How much sex is too much sex? - Identifying sex addiction

  • By Sahana Rajan

Sexual addiction is a psychological condition where one has the tendency to be excessively occupied with sex and sex-related activities. He/she also might feel that these tendencies are out of his/her control.

Many people feel that sex cannot be an addiction because there are no chemicals involved. However, when you are performing any sexual activity, your body produces hormones and neurotransmitters similar to the ones when you are 'high' on drugs. So, when you realize that sex and related activities are taking the driver's seat while emotions are taking a backseat, then it is time to consider the psychological and physical aspects in relation to sex. Emotional bonds, such as with your spouse or friend, can become severely strained. Even though you try hard to get rid of your sexual thoughts, you seem to be incapable of succeeding.

Symptoms of sexual addiction:

The prime symptoms of sexual addiction would be noticing that wherever you go, you are looking for some way to sexually relate to people. There are frequent visits being made to massage parlors/strip clubs, obsession with pornography, and concealment of your sexual relations to your wife. You could feel that you are losing control over your sex-related behavior and are shocked at the principles and moral beliefs you have broken in sexual pursuits.

Frequent masturbation, various anonymous sexual partners, continual affairs, unprotected sex despite knowing the health issues related to it, phone sex, urge for sexual stimulation through peculiar fetishes, and pornography are some of the other symptoms of this condition.

Causes of sexual addiction :

Those who suffer from sexual addiction often come from families where there have been instances of sexual abuse or a series of sequential extramarital affairs. There could be anger and intimacy problems that are manifested in perverse sexual acts. This does not imply that one who has had a normal childhood would not be affected by this addiction.

Many factors together can result in sexual addiction. Emotional trauma, anxiety, and stress, as well as fear of actual intimacy could fuel the need to take shelter in sexual acts. The symptoms become more explicit as the patient begins to need more and more sexual acts in order to get the kick they generally get out of their actions. With the escalation of urges, the emotional and mental life of the patient deteriorates to such an extent that without help, the patient would not be capable of resolving the condition.

Variously known as erotomania, satyriasis, hypersexuality, and compulsive sexual conduct, sex addiction as a term was officially brought into existence in mid-1970s. Did you know that the term was used for the first time by Alcoholics Anonymous where many members used principles of 12-Steps in recovering from sexual issues? Today, there are many 'S' programs like Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA) and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) which work on sexual issues through group therapy.

Treatment of Sexual Addiction :

The treatment is multi-faceted with primary role of the individual with family and groups. The initial process includes to break the denial regarding the situation, becoming aware of the addiction process, and lastly, establishment of soberness. These steps could also take place at the same time.

The formation of a routine in order to confront and deal with triggers efficiently is also done. It is ensured that the patient recognizes what leads him/her to feel sexually aroused and to understand the mechanism of its impact on the psychological status. The routine is also shared with a kin who could act as an emotional support to the patient. Generally, the patient is in daily contact with the group members, helping to overcome urges that occur at varying times of the day. Since the prime idea is to enable the patient to recognize the relationships where sex could be a part, they are trained to comprehend the nature of relationship one forges with another. The emotional quotient is emphasized on.

Sexual addiction has deep psychological roots. To treat this condition, it is critical to communicate with the sufferer emphatically to know the patient's lifestyle. With an amalgamation of different methods, the condition can be uprooted completely.

The treatment method for a patient is decided on the basis of the nature of the sexual addiction. If anyone you know is suffering from sexual addiction, remember that it is curable and walk your companion through the troubled phase. With proper psychological and health treatment, almost every person suffering from sexual addiction begins to lead a normal lifestyle inclusive of fruitful emotional relationships.


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