Though it is not widely discussed, many people experience an addiction to sex. Sex addiction can be a debilitating condition that makes it impossible to focus on responsibilities such as careers, friends, families, and other pursuits. While those who have it may find themselves embarrassed to admit their addictions, seeking treatment and being honest are very important parts of recovering from sex addiction. Knowing how to get over sex addiction is the first part of your recovery.
What is Sex Addiction?
Addiction to drugs and other substances is a concept that most people understand. It is also commonly known that “addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior” (NIDA). The same can be said for sex addiction.
According to the USDA, “the scientific argument for addiction is based, in part on recent advances in neurochemistry that suggest we carry within us our own source of addictive chemicals.” Endorphins and other chemicals are released during sex that make a person feel good. The truth is that some people become addicted to this feeling as “any chemical that causes mood changes can be addictive.” The problem arises when the person neglects everything else in order to feel that endorphin rush and pleasure that sex creates; it becomes all the person thinks about and all he or she wants to do.
What Kind of Treatments are Available for Sex Addiction?
Therapy is definitely an essential treatment for many individuals who suffer from sex addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often used as a treatment for those addicted to drugs. According to the NIDA, CBT has many elements that are helpful toward the recovery of addicted individuals such as:
- “Anticipating likely problems”
- Emphasizing self-control
- Facilitating the development of coping strategies
- Recognizing cravings
- Working to “identify situations that might put one at risk for” relapse or negative behavior caused by addiction
There are also several groups that are available to sex addicts. They are 12-step programs suggested by the USDA including:
- Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous
- Sexaholics Anonymous
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
- Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
These groups allow those with sex addiction issues to cope together and help one another through the difficulty of recovery. Many of these groups can be found all over the country.
Other Suggestions for Getting Over Sex Addiction
Some other suggestions that may help you toward getting over sex addiction are:
- Getting rid of devices or programs that facilitate your addiction. If you have a subscription or several to sexually explicit material on your phone, TV, and/or computer, get rid of these devices or limit your use of them as much as possible.
- Cutting off relationships with people who feed your addiction. If someone is not interested in helping you get better, this is not the time where you should have him or her in your life.
- Considering other forms of holistic treatment like exercise or yoga, especially ones that help release endorphins.
- Writing down your feelings and thoughts in a journal, even if you do not plan to show anyone else what you’ve written.
- Trying new things and be more open to other ways to spend your time. Take lessons for a new activity to keep your mind off of your addiction.