Ordinarily, sex is an important part of an adult’s life and having lots of healthy sex does not mean that an individual is a sex addict. It’s worth knowing that it’s not the sexual behaviour that is the issue, it’s the relationship to the sexual behaviour. So, when an individual feel’s that their need for sex has become out of control, this is generally when they will start to question their behaviour, leaving them with a variety of negative feelings.
Sex addiction can and does devastate relationships, leaving families torn apart.
Those who show signs of sex addiction may suffer from depression and/or anxiety which can result in a variety of mental and physical issues.
So how do you stop sex addiction?
Firstly, we need to try and understand what it is.
What is Sex Addiction?
Firstly, let’s look at a common question “Is sex addiction real?”.
Up to now Sex Addiction and Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder is not listed in the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The DSM is the professional handbook guide to the diagnosis of mental health issues and disorders. However, the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases – 11th Addition) another global categorisation published by The World Health Organisation (WHO) do recognise that Compulsive Sexual Behaviour exists.
Having an addiction to sex can present in a wide range of different behaviours that are excessive and have a significant impact on one’s life. From the individual’s perspective, it can be described as a compulsive need to engage in sexual acts and behaviours. This can lead to having a negative effect on an individual and is often unmanageable – resulting in emotional distress and often overriding any sexual fulfilment.
A sex addiction definition could be perceived as over-engaging in personalised sexual activities, for example, fantasising, masturbating, watching excessive amounts of pornography. Having more than one partner or even having multiple partners. It can be engaging in cyber-sex, sex chat lines, and visiting sex workers. When sex addiction gets in the way of an individual’s life it can be overpowering unmanageable.
Sex addiction is not only defined by sexual activities alone, but also by the negative effects it has mentally on the individual and those close to him/her, this is likely to lead to harmful results for the individual and those close to him/her.
In some cases, individuals that struggle with sex addiction can find it difficult to control these urges and actions, despite the harm they may cause in their relationships, finances, and professional lives. No one knows for sure if sex addiction in the UK is any worse than in any other country.
One thing we do know is that since the launch of the internet, the problem has increased.
Sex Addiction Signs
So, what are the signs of sex addiction? Firstly, to be clear, engaging in any form of safe sexual activity that doesn’t harm others is perfectly fine. As stated earlier, it’s the relationship to the sexual behaviour that is the problem.
Sex addiction symptoms can be a variety of the below:
- Excessive masturbation.
- Preoccupied with sexual thoughts that interfere with daily life, tasks, productivity and work performance.
- Noticing that you are planning when to act out, i.e. engaging in sexual activity.
- Spending money to support your sexual needs, i.e., chat sights, phone sex, visiting sex workers.
- Visiting hook up sights to meet for casual sex with strangers and also visiting swingers’ clubs.
- Financial strain.
- Engaging in sex with strangers including couples or multiple partners.
- Pursuing inappropriate sexual activities despite the risks.
- Having a constant urge for sex leading to feelings of regret, anxiety, depression and shame.
- Engaging in gay sexual activities although identifying as being straight.
- Lying and hiding sexual behaviours from family members and those close to you.
- Inability to stop or manage the behaviours
- Turning to alcohol/drugs or both to enhance sexual feelings.
- Find that intimacy with their partner becoming more difficult.
- Difficulties with keeping an erection and/or climaxing.
Other symptoms of could also be cybersex and pornography addiction. It’s also worth noting that it’s not just men who suffer from these issues, female sex addiction is also a growing problem.
Sex Addiction Therapy
It can take time but if the individual is committed having sex addiction treatment and exploring the reasons why they have suffered from this behaviour there is a great chance that they will recover. Make no mistake about it, the journey to sex addiction recovery can be a long hard road, however, with the new skills and tools that you develop while having sex addiction counselling, you will learn to overcome the urges that you once struggled with.
It is worth noting though that individuals who do seek sex addiction help do recover.
After the diagnosis, the next step is to identify the cause of the addiction. The first few sessions will look to determine what created the problem in the first place. It’s quite common while in the first few weeks working with the sex addiction therapist, they find that they are no more talking about the addiction itself, it will be more about the deeper issues.
These causes may root from childhood experiences, such as attachment issues or trauma. Of course, it may be none of these, but talking through our previous experiences in life will aid in sex addiction recovery.