Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative effect on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder develops. Gradually, the addict usually has to redouble the obsessive behavior to obtain the same results.
For many sex addicts, conduct does not progress further than compulsive masturbation or the extensive use of pornography or phone or computer sex services. For others, addiction can involve illegal activities such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, profane phone calls, child molestation or rape.
Sex addicts do not necessarily turn into sex offenders. Moreover, not every sex offenders are sex addicts. Roughly 55 percent of convicted sex offenders can be deemed sex addicts.
About 71 percent of child molesters are sex addicts. For many, their problems are so severe that imprisonment is the only way to guarantee society’s safety against them.
Society has accepted that sex offenders act not necessarily for sexual gratification, but instead out of a disturbed need for power, control, control or revenge, or a perverted expression of anger. More recently, however, an understanding of brain changes and brain reward associated with sexual behavior has led us to understand that there are also powerful sexual energies that motivate sex offenses.
The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.” Puts simply, a sex addict will continuously participate in particular sexual behaviors in spite of experiencing possible health risks, financial troubles, shattered relationships or even arrest.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, Volume Four defines sex addiction, under the category “Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified,” as “distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used.” According to the manual, sex addiction also involves “compulsive searching for multiple partners, compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships and compulsive sexuality in a relationship.”.
Growing sexual provocation within our society has spawned an increase in the number of people engaging in a range of uncommon or illicit sexual practices, including phone sex, the use of escort services and computer pornography. More of these people and their companions are seeking help.
The exact same compulsive conduct that characterizes other dependencies also is typical of sex addiction. However these other addictions, including drug, alcohol and gambling dependency, involve substances or activities with no necessary relationship to our survival. For instance, we can live typical and happy lives without ever gambling, taking illegal drugs or consuming alcohol. Even the most genetically susceptible individual will function well without ever being exposed to, or provoked by, these addictive activities.
Sexual activity is different. Like eating, having sex is necessary for human survival. Even though some people are celibate– some not voluntarily, while many others choose celibacy for cultural or religious reasons– healthy humans have a robust desire for sex. In fact, lack of interest or low interest in sex can indicate a medical issue or psychiatric illness.
Healthy Sexuality can certainly be reclaimed by getting to root causes for the intimacy issues which are underlying the Sex Addiction. Find a licensed and certified therapist to treat your sex addiction or compulsion issues.