There are several types of sexual addictions; the common thread between the types is that the individuals are consumed with the desire to have sex. Having sex isn’t necessarily the high point of sexual addictions; it is the planning and the anticipation that gives the high. Oftentimes, when they have sex, the sex addicts are not sexually satisfied. Very soon, the sex addict is looking for the next opportunity to have sex.
Sexual addictions are as different as night and day. Common names for sexual addictions include hypersexuality, sexual obsession, nymphomania, sexual perversion (examples such as sadism and masochism), and erotomania. In whatever type of sexual addiction, the individual feels unable to control his/her sexual fantasies and urges.
Some have the mistaken notion that sex addicts have a great sex life. It’s often, just the opposite. Many people suffering from sex addictions have lost the trust of their spouses and family members. The compulsion to plan for and engage in sex can be as overpowering as a drug addiction.
What causes sex addictions?
Oftentimes, addictive sexual behavior is used to control or relieve other feelings, such as anxiety and depression. The sexual behavior becomes the band-aid that temporarily sooths emotional pain. Rather than sex being a healthy way to relieve stress, it becomes an overwhelming urge to medicate the stress and social isolation that comes with the loss of happiness, anxiety, depression and other mental and emotional pain. Thoughts of sex interfere with the normal activities of daily living. Certain types of mental disorders can cause a person to be hypersexual. Many men and women suffering from sex addictions were abused sexually as children.
Sexual addictions are insidious. You don’t plan to be a sex addict, but when it happens you can’t think of anything else. You can only think about the next opportunity to have sex and the high that comes with it. Sex addicts often use sex and thoughts of sex as an escape from reality.
What are the signs and symptoms of sex addiction?
The signs and symptoms of sex addictions include:
Having frequent sex with multiple partners
Having multiple extramarital affairs
Has no emotional connection to the sex partners (partners are sex objects only)
Spends excessive amounts of time masturbating
Excessive use of pornography
Engages in sexual behavior that is socially unacceptable (bestiality, rape, sadomasochism, pedophilia and others)
Exposing private parts in public
Being a peeper or “peeping Tom”
Inappropriate touching private parts of unsuspecting people
Spends hours on chat rooms for sexual gratification
The negative effects of a sexual addiction are circular. The person suffering from a sex addiction is caught in a vicious cycle of low self-image and destructive behavior. The low self-esteem drives the addiction, and the addiction drives the low sense of self. The hypersexual activity offers instant gratification, but that reward is minimal when compared to the psychological pain that is suffered on a day to day basis. All too often, sex addicts engage in risky sexual behavior. They put themselves and others at risk for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
A future article will highlight the different types of sexual addictions.