Sexual Addiction

Explained: What is asexuality?

Sexual behavior is an accepted part of a normal healthy lifestyle. The range of sexual behaviors is wide and the line between normal and excessive sexual behaviors is not always clear-cut. However, when your erotic feelings, thoughts and behaviors affect your personal life, work or health then you have compulsive sex behavior. Sometimes compulsive sexual behavior is also known as nymphomania, sex addiction or hypersexual.

What is sexual addiction?

The expression ‘sexual addiction’ is usually used to portray behavior of a person who has an astonishing sex drive or is preoccupied with sex. The individual’s total thinking is surrounded by thoughts about sex, thus making it very hard for him/her to participate in any type of healthy interpersonal relationship. The majority of these individuals lead a solitary, secretive sex life which even family and friends never notice in the beginning. Often these individuals make up constant excuses to get away, habitually lie and blame others for their problems.

Who has the problem?

The exact numbers of individuals who have compulsive sexual behavior is not known but the numbers are high. One of the chief reasons why the exact numbers are unknown is because most individuals never come forward for fear of embarrassment or ridicule. Despite what is believed, compulsive sexual behavior is also common in females but it is males who often come to attention. Compulsive sexual behavior usually does not come to attention until the 30s and 40s. Most men come to attention after they have been caught cheating on their spouses, wives or partner(s). Women, on the other hand, do not come to attention as often, partly because they work in professions where they are in constant contact with the opposite sex. And thus any hanky panky that occurs often goes unnoticed for a long time.

What is the pattern of behavior?

In the majority of cases, compulsive sexual behaviors are associated with fantasies and actions that are outside the limits of normal or culturally acceptable sexual behavior. In the beginning, compulsive sexual behavior may not be obvious but the persistent sexual thoughts and feelings often overtake the mind.

The majority of individuals with compulsive sex behavior have vast collections of pornographic materials or spend an inordinate amount of time watching pornographic videos on the internet. Over time this leads to negligent and sometimes illegal behavior such as visiting prostitutes, meeting sex partners online, voyeurism, and having sadistic or masochistic feelings. In the long term, it is inevitable that such behaviors lead to harm in personal relationships, career and eventually to poor self-esteem.

Compulsive sex behaviors do vary in severity but if untreated continue to progress. While there is no one feature that is indicative of compulsive behavior, there are some signs that may be suggestive of a problem. Some individuals may have very intense sexual impulses that are beyond control. Others may find that they do not normally enjoy normal sexual behavior and continue to seek other forms of exciting pleasure. Some individuals may start to engage in very high risk illegal sexual behaviors despite serious consequences. This may mean engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners, having sex with partners who may have sexually transmitted diseases or cheating repeatedly on the spouse. Other features that may indicate compulsive sexual behaviors including trouble establishing affectionate emotionally secure relationships.

Is it satisfying?

Sexual addicts usually never acquire satisfaction from any of their behaviors and continuously feel discontented. Most individuals with compulsive sexual behavior never develop strong bonds with their sexual partner. A common feature of these individuals is that even though they are aware of their destructive behavior, they usually have little control over their thoughts.

How is sexual addiction treated?

Sexual addiction is difficult to treat because most individuals deny they have a problem. Most cases come to recognition when there is a tragedy, family break up, divorce, arrests or a medical crises. Even at this point, the sexual addict will generally blame others for the problems.

While medications like Prozac may help control the obsessive thoughts, the major emphasis of treatment is based on some form of psychotherapy. Treatment is like any other addiction and involves education, counseling and some type of family therapy.

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