Everywhere we look we are exposed to sex. Whether it’s a TV commercial for a burger, a movie, or an ad in a magazine sex and sexuality are prevalent. Sex is portrayed as fun, desirable, and necessary. For sex addicts it’s no longer fun. It’s an addiction, like drug addiction, that leads to physical emotional, or psychological pain. It can lead to hopelessness.
The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.” Like drug addicts, sex addicts seek sexual pleasure despite physical, financial, or emotional problems.
Some indicators of sexual addiction are:
- Engaging in more sex than intended
- Having more partners than intended
- Having a persistent preoccupation with sex
- Wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully limiting sexual activity
- Spending considerable time in sex related activities including searching for porn sites or looking for partners
- Feeling irritable when unable to engage in desired sexual behavior
- Increasing frequency of sexual activity to achieve desired effect
- Continuing sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as potential health risks or broken relationship
- Neglecting obligations such as family, school, or work
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, Volume Four describes sex addiction as “distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used.” According to the manual, sex addiction also involves “compulsive searching for multiple partners, compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships and compulsive sexuality in a relationship.”
Like drug addicts, the life of a sex addict eventually becomes very small. Their energy is consumed with filling their need for a particular kind of sexual experience. It’s like scratching an itch that can’t be satisfied. More is always needed. The costs increase for the sex addict. Hobbies and activities get dropped. Finances may crumble as more and more resources are dedicated to fulfilling sexual impulses. Friends may disappear and relationships may be ruined.
If you are struggling with sex addiction there are a multitude of treatment options available to you. They may include a 12 step program, cognitive behavioral therapy, outpatient clinics, or inpatient treatment. You are not alone. Beginning to understand the disorder and admitting you need help is a great place to start.
Addiction affects the whole family.
Design For Change, a residential treatment facility and recovery services program in Lancaster, is a place for hope and healing for all those affected by addiction. If you are ready to start the fight for sobriety, choose a program that will help you come out victoriously. Freedom is yours. Find it today by calling us for more information on our long-term, student, and customizable treatment programs: (877) 267-3646