Sex addiction: Symptoms, Forms, and treatment
Sex addiction (sexual addictive behavior) is an obsessive, pronounced hedonistic behavior that is used to achieve sexual satisfaction and sexual pleasure.
From a psychological point of view, dependence on sex is an obsessive need for sex, and the degree of dependence can be just as strong as it is from food, shopping, and gambling. The main feature of sexsomnia is the exaggeration of the importance of sexual relations when they are put at the forefront, and other life priorities are faded into the background. The search for pleasure becomes the main interest.
A number of the following features are characteristic of sex addiction:
- Loss of control over sexual aspirations.
- The negative consequences of such behavior, although a sexually dependent person denies them.
- An obsession with sexual predilections, uncontrollability of a person in other areas of life.
- High quantitative factor.
- Prolonged sexual abstinence can lead to a syndrome similar to withdrawal symptoms when taking psychoactive substances.
It is important to note that sexual activity then turns into an addiction when the behavior of a person shows signs of obsession, systematicity and lack of attention to possible consequences.
Sex addiction symptoms
There are several symptoms that are characteristic of sex addiction: lack of control over your own sexual desires; the presence of negative consequences of sexual behavior, which, as a rule, affect others; problems in other sectors of life, which causes an irrepressible thirst for sex; an increase in the frequency of sexual impulses over time; the presence of symptoms characteristic of the state of withdrawal while abstaining from sex; aggressive behavior towards the opposite sex. Most often, dependencies are indicated by connections with unfamiliar and unfamiliar partners, constant use of the services of prostitutes or online sex services. All the talk of an addict somehow relates to the sexual sphere.
Sexomania causes a keen desire to have sex regardless of place and time. Once the needs have been met, the addict immediately starts looking for a new object to satisfy the addiction. If this is not found, the sexually addicted person experiences a condition similar to an abstinence syndrome: he becomes depressed, indifferent to everything that happens. Only a new sexual partner is able to return interest to life to such people.
People who have a pathological sexual desire, get from sexual contact the same feelings as drug addicts – a pleasant euphoria, no sadness, fear, anger, anxiety, full satisfaction, which allows you to escape from everyday worries. Sexually dependent people, like drug addicts, also feel a desire to escape from reality. Over time, it becomes so strong that they can no longer resist it.
Sex addiction forms
The forms of manifestation of sex addiction are different: don Juanism (the desire for sexual relations with the largest possible number of women), attachment to pornography, different types of perversion of sexual activity. The latter include such phenomena as fetishism (intense fixation on any objects that are touched by strong sexual arousal), pygmalionism (fixation on photographs, paintings, non-pornographic sculptures), transvestism (the desire to dress in the opposite sex) , exhibitionism (intense sexual desire to expose genitals, show off to persons of the opposite sex, children), voyeurism (striving to peek naked or entering into sexual contact s people).
If we consider sex management as a disease, then the listed mental and behavioral disorders can be classified according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) to the following headings: F 64 – Disorders of gender identification: double role transvestism; F 65 – Disorder of sexual preference (paraphilia): fetishism; fetishistic transvestism; exhibitionism; voyeurism; pedophilia; sadomasochism.
With all these manifestations, there is a “surrogate substitution, a violation of real emotional relationships with people.” Sexual addicts face the risk of sexual dysfunction. Their sexual behavior is divorced from the personality aspect, it attracts and harms. The roots of sex addiction are laid at an early age in emotionally cold, dysfunctional families, in families where the parents themselves are addicts, where cases of sexual trauma during childhood are real.
Sex addiction in women and men
Most people with sex addiction are men, but sometimes there are women. The disease of sex dependence is manifested in a person in need to increase the number of sexual contacts. In rare cases, Sexomania leads to the desire to engage in non-traditional forms of sex, and may also violate the safety of other people.
