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Last Updated: Mar 02, 2020
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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