While sex addiction has existed for quite some time, the science and psychology behind it has only been understood for a few decades. Though the struggle is certainly nothing new, contemporary cultural and technological changes have enabled it and possibly complicated recovery.
The Science behind Sex Addiction
The brain manages a wide variety of functions through a system of chemical signals in the central nervous system. Behaviors such as sex, exercise, thrill-seeking, spending money and eating release of natural “feel good” chemicals into the bloodstream. For most people these chemical signals reinforce healthy behaviors, but for others they work like drugs. People will feel compelled to repeat those behaviors to calm their brains, so for many people sex has become a debilitating way to feel normal. Psychological dependency upon sex can cause the following consequences:
- Failed relationships
- Legal problems associated with prostitution
- Obsessive masturbation and pornography use that compromises jobs, friendships and social life
- Anxiety disorders
Most sex addicts don’t even realize they have a problem until they attempt to reduce or end their sexual behavior.
Sex Addiction Issues
The following changes helped increased the number of people struggling with sex addiction:
- Looser standards for sexual behavior
- Easy and free access to pornography online and on mobile devices
- More frequent exposure of minors to sexually explicit material
- Proliferation of sexually explicit material in the home through cable or satellite TV
When left untreated this disorder leads to serious shame, frustration and anxiety. Sex also becomes less and less satisfying, which leads many sex addicts to experiment with increasingly riskier sex acts to find satisfaction. Personal injury and death have been associated with acts such as auto-erotic asphyxiation, a strangling technique used to heighten sexual response by cutting off blood flow to the brain during orgasm.
Sex Addiction Treatment Options
Alongside the increasing quantity of people struggling with sex addiction, the number of treatment programs and options has skyrocketed recently. Residential and outpatient programs help sex addicts reprogram their brains through a combination of therapeutic tools, including the following:
- Personal counseling
- Support group meetings
- Full-time accountability
- Introduction to healthy coping and relaxation skills
- Diagnosis of any co-occurring psychological disorders
With the right help, a sex addict can find lasting recovery.
Sex Addiction Help
If you are struggling with sex addiction please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline any time. Our recovery counselors will answer your questions with candor and expertise. You can control your response to sex and start rebuilding trust with your friends and loved ones. Our staff is up to speed on the latest treatment techniques, so call us today for immediate help.