Men may be prone to sexual abuse, incest, obsessive masturbation, and so on. Sex addiction helps to cope with their feelings of failure. They consider sex as the most important need in life, and love and sex for them are inseparable concepts.
Most often, sexually dependent men are convinced that no one will love and care for them without showing sexual attention. Such men mistakenly believe that they can love him only if they experience sexual attraction to them. Female addicts have similar perceptions. For example, the most common opinion is weakness and helplessness. At the same time, women feel their failure and are in constant fear of loneliness.
Sexually dependent women, as a rule, lead an irregular sex life, have contacts with strangers, almost all of them suffer from nymphomania. Many of these women have sexual intercourse in order to increase self-esteem and self-assertion, as well as to achieve short-term euphoria. They have a pathological desire to seduce men, to prove their worth, although usually under this property lies the fear of their own worthlessness. Most of them, therefore, are trying to get rid of loneliness for a while, because in life they lack normal communication and love. As a result, a vicious circle is formed – women in the pursuit of spiritual intimacy receive the physical, filling the void with feelings of power and euphoria.
According to psychoanalysts, the basis of sexual dependence is anxiety and fear. The feeling of fear and anxiety can disrupt the normal sexual structure of the personality. The state of attraction to the opposite sex reduces anxiety and fear. Man avoiding a negative state by satisfying his sexual needs, after their cancellation falls into a depressive state, is anxious and anxious, and in order to escape from this he needs a new portion of sexual contacts, therefore it becomes difficult for the man himself to deal with this problem.
Sex addiction stages
Stage 1. Obsession with sexual thoughts. Such over-employment is obsessive-compulsive, i.e. neurosis of obsessive states associated with sex appears. Thoughts on sex take almost all the time, this is a favorite topic for reflection. A person experiences a certain pleasure at the moment of these reflections, his consciousness and perception change, sexual fantasies take on the immense importance for the addict. Surrounding people are perceived by the addict as sexual objects. All activities, except fantasies on the topic of sex, seem to be necessary and unpleasant for a person, which do not give any satisfaction.
This stage can take quite a long time and is not accompanied by any specific actions.
Stage 2 At this stage ritualization of behavior occurs. Certain schemes are being developed in which one event follows another in a strict sequence. Such ritualization is accompanied by changes in the psychological state of consciousness. The person is in a state of psychological relaxation. This stage takes a lot of time and energy. Sex addiction allows you to realize sexual fantasies and for its implementation is allocated a certain time. Ritual behavior is often not noticed by other people, as a person still tries to preserve the image of an ordinary person in relation to the world.
Stage 3, which is accompanied by compulsive sexual behavior. A person already loses control, which is similar to other forms of dependence. At this stage, the addict is no longer able to constantly hide his disease, he is no longer able to control his actions. It is hard for him to stop, sexual activity has long reached all limits. A person at this phase of sex addiction already feels the need to stop, he no longer feels pleasure, his self-esteem falls and an inferiority complex appears.
4 stage. The hardest and last stage of sex addiction. It is also called the stage of the disaster. A person feels absolute powerlessness, despair, hatred of his own personality, he is no longer able to cope with his addiction.
sex addiction treatment
How to treat a person with a sex addiction? If it is a question of psychological help, then a psychologist specializing in this kind of activity can help a person learn to control his arousal and emotions, as well as to find inner strength in order to fight off feelings of fear, anxiety, and desolation.
Sexually dependent people do not always agree to come to an appointment with a specialist, as most of them simply do not realize the severity and severity of their illness. If a person decides to turn to a psychologist, he should tune in to long-term psychotherapeutic work, which will help reduce the degree of dependence.
A person with sex addiction must learn to communicate with people, learn to understand and establish relationships. Since it is the social and personal aspects of a person that help to get rid of loneliness and improve relations with other people.
