Is the lack of control causing significant trouble in your life? Sex is considered a vital part of life, just like eating, sleeping and breathing. Sex can make you feel good about yourself, and sex can help you feel closer to your partner. But, sex can also be a destructive force.
While the statistics on the number of people impacted are remarkably rare, likely due to the taboo that surrounds all things concerning sex in our culture, some other statistics seem to indicate that sex addictions are common. For example, according to an article in The Daily Beast , there are 1, sex therapists treating sex-related compulsions.
A decade ago, there were fewer than such therapists. Perhaps there are more cases of sex addiction now than there were in the past. Or perhaps people are feeling more comfortable disclosing their addictions and asking for help. As soon as I met someone, I was trying to think about how to have sex with her. When it was all over, I felt incredibly guilty, but then I was already planning my next conquest.
When my wife found out, she threatened to leave and take my kids. I knew I needed help. In general, behaviors associated with sexual addiction include: You might have been caught looking at pornography at work, or you might have even been caught having sex at work. Your romantic relationships might also be destroyed, as you continually lie in order to find new people to have sex with. As the addiction moves forward, you might find that you need to take greater risks or have more intense experiences in order to feel the same rush of pleasure from sex.
Sometimes, this can lead you to engage in illegal acts, such as looking at banned forms of pornography. You might even be compelled to hurt other people as part of your sexual compulsion. These behaviors can land you in jail.
Instead, you might feel empty, used or guilty. Even so, you might feel compelled to do the acts again. As an article in the journal Minnesota Medicine puts it, clinical signs of sex addiction include: The more positive answers provided, the more likely it is that addiction is playing a role in your life: Do you think about sex most, if not all, of the time?
Do you think your behavior is troublesome? Is your spouse or partner concerned? Do you feel guilty or upset about your sexual behavior?
Do you lie about your sexual behavior? Have you tried to stop behaving in this way, and found you were unable to do so? Defining Terms There is a debate raging in the medical community about whether unhealthy sexual behaviors can be classified as an addiction, or whether they should be considered issues of poor impulse control. The term used to describe your behavior will often help to define how it is treated. An addiction is defined as the compulsive urge to do something despite the fact that you know the act will cause you harm in some way.
Most medical experts feel that, in order to be considered an addiction, the behavior must begin with a chemical change in the brain. There is some evidence to suggest that some people have these sorts of chemical-based addictions to sex.
Those chemicals serve to reinforce the behavior, ensuring that people will keep having sex and propagating the species year after year. People who have a significant amount of sex may flood their brains with these chemicals, and over time, their brains may call out for these chemicals and prompt them to have sex again.
This would be a hallmark of addiction. If you find you cannot control your behavior, no matter what you do, your doctor might give you medications to help. In one study published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry , of those people with sexual addictions who were given the medication naltrexone, 89 percent reported a decrease in symptoms.
This might be a good therapy for you. But your behavior might not be due to a chemical change in the brain. Instead, the behavior might be labeled impulsive. There are multiple tests experts can use to distinguish behavior that is compulsive, based on chemical changes, and impulsive, based on poor control of behavior.
In a study published in the journal Comprehensive Psychiatry , researchers found that people who had unusual sexual behaviors scored higher on tests of impulsivity, compared to tests of compulsivity. If you find you can control your behavior for a time, but perhaps not for long, perhaps you need therapy only to help you learn how to control your impulses. And finally, some experts believe that sexual behaviors are sometimes part of other mental health conditions.
There is some evidence that suggests that people with unusual sexual behaviors have mental illnesses. For example, a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that 39 percent of those sex addicts studied had a history of major depression, 42 percent had a history of phobia and 64 percent had a history of substance abuse.
It could be that sexual behaviors are somehow linked to these other disorders. Getting therapy for these disorders might help your behavior to abate. You might be exposing your sexual partner to diseases, and your partner might need screenings in order to get the proper treatment for those conditions. We can connect you with an evidence-based treatment program that can address your issues with sex addiction.
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