What is a sex addict?
By way of definition, a sex addict is often described as a person who has the
compulsive need to perform sexual acts in order to achieve “a fix”, similar to the way a person who abuses drugs and/or alcohol would react when using their vice of choice. So sexual addiction, the compulsive behavior that I am describing, should not be confused with disorders like pedophilia or obesity.
For some people, sex addiction can be extremely dangerous and can result in considerable difficulties with relationships.
Just like someone with drug or alcohol dependence, there is the potential for a negative impact to occur within a person’s physical, mental, and personal relationships and well-being.
How common is sex addiction?
It is common, although research shows otherwise. This is an addiction that many times is not diagnosed.
There’s also a common belief that someone with sex addiction typically has multiple partners, however this is not always the case.
Wondering if is sex addiction real?
The short answer is yes, but there is more to it than that.
Sex addicts are not people that just love to have tons and tons of sex. Typically, there are a lot of underlying problems like anxiety, stress, shame, depression, trauma, and these challenges typically drive the risky sexual behavior.
Typically, by the time a sex addict gets into treatment these underlying
conditions are addressed and this helps to treat the sex addiction.
So why is sex addictive?
Some sex and relationship experts report that people can become addicted to the enjoyable feeling of sex or the high that is experienced during sex and during sexual activity. This is created by oxytocin, often known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ and endorphins, which are responsible for that great feeling you get after orgasm.
Another reason why sex could be considered addictive is looking at it from the process addiction standpoint.
A process addiction is an addiction that occurs when you get addicted to ‘doing’ something. This can be sex, gambling, overeating, etc. Technically you can get addicted to any type of behavior, but certain behaviors are much more addictive than others.
What causes sex addiction?
If you look at it from a bio-psycho-social lens, this can really show how sex addiction can develop due to factors that encompass all different aspects of a person’s life.
- Personal biology. Looking from an individual perspective, you might find a genetic predisposition to having emotional regulation, impulsive behavior, or sensation seeking behavior. You could also have, as you might expect, higher levels of sex hormones like testosterone or estrogen that impact libido.
- The psychological perspective. There are influences like early life environmental factors such as adverse childhood experiences or exposure to sexual content when you are very young. There are mental health factors, so if you struggle with anxiety or depression, if you have poor impulse control, performance anxiety, or personality disorders many times those are issues that simultaneously occur with a sex addiction.
- A social lens. Social isolation is at times a large factor leading to sexual addiction, increasing one’s likelihood of seeking inappropriate ways of being sexually gratified. Another social factor is social learning so if you identify with a friend or groups of friends or people that are close to you that are highly sexual, and you identify with them, this can lead to developing a sexual addiction.
Can a sex addict actually be faithful in a relationship?
Sex addicts can find it challenging to stay committed to their partners even if they are aware that their pursuit of sex can lead to neglect, lying, or spending money irresponsibly.
This is, however, not always the case. Not all sex addicts will cheat. They may find other avenues. Even though sex addicts could have the best intentions for their partners and for their relationships, it is still crucial that they seek out sex addiction treatment to address the underlying conditions fueling the sexual addiction in the first place. So they can work on moving from being in a place of active addiction into being in a place of recovery.
How do you know if you are a sex addict?
I am going to go over different tells and symptoms of sexual addiction, but I want to preface this by saying the only way you can really know for sure is by seeking out treatment and asking a professional counselor or social worker because ultimately everyone experiences sex addiction in different ways.
Challenges may include but not be limited to:
- Sex constantly dominating your life becoming your number one priority.
- Engaging in sexual activities that could be considered inappropriate or very risky such as public sex, sex with prostitutes, going to different sex clubs and various things of that nature.
- If you feel a constant urge for having sex and then also having feelings of regret, depression, shame, or anxiety attached to that.
- If you are constantly engaging in sex when you have alone time like engaging in phone sex, porn, or computer sex.
- Multiple partners and or if you are having extramarital affair/s.
- Habitual masturbation at home or in other private and/or public spaces.
How do you deal with sex addiction as an addict and as a lover?
The number one thing that we recommend is to help your partner or yourself get into sex addiction treatment. The issues caused can be a deal breaker for most relationships, but not all is lost. You can find assistance at Makin Wellness with an entire team of highly rated providers that specialize in sex addiction. Just visit www.makinwellness.com or call 1-833-274-HEAL(4325)
How do you treat sexual addictions?
There are different recommendations for treating this type of addiction.
- The first recommendation is to get into online counseling at Makin Wellness. This is a great way to find discreet one-on-one treatment.
- More than likely your provider is going to use cognitive behavioral therapy to help you address the underlying causes of the sex addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment which means that there’s tons of research that have been done to prove its efficacy.
- Get connected with Sex Addicts Anonymous. It is a 12-step program that is very similar to 12-step programs for alcohol and substance use addiction. The benefit of it is that you get to connect with other people that are struggling with the same thing.
Would you like to know more?
Hopefully, this information will help you to survive loving someone with sexual addiction. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them below and if you are ready to get help with your sexual addiction please give our team a call at 833-274-HEAL.
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