Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behaviors

Category : Sex Addiction Information

Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual BehaviorsThe article, “Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior” (2006), by Thomas Mick and published in CNS Spectrums, reports that 5-6% of the population is affected by impulsive-compulsive sexual behavior. This involves difficulty controlling sexual behavior or thoughts related to sex, and refers to the combination of impulsive elements of gratification with compulsive continuation of the behavior. Mick identifies seven types of impulsive-compulsive sexual behavior, and these include the following:

  • Multiple partners
  • Fixation on an unattainable partner
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Compulsive use of porn
  • Compulsive use of the Internet for sexual purposes
  • Multiple love relationships
  • Compulsive sexuality in a relationship

Each can have real and serious consequences in a person’s life and may contribute to co-occurring substance use issues.

Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior and Addiction

Impulsive-compulsive sexual behavior alternately falls into impulse control disorder or sexual disorder categories but isn’t necessarily categorized as a behavioral addiction. This behavior typically co-occurs with a mental health issue, substance abuse disorder or both. Mick reports that 46% of individuals who engage in impulsive-compulsive sexual behaviors have an anxiety disorder, 77% have a mood disorder and 46% have an active substance abuse disorder. These concerns may be the cause of the unhealthy sexual behavior, or they may develop in response to it. Individuals may feel they have no control over their actions, and they may turn to drugs or alcohol to mask these feelings. Others may struggle with anxiety that expresses itself in impulsive behaviors. Individuals may become depressed about the effects their compulsive behavior has had on their lives. These concerns become inextricably linked, and all must be addressed through comprehensive and integrated treatment options.

Treating Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior and Co-Occurring Concerns

Various forms of therapy can address unhealthy sexual behaviors. Uncovering the root causes of these behaviors lets individuals identify and therefore address these issues, and this can have far-reaching positive effects on a person’s life. Compulsive behaviors and substance use often develop as unhealthy coping mechanisms for larger underlying concerns. Integrated treatment will provide complete care for all related mental health and addiction issues.

Finding Substance Abuse and Behavioral Addiction Help

If you are struggling with substance abuse and compulsive or addictive behaviors, call our toll-free helpline. We are here 24 hours a day to connect you to integrated treatment resources that will provide lasting recovery solutions. All calls are toll free and confidential, so please reach out today and get the help you need.