Like most animals, humans are designed for procreation. Sex and the marketing, study of, entertainment involving and materials covering sex seem to be everywhere. But for those people who struggle with sexual addiction, a common act of intimacy can become an all-consuming obsession.
Some people believe that there is no such thing as sexual addiction, but it is actually a medically recognized condition. The difference between healthy sexuality and sexual addiction is clear when you know the signs. When sex addiction becomes an issue, it can lead to damaged relationships, financial trouble, low self-esteem, depression, and more.
Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Addiction
- Sexual thoughts and behaviors are secretive, shameful, or abusive
- Sex becomes less pleasurable and more compulsive and uncomfortable as time passes
- The addiction may involve online pornography or the hiring of prostitutes
- Large amounts of time, money, or energy go into pursuing sexual interests or relationships
- Relationships, marriages, and jobs are affected by the addiction
- The sexual addict cannot stop the behavior even though he or she tries to stop
- Illegal activity is used to meet sexual addiction needs
- The sexual addict often lies to himself and may deny there is a problem
- The sexual behavior increases in intensity over time and soon grows out of control
- The sexual addict feels powerless and unable to control her sexual urges
One key factor to be aware of when it comes to sexual addiction: like any other addiction, the addicted person feels a “high” sensation from sexual activity. Over time that person will require more and more sexual activity to maintain that high.
How is Sexual Addiction Treated? Will I Have to Give Up All Sexual Activity?
You may be asking yourself if sexual addiction treatment involves complete abstinence from all sexual activity. For some people, complete abstinence from sex and sexual activity may be necessary. For others, a break from sexual activity for a pre-determined amount of time may be needed.
The key to a successful sexual recovery plan is that there should be a clear set of goals in place. Because the biggest challenge in addiction is maintaining personal values and beliefs, it is important for the sexually addicted person to rediscover his beliefs and set clear expectations for the future. This may mean a plan involving no sex, sex with a spouse, or a defined sexual plan that clearly lays out agreed-upon sexual boundaries.
Another important part of sexual addiction recovery is the discovery of what is behind the behavior. Why have sex and sexual activity become so important and so out of control? These questions can best be answered by working with a trained counselor.