Sex addiction can cause severe emotional and physical harm if left untreated. As with any addiction, a person can only receive help when a point of desperation has been reached that encourages them to become willing to seek help. Learn when sexual activity becomes an addiction, how to identify it, and how it can be safely treated.
What Is Sex Addiction?
Characterized by a lack of self-control, sex addiction occurs when people cannot manage their sexual desires, urges, and behaviors. Also known as hypersexuality or compulsive sexual behavior, sex addiction is marked by a person’s inability to stop their sexual urges even when it negatively affects their health, career, finances, and social life.
While those struggling with sex addiction are participating in common sexual actions such as phone sex, masturbation, multiple partners, and so on, the issue lies in how these activities and the mere thought of them control their life. Those experiencing sex addiction often crave sex the same way others with substance addiction will obsess over drugs.
Research has shown that around three to six percent of the general population struggles with sex addiction. It has also been supported that men are more likely than women to experience sex addiction. One woman is impacted by hypersexuality for every two to five males. Although sex addiction is believed to start around eighteen years old, on average most individuals will not seek professional help until they reach the age of thirty-seven.
Identifying the Symptoms of Sex Addiction
Sex addiction can be hard to identify, especially since there are no set specific criteria for symptoms. However, the following signs are often associated with individuals struggling with hypersexuality or sex addiction:
- Repeated and extreme sexual desires and behaviors consume daily life and feel out of their control
- Feeling forced to engage in certain sexual actions only to feel shame or guilt afterward
- Failing to reduce or manage sexual desires and behaviors
- Compulsive sexual behavior is a way to avoid other issues, such as stress, depression, and more
- Engaging in dangerous or harmful sexual activity, including a disregard for sexually transmitted infections or engaging in sexually aggressive actions
- Trouble creating and sustaining healthy relationships
- Frequent masturbation and viewing pornography (more than once daily)
Who and What Are at Risk?
While men and women of any sexual orientation can experience sex addiction, there are risk factors that can make someone more likely to struggle with it. For example, individuals struggling with alcohol or substance abuse are more likely to become addicted to sex and sexual activity.
Additionally, those who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, are more likely to experience sex addiction as well. Lastly, those who have encountered family conflicts, trauma, or physical or sexual abuse, have an increased chance of experiencing sex addiction.
Consequences of Sex Addiction
While sex addiction can obviously negatively impact a person’s mental health, more aspects of life are at risk of being damaged by sex addiction. Some consequences of sex addiction include:
- Inability to have a healthy relationship not only with sexual partners but with family and friends
- Decreased career opportunities due to an inability to focus on work or even due to watching pornography at the workplace
- Financial struggles due to career loss or caused by frequent payment for sexual services
- Health risks such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and more
- Higher risk of substance abuse or alcoholism
- Possible prison time for sexual offenses
Treating Sex Addiction
Due to the neurochemical responses triggered by stimulation, pleasure, and the cycle of tension and relaxation, behavioral addictions frequently worsen over time. Due to these responses, sex addiction requires dynamic, effective treatment that includes intense psychotherapy, increased self-awareness, and the development of positive behavioral routines.
At Avalon Malibu, we provide easily accessible and well-facilitated psychoeducation to assist clients in better comprehending the physiological and psychological reactions that happen when addictive behaviors are present. The practice of mindfulness is a potent tool for altering unhealthy behavioral patterns via focused awareness. Clients can use observation and intention to create behavioral change by using nonjudgmental, meditative strategies.
Process addictions sometimes put people on autopilot and rely on coping skills that have been reinforced over time because obsessive behaviors frequently contain both a biological and emotional element. The understanding needed to start long-lasting transformation is provided by mindfulness-based treatments (MBT), which allow clients to experience and reexamine these habitual habits deliberately.
At Avalon Malibu, patients can also benefit from peer support during group therapy. In this setting, those with sex addiction can learn that they aren’t alone in their struggle and witness their issues from a different perspective. With combined treatment, including therapeutic care, mindfulness, and peer support, anyone can overcome sex addiction as long as they have the drive to work hard toward a healthy life.
At Avalon Malibu, we carefully work with clients struggling with sex addiction to help them break destructive patterns through healing, mindful treatments that produce long-lasting transformation. In an effort to deal with trauma, fears, and other concerns, addiction often begins to take hold in young adulthood or even the early years of life for many. In individual therapy sessions, top-notch clinicians at Avalon Malibu work closely with clients to identify the causes of the negative emotions that serve as the foundation for addiction. Our professional staff assists clients in resolving the root reasons for their obsessive behaviors toward sex. If you’re ready to improve your life, call our compassionate team at (844) 857-5992.