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A: Sex addiction is like any other addiction in that its associated behaviors are compulsive, escalate overtime, and will ultimately impact other areas of an individual’s life. All forms of addiction are marked by powerlessness over the addiction, loss of control, and unmanageability. For sex addicts, sexually-related compulsive behaviors hinder their ability to live normally. Addicts may engage in any of the following compulsive behaviors: masturbation, use of pornography, affairs, engagement with sex workers, exhibitionism, voyeurism, or anonymous sexual encounters.
A: Sex addiction is a brain based disorder that impinges on thinking. In the same way that drugs and alcohol create chemical changes in the brain, sexual activity also affects the brain. When an individual engages in a particular sexual behavior compulsively, the brain can become accustomed to this and begin craving more frequent and extreme sexual experiences.
A: Risk factors to developing a sexual addiction include having a co-occurring psychiatric disorder (i.e. depression, Bipolar disorder, personality disorder); a substance abuse or co-morbid addiction; or a history of physical or sexual abuse and/or other traumas. In addition, studies show individuals who come from families with rigid or poorly defined boundaries can be more likely to develop a sex addiction.
A: Yes. Studies suggest nearly 80% of sex addicted individuals have co-occurring addictions (i.e. alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, shopping).
A: Unlike other forms of addiction where abstinence is typically the objective, the goal of sexual sobriety is to develop a rich and fulfilling sex life that is devoid of secrecy and shame. The essential goal is abstinence from behaviors that are compulsive and destructive. The specific definition of sobriety is collaboratively defined between an individual and their therapist.
A: Yes! Recovery is absolutely possible! With a commitment to individual and group psychotherapy along with 12 step groups, the hold of sexual addiction on a person’s life can be broken.
A: Yes. There is a difference between having a large sexual appetite and having a sexual addiction. Sexual addiction is a disorder where an individual uses various sexual behaviors in an attempt to cope with life stressors and difficult feelings. Furthermore, if your sexual behaviors have led to emotional or physical consequences; difficulties in your relationships or career; or even caused legal issues, sex addiction may play a role. Sex addicts spend a significant amount of time and energy focused on sexual behaviors, which can often create difficulties in other areas of an individual’s life. Moreover, sex addicts are frequently unable to keep their commitments about modifying or stopping their sexual behaviors and may have made previous attempts to stop.