What is a Sex Addiction, the symptoms to watch out for and how to get treatment. Overcoming emotional urges that causes self defeating behavior.
When we think about addiction, we typically envision substance abuse problems. We think of people who have an unhealthy over reliance on drugs or alcohol. But we rarely consider sex addiction. This is partly because a combination of misinformation and miscommunication has lead us to believe that sex addiction is not a real or serious problem. But in this article, we’re going to learn more about what sex addiction is and why we need to take it seriously.
What is a Sex Addiction?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably unfamiliar with the term “sex addiction.” So, when you do hear it, you might think, “That sounds fun!” We’re inclined to think that because many people consider sex to be a pleasurable experience. Whether you enjoy sex with a longtime romantic partner or you crave the excitement of intimacy with a new and unfamiliar person, many people have a positive impression of sex. It’s something we enjoy, so– as long as both parties are consenting adults– how could it be problematic to have a lot of sex?
Well, unfortunately, the distinguishing factor is that key word “addiction.” If someone is addicted to sex, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re enjoying happy, healthy sex. After all, we understand that alcohol and drug addictions can ruin lives and cause people to do dangerous, unhealthy things that they don’t want to.
That’s because someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is different from someone who enjoys a few drinks with a friend or someone who takes Tylenol for a headache. Someone who casually has a drink or takes a pain pill is okay because they’re able to do so in moderation. But someone who is battling addiction feels unable to control themselves or stop. We understand that these things are true when it comes to someone with a substance abuse problem, so it’s important for us to understand that the same applies to someone who is struggling with sex addiction.
Put simply, sex addiction is a compulsive need to satisfy one’s sexual desires. However, this is a very broad and simplistic definition. Although we might assume that sex addiction primarily affects men, the truth is that sex addiction can affect anyone of any gender, so we can’t really make generalizations about who experiences sex addiction.
There are also many different types of sex addiction and they can vary from person to person. For example, some people might be addicted to pursuing sex with another person or with multiple partners. Some people are addicted to pornography or to masturbation. Although these are very different examples, each of these examples are common types of sex addiction that can affect anyone.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms of sex addiction can vary as much as the subtypes and the people who experience them. But some common symptoms include:
- Feeling that you are unable to control your sexual urges
- Neglecting your personal or professional responsibilities so you can prioritize your sexual urges
- Inability to set healthy boundaries
- Difficulty maintaining healthy sexual or romantic relationships
This is a very broad overview of sex addiction symptoms. That’s because sex addictions– like every other type of addiction– start as an emotional problem. Just as an alcoholic may reach for another beer to relieve the stress in his life, so sex addictions can begin as a result of stress, trauma, or other emotional problems. So, because sex addictions are highly personal, the person who is battling the addiction may be required to fill in the gaps in this broad overview, to personalize this list of symptoms and acknowledge how their symptoms are unique to them.
This can be especially tricky with sex addictions because it’s possible that symptoms can be more easily hidden. For example, an alcoholic might be caught because they were sneaking out to a bar, appearing obviously intoxicated, or spending all their money on alcohol. But someone with a sex addiction might be able to hide their symptoms for quite awhile without other people noticing.
How Can I Get Help For a Sex Addiction?
If these symptoms apply to you or someone you love, it’s important to seek help right away. Although we often misunderstand sex addiction and assume that it’s “fun” or not a serious problem, the painful truth is that sex addiction has the power to ruin lives. So, if you or someone you love feels like you’re being held hostage by your addiction, you should know that you deserve to break free. Resisting your addiction may feel impossible, but with the right tools, you can be empowered to reclaim control.
You can take the first step by taking the Mind Diagnostics Sex Addiction Test. This short, free, and simple test will ask you a few specific questions about the symptoms you are experiencing and provide you with a list of some helpful next steps. Included in that list of future actions is the recommendation that you seek assistance from a therapist, along with a directory of therapists near you who are qualified to treat sex addiction.
Taking the first step can be scary, but once you get over that first hurdle, you’ll be able to get your life back! Your mental health is worth fighting for. So, reach out for help today and let a qualified mental health professional show you how to stand up to addiction.