Addictions can take over people’s lives, destroy their families, ruin relationships with friends, and even get them fired from their jobs. Unfortunately most people don’t know their addicted until it’s too late and they can no longer help themselves.
Often times when you think of addictions you immediately think of drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse is the number one type of addiction however those addictions are not the only dangerous ones out there. In fact people with the propensity for addiction can get addicted to almost anything including food, tanning, plastic surgery, and even sex. Additionally addictions are not restricted to any gender or age group.
Now, when you think of the term sex addict, you mind probably jumps to the normal stereotype of a male constantly looking at porn, spying on women, and doing anything and everything to get a ‘fix’ – if you are a man you probably then fantasize about what it would be like if your partner was a sex addict and how fantastic that dream would be should it actually be true. Despite common stereotypes and would be fantasies, sex addiction is a serious issue that affects both men and women and is no laughing matter. The impulse to fulfill sexual needs and urges for sex addicts is akin to those with a gambling addiction. It is an actual physical and psychological need that drives people to perform the same acts that are often ruining their lives.
There has been a lot of debate between scholars, psychologists, and other educated individuals as to whether or not the term ‘sexual addiction’ is appropriate and if it should even be considered a diagnosis for certain individuals who exhibit the defining characteristics. Despite the conflict there still remains a vast amount of individuals who fit the description and characteristics of a sex addict and who go seek help for their problem.
Psychologists use hyper sexuality as a term for ‘sex addicts’ and men who exhibit hyper sexuality are said to have satyriasis while women have nymphomania. The diagnosis is only given to individuals who clearly have an addiction which is defined as something that the individual cannot control and as something that the individual continues to do despite harmful effects and consequences.
So what Makes Someone a Sex addict?
As stated before a person is considered a sex addict when the thought or urge for sex and sexual acts completely dominates their thinking. This unfortunately makes it difficult for sex addicts to work and concentrate as well as hold stable relationships. Sex addicts may also exhibit the following behaviors below:
- Multiple affairs with several people
- Unsafe sex and one night stands
- Cyber and phone sex with one or multiple people
- Sexual harassment in the workplace
- Use of prostitutes (or being a prostitute should the addict be female)
- Excessive watching of porn
Other side effects of being a sex addict: Sex addicts can be harmful to themselves or even to other people depending on the severity of their addiction and what actually sates their desires. Some sex addicts find relief from pornography while others only are satisfied with more aggressive and illegal outlets such as prostitutes, spying/stalking, raping, or even exhibitionism.
Individuals suffering from a sex addiction will not likely form a very strong bond with their partner and will feel often feel a lot of guilt from their uncontrollable addiction.
How to Tell if You are a Sex addict
While sex is a perfectly natural and healthy, those who are hypersexual are not. If you feel you may be hypersexual then here are some questions you should ask yourself that may help determine if you are a sex addict or not.
1) Are you shameful about your sexual activity? I.E do you feel bad because you have multiple affairs or watch too much porn?
2) Do you hide some or all of your sexual activities from your spouse or partner?
3) Are you abusive (verbally or physically) to your partner?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those then you may be a sex addict. Unfortunately only a trained professional will be able to accurately diagnose you so you can begin treatment. Going in and seeking treatment can significantly improve your life and the relationship with your spouse or partner.
So how is Sexual Addiction Treated?
Like most addictions (including substance addictions) the type of treatment varies. Some psychologists believe that behavioral therapy is the best route to stopping the impulses. Other people may benefit from Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous where they share their experiences and gain knowledge and support from a group. If all else fails then the individuals can be enrolled in a rehab facility where they are extensively treated by therapists and psychologists. Rehab is usually a last resort and works better on severe sex addicts.