What is it Like For Someone Who Has Sex Addiction?

Ozzy Osbourne

A woman explained her story with sex addiction on Health.com. Here is an excerpt from her story:

“I had long affairs. I wanted sex, but I also wanted somebody’s soul, in this really ego-driven way. My life was a constant juggling act of at least two men, making sure they didn’t find out about each other. I was unfaithful to every boyfriend I ever had.”

Addiction affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life; obsessive thoughts and patterns of behavior can lead a person to think, feel, and act in ways that serve only the benefit of their craving. The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimates that 18-24 million people in the United States struggle with sex addiction. The following are common symptoms of this unofficial psychiatric diagnoses:

  • Inability to contain sexual urges and respect the boundaries of others regarding sexual activity
  • Detachment during sexual activity
  • Obsession with attracting others, being in love, and starting new romances
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • An awareness that these urges are uncontrollable, despite their negative consequences on other aspects of life
  • Engaging in sexual behaviors for longer than intended
  • Several attempts to stop, reduce, or control behavior
  • Excessive time and energy spent on obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from a sexual addiction
  • Giving up social, family, or work-related responsibilities to partake in sexual activities
  • Feeling enraged, distressed, anxious, restless, and even violent if unable to engage in sexual behaviors

Individuals with sex addiction abuse sexual fantasy – they use sex to detach from feelings and dissociate from life stressors. Engaging in sexual activities produces a bodily reaction like the “fight or flight response” in which the body releases adrenaline, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin.

Over time, this fantasy obsession can lead a person to live a secret life – lying to friends and family, to their spouse, and sneaking around to partake in sexual activities, and using tactics such as manipulation, rationalization, and denial to help them get what they want. For these individuals, treatment is important because it will allow them to change their way of thinking and allow them to develop tools they can use to better cope with life’s challenges. Recovery is never too late.






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