Last updated: 11/9/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Determining if you have an addiction to sex can be difficult. It can’t be determined by the amount of times someone has sex or even by how many partners they might have. Some have higher sex drives than others and feel completely fine about their choices and according to the USDA the range of human sexual activity is so broad that it is difficult to define “normal” sexual behavior.
People who suffer from a sex addiction have sex even when they don’t want to or when it makes them feel bad or ashamed. It is very seldom fulfilling for them. As with any addiction, they feel compelled to have sex and even put themselves in a position where they might get pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy or get venereal diseases that they might pass on to their spouses or partners. Sex addicts often refer to sex as their form of pain relief or use it to relieve stress and tension. They might cheat on their partners knowing that it puts their marriages and long term relationships at risk.
Some put their jobs at risk because they are constantly thinking about and trying to arrange their next tryst or by looking at pornography when they should be working, sometimes even using company devices. People with sex addictions can’t stop their negative behavior even when they know it will have adverse consequences. Some try to quit on their own to no avail even after several attempts. This can deepen feelings of guilt and shame and cause severe depression.
When pleasure centers in the brain are stimulated, chemicals called endorphins are released into the blood stream. Endorphins are believed to be what causes the mood changes that occur after sexual release. Any chemical that causes mood changes can be addictive and repeated exposure can alter the brains chemistry to the point that more of the chemical is required to feel “normal.”
Understanding How to Stop a Sex Addiction
The first step to treating sex addiction is admitting there is a problem. The next step is realizing that the lies and deceit associated with sex addiction must stop. You might think by erasing your browsing history of online porn or deleting emails and texts to perspective sexual partners that you are keeping it under “control”.
Concealing sex addiction is not “protecting” your partner in any way and every misdirection is a betrayal of your relationship. Lying is a choice that you make. Every lie. Every time. You must decide to be honest about your addiction from this point forward.
Recovery programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous are all nationwide organizations for individuals recovering from problems with compulsive sexual behavior. They are 12-step recovery programs patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. One or more of the recovery programs named above is probably listed in your local telephone directory.