Dr Patrick Carnes claims that sex addiction is similar to other types of addiction (such as alcohol and drug addiction). The addict has a pathologic relationship with a substance or activity, in this case, sexual behaviour. Furthermore, sex addicts are also helpless victims of their actions; they have lost control over their sexual expression, characterizing them as addicts. Sex addiction is viewed as a disease and sickness in this perspective, even though many people think it shouldn't be ...
Dr Patrick Carnes claims that sex addiction is similar to other types of addiction (such as alcohol and drug addiction). The addict has a pathologic relationship with a substance or activity, in this case, sexual behaviour. Furthermore, sex addicts are also helpless victims of their actions; they have lost control over their sexual expression, characterizing them as addicts. Sex addiction is viewed as a disease and sickness in this perspective, even though many people think it shouldn't be classified as an addiction.
Though it can affect anybody, sex addiction affects certain groups more frequently than others. The number of people suffering from sex addiction in the United States is believed to be between 12 and 30 million. Both men and women can be affected by sex addiction, while there is limited study on female sex addiction. The average number of sexual partners for men with sex addiction is 32, whereas the average number of sexual partners for women is 22.
Irrespective of whether you believe sex addiction is a real disorder or not, you can't argue that people in today's world are developing unhealthy relations with sex. The prevalent "hook up" culture that has boomed in the past couple of years has become discerning and dangerous. That, coupled with a lack of sex education amongst our youth, can ruin sex for us.
According to a study, hookup culture is a problem not because it promotes casual sex but because it makes a damaging sort of casual sexual involvement feel obligated, especially among students. Students who do not hook up can become socially isolated, while those who do are obligated to follow a dysfunctional set of rules. It can lead to myriad problems such as depression, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and unhealthy psychosexual trauma. Even people with sexual trauma can still become sex addicts, leaving little chance on the entire spectrum to get away from this culture scot-free.
Sex addiction is commonly defined as a compulsive need to participate in sexual behaviours regardless of the potential adverse effects. Because sex addiction is still under-recognized in the mental health community, its diagnostic criteria are frequently ambiguous and wishy-washy. Although there are many signs and symptoms, a person may be suffering from sex addiction. These are some of them:
According to surveys for sex addictions, during childhood:
Various types of trauma could play a role in developing sex addiction. The trauma could be developmental, such as when there isn't enough support at home for the reality of adolescent sexuality. Alternatively, early on, there may be an overabundance of sexuality promotion. Trauma, such as sexual abuse, can disrupt healthy sexual development by disrupting the necessary physical, emotional, and psychological processes for healthy sexual activity.
According to some, addiction may emerge due to attempts to self-medicate the agony of earlier sexual trauma, such as family therapist Mark Robinett.
Another psychological issue that compliments hypersexuality is "Daddy Issues," which is very prevalent in women. This troublesome dependence on older men can be emotional, psychological and physical. This is also a result of unhealthy relationships generated during childhood with a father or a father figure.
According to other research, biochemical components in the brain may also play a role in sex addiction. The chance of becoming a sex addict is considerably increased by biochemical abnormalities and other alterations in the brain. Because medications like psychiatric medication and antidepressants have been shown to assist treat sex addiction, it's possible that physiological shifts are to blame for the higher risk of becoming a sex addict.
Other than that, according to research, sex addiction activates the same reward system in the brain as many other addictions, including drug addictions. The release of dopamine controls this reward system. The more hypersexualized the act, the greater dopamine is released and the higher the tolerance is. This lends credence to the concept that sex addiction follows a physiological and psychological pattern similar to other addictions.
Despite what you may read and see on the internet, sex addiction is genuine. Sex addiction can cause many issues in relationships, especially in married or monogamous couples who have been together for a long time. Outside of their partnership, someone with a sex addiction would frequently pursue several partners. They may also regularly experience financial difficulties due to their desire for sexual fulfilment, leading to severe conflict with their spouse.
