We define addictions as those forms of obsession that are most obviously destructive, like alcohol, drugs and gambling, but any habit can become an addiction when the behavior becomes more important than a person’s loved ones, work, and even life itself. Sex addiction is also a kind of slow-motion suicide which has a built-in delusion that the indulgence will lead to lasting happiness. But as it turns out, lasting pleasure can only come about if one is able to successfully battle their obsessions, rather than submit to them. This is where sex addiction therapy comes in.
The latest research shows that sex addiction is a diagnosis-worthy disorder and calls for sex addiction therapy. It is a condition which is now labeled by experts as “Hyper-sexual disorder”, but to fall into the category of a sex addict, one must suffer with sex or sexual fantasies and repeatedly engage in related acts to a point where it significantly harms or impairs a person’s ability to function normally in school, work, family and social relationships. Before it can be called an addiction, this compulsive behavior must come about either in response to negative emotional experiences or stress, and sometimes even both.
Sex addiction therapy may be required if sex addicts show some of these symptoms and increasingly this problem is being displayed in teens and young adults.
Whether it’s the endorphin rush of the act or the obsession to just see everything in a sexual context, the one thing that most sex addicts have in common and requires sex addiction therapy is that they cannot have a successful relationship, be it with their families or otherwise. That being said, some are able to sustain some sort of a relationship, but often seem to be hiding something when it comes to the intimacy aspects of their lives, which creates significant problems in forming relationships with those close to them.
Just like other forms of addiction, as sex addiction progresses the addict’s tolerance grows. This means that what once was a weekend habit transforms into an everyday need, which is where the addict’s downward spiral begins.
In the throes of addiction, an addict can resort to spending money for sex, or also indulging in other illegal behaviors, such as, groping, self-exposure, and so on. With the passage of time, sex addicts may also resort to drugs or alcohol to alleviate pain, or to take out aggression.
Sex addiction is not only limited to adults, but a growing number of teens are also now struggling with various forms of sexual addiction, which is the reason why early intervention by parents and guardians is extremely important to help curb this debilitating psychological infirmity.
The bottom line is, sex is like fire, keep it burning in the fireplace and it gives you warmth. Use it carelessly and it will burn and destroy your relationships. If you or a loved one is experiencing the sorrow and despair of someone you love due to sex addiction, you must seek out sex addiction therapy before it’s too late.
Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.