Sex addiction, or hypersexuality, is a term that most people don’t understand yet. Some guys call themselves addicts for no reason, probably thinking it’s awesome. The logic is pretty simple: if you’re hypersexual, then you’re a pro lover, and you know a trick or two to turn your partner on. This is not true. It’s a serious problem that deserves attention. Here’s all you need to know about hypersexuality and how to deal with sex addiction.
What is sexual addiction?
Sex addiction is obsessive sexual behavior that’s subconsciously used to achieve pleasure and psychological comfort.
Actually, hypersexuality is the norm: a person goes through it during puberty. If it lasts longer, it can become a tough mental deviation. It’s important to understand that love for sex and sex addiction are absolutely different things. Most sexually mature people love sex, and it doesn’t stop them from living a normal life and interacting with other people. But sexaholism is a completely different phenomenon. It’s like being obsessed with a single thought – about sex – every single day. In this case, the sexual act itself doesn’t bring any pleasure but becomes a necessity for maintaining a normal rhythm of life.
Sex addiction in men and women
So, is sex addiction real? Yes. People who suffer from it seek the same as people suffering from drug abuse – the most pleasant sensations for an addict. Such feelings overwhelm their sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger and are also considered a means of distracting from boring everyday life. However, over time, the need to escape from routine is, in fact, becoming so strong that addicts are practically not capable of resisting it. And from time to time, these people realize that they have an addiction and try to get rid of it, but they can’t do it themselves.
The majority of sexual addicts are men. The most common symptom they have to face is a high need for sexual contacts. And sometimes sex addiction grows into unusual forms of sex and can even violate the moral and physical safety of people surrounding the addict. For example, it leads to violence, compulsive masturbation, and so on.
As for women, their signs of sex addiction are typically represented by promiscuous sexual contacts with strangers. They go for random sexual relations to give their self-esteem a boost and, of course, to get a couple of minutes of euphoria. These women feel the need to win a man’s attention and seduce him, although, in fact, their sexual desire hides the fear of realizing their own worthlessness. The thing is that by starting another sexual relationship, the sexually addicted ladies assert themselves and escape from loneliness and negative emotions for a short time because in most cases, they remain deprived of communication and tenderness. As a result, we get a kind of vicious circle. These women seek spiritual closeness, but they don’t know how to receive it. In the end, their spiritual emptiness is replaced by a sense of power and euphoria from sex victories.
Often, sexually addicted men try to escape from their insolvency and worthlessness. Some men mistakenly consider sex their most important need in life, actually equating sex with love. Quite often, male addicts are prone to the belief that no one will love a person and satisfy their needs without sexual attraction. And it’s these beliefs that lead to false conclusions, for example, that there’s no love without sexual attraction.
Sex addiction symptoms
Addiction to sex, despite its seeming harmlessness, is a behavior that makes a person affected by it, as well as people around them, friends, and family, suffer. Here are a few symptoms that will help to tell if you’re sexually addicted.
The constant need for sex
People, who have to cope with hypersexuality, experience problems overcoming the need to be sexually satisfied and stimulated. They begin behaving erratically, for instance, start wasting a lot of their precious time and money on porn website membership and girls. There are different sex addiction signs: sex addicts are in non-stop search of short affairs; they masturbate, and some people even become exhibitionists. Despite the risk of being caught, they keep doing what they’re doing.
Lack of attention to everyday life
People, suffering from hypersexuality, also put their personal and professional lives into great danger. And, which is even worse, they’re under a constant threat of STDs. In addition, people with hypersexuality can’t help but pamper their addiction, becoming absolutely indifferent to what they loved before, from family and friends to hobbies and job.
Change of mood
Among other sex addiction symptoms, this one is easy to spot. People that have to cope with it go through personality changes, becoming quick-tempered and easily irritable. They build a web of lies to conceal their decease, and it distances such people from their loved ones, eventually becoming the basis for loneliness and leading to even more harm.
