The Growing Awareness Around Sex Addiction

Edited by Living Sober

Last updated April 25, 2013

Sex addiction is one of the most common addictions in the country, as more people are struggling with this issue than ever before. This type of addiction is often defined as a “progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and behaviors.” For many who battle with this problem, it can tear apart their relationships with others, as well as perpetuate their own continual emotional harm.

In comparison with most addictions or mental illnesses, sex addiction is much more common. Currently 3%-5% of the United States population struggles with this condition, with more men than women developing sex addiction. These types of sex addiction can include fascinations with pornography, engagements in risky sexual behaviors, chronic masturbation and more.

The Negative Impacts of Sex Addiction

Sex addiction not only affects the individual who has the problem, but it also impacts his or her loved ones as well, prompting major growth in sex addiction awareness as a whole. Some of the most commonly recognized impacts of sex addiction can include the following:

  • Emotional – The emotional effects that a sex addiction can cause often impacts his or her loved ones more than it does them. Their addiction can encourage distrust in relationships, resentment from loved ones, anxiety about his or her whereabouts and more. These emotions can cause cracks in a foundation of a relationship, making it more susceptible to failing as a result.
  • Social – Sex addicts often find themselves engaging in isolating behaviors that keep them from excelling socially. As their behaviors are often done in private, their need to fulfill their compulsions keep them from participating in social events or making plans with others. This can not only lead to the demise of an individual’s relationships as well as cause them to begin experiencing depression as a result of loneliness and isolation.
  • Psychological – Because sexual addiction is often connected to an individual’s emotional stability, it can cause psychological side effects that make them have difficulty engaging in intimacy with others. This mental roadblock can cause an individual to withdraw from their intimate relationships with significant others, often causing the development of emotional friction that can become the cause of the end of that relationship.
  • Physical – Sexual addiction is also highly dangerous, because those who engage in this behavior often do so without thinking about the negative physical consequences that can occur as a result. This includes the spread of STD’s including HIV, unwanted pregnancies or more. These side effects can greatly affect an individual’s health, as well as the health of his or her partner.

These effects, including all the emotional, social, psychological and physical side effects, are all symptoms of this particular addiction, which are growing more noticeable as sex addiction awareness continues to develop.

Treatment Options for Sex Addiction

Because sex addiction is quickly becoming one of the most common addictions in the country, more and more individuals are gaining a strong awareness of not only the effects of the addiction, but also the available treatment options. These options can include behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy that will help sex addicts understand why they have compulsive sexual behaviors and allow them to learn how to curb those behaviors to prevent them from continuing. In addition, traditional psychotherapy can also be of benefit to sex addicts, as they are able to work one on one with a therapist who can help them restore their relationships as well as put an end to their sex addiction. As the awareness around this disorder grows, so does the options for care for not only the addict, but for his or her family as well.

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