Sex Addiction

Peter is affiliated with the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy.

Sexual addiction can be learned behavior, biological in nature, or coexist with other addictive behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, food or gambling.

The principle concern of sex addiction is the extent that the impulsive behavior impairs relationships, interferes with occupational performance, diminishes the ability to socialize, and can result in severe legal consequences.

It is important to gain an understanding of the origins of this behavior and to affix positive parameters around the extent of the behavior. 

As a result of the internet accessibility, sexual addiction takes on many forms. It can manifest in the following ways:

  • Excessive Viewing of Pornography
  • Habitual Use of Sex Workers
  • Repeated Engagement in Destructive Relationships
  • Sexually Acting Out in Public
  • Sexual Anorexia

As with other addictions, in addition to psychotherapy, an individual may benefit from a 12-step program, psychological testing, and/or medication to treat underlying depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders.

Sex addiction is growing exponentially, especially with instant access to the internet. Sexual acts are no further away than your smartphone. But the problem is growing and impacting more and more people—relationships and marriages.

According to Dr. Douglas Weiss, 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 it begins to negatively interfere with 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 properly related emotions and concern for the wellbeing 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 activity including:

  • Excessive Masturbation
  • Viewing Pornography
  • Hypersexuality
  • Excessive Sexual Drive
  • Obsession with Sexual Fantasy
  • Dissatisfied with Intercourse
  • Sexual Fetishes
  • Inability to Control Sexual Urges
  • Overwhelming Sexual Thoughts
  • Sexual Anorexia
  • Obsession with Dating Apps
  • Repeating Short-Term, Destructive Relationships.

Sexual addiction can destroy marriages, cause someone to lose their job, or result in severe and permanent legal consequences. The condition can be learned behavior, hereditary in nature, have biological origins or accompany another addictive behavior, such as alcohol, drugs, eating disorders or gambling.

It may also be the result of a patient’s own sexual abuse history as 80% of sex addicts have experienced some form of sexual trauma in their past. And, too often, sex addiction becomes a primary impairment for seeking to establish healthier, ongoing relationships.

Treatment not only includes gaining an understanding of the origins of the behavior but to affix positive parameters and coping skills to lessen the frequency or extent of the behavior.

As with other addictions, it is often recommended that 12-step programs be explored to accompany ongoing psychotherapy. Medications may also be an option as often the behavior accompanies depression, anxiety or other mood disorders.

Source: Psychology Today