Even though some people use the term sex addict as an excuse for reckless sexual behaviors, there are others who actually suffer from sex addiction, which involves uncontrollable sexual impulses. A person with sex addiction is not just a person who loves having sex. The primary symptoms of sex addiction include the inability to control their urges, failed attempts to stop their unwanted behaviour and a cycle of negative consequences ranging from mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, to legal issues.
Here are some facts about sex addiction that everyone should know.
1. Sex addicts have often experienced sexual abuse
Childhood trauma, like sex abuse, can result in unhealthy sexual development, which can have a negative impact on the psychological and physical developments that are required for healthy sexual behaviour in later years. Sexual abuse victims may experience sex addiction when they use sex as a way to self-medicate the pain that remains following their past trauma.It might sound strange that sexual abuse can result in sex addiction, but experts have found that survivors of trauma often try to recreate the occurrences that led to trauma. For example, if an authority figure was responsible for sexually abusing a person, they may find a way to position themselves in a dominant role when it comes to sex. By recreating the power dynamic involved in their abuse, they can reclaim a feeling of control over their sexuality, even though this rarely occurs healthily.
2. Sex addicts may be suffering from pre-existing psychological disorders
It is common for people with other psychological disorders to develop sex addiction, especially borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar disorder. Individuals with BPD suffer from feeling emotionally empty on a regular basis, and may turn to sex to get rid of that feeling. A popular theory regarding the link between sex addiction and BPD is that the person feels insecure about their relationship stability, and find ways to sabotage the relationship before their partner abandons them. Regarding sex addiction, individuals with BPD may not experience the same amount of guilt after having an affair as other people. Additionally, individuals who battle with bipolar disorder tend to display compulsive sexual behaviour when they are going through an episode of bipolar mania. During these manic periods, they often have trouble making wise decisions. Combining their poor decision-making abilities with their increased sexual arousal, which is common during bipolar mania, often leads to compulsive sexual activity.
3. Sex addicts frequently have problems with substance abuse
There is a strong correlation between sex addiction and substance abuse issues. In reality, an estimated 50% of people battling sex addiction also meet the conditions for alcohol and drug addiction. There are several reasons why this is a possibility. Firstly, a person might use substances as a way to numb the pain of their sex addiction. They might also use substances as a means to reduce their inhibitions, so they find it easier to engage in sexual behaviours.
4. Sex addiction may develop in people with delayed intellectual development
Young adults and adolescents who are intellectually delayed, such as individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, may develop compulsive sexual behaviour. They may lack the skill to express and recognise feelings, create meaningful relationships with other people and control impulses. Since life can be quite challenging for them, they tend to look for comfort in brief pleasurable experiences, which can result in sex addiction.
5. Sex addiction is often mislabeled
People tend to diagnose themselves as sex addicts when they do not actually know what it means. They just use the label as a way to excuse their behaviours, such as wanting more sex, cheating, habitually masturbating and watching porn. Additionally, many sex addicts live fairly normal lives, and some people adopt the label when their partner judges their behaviours as abnormal. Individuals with high libidos tend to label themselves as sex addicts, when in fact they just need to understand how to control their sex drive.
How Is Sex Addiction Treated?
Understanding sex addiction facts can help you understand if you or a loved one needs sex addiction treatment. Several types of sex addiction therapy that can help a person overcome their addiction, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sex addiction counselling. CBT treatment often works by helping a person change their behaviours and thoughts. Additionally, the person is offered several tools and techniques that can lower the impulse to have sex and control the symptoms linked with sex addiction.
A combination of CBT and sex addiction counselling can also reduce the risk of relapse. In sex rehab, a person learns how to avoid triggers and situations that contribute to sexual urges.
They also learn ways to control those urges. Another goal of sex rehab is to learn how to develop healthy relationships.