Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
On average, nearly 12 million people in the United States suffer from some degree of sex addiction. Despite the fact that that number is steadily increasing, the majority of people know very little about sex addiction.
Often, their knowledge is based on misunderstood information and stereotypes. As a result, there are many common questions that people ask when trying to learn more about sex addiction.
What IS Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is the obsessive and dangerous relationship a person has with sexual thoughts, activities, and fantasies. These behaviors can increase in frequency and the amount of negative consequences both medically and psychologically for the person with the addiction.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, or NCBI, sexual addiction is considered to be an emerging psychiatric disorder. Not much was known or researched about sex addiction until recent years, and the information available is continuing to grow.
Like addictions to drugs and alcohol, sex addiction can create an imbalance within the person’s life. Their behavior can affect relationships with friends and family, impact their work productivity, and affected their overall quality of life.
Many people who are sex addicts may feel and exhibit shame, distress, and guilt over their behavior. They feel like they have lost control, often crossing boundaries and limits that they set for themselves.
What Are The Causes of Sexual Addiction?
With an increase in research about sex addiction, there is more understanding about what exactly causes sexual addiction. Many have concluded that sex addiction has its roots in other conditions and behaviors.
Sometimes, the upbringing of the person and their education of sex can cause them to develop an unhealthy attitude and understanding of sex, which can later spiral into addiction as they try to apply their education as adults.
Other cases of sex addiction have been traced to instances of incest or sexual trauma. In those cases, it is believed that the addiction began as a means of coping or suppressing emotional pain and stress. There have also been instances of outings of parents’ sexual activity, like pornography usage and affairs, that have contributed to the development of sexual addiction.
Can’t Sex Addicts Just Take Medication?
Addiction of any kind is far too complex to be fixed with a simple pill. During treatment for sex addiction, hormone-based and anti-depressant drugs may be prescribed to help with reducing compulsivity and sexual drive.
In cases where medication is prescribed, it is usually as an option in conjunction with counseling and other treatment methods. There are many factors that are involved with recovery that can affect the outcome.
As part of treatment, those dealing with sex addiction have the option of joining support groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous, or SAA. SAA uses the twelve step-style of treatment, similar to what is often used by Alcoholics Anonymous, can be easily modified and applied to case of sexual addiction.
Who Is Affected By Sex Addiction?
Those affected by sex addiction can include the person with the addiction, their family, their friends, and even their co-workers. The addiction takes precedence over everything else in the person’s life, with everything else coming second.
As the person begins to focus on meeting the needs of their addiction, their interest and responsibilities towards others fall to the wayside.
The Western Region Security Office, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Security, explains that sex addiction can be a security concern. Many with sexual addictions have reported that their behavior has impacted their judgement.
As a result, the person can inadvertently create a hostile environment in their work place and put the safety of others in jeopardy.