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Last Updated: Aug 17, 2021
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Sex Addiction - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

About Causes Symptoms Treatment Prevention Withdrawal symptoms

What is Sex Addiction?

Sex addiction is a term used to describe a situation in which an individual does not have control over its sexual behavior. People feel the need to perform sexual acts and get persistent thoughts about it all the time. There are quite a few types of sex addiction such as addiction to pornography, prostitution, masturbation, fantasy, masochistic behavior, voyeurism, etc. The consequences of sex addiction are very negative and affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities. It also puts a bad impact on the relationships and health of the person.

Generally, those who suffer from sex addiction have an abnormally high sexual drive which is sometimes uncontrollable. The term is not exactly a medical condition but often brings dysfunction and distress. If the addiction is not controlled, then it may lead to anxiety and depression. The cause of sex addiction is, however, not known. It is believed that the brain of such people often mistakes the rush of dopamine caused due to sexual acts as a key to survival.

What do you call a sex addict?

An individual who is suffering from hypersexuality or compulsive sexual behavior is generally addresses as an sex addict in laymen language. But in technical terms female patients are known as nymphomaniacs and males are known as satyriasis.

The addiction is quite common in females as compared to males. Sex addict can lead too life threating situations and it is advisable to seek medical attention if you detect these symptoms in yourself or someone around you.

Causes of Sex Addiction:

There are many causes for sexual addiction to take place. They can be understood in these three factors: biological, psychological and social. Sexual addiction can be linked to the chemical changes in the brain that are linked with this. Research however shows that gender based patterns also affect this, e.g. Males who are more introvert and also highly educated are likely to develop a sexual addiction, and middle-aged women who use a laptop and internet are most likely to be inclined to this.

Psychological risk factors include: depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. A learning disability can also be a cause of it. People with a history of any addictions in the family are also likely to be sex addicts.

Sufferers of these disorders are likely to be isolated, insecure, troubles with relationship stability, low ability to tolerate frustrations and also have a tendency to be unable to cope with emotions. Sexually abused people are also likely to develop sexual addictions.

How much sex is normal?

According to a study conducted back in 2017 under Archives of Sexual Behavior, an average adult only need 54 times of sex to be satisfied and happy. Even though the research is not well elaborative, medical professional believe that sex once o more then once a week gives you same level of happiness.

Although, other practices like indulging sex activities like fornication and masturbation, can be healthy or unhealthy. It depends on the hormonal levels or mental state which triggers the sexual behaviour.

Why do I feel sexually excited all the time?

Apart from hypersexuality, sexual urges can also be caused due to Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) also known as persistent sexual arousal syndrome (PSAS). Patients with this condition become sexually aroused without any specific trigger. In some cases the erection and constant orgasm can lead to hours, weeks or days.

The condition is more common in women than men. Persistent genital arousal disorder also known as priapism in case of male patients. The condition needs medical attention as it can lead to fatigue or even other immunity and cardiological related illness.

What is the symptoms of Sex Addiction?

A number of signs which point to sex addiction include-

  • Multiple partners at a time
  • Constant cybersex
  • Having unsafe sex
  • Indulging in too many one-night stands
  • Constant sex with prostitutes
  • Feeling guilt and remorse afterward
  • Constantly facing the impulse to indulge in extreme acts of sex

Behaviors and attitudes may include:

  • Unsucessful in resisting their sexual desires and crossing the boundaries defined by their sexual partners in the process.
  • The act of sex becomes mechanical, ie, having sex fails to satisfy the person emotionally.
  • A constant craving to be in a relationship or have multiple sexual partners.
  • Feeling distressed after being conscious of their behaviour and unsuccessful attempts to change it.
  • The individual repeatedly relapses into the previous state even after being aware of all the consequences.

Other related signs associated with sex addiction are feeling of detachment, guilt and shame. A sense of immobilization due to sexual acts is another common symptom associated with sex addiction. Individuals experiencing the above signs should visit a therapist and seek the necessary treatment for sex addiction.

Treatment of Sex Addiction.

Therapy is the most popular form of treatment for the patients. The goal of therapy is to control the compulsion the patients have so that they can control their urges to engage themselves in sexual activities. These therapies help to develop control and the mental strength to have urges.

