Does Sex Addiction Have Permanent Side-Effects?
Sex addiction involves compulsive sexual activity that causes a person to feel shame, anxiety and depression, and often has negative consequences on his or her life. While there is no external substance involved in sex addiction, the chemical reactions that take place during orgasm stimulate the opioid and dopamine receptors in the brain, and the reaction is similar to that produced by heroin in some individuals. People can become addicted to this natural high, especially when they are using sex to compensate for a lack of emotional intimacy. People who become addicted to sex often had negative early childhood experiences with sex or sexuality or may have been sexually abused. Growing up in a dysfunctional family home can also make a person more susceptible to sex addiction. Sex addiction is characterized by excessive masturbation, porn use and intercourse. It can lead a person to cheat on a spouse, solicit coworkers for sex, hire prostitutes or engage in other inappropriate or unhealthy behavior.
How Sex Addiction Can Lead to Mental Health Issues
A person addicted to sex may use masturbation or casual intercourse as a substitute for healthy stress relief and emotional intimacy. Sex addiction is progressive, and often leads to an increased obsession with sex and rebound depression or anxiety and feelings of low self-worth. Sex addiction can contribute to anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder or clinical depression.
Sex Addiction Can Lead to Drug Abuse and Addiction
An individual using sex to deal with negative feelings may turn to drugs to cope with feelings about sexual behaviors. This can include concurrent use of “party drugs” during unsafe or casual sex or alternating compulsive sex and drug use resulting from guilty feelings about both behaviors. Individuals may use drugs as a way to lower their own or others’ sexual inhibitions. Sex addicts that engage in masturbation may create patterned ritualistic behavior involving drugs that delay or intensify orgasm leading to hours of solo sexual activity. As sex addiction progresses, tolerance to drugs can lead to higher doses which carry the risk of addiction and overdose.
Permanent Consequences of Sex Addiction
Sex addiction can lead to unsafe or reckless behavior that can have long-term consequences. Infidelity can lead to divorce and loss of child custody, and time missed from work due to pursuing sex can lead to loss of job. Excessive use of porn and missed work can lead to debt. Sex addiction may escalate and lead to sexual harassment, sexual assault, obscene phone calls, exhibitionism, infidelity, prostitution or other illicit or illegal behaviors. These behaviors can lead to arrest, legal fees or even jail time. Sex addiction can cause stress and anxiety which negatively impact your overall health. Unsafe sex carries a risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Depression associated with sex addiction often leads to suicide ideation.
Get Help for Sex Addiction Now
If you would like an assessment of your sexual addiction risk or sexual addiction recovery needs, call our toll-free helpline. Understanding, nonjudgmental and confidential counselors are available 24 hours a day.
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