Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction, sometimes also called sexual compulsion or sexual dependency, is “any sexually-related compulsive behavior, which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved-ones and one’s work environment.” [1] It is estimated that between 3% and 5% of the U.S. population is impacted by some form of sexual addiction. Both men and women can suffer from sexual addiction, although, today, more men seek treatment than women.

 

Some behaviors associated with sexual addiction are:

 

  • Masturbation
  • Pornography
  • Having multiple (anonymous) sexual partners
  • Aversion to sex
  • Multiple affairs, sometimes more than one affair at the same time
  • Frequently participating in cyber sex or phone sex
  • Going to strip clubs
  • Using prostitutes for sex
  • Frequenting adult bookstores
  • Participating in unsafe sexual activity

 

For the person suffering from a sexual addiction, these behaviors are often repeated over and over, and the person may feel as if they have no control over them or are unable to stop. Even when faced with consequences, the behavior continues.

 

Sexual Addiction Impacts Many Aspects of Life

 

Relationships

 

For many, preoccupation with sex can cause problems in relationships. They may emotionally distance themselves from partners, friends and relatives because of their constant thoughts and actions.

 

Emotional Distress

 

Shame and guilt are common among sufferers. Their actions and behaviors are often in direct opposition to the beliefs and values they live by. They may live in constant fear of being “caught.” Many times, as sexual addiction progresses, sufferers feel depression or despair. Some may attempt suicide.

 

Career and Financial

 

Sexual addiction does not only impact relationships and emotional issues. It may interfere with career or job, by either decreased productivity in work or a loss of a job because of the preoccupation with sex. This can result in financial problems. In addition, there are costs associated with some behaviors of sexual addiction, such as phone sex, prostitution or sustaining affairs.

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