Treatment of sex addiction abroad
The question “how to get rid of sex addiction?” Worries many more people than is commonly thought. In large US communities, specialized institutions are currently working to cure people obsessed with this type of addiction, open societies of sex-makers and anonymous groups are actively developing in different countries, where intensive treatment of addiction is conducted (the so-called anonymous sexaholics). Patients say that they are not able to remain faithful to their spouse and refrain from relationships in the workplace, because of this they lose their positions, ruining the family.
In contrast to the treatment of alcoholism, the sexual man is not offered absolute abstinence. The task of therapy is to teach moderation in sexual relations, to discard from the disorder in sexual life (as an option – from frequent masturbation). However, people are often embarrassed to talk about such a problem, being aware of its asocial nature and trying to control their own needs. Failure to satisfy one’s desires can result in a deep depression, and under certain circumstances, an addict may also begin to seek salvation in alcohol or narcotic substances. In the treatment of sex management abroad, a group of special antidepressant inhibitors is actively used, inhibiting attraction, reducing the level of sensitivity to orgasm.
In foreign clinics resort to such methods:
treatment of sex addiction Working with a psychotherapist is one of the most effective ways of treating sex management (in particular, it is cognitive-behavioral therapy). By interacting with an addict, the doctor eliminates the main reasons for the development of such a disorder, works with changing attitudes to satisfaction, sex life in principle, creates awareness in a person of the dangers of such a lifestyle, teaches him to effectively control his impulses, to shift attention to other exciting activities.
Drug support – to defeat Sexomania, drug therapy is used to relieve symptoms such as bad mood, aggression, appetite deterioration, and depressiveness. Both antidepressants and sedatives can be prescribed to a person. Such prescriptions are made by a psychiatrist, it is he who controls the whole course of treatment, including with the administration of medicines.
Interaction with the instructor – during the process of getting rid of dependence, the patient needs qualified help from someone nearby so that during difficult moments he can support the person, not allowing him to give up and refuse therapy. This role is played by center instructors, qualified specialists, who have usually mastered the methods of getting rid of addictions by personal example. For the period of therapy, the instructor will become the best patient assistant – he accompanies the patient in the course of treatment, helping to solve related issues.
Family psychotherapy – if the addict has a family, Sexomania, of course, affects his relationship. So that they return to normal, the psychotherapist should have several sessions (family therapy). After a detailed analysis of the key situations that were on the way to happiness, having learned the correct communication in the family, the patient acquires the possibility of building updated relationships with his relatives.
Differences with other types of sex addiction
Sexomania cannot be considered as dependence comparable to the behavior aimed at substance abuse. The basis of sexual desire, as well as alcohol and drug addiction, are similar biochemical processes: activation of the positive reinforcement system in the central nervous system occurs, biological substances that are similar in nature to their activity are exogenous drugs – endorphins. However, the somatic effects of substance abuse and sex are different. Although Sexomania entails quite serious physical and psychological problems. Inadequate behavior leads to a number of difficulties at work and in communication, which has a destructive effect on family life. In patients with this disease, the risk of venereal diseases, including AIDS, increases markedly. In especially severe cases, Sexomania leads to physical exhaustion and serious social problems.
More than others, those who are prone to copying the behavior and way of life of others are at risk of developing sex management; love risk and new sensations; differ in suggestibility; have a strong fear of being alone; have a difficult relationship with parents of the opposite sex; acutely experiencing critical life situations.
Sexomania is primarily a psychological disorder, but the basis of which may be based on pathological physiological mechanisms – changes in the neurohumoral status of the body, including neurodegenerative changes in brainstem structures, metabolic disorders, as well as congenital abnormalities. From this point of view, sex management is not a disease that can be treated using psychological approaches and cannot only be the subject of attention of psychologists. First of all, it is necessary to make a correct diagnosis: whether a person is sick or is it possible manifestations of promiscuity, inability or not to control oneself, defects in upbringing, etc. In this regard, in all cases of suspicion of sex addiction and diagnosis should take part doctors: psychiatrists, narcologists, endocrinologists.