation, excessive use of pornography, voyeurism, excessive sexual fantasies, and other excessive sexual pursuits. Even having multiple affairs or sexual partners may also be considered a form of sex addiction.
When you’re addicted to sex, you may suffer from an inability to control your sexual urges. This does not mean, however, that engaging in your preferred sexual activity brings you satisfaction. Oftentimes, a sexually addicted person feels detached when engaging in sex, or the sexual act may induce feelings of shame and guilt.
You may also feel obsessed about starting new romances or being in love, which can then lead to a string of sexual partners and multiple affairs. These relationships, however, tend to be unsatisfying.
In most cases, a person who’s addicted to sex tends to spend excessive energy and time to obtain sex, engage in sexual activities, or recover from sexual activities. A sexually addicted person may be aware that his or her sexual urges are already uncontrollable, and that acting on those urges can cause social, financial, medical, and even legal consequences.
Despite being aware of such consequences, it’s not easy for a sexually addicted person to stop. Hence, when you’re sexually addicted, you tend to prioritize your sexual pursuits over your social and recreational activities.
You may also experience recurrent failure in resisting the urge to engage in extreme sexual acts. When the addiction to sex involves behaviors such as voyeurism or exhibitionism, not being able to resist the urge to engage in such activities can easily lead to legal and criminal consequences.
Risk-taking is also associated with sexual addiction, wherein a sexually addicted person tends to engage in extremely risky activities, despite being aware of possible consequences such as sexually transmitted diseases, emotional consequences, physical injury, and even legal consequences.
Are You Addicted to Sex?
It’s never easy to admit that you’re addicted to something, whether the object of your addiction is alcohol, drugs, or sex. If you have been experiencing uncontrollable sexual urges, here are some signs you should look out for.
If you feel that you have no control over your sexual urges, or that you are powerless to resist when the urge hits you, that could already be a sign of sex addiction. When your sexual acts bring no satisfaction but instead cause feelings of embarrassment, shame, and even self-loathing, that’s another possible sign of sex addiction.
If you feel that your life has become unmanageable because of your sexual choices, or when you’re managing your daily activities to accommodate your sexual activities, or if sex has become almost a ritual that you must do no matter what, you should start thinking about seeking treatment for sex addiction.
Can You Get Treatment for Sex Addiction?
Before you can get treatment for sex addiction, your doctor will first determine if you’re just suffering from a high sex drive or if it’s a real addiction to sex. There are two key factors that healthcare professionals use to distinguish between the two.
When you consistently fail to control your sexual urges or sexual behavior, and you continue to engage in such despite being aware of the harm that such urges or behavior cause you and the people around you, your healthcare provider will most likely advise you to begin treatment for sex addiction.
If you’re not ready to seek medical or psychiatric treatment for sex addiction, you may opt to join self-help organizations like Sexual Compulsives Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous. Organizations like these offer 12-step programs that aim to help you manage your addiction to sex.
There are also residential treatment or in-patient programs available for people with sex addiction, although facilities that offer such programs usually cater to patients with other types of addictions as well. Residential treatment programs require you to live at the facility while receiving treatment from specialized therapists.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is also widely used in the treatment of sex addiction. This type of therapy basically targets your sexual behavior and helps you to change your sexual behavior through the use of various techniques.
Other types of therapies that mental health professionals use to treat sex addiction include individual therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and dialectical-behavioral therapy. You may also be advised to undergo group therapy, couple’s counseling, or marriage counseling.
At present, there are no medications that are approved for the treatment of sex addiction. However, if you are also suffering from anxiety or depression, as sex addiction is usually accompanied by such mental health issues, your healthcare provider may prescribe certain medications to help relieve your anxiety or depression.