To bring forth more light to this issue, it's imperative to determine where it stems from and triggers it. Understanding your sex addiction is the first step to overcoming it. Think of it as a prelude to therapy and seeking help.
We have ten days, an exercise a day, to help you become aware of your situation as a sex addict. Questions for each day accompany this ten-day challenge. Answering these questions will help you get to the root cause of the problem. It'll also help you gauge just how severe your addiction is.
Someone suffering from sex addiction may find themselves thinking about sex all the time. Sexual fantasies or compulsive thoughts about sex can become obsessive and interfere with other tasks. What they won't stop to think about, however, is the toll that it's taking on their lives.
We often turn a blind eye to our follies and fallacies as human beings. We're never in our own business as much as we are in everyone else's. So it's pretty easy to shut out the harmful stuff that we do. Our natural state isn't self-aware, so we always need to keep at it. There are many easy ways to develop self-awareness.
Question: How often are you having sex? What type of sexual encounters are you often faced with?
Taking an inventory of your sex life means sitting down and writing about your daily, weekly sexual activities. It also means you need to think about both the urgency and frequency of those activities and the circumstances which give rise to those desires. For example, sexual addiction can lead to some people's improper or dangerous sexual practices. Exhibitionism, public sex, sex without protection, cheating on a partner, and sex with prostitutes are examples of this. Approaching this task with mindful awareness will help you take stock of where you're at.
Sexuality has never been more socially acceptable in the United States. The detailed coverage of sexual acts in the media, movies, newspapers, and magazines has made sex a part of popular culture. In many respects, sexual expression, like gambling, attending sporting events, and watching movies, has become a sort of recognized entertainment. Internet pornography has grown into a humungous industry that defies belief.
Question: What do you like about porn or other sexualized media content? When did you start consuming such content?
Sexual satisfaction through media consumption is a sign of an unhealthy relationship with sex, especially if it's time-consuming and leaves you feeling worse off than before. A good example is pornography. By restricting yourself from your routine to consume your share of hypersexualized media, you'll be able to gauge just how much your actual sex life is dependent on it.
If you're looking to determine the cause of your sex addiction, it's essential to look at what your past relationships have been like. For a lot of us, sex is something very personal. Once that barrier to sexuality is crossed, sex tends to change for us. If you go through that barrier with trauma, you'll most likely develop an unhealthy sexual relationship. This relationship can impact your relationship with your body as well.
People suffering from psychosexual trauma are encouraged to write down things from their past that could have developed the trigger that caused them to come down this path in the first place.
Question: Write down the story of a sexual exchange that influenced your life.
It doesn't matter if it's the story of losing your virginity, masturbating to a kink for the first time, a traumatic event from your childhood, or even sexual trauma. There is no telling what sexual event (either consensual or not) triggered the chain of events leading you here. What matters is being aware and accepting that whatever happened, happened. It's one of the most critical steps to your recovery.
Like with all addictions, triggers present that can catalyze your hypersexual behaviours. For some, it can be caused by a rush of happiness, adrenaline, courage, or even sadness or anger. Shan Boodram, a sexologist and licenced sex educator, coined the term "turn-on triggers" to help people understand what signals arousal for them as individuals.
She's utilized this strategy in his counselling to assist people in realizing why they don't feel like they have enough passion in their relationships. It was also used to assist single people in determining whether they are being manipulated into sexual relationships that aren't beneficial to them.
Question: What are your turn on triggers? How many are stemmed from positive situations? How many are from negative?
As a part of your recovery, identifying and accepting triggers is very important, as in all addictions. Sex addiction is no exception. Listing out triggers can help you understand more about the underlying reasons behind them.
Given the heinous historical context and the present media's portrayal of sexuality, it's easy to see a link between shame and personal desires, especially if you don't feel validated in your sexual choices.
