Is Sex Addiction An Intimacy Disorder?
Some people think that sex addiction is just about liking sex too much. If they were to choose any type of addiction – drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex – they would go for sex because … well, everybody likes sex, right?
The truth is sex addiction is much more complicated than that. Addiction is defined as continuing to pursue some sort of behavior despite the profound negative consequences on the person’s life. So sex addiction is a compulsion for sexual behavior despite the cost to your health, your relationships, your career, your finances, your family, your well-being, and other important aspects of your life.
Sex addiction is not something to hope for because it destroys lives.
Sex Addiction and Intimacy
Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder because it can permanently destroy intimacy. People who are addicted to sex have a compulsion to feel the effects of orgasm. During climax, the brain releases certain neurotransmitters that are responsible for the pleasurable feelings of sex. The sex addict needs to feel this type of pleasurable release again and again, and is powerless to stop themselves.
While some sex addicts will have sex with multiple partners, most people who are addicted to sex masturbate frequently. In some instances, the sex addiction is an inability to stop masturbating rather than to stop seducing and having sex with other people.
The widespread of Internet pornography has taken sexual addiction into the mainstream. Before the Internet, people who wanted to view pornography had to purchase it from sinister mail order houses or go to dodgy parts of their hometowns to visit adult bookstores or X-rated movie theaters.
Today, anybody can view hardcore pornography from any device, instantly and for free. This removal of obstacles to pornography has resulted in a dramatic increase in the instances of sexual addiction.
Sex and Technology
Internet pornography isn’t the only technological issue that is tied to the increase in sex addiction. Several high profile politicians, sports stars and actors have recently found themselves embroiled in controversy after they used the cameras on their smartphone to send sexually explicit pictures of themselves to other people.
There also has been an increase in the number of people facing criminal charges for viewing or distributing illegal pornography involving children.
Exhibitionism, voyeurism, pedophiles and other unsavory and often illegal sexual fetishes are nothing new. What is new is technology’s ability to bring these types of sexual deviation to the masses via the Internet.
Types of Sex Addiction
Sexual addiction can take many forms, from compulsive masturbation to victimizing another person. Under normal circumstances, sex is a way for healthy people to experience intimacy. But for the sex addict, it becomes a way of avoiding intimacy – even if they are engaging in sex with another person.
The only compulsion the sex addict has is to satisfy their physical and emotional needs. Real intimacy with another person involves opening up, letting go, taking a risk, and showing a vulnerability to another person. Sex addicts, however, often find this impossible to achieve due to self-esteem issues or narcissism.
Most sex addicts are men, but about one-third are women. Overall, about 5 percent to 8 percent of the population suffer from some sort of sex addiction disorder.
Treatment for Sex Addiction
A lot of people suffering from sex addiction never seek help because they are too embarrassed or ashamed of their condition to share it with other people, not even medical professionals. Women are less likely to seek treatment for sex addiction than men, according to statistics.
But for those who do seek help, treatment typically consists of a 30-day abstinence from whatever behavior is troubling the person. By abstaining from their compulsive behavior, the person suffering from sexual addiction is normally more open to psychotherapy, group counseling, and other traditional treatment programs that can help them identify the root cause of their disorder.
Unlike treatment for other types of addictions – such as drug, alcohol or gambling problems – the treatment objective for the sex addict isn’t lifelong abstinence. Instead, it’s a return to normalcy, a resumption of healthy, loving relationships, and a renewed ability to experience intimacy.
The First Step Is the Hardest
Like any sort of addictions treatment, the first step for the sex addict is often the hardest: Asking for help. Sex is a complicated subject and one that most people aren’t comfortable talking about. So overcoming this natural disinclination to discuss sex with others – even if they are highly trained medical experts or licensed therapists – can be difficult to overcome for many people.
Unlike other forms of addiction, many people have success trying to address their issues on their own. Taking a break from watching pornography, for example, or stopping the deviant or illegal sexual behavior is sometimes effective – especially if it can be replaced with healthier, more fulfilling activities.
Author Bio – Joshua Chang, the contributor of this article, writes in support of The Cabin Singapore, your best choice for treatment of sex addiction in Singapore.