Addiction is an illness that carries a certain amount of stigma. Being addicted to a substance such as drugs or alcohol can be embarrassing, but when your illness is a sex addiction, it can be even more embarrassing. For years, comedians have been poking fun at sex addiction, which is one of the reasons so many people who suffer with it fail to get the help they need.
It is important to remember that a sex addiction is an illness, and one that requires treatment. Like any other addiction, it will not go away by itself and is likely to get worse unless you get help.
A sex addiction can be described as any sexual behaviour or activity that is ‘out of control’. This could include sexual activity with a partner, watching pornography, masturbation, visiting prostitutes, or using sex chat lines. These activities are only a problem if they begin to interfere with a person’s day-to-day life or if they are causing negative consequences for themselves or others.
Misconceptions About Sex Addiction
Because sex is a natural and enjoyable activity, it is hard for some people to accept that it could become an addiction. It is quite common for those with no experience of this type of illness to assume that those affected are using the term ‘sex addiction’ as an excuse for liking sex too much. There is a common misconception that sex addicts have no self-control. While some people do indeed have high sex drives and desire more sexual activity than others, it does not make them addicts.
Sex addiction is a real illness and one that has serious, negative consequences for those affected. Sex addicts have no control over their urges and many find it impossible to stop once they start. For example, a sex addict who is addicted to watching pornography may promise him or herself that he/she will just watch five minutes of porn. However, he/she is then unable to tear him/herself away, and it could be hours later before the individual realises that he/she has forgotten that they were supposed to meet up with friends. Or they could find themselves still watching into the early hours of the morning, despite having to get up early for work.
Sex addicts may continue with their destructive behaviour despite knowing that it will leave them in financial difficulty or that it will cause conflict with a spouse. This is because they are unable to control their compulsion.
Do You Have a Sex Addiction?
If you are worried that you may have a sex addiction, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel as though you have lost control of your sexual behaviour?
- Do you continue with your sexual behaviour despite knowing that there could be negative consequences if you do?
- Have you noticed that you need to satisfy your urges more often or that your sexual activity has become riskier in order for you to experience the same effects as before?
- Are you constantly thinking about sexual activities when you are not engaging in them?
- Are you neglecting, friends, family or responsibilities in favour of engaging in sexual activity?
- Do you feel anxious or irritable when not engaging in sexual activity?
- Do you find that you cannot stop once you have started?
- Have you promised to cut down on your sexual activity but have been unable to?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, you could have a problem. Call us at Addiction Helper today for a full assessment and information about what the next steps are.
Effects of a Sex Addiction
Sex addiction can be devastating to the lives of those affected, but particularly for spouses of addicts. Many spouses and partners are completely devastated by the revelation that their loved one is addicted to sex as most are blissfully unaware until the problem begins to have an adverse effect on other areas of their life, such as finances.
Because sex is so intimate, the idea that a partner could be a sex addict without their knowledge can feel like a betrayal, and many simply cannot get over this. They are hurt and upset, especially if they discover that their spouse has been having an affair, engaging in one-night stands, or visiting prostitutes. It is not uncommon for partners of sex addicts to feel shame, anger, shock, self-doubt, and loss after the revelation.
There are other consequences of a sex addiction as well, including the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies. Those who are spending money on prostitutes or sex chat lines may find themselves with a mountain of debt, and other relationships can suffer too, particularly if the sex addict is neglecting them in favour of sexual activity.
Sex addicts often suffer a number of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, and many will abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol in a bid to self-medicate. This can obviously lead to even more negative consequences.
Treatment for Sex Addiction
As with all addictions, a sex addiction requires treatment. It is essential that those affected learn to identify the cause of the problem; this can be done with the help of fully qualified counsellors and therapists. Addiction Helper understands that it can be embarrassing to admit to a sex addiction, but we want to reassure you that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Addiction is an illness, and sex addiction is becoming more and more common.
Our advisors are fully trained in all types of addiction and provide non-judgemental, confidential advice and information to clients. By calling us today, we can provide support and advice about your illness as well as information on where you can access the treatment you need to overcome it.
We work with treatment providers in the public and private sector, where treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and individual counselling are provided to help clients like you to conquer their sex addictions. Call us today for more information on how we can help.