Sex addiction is a serious condition that can negatively impact a person's life in a variety of ways. Until very recently, it was largely misunderstood. Fortunately, that has changed a lot, and people are beginning to understand that an addiction to sex is a lot like an addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling. That's not to say that sex addiction is cut and dry. It manifests itself in many ways and is extremely difficult to overcome.
What is Sex Addiction?
When a person has an unhealthy obsession with sex, he is most likely suffering from a sex addiction. Regardless of how the obsession manifests itself, it becomes a problem when it disrupts a person's life. The desire to seek sexual release can become so strong that it overrides everything else. Over time, it can negatively impact every facet of the addict's life.
Sex addiction typically involves distorted thinking. Addicts often fail to recognize that they have a problem. In fact, they typically attempt to justify or rationalize their destructive behavior. This addiction also involves highly risk behavior. The risks can include everything from emotional injury to serious health problems.
Signs of Sex Addiction
Some of the most common signs of sexual addiction include:
In the beginning, sex addiction may seem fairly innocuous. As it progresses, however, it can start to involve highly risky behavior. While some addicts are able to seek help before experiencing major consequences, others end up facing major health crises or legal ramifications.
Sex addiction often continues unchecked for long periods of time. Addicts don't usually decide to seek help until something major has happened. The urge to seek help is often precipitated by the loss of a job or the breakup of a marriage. Sometimes, an arrest or major health crisis brings on the desire to get help. Regardless of why a person decides to seek help for sex addiction, the important thing is taking that first step.
Getting Help for Sex Addiction
Until a person recognizes and truly believes that he has a problem, overcoming sex addiction isn't possible. Those who are able to overcome this addiction usually require a great deal of support. Initially, the primary goal is to control the addictive or compulsive behavior. Certain medications may be prescribed to make this easier, but it all depends on the specific nature of the addiction.
Most sex addicts undergo intense counseling to overcome their addictions. Support groups and 12-step programs are available and can help significantly. Addicts benefit enormously by learning more about what healthy sexuality looks like. They usually have individual therapy, and family therapy or marriage counseling is generally used as well. With intense effort and a true desire to get better, it's more than possible to overcome a sex addiction.