The Sadness Of Sex Addiction

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Compulsive sexual behaviour comes with a variety of different names. It is more often than not call sexual addiction, but other terms are hypersexuality. sexual dependency and sexual compulsivity. Satyriasis is the term used for men suffering with this condition, while for women it is Nymphomania.

Whatever term you wish to use, compulsive sexual behaviour is a problem that must not be kept hidden away.

Here is an explanation of what the condition is, why many suffer in silence, what the dangers are, and how treating this difficult addiction can be achieved.

What is compulsive sexual behaviour?

Contrary to what many believe would be an enjoyable condition to suffer from, addiction to sex is seen as a form of obsessive compulsive behaviour with risk taking being a major factor.

The individual is obsessed with sexual thoughts. These interfere with their daily activities. It affects their ability and concentration while working, and any other responsibilities or obligations will always take a back-seat as this obsession is extremely time consuming.

If they are in a permanent relationship an additional burden is the fact they need to work very hard to keep their secret life away from their partner.

How many people does this condition affect?

This is one of the great unknowns, many who suffer are simply too embarrassed to seek help and will maintain a stubborn and solitary silence.

By doing so things will not get better, indeed the chances are they will continue in a downward spiral. Bigger risks will be taken, and there is a good possibility that these individuals will become involved in even more bizarre sexual experiences.

One of the problems with this ‘anything and everything goes’ attitude is that they can blur lines between what is sexually legal and what is against the law.

It is unlikely that accurate figures will ever be established in terms of the numbers struggling with this condition. This is due to the reluctance of many to seek help out of embarrassment or shame.

An added barrier preventing them from seeking much needed treatment is denial. This thought process is similar to those struggling with a dependence upon alcohol or drugs.

A person addicted to sex will convince themselves they have everything under control and constantly self-justify their actions. This attitude helps them to avoid facing the depth and reality of their situation.

Dangers of compulsive sexual behaviour:

Those involved in risky sexual behaviour are leaving themselves wide open to danger. Here are three examples of this.

Personal health should be a major concern. The chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases is a real hazard, the desire for sexual experiences stretches well beyond excessive watching of porn and constant masturbating.

They will pay for sex on a regular basis, will do their best to find multiple casual partners, and often go to extremes by making it very obvious to complete strangers that sex is on the menu.

The thrill and excitement of performing sex acts in public places is accepted by many, quickly arranged visits to motels, hotels or even the strangers home are accepted.

These risks and the fact they have no knowledge of the person they are offering themselves to leave them dangerously exposed to possible violence and harm.

The final danger is that of crossing the line into unlawful sex acts. As their compulsions and fantasies increase so can their actions. Some will progress to having sex with animals or feel compelled to involve children

It goes without saying that if such incidents do occur and are brought to the attention of the authorities, then prosecution is a given.

A Positive Treatment Option – Inpatient Rehabilitation:

The basis of addiction treatment is to help the person suffering understand the reasons behind their addiction, and work with them towards the ultimate goal of living a life free from the substance that caused addiction in the first place.

In the case of sex, it is not reasonable to expect a person to give up sexual activity for the rest of their lives.

This means that while a major part of the treatment will be to understand the underlying issues causing them to think and act in the way they are, the aim is also to make them understand and adhere to what is accepted as ‘normal’ and natural sexual activity.

Comprehensive therapy and in-depth counselling is required if this goal is to be achieved.

Many who suffer from compulsive sexual behaviour find that a stay in a respected inpatient rehabilitation centre is a very positive beginning to what will undoubtedly be long term treatment.

This should be an extended stay where they are taken from their normal environment into one that allows them to focus on their problems.

They will receive therapy in a variety of different ways. Such a stay will include daily supervised exercise suited to their level of ability, many find Yoga and meditation to be helpful, and a routine of daily activities with set meal times in calm, peaceful and very comfortable surroundings helps immensely.

Add to this crucial, in-depth one-to-one counselling sessions that are targetted at putting them on the right track to lead a life where sex is an important, but not all-consuming factor and the basis for recovery is established.

Aftercare – A ‘must’ for recovery progression:

It is important to understand that this positive starting point needs to be followed through in the form of aftercare.

Clients who opt to stay at a quality rehabilitation establishment will have comprehensive aftercare options explained to them. They will also receive assistance in terms of putting this in place before departure.

Many going through the recovery process also find voluntary organisations such as Sex Addicts Anonymous a positive influence.

By attending regular meetings, they will be amongst others who have similar issues. The frank, open discussions that take place are seen as a way of helping acknowledge and maintain the changes necessary in their lifestyle and sexual activity.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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