Addiction can be a haunting source of great shame for people. Covering up sexual addiction can be tiring and cumbersome. The good news is, all hope is not lost! There are many ways to work with addiction and live an enriching life.
This article is meant to serve as a hopeful starting point. A comprehensive treatment program and therapy is ideal for treating sex addiction. Let’s dive in to see what you can do to help heal from sexual addiction.
The Most Common Questions Regarding Sexual Addiction
Is There A Difference?
There’s a stark contrast between sexual addiction and other forms of addiction. Often, sexual addiction has no visible symptoms like with typical substances. It can be done in private and kept far away from unsuspecting family members and partners. For some this hiding allows their secret to go unnoticed and therefore, untreated. This is also likely due to the topic’s stigma, making it almost impossible to discuss it with others.
The Most Common Questions About Sexual Addiction
When we bring up healing from sexual addiction, a couple of common questions run through our minds. Allow us to answer the most frequently asked questions to clarify some myths about sex addiction. Hopefully, the answers will make it easier to have an open conversation about sexual addiction and encourage the healing process.
1. What is Sexual Addiction?
Before diving into the deep end, let’s make sure we can manage the shallow waters. We will start by understanding what addiction is. It is the inability to stop a behavior or using something which leads to harmful outcomes. Addiction is often a response to pain or due to an unmet desire for connection.
Addiction does not only apply to substance abuse. Sex addiction is getting hooked to the sensation and gratification brought about by sex, either solo or with partners. Simply, an addiction to pornography, masturbation, and sexual encounters.
2. When is it Sexual Addiction? When is it not?
As stated earlier, people unconsciously use their addiction to deal with pain and a lack of connection. Folks who deal with sex addiction typically reach a level where their main focus becomes sex and they are unable to consider the consequences of risky behavior because of their obsession.
For example someone suffering from sex addiction may cheat on their partner impulsively, have sex without protection with strangers or participate in other compromising behaviors risking their job and important relationships to satisfy the immediate sexual craving. It’s not about having too much sex, it’s about having sex that causes very real damage or disruption in one’s life.
3. Is there a Difference Between Sexual Addiction and Other Forms of Addiction?
It can be difficult to “tell” if someone has sex addiction. Unlike other addictions where there is a visible substance being consumed, a direct intake and resulting high, sex is more intangible.
Usually when signs of sexual addiction are clear, the situation is already out of hand. This can make it especially hard to stop since it’s been hidden for so long. Remember, no matter how long this has been going on, all people can change with the proper support and helpful environment. Again, this is why we recommend seeking professional help if caught up in Sex Addiction.
It can be helpful to recognize the similarity that this addiction and drug addiction have is brain activity and dopamine release which causes the person to get trapped in a cycle of seeking repetition. Professional help can help break this cycle and create new, healthy habits instead.
4. Is it Possible to Hide a Sexual Addiction?
Many consider being a sex addict shameful, so when people know they have an issue they aren’t telling anyone. Due to the stigma surrounding it, this could negatively affect relationships with friends, family, and at work. While it may be tempting to hide sex addiction from everyone, it is important to begin the process by sharing the sexual addiction issues with a trusted counselor or group. By sharing one can begin to figure out who they need to do next and who they need to tell in order to move forward.
5. Is Sex Really Addictive?
Sex is both physical and emotional. If someone is experiencing pain or craving genuine connection, sex serves as a short-term break from their discomfort. Many sex addicts use sex as an ego booster which creates another dopamine cycle of “scoring” or proving their worth through sexual encounters.
Sex itself does not cause addiction. Addiction is brought on by unresolved trauma and habits gone wrong. Although addiction is more intense than a simple bad habit, just like a bad habit, with the proper support it can be changed.
6. Are Sex Addicts Aware of the Problem?
Are any of us aware of our problems? ? Sometimes yes, other times no. Many therapists state that as long as it is disrupting life and causing distress, it is a problem Ignorance is bliss, as they say! Sex addiction could be worse for one person yet more manageable to another. For example, if someone is getting caught masturbating at work putting their job at risk, it is time to get professional help. If someone is missing class and failing school because they are watching porn, it is time to get professional help. However, it is up to the individual to be able to recognize the problem at hand.
These are just a few worst-case scenarios, but if you’re noticing you or someone you love is making questionable choices due to sex addiction, first take a step back. Try again to observe the behavior with an unbiased eye. If then, the problem still seems apparent, consult a professional for guidance on what to do next.
7. Is Abstinence Important When Healing From Sexual Addiction?
To get over a nicotine addiction, does one have to quit smoking? You know the answer. The same applies in this case. Professionals recommend a period of abstinence to allow one to break the cycle of addiction.
We don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble. The good news is once an addict heals from sexual addiction, they can start engaging in sex again, mindfully. They can rediscover sex in a different way!
8. How can one Heal From Sexual Addiction?
There are many ways to heal from sexual addiction. Addictions are unique to the individual, so treatment isn’t one size fits all. I would advise anyone experiencing addictive tendencies with sex to seek medical help from a licensed psychologist or a certified sex therapist.
Have no fear of perfection-you will never reach it.Salvador Dali
The Bottom Line
No one is aware of the battles another is fighting. All we can do is be kind to others and ourselves. Everyone craves connection and to soothe pain so we can all understand addiction in this way. Seeking the help of a professional therapist when things get tough is a strength, not a weakness. Admitting your limits is important in both kink AND life. It is important to remember that healing from sexual addiction will not happen overnight. Rome was never built in a day.
If you know someone who may have a sex addiction, send them this article. It might be the help that person needs to start on the road to recovery.