For many people, sex is an enjoyable experience to be shared with someone whom you love, trust, and respect. Even if you have sex casually, it can be both exciting and rewarding. For sex addicts, though, intercourse is not about intimacy, love, or enjoyment. When you’re addicted to sex, you have it for all of the wrong reasons, which is why it can be such a destructive process.
Today we’re going to talk about sex addiction – what it is, how to determine if you suffer from it, and what you can do to treat it. Fortunately, this condition is like any other addiction, meaning that you don’t have to suffer forever. You can find help.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sex addiction, contact Life Works Recovery today to find out how to take control over your life.
What is Sex Addiction?
Generally speaking, any addiction – whether it be sex, drugs, alcohol, or something else – can be identified by its destructive control over your actions. To determine if your sexual behaviors or desires could qualify as an addiction, one of the most crucial aspects is whether or not they interfere with other parts of your life, such as work, relationships, or your health.
Overall, if you can’t stop yourself from engaging in sexual activity without adverse side effects (i.e., getting fired from work, losing your significant other, or putting your health at risk), then it could be signs of addiction. Compulsion is a vital factor of any addiction, sexual or otherwise.
Other indicators of sex addiction can include
- Intense drive for abnormal sexual activities (i.e., having sex with someone not of your preferred gender)
- Difficulty forming emotional connections (sex is not personal or meaningful)
- Intense sexual impulses that manifest in improper times
- Sex as a function for other issues (i.e., sex to overcome emotional problems or pain)
These symptoms are not exhaustive, nor are they mutually exclusive from other conditions. Additional emotional or psychological issues like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), among others, may exist in conjunction with sex addiction. In fact, they may be co-dependent (i.e., sex as a form of relieving depression).
Identifying Sex Addiction
As you can imagine, these issues are only understandable to the person experiencing them. As a rule, if sex is causing problems in your life and you are either unwilling or incapable of stopping yourself from continuing this kind of self-destructive behavior, then you can consider yourself an addict.
What you should also remember is that diagnosis of sex addiction should only be done by a trained professional. Because sex can be considered a taboo subject, there are a lot of people who may think that certain behaviors qualify as an addiction, regardless of their impact on a person’s life.
How to Treat Sex Addiction
As with any other form of addiction, the first step is realizing that you have to make a change. If you are not convinced that you are suffering from a severe and debilitating problem, then it will be much harder – almost impossible – to correct the behavior. You have to want to do something about it before you can start on the path to recovery.
Next, you should seek advice and treatment from a professional. Because you are the one suffering from the addiction, it’s much more difficult for you to change your behavior without outside interference.
When talking with a sex addiction professional, one necessary element to determine the path toward recovery is to figure out why you are compelled to have sex, regardless of the consequences.
Are you having sex because of an underlying mental disorder (i.e., depression)?
Are your actions spurred on because of past trauma or sexual abuse?
Do you have sex to relieve pain or stress that is otherwise unbearable?
Overall, it’s imperative that you discover why you are experiencing these issues so that you can develop a treatment plan that addresses them. It’s critical to understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach to sex addiction, so you can’t assume that one method will work for you.
Some treatment options can include-
- Psychotherapy – talking about your addiction
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – training yourself to find other, more constructive activities
- Pharmacotherapy – treatment via prescription
The other side of treatment is that sex addiction is not usually curable. Unlike drugs or alcohol, the goal is not going to be total “sobriety.” The reason for this is that this form of addiction is rooted in psychological behaviors, rather than abuse of controlled substances. As such, it’s not really feasible to rid yourself of these issues, but treat them so that they don’t take over your life.
Life Works Recovery
If you live in the Dallas area and you believe that you suffer from sex addiction, then contact us today. We offer many treatment options that can put you on the path to recovery. We know the challenges you face, and we are committed to helping you achieve your goal of breaking free from your addiction. Contact us to find out more about our programs and how you can get started.