Sexual addiction and compulsivity is a vice affecting men and women, people of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual persuasions and religions.
Not long ago, I was reading one of my favorite magazines that is primarily geared toward Generation X men. As usual, there were a number of interesting and provocative stories in the magazine. This issue did not disappoint. One article in particular drew my attention. The piece in question discuses the issue of men and sex addiction. The article was a riveting account of testimonies from men of varied ages, mostly late 20’s to mid 50’s whose entire lives and livelihoods had been crippled by their addiction to sexual compulsion. Some of the men lost their marriages, families, friends (one was sleeping with his next door neighbor’s wife), their careers etc… Not surprisingly, a few became infected with diseases, some fatal such as HIV. Very traumatic and troubling situations.
The fact is that sexual addiction is a disease that is a slowly, but surely growing epidemic in American society. Given the varied methods that have been used to determine what accounts for sexual addiction, precise statistics as to its level of prevalence are difficult to determine. Nonetheless, it is estimated that between three percent and six percent of Americans suffer from some form of sex addiction, according to the National Association of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity. It is a vice that affects men and women, people of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual persuasions and religions.
Some psychiatrists and sex therapists argue that there are a number of factors that can result in a person devolving into a cycle of sexual obsession and dysfunction. A traumatic childhood, excessive drug use and social insecurity are just a few examples. Some sexologists and other sex experts argue that a person’s genetic composition can be a factor in their sexual addiction. To be blunt, being a sexaholic can be in a person’s DNA. Regardless, for its victims, it can result in a traumatic life of risk and frustration.
While the signs can be multiple and varied, among the most prominent symptoms are:
- Chronic, obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies
- Using sex seductively
- Trading sex for money
- Addiction to pornography or cybersex
- Exploiting other for sex
- Having intrusive sex
- Relations with multiple partners on a frequent basis, especially with strangers
- Compulsive masturbation
- Preoccupation with having sex, even when it interferes with daily life, productivity, work performance, etc.
- Inability to stop compulsive sexual behaviors or restrain sexual activity
- Putting oneself or others in danger due to sexual behavior
- Engaging in illegal sexual activity with prostitutes, minors, or children
- Need for dominance and control in sexual liaisons
- Feeling remorse or guilt after sexual episodes
- Negative personal or professional consequences due to sexual behavior
The fact is that sex addicts often get a sense of euphoria that goes beyond the average person who has a normal or healthy sexual appetite. For addicts, the sexual experience is not about intimacy. On the contrary, they (addicts) use sexual activity to seek pleasure, avoid unpleasant situations, suppress feelings or respond to external pressures such as work difficulties or interpersonal problems. Similar to those who suffer from alcoholism, the pleasure gained from such brief experiences soon evaporates, and, in a number of cases, feelings of depression and guilt can set in. Unfortunately, the cycle of denial often repeats itself again. To be sure, sex addiction is not confined to average Joes, your neighbor, drinking buddy, racquetball partner, or the guy down the street.. A number of celebrities and politicians such as Michael Douglas, Kanye West, Tiger Woods, Tom Sizemore, Charlie Sheen, David Duchovny, Eric Benet and Russell Brand are just a few prominent public figures who have been linked to the disorder.
The fact is that all is not lost to those stricken by sexual obsession. If you in fact, are suffering from sexual addiction, you should do the following:
- Get support—Contact a specialist, counselor, seek help from your partner etc… to combat the problem
- Avoid triggers—Avoid places or situations that will likely trigger your sexual urges. Failure to do so will likely cause you to either continue or relapse into addictive behavior
- Accept your problem—Stop the denial. Admit that you have a problem. The sooner you acknowledge this fact, the better your odds of conquering the issue
- Join an outside support group—You are not alone. Consider reaching out to a community support group
- Seek help—A professional can help you gain control of your addiction and move forward
There is no doubt that, in our age of deadly sexually transmitted diseases, sexual addiction is a form of dysfunction that can potentially destroy a person physically, psychologically and mentally. Those who struggle and suffer with such a powerful and tormenting disorder (male, female, transgender etc…) must make an effort to combat it through whatever acceptable means necessary. It just might save your life. Literally.
NOTE: For those who desire or are need of assistance in conquering their sexual addiction, contact the following:
Addictions – 1-(800)- 654-0987
Prescott House – 1-(800)-425-4673
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