Just like the alcohol or drug addiction, hypersexuality makes a person ‘insatiable’ to get the same feelings from sex as they used to, addicts have to increase the number of sexual partners or contacts. This usually brings people to rather ‘unusual’ types of stimulation, and they don’t care whether these types are legal or not. That’s why you may spot a guy masturbating in public at a local park. The longer this goes, the worse a patient’s sex addiction withdrawal is.
Obsession with sex
People who experience sex addiction can’t think about nothing but sexual contacts, and despite their efforts, their brains bring back such thoughts. This is why hypersexuality is considered an addiction. Such behavior can’t characterize a person as mentally weak.
Denial of the problem
People, who have to deal with hypersexuality, don’t want to recognize their problem as an addiction, and it becomes evident only when a lot of social, physical, or mental damage is done. However, it’s crucial to address the issue right after it becomes noticeable to save the addict from more damage. Specialists can approach this decease professionally, guide you through sex addiction therapy, and help you find a way to begin a new life.
Sex addiction treatment
If sex has become your main problem, and it interferes with other areas of life, you need the help of a specialist. There are many clinics that can help you with overcoming sex addiction, reshaping your life, reestablishing normal relationships with your family, and normalizing the natural perception of your sexual needs. Usually, the treatment of hypersexuality is a process that consists of several stages.
Working with a therapist
One of the most effective methods of treating sexomania is cognitive-behavioral therapy. Working with the patient, the therapist eliminates the main causes of the disorder, works to change the patient’s attitude toward sexual satisfaction and sex in general, helps to understand the dangers of such lifestyle, and teaches the patient to control sexual impulses and replace them, switching attention to other equally interesting activities.
The specialist teaches the patient to take control over their desires and changes their attitude towards sexual satisfaction to less destructive for themselves and others. Only a qualified psychologist can tell what causes sex addiction and get to the root of the problem.
Change in the habitual way of life, whatever it is, cannot but affect the emotional state. In the treatment of sexomania, medication is used to relieve symptoms such as bad mood, aggressiveness, decreased appetite, and depression. The specialist can prescribe both antidepressants and sedatives. The patient works with a psychiatrist, under whose supervision, they go through the entire course of treatment, including the medication stage.
The ‘12 steps’ program
The effectiveness of the ‘12 steps’ program for the treatment of addictions is recognized throughout the world, so it also fits for helping you through sex addiction recovery, as well. Therefore, in most centers, during the treatment of hypersexuality, the patient is also recommended to complete the program’s SA (sex anonymous) version. The main effect is that gradually, the patient completely changes their outlook and thereby shifts their focus to other areas of life.
The ‘12 steps’ program is a well-organized psychotherapeutic process, serving as an important supplement and increasing the effectiveness of the main treatment conducted by the therapist. This method greatly facilitates the period of sexual abstinence and, along with the very fact of the presence of other participants in the program, provides irreplaceable support in the process of recovery. This is a widely known and most effective technique in the treatment of addictions. Along with the course of psychotherapy, it promotes positive changes in the patient’s attitude towards their preferences and facilitates the period of transition to a new way of life and behavior patterns.
Working with an instructor
When the patient is trying to get rid of the sex addiction causes, they always need someone’s help. Someone should be there to support the addict in a difficult moment and not allow them to surrender and quit treatment. This role belongs to the instructors. These are experienced people, who have mastered the course of getting rid of addiction from their own example. During treatment, instructors become their patients’ companions.
Instructors are former patients, who successfully overcame destructive drives. They support and motivate the sex addict during the course of treatment and help them to become accustomed to a new life.
If the patient has a family, then their sexomania certainly affects the relationship. To bring them back to a normal life, the therapist needs a series of family therapy sessions. Having analyzed in detail the situations that hindered a happy life, and having learned how to communicate within the family and how to stop sex addiction, the patient gets a chance to build family relations anew.
Sex addiction is a problem primarily for family people. Therefore, family psychotherapy sessions helping to establish relationships with loved ones are simply necessary.
Sex addiction is a rather complex problem, although it’s not officially considered a disease. It’s difficult to diagnose because this addiction doesn’t always have external symptoms, as the addict can behave absolutely normally. However, this doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist. A psychologist’s or sexologist’s help can prevent a lot of problems associated with sexaholism.