What Is Sex Addiction?
Sex Addiction Definition: What is sexual addiction?
Sex addiction is a psychological condition where affected parties engage in compulsive sexual activity on a repeated basis to a point where the excessiveness of the sexual activity begins to negatively interfere with their everyday life, impacts their relationships and harms their activities of daily living. This is also called "acting out" which involves actions exhibiting unrestrained behavior without the properly related emotions and concern for the well being of others.
The more sex addicts engage in the behavior, the more dependent they become on continuing the behavior to function and feel "normal." The resulting pattern usually presents itself in a compulsive manner which evolves without regard for anything outside of the addict's pleasure and continued behavior.
The sexual addiction can manifest itself in a variety of forms of sexual activity including:
- Viewing pornography
- Excessive sexual drive
- Obsession with sexual fantasy
- Dissatisfied with intercourse
- Sexual fetishes
- Inability to control sexual urges
- Overwhelming sexual thoughts
Causes of Sex Addiction
Humans are sexual beings by nature. We were created to love, deepen relationships through intimacy and procreate. Sex addiction occurs when we take these good things, take them out of context and extend them beyond their purpose. Sex addiction is the result of using sex and sex-related feelings and emotions to fill the voids in our relationships and meet the needs left by other things in our lives.
Sexual addiction can be one of the toughest addictions to fight because it involves chemical releases in your brain which create a "high." When you engage in sexual activity, your body releases hormones including oxytocin and endorphins. These hormones are what normally help you deeply bond to your partner, allow you to enjoy each other's intimacy and boost "happy" feelings.
In cases of sex addiction, addicts become addicted to the hormonal high brought on by the behavior and constantly want more of it - all the time. Once the feeling subsides, sex addicts start looking for the next opportunity to feel that way again. This leads to compulsive sexual behavior and acting out by masturbating, seeking multiple partners or engaging in any activity they think will help those feelings return.
Contributing factors also can play a role in the on-set and perpetuation of sex addiction. Episodes of addictive behavior can be influenced by factors like depression, mood disorders, relationship drama, psychological conditions, abuse and traumatic events. The high the sex addiction creates becomes a temporary way to negate the negative feelings of the contributing factors.
Signs of Sex Addiction
The signs of sex addiction primarily stem from the type of sex addiction involved and the sexual activity surrounding that addiction. There are six main types of sex addicts. They include:
- Biological Addicts
- Psychological Addicts
- Spiritual Addicts
- Trauma-Based Addicts
- Mood Disorder Addicts
- Intimacy Anorexia Addicts
The specific signs of sex addiction include a recurring pattern of events in an individual's life that are linked together, that are focused around gaining sexual satisfaction through the perpetuation of the behavior and that interfere with everyday life, work and the person's relationships.
Signs of sex addiction include the following:
- Masturbation - the frequent use of masturbation and reliance upon it in a way that replaces regular intercourse or conflicts with meeting your partner's needs and desires for intimacy.
- Viewing pornography - incessant viewing of sexually explicit images which leads to overstimulated arousal, decreasing visual satisfaction, and lowers libido which leads to sexual exhaustion and other related problems.
- Hypersexuality - engaging in a pattern of overly excessive sexual behavior over time without regard to the consequences, health concerns, ramifications or impact on yourself or anyone else in your life.
- Excessive sexual drive - being unfulfilled with intimacy and sex so much that trying to fill the void by seeking more of it interferes with your regular life outside of the bedroom.
- Obsession with sexual fantasy - obsessing over sexual fantasy and fixating on it so much that your fantasies take over your view of reality and you begin to use your fantasies to define reality.
- Dissatisfied with sex - being so unhappy with your relationship and sex life that you being to looking toward other sources of sexual satisfaction and relationship fulfillment.
- Sexual fetishes - sexual objectification of objects, situations, body parts or other things so that your sexual desire is controlled by those objects in an obsessive and unnatural way.
- Inability to control sexual urges - spontaneous outbursts of sexual behavior which your mind tells you is necessary for feeling normal and for maintaining your hormonal high from the endorphin release.
- Overwhelming sexual thoughts - experiencing a continuous stream of sexually oriented thoughts in large numbers to where they block out everything else and you find it hard to function normally.
Sex Addiction Treatment and Recovery
Sex addiction recovery is a multistep process which involves three primary phases. This recovery process is best accomplished with the help of our licensed counselors who will be able to view your sex addiction from a global perspective, help you work out the addiction details, provide you with recommended resources and walk with you on the path toward recovery.
First, you have to acknowledge the sex addiction. You have to come to the realization that you have a sexual addiction problem. Your counselor will help you figure out what type of addiction are you dealing with, define your triggers and help you make a commitment toward recovery.
Next, you need to build a support team. You need to surround yourself with people who care about you, want you to get help and keep you accountable. Your counselor will help you start rebuilding your relationships, recommend therapeutic DVDs and get you involved in our Freedom Groups.
Your final objective is to build a lifestyle of recovery from sex addiction. Recovery isn't a goal you reach or something you can do once and forget about. Recovery is a daily practice you need to adopt into your lifestyle. You need to stay aware of your sex addiction triggers, establish barriers which will give you freedom and live out your new life.
Our Sex Addiction Treatment Programs
We use complete sexual addiction treatment programs called "intensives" and counseling sessions to help you have the best chance to recover from sexual addiction.
Sex Addiction Intensives
Our Sex Addiction Intensive program is focused on couples and individuals who are dealing with sex addiction in their relationships and want help. The intensives are 3 or 5 days long. They include a full treatment program with three daily counseling sessions with Dr. Doug Weiss or one of our licensed counselors trained by Dr. Doug, access to our recovery DVDs and materials, anger work, polygraph testing opportunities and more. Break free from your sex addiction, rebuild your relationships and live free through our intensive treatment program.
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Sex Addiction Counseling Sessions
Our Sex Addiction Counseling Sessions are meant for couples and individuals who are dealing with sex addiction and are not able to attend an intensive complete sex addiction recovery program. These counseling sessions are scheduled by the hour. You can schedule as many sessions as needed. Your licensed counselor will help with problems you are facing, address critical issues and recommend recovery groups and resources to better help your situation.