Sex and the discussion of sexual experiences can often trigger discomfort in people but science has proved that is indeed possible to get addicted to sex. This addiction is similar to that for substances such as nicotine, alcohol, cannabis etc. Sex addiction can be described as any sexual activity that an individual feels has gone out of their control.
Healthy people, when faced with challenges, can connect deeply with another person on an emotional level (sharing feelings of sadness, despair, rejection, anger,etc.). However, relying on sexual behaviours and/or fantasies to cope with emotions during stressful life circumstances is unhealthy. In such cases, sex addiction can be seen as an intimacy or attachment disorder. If you or a loved one are going through something painful in your life where you fear that compulsive behaviors with sex or pornography are affecting your relationship, job, or even just your daily happiness, you must be aware that these issues can be resolved and treated.
1. Masturbation to sexual fantasies or pornography(compulsive to the point where the addict is doing this more than he/she would like)
2. Use of erotic massage
3. Use of strip clubs, sex clubs
4. Sex with prostitutes
5. Cybersex, chatlines, etc.
6. Casual hook-ups or anonymous sex
Voyeurism, exhibitionism, and other sex-offending behaviours
Sexual addiction becomes a problem as it involves frequent self-destructive or high-risk activities that further leads to shame. For example, if a man starts to view pornography regularly, he begins to believe that is how real people have sex. This can then lead to loss of interest in his spouse. Sometimes this can involve masturbation at work, viewing pornography on work servers, etc at which point the illness has increased to a level where it can jeopardize his relationships and livelihood. The link between drug addiction and sexual addiction is further reinforced when people want to escape the emotional and social consequences of their actions and use substances to manage the resultant guilt.
It is clear that sexual addiction is not about morality or sex; however, this can be very difficult to accept. In a marriage when infidelity due to compulsive sexual behaviour is involved, it is not an indication of someone’s character but rather an illness. Several other behavioural addictions like gambling, eating, and overspending are as real as sex/porn addiction. It is important that people whose lives are affected by problematic sexual behaviours are treated by well-trained therapists as several complex issues must be managed.