Sex Addiction: Understanding the Realism of The Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not yet recognize sex addiction as a disease; however its occurrence in lives is becoming wide spread in America. Sex addiction is defined as an obsession with sex, including sexual content, thoughts, paraphernalia, conversations, and/or the actual act of intercourse. The life of a sex addict is controlled by his or her obsession. Because many sex addicts are men, it may be just common practice for to state “all men are sex crazed” or “all men love sex.” Sex addiction is a very real, very dangerous condition much like any other type of addiction which can negatively impact a person’s life.

Signs of Sex Addiction

Do not feel that just because your husband or wife is a very sexual, virile being that he or she is definitely a sex addict. This could not be any further from the truth. There is a distinction between healthy sexual behavior and destructive sexually-related behavior. Several symptoms of sex addiction included but are not limited to:

  • Frequent viewership of pornographic material
  • Frequent masturbation
  • Frequent cybersex or phone sex
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Secretiveness
  • Fixation on sexual behaviors that hampers your ability to work or interferes with your personal life
  • The need for pornographic materials in order to achieve arousal
  • Multiple subscriptions to pornographic websites and sex-based social networking sites
  • Denial of having a problem
  • Blaming your need to seek sexual attention outside of your relationship on your significant other

Effects of Sex Addiction

Many individuals suffering from sex addiction do not realize or acknowledge they have an issue until a major occurrence takes place. This can range from losing one’s job, undergoing a divorce, disappointing your children, acquiring financial troubles, or even obtaining sexual transmitted diseases. Just because one person suffers from the disease does not mean that he or she is the only one who will be impacted by it.

Married individuals risk negatively affecting their spouses in ways that can be both emotional and physical. For example, a man who is addicted to sex and has frequently cheated on his wife may cause her to feel hurt and disappointed. He may also frequently transfer his frustration and aggressions on to her by blaming her for his behavior. An example of this would be to say that she does not give him the type of sex he desires as often as he desires.

In this instance, not only has he hurt her by stepping outside of their marriage but has also placed guilt upon her. If the same man was to have multiple sexual partners and contracts a sexually transmitted disease, there is a great chance that he has spread the illness to his wife. Thus, the wife now is left with emotional and physical remembrances of her husband’s addiction.

Treatment of Sex Addictions

Like any other addiction, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Unfortunately, this does not always happen prior to having a traumatic occurrence. But once this step is made several options are available for help with overcoming this addiction. Counseling is a defense mechanism in battling the disease.

Not only does it allow you to discover what it is that has led you to addiction, but it also gives you an outlet to discuss and/or admit to your feelings.

Counseling can be done individually or with family. Sessions can be done with spouses in an effort to help rebuild a damaged marriage. Not only is it important for the person suffering from the addiction to understand his or her condition, it is also imperative for the spouse to be educated on what is happening with their loved one.

Being fully educated, accepting, and believing that sex addiction is a true disorder and not just an excuse for men or women to recklessly cheat, can make all the difference in whether or not a spouse can or will be supportive in their better half’s attempt to get better.

Support groups are also available to help deal with sex addiction. For some people it is easier to learn and cope in a group setting with others that can relate to their feelings, struggles, and misgivings. Many of these support groups offer twelve step programs to help overcome or manage the addiction. Sex Addicts Anonymous is one of these programs.

Because sex addiction is a mental condition which involves some level of compulsion and inability to control your behavior, medications are available to help. Prozac is one form of medication offered to help stabilize compulsive behavior and the chemical reactions in your brain that cause such thoughts or irrational behavior.