There are a few kinds of therapies:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy: It works by helping the patients focus their thoughts and behaviours to another direction. They can be provided with tools and techniques to help control their desires and urges. Cognitive therapy also helps to control relapses and help to develop relations which are normal and healthy.

  • Other therapeutic methods: It can include counselling. Counselling helps to dig deep into the mind and correct the underlying causes which leads to sex addiction. There can be individual and combined counselling sessions.

  • Residential Inpatient Sex Addiction treatment centres: They provide living facilities while receiving treatments, these are located at convenient places where you can be close to your families and keep receiving the treatments.

  • Prescriptions and over the counter medications: It is designed to reduce the impulse of sex, these are quick and easy which help to reduce the urge and also obsessive-compulsive disorders of different kinds.

How do you cure hypersexuality?

Hypersexuality in an individual is mostly connected to their mental state. The root cause of compulsive sexual behavior is usually an outcome of underlying depression and anxiety. So the treatment of this disorder typically involves medications, psychotherapy, and self-help groups.

The primary goal of the therapy is to find ways to manage compulsive sexual behavior. The mediation and therapy will also focus on the mental illness due to which the excessive sexual behaviour triggers. So here are the method of treatment through which one can be cure hypersexuality:

  • Psychotherapy:

    One of the first and the foremost methods of treatment selected by mental health professionals to cure mental illness. Psychotherapy includes Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy are considered fit for the treatment process. They help you to cope.

  • Medications:

    Studies have shown that hypersexuality often affects an individual hormonal system. To maintain the balance on optimum level certain medications are prescribed. It helps an individual to become more satisfied without any excessive sexual behaviour. Medications like Antidepressants ( to treat depression) , Naltrexone ( For underlying substance abuse) , Mood stabilizers ( treat bipolar disorder ), Anti-androgens ( reduce the biological urges of sex hormones in men ).

    Other than that, group sessions and communication are recommended to deal with depression and anxiety. Support groups are always there to help people cure hypersexuality.

Prevention to avoid Sex Addiction.

One of the ways to prevent sex addiction is to self realise where you’re going wrong and how to stop yourself from falling into that whole more and more. Engaging yourself into more positive thoughts will help you fight the issue first hand and then seeking for therapy.

Is it OK to have sex everyday?

On a healthy level, coatis or masturbation's on a daily basis can be healthy for various reasons. Some of the reasons are:

  1. Builds emotional intimacy:

    Sex can help you build emotional bond between you and your partner. Studies say, sexually active couples are more intimate then non sexual active couples.

  2. Keeps your heart healthy:

    Research shows that men who are sexually active are less prone to cardiovascular diseases. Twice a week can make your heart healthy and happy. It also keep your circulatory system healthy, as during sex your heart rate increase which keep the blood circulation active. It also keeps your cholesterol and fat level as one love making session can burn upto 80 calories.

  3. Increase immunity:

    Everyday sex can make boost antibody immunoglobulin A (IgA) in your body which strethen your body against common cold and flu. Dehydroepiandrosterone (hormone responsible for immunity strengthening) also keeps your skin healthy and repairs broken tissues faster.

  4. Reduce stress:

    The regular release of healthy hormones will uplift your mood and make you happy all the time. Also, stress free life will also give you a good night's sleep and all day happiness. A Lower stress level will also keep your depression at bay.

  5. Pain relief:

    Release of oxytocin and endorphin during sex can give you relief from muscles cramps or headaches. Sex on daily basis can keep you pain free naturally. In some cases sex during periods can also lower down period cramps.

Withdrawal symptoms of Sex Addiction.

Even for sex addictions, there are certain withdrawal symptoms that take place. Withdrawals are characteristics of addictions which are caused due to avoiding the addiction. Withdrawals are caused because you stop addiction altogether and in case of sex addiction, you completely stop acting on your urges and stop having sex. There can be many withdrawal symptoms of sex addiction and this can vary from person to person but these are the most common symptoms faced by most sex addicts.

  • Irritability
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Shame

Popular Questions & Answers

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Content Details
Written By
MA Psychology & Traning Counselling,Certificate in Hypnotherapy (CH)
Psychology
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MA Applied Psychology
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