When a sexual urge becomes an addiction, a person's sexual feelings may be accompanied by feelings of fear, humiliation, melancholy, or regret. The person may feel ashamed of their sexual desires and inability to manage them. They could even exhibit clinical depression or suicidal ideation. According to research, sexually obsessive people are more likely to show indicators of sadness, anxiety, and social anxiety. Unhealthy relationships with sex can also be related to negative body images of oneself.
Question: Do you use sex as a medium for expressing your feelings?
It's essential to give context to your feelings. We will often use sex as a weapon or a way out instead of dealing with the things causing the trauma. Exploring it in writing may help you shine some light on said trauma.
No one wants to have sex on a schedule. It's dull, unexciting, and probably the most dreadful thing if you get off on the mystery of your subsequent sexual encounter. However, if you're a sex addict, you may need to try to keep your sexual encounters under check and balance.
As a sex addict, you don't need to cut out sex from your life, unlike alcoholism or drug addiction. But you need to be mindful of the number of sexual encounters you're having. This can also be beneficial if you're in a committed relationship.
Question: How many sexual encounters are you willing to limit yourself to in a week?
Limiting yourself from hypersexualized activity in your life will give you more room to introspect after each encounter. Did it make you feel bad? Did you enjoy it? Were the circumstances worth the amount of satisfaction received? Etc.
Dr Sara C. Flowers, vice president of education and training at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says that having a vehicle for expressing your thoughts and feelings can be an excellent place to start and a way to process circumstances afterwards. There is no requirement that you share your journal with anybody else, but you should be having open conversations about sex with your trusted sexual partner.
Question: What open conversations about sex do you want to have with your partner?
"Once you get more comfortable working through your feelings on your own, you may feel ready to discuss them with someone you trust. This could mean talking about sex in general, or perhaps sharing some of the feelings and emotions about sex you've journaled about," said Flowers.
Additionally, in getting to know what pleases you, remember that you're not obligated to engage in this discovery with anyone else — though you can if you want. Learning what you do and don't like can make it easier to communicate with your partner(s) if you're interested in doing so. It can also help you relieve some of those negative feelings surrounding sex.
Meditation and sex might not be the first things that come to mind. The first entails sitting alone in silence, but the second is more active, typically noisier, and ideally involves someone else. Your attitude toward it mainly determines your enjoyment of it, and as a result, mindfulness may play an essential role in ensuring that you have the best possible experience. The mental side of sex is critical for developing and maintaining intimacy and maintaining a positive relationship with sex.
Question: How do you feel during and after sex?
Think of it this way, if you go for mindful sexual encounters, that means you have your heart in it, and you've invested. That would mean less importance for meaningless and awkward spur of moment hookups. Once you try mindful sex, you may not want to have just any old sexual experience.
Comprehensive addiction treatment opens up the possibility of developing new, healthy behaviours. You might find that taking care of yourself through treatment, nutrition, and exercise is enough, or you might want to pursue a new pastime.
Finding happiness in your life can come from the most unexpected areas, so have an open mind and try new things. Begin small. Perhaps you might look for a new TV show to watch. One that is in line with your new life direction. As you evolve into the new, you will receive a comprehensive treatment covering all aspects of your life.
Question: What are some ways you can beneficially spend your free time?
You can find a new purpose by adopting a new beneficial behaviour. And that can be highly beneficial. Set yourself up for success by adopting new habits that will keep you as far from your triggers as possible.
According to Psychiatry, cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is particularly successful at helping clients confront the self-defeating, delusional attitudes common in sex addiction. Clients learn to recognize their behavioural triggers and build new coping mechanisms for dealing with these circumstances or emotions in a good way with CBT. CBT can be used with intensive talk therapy, support group participation, trauma therapy, and family counselling to improve treatment outcomes.
Question: Are you comfortable sharing your sexual experiences with a therapist, and why?
To reiterate once again, we at JournalOwl stand by the brilliant and effective method of journaling therapy. Hence, to help you on this journey of self-reflection, you can sign up to our website for a daily online journal. Write your thoughts down no matter where you are with us!