Why Do People Become Sex Addicts?
Research suggests a variety of reasons for sex addiction, from brain chemistry to family history. Early physical, emotional or sexual abuse may be a factor. Shame-based family dynamics that force basic human needs and feelings underground set the stage for a life of secrets and lies. Sex can become the prime coping mechanism for escaping bad feelings, tolerating emptiness, managing anxiety, or needing to self-soothe.
Warning Signs of Sex Addiction
Warning signs of sex addiction include preoccupation with sex and the pleasure it brings despite mounting negative consequences.
These consequences can first appear as a general irresponsibility that creates problems on the job, at home, and in relationships. If ignored or avoided long enough, this irresponsibility eventually becomes more serious and can result in loss of job, loss of family, legal complications, and/or a host of medical problems like STDs and HIV.
Is There a Cure for Sex Addiction?
Treatment for sex addiction is complex, and may involve many components including individual and/or group psychotherapy, couples therapy, 12-Step programs and more.
The goal of these interventions is the same: to reduce isolation and shame, identify family dynamics, educate about addiction and impulse management, create new coping strategies, address old family-of-origin issues and destructive patterns which hinder recovery, and develop new avenues for intimacy and trust.
Sex addiction, like all addiction, is a highly relapsable disorder that requires ongoing attention in order for the addict to live a healthy, sober life.
Myths of Sex Addiction:
Myth #1: There is no such thing as “sex addiction.” This term is just a reaction against sexual freedom and those who find intimacy in alternative lifestyles.
Response: Sex addiction has nothing to do with freedom, which involves choice. Freedom and intimacy are totally unknown to sex addicts, who are driven by their disease.
Myth #2: Calling this kind of sexual behavior an “addiction” lets too many shady characters and criminals off the hook.
Response: Most sex addicts are not criminals. In fact, according to a report published in USA Today, 42 percent of sex addicts earn more than $60,000 per year, 58 percent are college graduates.