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Addicted to sex? How to bring it under control

Last updated on: June 7, 2011 19:14 IST

Addicted to sex? How to bring it under control

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Note: Our intent here is to provide good and clean content on sexual health. We want to resolve all the mis-conceptions and curiosities about this subject. If you feel uncomfortable because of any article in this section, please let us know.

Just like any other addiction that occurs out of an insatiable desire for a particular pleasurable activity, sex too can become addictive. Sex addiction can be dangerous to the people around the addict, because unlike any other addiction, sex needs someone else to give pleasure; so an addict might resort to using force to feed his addiction if he is not able to find willing partners to feed it.

Those addicted to sex are obsessed by sex and sexual activities or fantasies to the exclusion of everything else, just like any other addict.

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Addicted to sex? How to bring it under control

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About sex addiction

There are different ranges and intensity to the sexual addiction, like any other addiction. The addict might seek constant sexual intercourse with anyone who might be willing, irrespective of their current relationship status and careless about the impact such philandering might have on the relationship.

An addict might want to indulge in sexual fantasies and role playing and might be willing to pay a prostitute to fulfill such fantasies. Some sex addicts may constantly fall in and out of love, mistaking hormones for love and end up disappointed.

Usually those suffering from sex addiction, though they spend their time obsessing over it, hardly enjoy sex as it becomes a means to an end and is not enjoyed for itself as it should be. It is very easy to evaluate yourself to find out if you are a sex addict.



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Addicted to sex? How to bring it under control

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Early warning signs for sex addiction

  • Using sex to get over negative feelings and to achieve a temporary high
  • Hiding your sexual behaviour or encounter from your spouse or partner
  • Any ill effect on your job, your relationship or your everyday life because of your obsession with sex
  • Being aware that your sexual encounter can cause problems if it became public knowledge
  • Inability to quit your harmful secret sexual life permanently

If you have any of the above symptoms or behaviour, then you know you might be addicted to sex and need to seek therapy or help immediately



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Typical behaviour of a sex addict

  • Preoccupation with sex all the time, causing the addict to be aroused always, which leads to desperately seeking sexual release
  • The sexual encounters become ritualistic; the addict keeps re-enacting the same scenario obsessively; the sexual encounters are not for fulfillment, but for the perpetuating of the arousal
  • Though fully aware that their actions are wrong, the addicts will be unable to change their behaviour, committing the same mistakes over and over again
  • The addicts usually express feelings of guilt and shame for hurting their loved ones through their behaviour as they are helpless when driven by their addictions


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Causes of sex addiction

You can become addicted to anything due to circumstances beyond your control. Generally, experts opine that sex addiction might happen because of childhood abuse.

In some cases, it might happen as a result of the person feeling lonely and because s/he looks at sex as a way to feel valued and loved. In certain addicts, the cause might be the craving of the brain activity during sex which gives a euphoric feeling because of the hormonal rush of orgasm.

Whatever the cause, the addiction has to be overcome for a happy and fulfilled life.



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Treatment and management of sex addition

The 12-step programme

As with any other addiction, there is a standard 12-step programme to overcome the sex addiction too. But the support of your family and your spouse or partner is essential to successfully deal with the addiction.

A 12-step programme provides moral and emotional support apart from doing away with the mistaken notion that the addict is alone in his predicament. The fact that there are others facing similar problems and the support group to deal with emotional and mental challenges can help the addict recover faster.

Support therapy

Doctors and clinical psychologists feel that nothing can help like an understanding family when it comes to overcoming an addiction. You need the support of your partner especially in the case of sex addiction.

Couples therapy with the goal of re-establishing broken intimacy and a healthy and mutually satisfying sex life is the best possible treatment for beating sex addiction.

Medication

In some cases the therapist might even recommend medication to help fight the sexual urges by prescribing certain drugs that help increase serotonin levels in the brain, which is a euphoria inducing hormone.

Like any other addiction, sex addiction too can be overcome with the love and support of your spouse, family and friends, so you need to make sure that you open up and speak out. Reaching out for help is the best way to counter such addiction.



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