Understanding Sex Addiction

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The average person thinks about sex about 15 times per day. Having a sudden sexual thought at a deemable inappropriate place and time can feel quite embarrassing. Sexual arousement during a serious meeting or conversation feels out of control and out of place. When it happens there are feelings of shame, even guilt, mixed with an odd and unsettling sense of pleasure. Imagine that situation occurring all day long, coupled with an inability to let the sensation pass. Meet the sensation with troubling behaviors which can lead to negative consequences, then continue doing that behavior regardless of the negative consequences. This is sex addiction. Sex addiction riddles people’s lives with constant sexual compulsions from pornography to sex services, to texting.

What is Sex Addiction?

Currently, sex addiction is labeled as a process addiction. Process addictions are different from substance use disorders in which there are chemicals involved that alter the brain. Instead, a process addiction involves a process or activity, like gambling and sexual activity. However, numerous studies have shown that process addictions stimulate the brain in a manner very similar to chemical addictions. The production of dopamine, the pleasure communicator in the brain, is not exclusive to chemical substances. Sex is pleasurable and brings the brain pleasure, which, as in chemical dependency, it can become dependent upon.

Signs and Symptoms of Sex Addiction

One of the key signs a sex addiction has developed is the need for more sexual activity or more extreme sexual activity to achieve the same feelings of pleasure and/or relief. What starts out as an innocent exchange of pictures with a partner can quickly develop into paid prostitution, hours of pornography, and calls to sex hotlines. An alcoholic or addict is taught that there is danger in the first drink because it always leads to more. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Affairs
  • Compulsive sexual pleasuring
  • Sexual recklessness
  • Impulsive use of pornography
  • Displays of exhibitionism or voyeurism
  • Personal detachment from human sexual interaction
  • Sexual activity is followed by crippling feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse
  • Feelings of anxiety, irritability, and restlessness without sexual activity
  • Interfering with responsibilities due to a need to seek sexual activity
  • Exhaustion, depression, anxiety, inability to perform sexually without supplement

Sex addiction can lead to physical as well as mental health problems without treatment. Avalon By The Sea of Malibu offers mental health treatment as well as dual diagnosis treatment. Sex addiction is often coupled with substance abuse to meth, alcohol, or cocaine. If you or a loved one need help overcoming sex addiction, call Avalon today for a confidential assessment 1-888-958-7511

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