More often than not, addiction and recovery are usually thought to be correlated with drugs and alcohol. However, there are a vast number of other types of addiction that can be just as damaging mentally and physically that is often overlooked. One of the most taboo but prevalent misunderstood addictions is sex addiction, and there actually is sex addiction therapy available out there for people who struggle with it.
The Reality of Sex Addiction
In short, therapists primarily define this particular addiction as a “progressive intimacy disorder” – which similarly to any chemical or substance abuse disorder, refers to the fact that when left untreated, this addiction increases in severity and nature, making it progressively difficult for the sufferer to live a normal life.
The reason, however, that sex addiction is classified as just that, an addiction rather than any sort of social issue, is in the fact that it is a compulsive behavior or thought process that the person must engage in, despite any external consequences in their life.
Over time, as the person falls deeper into their addiction, their desire for the sexual behavior becomes increasingly frequent and intensified, creating disturbances or dangers to their life and possibly their health. These behaviors could range in anything from multiple partners to more extreme sex acts.
The point of addiction here is that the person will have to continue increasing their sexual behaviors to achieve the desired effect they are seeking from their addiction.
Different Types of Sex Addiction
There is a common misconception that people who engage in frequent sexual intercourse are sex addicts, however, that is not necessarily the case. There are many different faces of sex addiction, and with that, come many categories of sex addiction therapy styles. Here are some of the most common types of sex addiction:
- Frequent Urge to Masturbate
- Frequent urge to watch pornography
- Engaging in Voyeurism
- Engaging in Sadomasochism behavior in a dangerous manner
- Spending excessive amounts of money on Phone Sex hotlines
There is an important distinguishing characteristic to someone who is a sex addict, versus someone who just enjoys any of these behaviors. The person who suffers from a sex addiction will allow one or more of these behaviors to interfere with their day to day life.
For example, a person who enjoys using phone sex hotlines every now and then is not someone who is a sex addict, however, someone who puts themselves into debt because of their frequent phone sex hotline calls, might be on the line of a sex addict if they find they cannot stop despite their financial burden.
Talking to a Sex Addiction Therapist
Since there is a lot of confusion around what makes a sex addict, it can be extremely helpful to discuss any of these questions with a certified sex addiction therapist or certified mental health or substance abuse therapist. They will help navigate through past behaviors to determine if it exemplifies sex addict behavior.
A sex addiction therapist can also help work through some of the mental and physical consequences that come as a result of excessive sexual behavior. For example,
Dealing with any Trauma
- A lot of people who put themselves into frequent and risky sexual situations can often find themselves in a vulnerable position.
- Many people have suffered from sexual abuse, rape, assault, or other forms of mental trauma because of some of their past behaviors.
Working through Past, Current, and Future Relationships
- It can be a long and difficult road for people who suffer from sex addictions to learn how to participate in a healthy, functional relationship.
- Sex addicts often find it difficult to feel worthy or valued without engaging or offering some sort of sexual behavior – sex addiction therapists can help navigate the addicts way back to self-worth.
- These relationships can often infiltrate everything from family members, to romantic relationships, and even interactions with perfect strangers.
Learning Healthy Sexual Behaviors
- The difference between a substance addiction and a sexual addiction is that sex addicts will hopefully be able to reach a healthy, normal sex life someday.
- Sex addiction therapists can help identify some of the common triggers and following behaviors that sex addicts can navigate through on their own in the future.
- The goal is not to make sex addicts completely abstinent, but to help them find their own boundaries, and to incorporate these healthy sexual boundaries into their life.
Similarly to any other addiction, the underlying cause is usually a deeper rooted form of trauma, fear, or anxiety that has manifested into the current behavior. For this reason, it is often almost impossible for someone who suffers from an addiction to be relieved of it on their own accord.
It has been shown for many sex addicts, like other addicts, to find great comfort and support in group therapy settings. Many people who struggle with addiction often feel isolated and ashamed, so it has been proven to be extremely beneficial for many people to be able to identify with and relate to other people who struggle with the same issues.
There are sex addiction therapists all over the world, and here at FindAddictionRehabs.com, we have found an effective strategy for people to cope with their compulsive urges. Through addressing the complexities of sex addiction, the impact that the behaviors have on the individual and those around them, and by learning tools to help combat those urges in the future, recovery from sex addiction is possible.