Sex addiction is something not often mentioned when discussing general addiction issues. People who have an addiction to sex are very often told how ‘lucky’ they are to have high libidos and their partners are encouraged to make use of the increased sex drive as much as possible.
The truth behind sex addiction, however, is as dark as it is with any kind of addiction.
The Truth About Sex Addiction
As with any addiction, sex addiction is often hidden away from loved ones, friends and family members and is only really addressed when there is an inescapable ‘moment’ when the truth is discovered. Addicts will find themselves in positions where they have to have sex several times a day, masturbate regularly throughout the day, or even engage in sexual acts with strangers whenever there is an opportunity to do so.
Trying to describe sex addiction to someone who does not suffer from the illness is like saying breathing too much is bad for you – people just do not want to believe that there is such a thing as ‘too much sex’. It is a pleasurable act that most consenting adults gladly engage in; until it starts ruining his or her life, the addict cannot see the harm in it.
The Effects of Sex Addiction on an Addict’s Life
Just as with any other addiction, sex addiction takes its toll on the body physically and mentally. It is not clear which comes first – the addiction or the mental health issue – but there is a clear link between the two. Individuals addicted to sex find that they experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems if they don’t engage in regular sexual acts. When they are rebuffed by a tired partner for being too sexually demanding, they will resort to other measures such as compulsive masturbation or even sex with strangers to meet their bodies’ demands.
Sex with strangers comes with its own risks such as STIs, HIV and AIDS, hepatitis, and other transmittable diseases, and making use of sex workers can lead to other risks such as robbery and assault if it turns out that their services cannot be paid for.
If you are a sufferer, you may find that due to your increasing need for sex you are turning up late for work, have to take regular breaks to satisfy your urges and eventually become so distracted that you are unable to concentrate on your work. This could lead to you losing your job, and eventually your home and your family. Like any other addiction, there is a high risk of using all your savings to pay for the services of sex workers, buying sex toys and pornography, and other sex-related costs.
Sex addiction comes with its own psychological issues including body insecurity, personality disorders and other far-reaching effects. As it can be so difficult to talk about sex addiction, the addict grows secretive and, as with most other addictions, will do whatever possible to hide the fact that he or she is engaging in copious amounts of sex. There is a strong shame element attached to this addiction and approaching a sex addict about their addiction needs to be done in a careful and sensitive manner.
Another issue that is linked to sex addiction is love addiction. This is a complex pair of addictions that need expert help and treatment to overcome the effects of the addiction on the addict’s life.
At Recovery Lighthouse, our friendly and experienced staff have the knowledge and understanding of your situation to help you overcome your addiction and manage your life in a healthier and more positive way. There is no shame in admitting that you suffer from an addiction, and many of our counsellors have gone through addiction treatment themselves. They know what you are going through and are there to help you every step of the way.
The first step is to acknowledge that you have an addiction. The next is to ask for and actively seek and participate in a treatment programme. We are ready, willing, and able to answer your questions and give you the help that you need and deserve. Help is but a phone call away.