The Risks of Habitually Fantasizing about Sex

Category : Sex Addiction Information

The Risks of Habitually Fantasizing about SexFantasizing about sex is natural; virtually everyone fantasizes about sex to some extent. Even monks and nuns are not immune to sexual thoughts and fantasies. However, psychologically healthy people do not allow their sexual fantasies to take control of, interfere with or cause problems in their lives.

For some, however, fantasizing about sex can become habitual, taking up more and more of their time. When a person indulges in habitual sexual fantasizing, it can exceed the realm of habit and enter the realm of addiction. Habitual fantasizing can also lead to acting on fantasies, which in turn can lead to serious trouble, especially if the sexual fantasies involve destructive behaviors, such as cheating on a spouse, or illegal behaviors, such as visiting prostitutes, exposing oneself in public or engaging in sex with minors.

Is Sex Addiction Real?

The traditional view of addiction is that it is a phenomenon linked inextricably to an addictive substance. However, physical addiction to a substance is more accurately termed dependence, whereas addiction is more accurately characterized as a psychological phenomenon that involves a compulsive preoccupation that often leads to destructive results. Psychological addiction can occur with or without a corresponding dependence on an addictive substance.

Brain imaging studies conducted over the years have consistently shown similar patterns in the brains of addicted people, regardless of whether the addiction was to heroin, alcohol, cigarettes, eating, shopping, gambling, surfing internet porn, visiting prostitutes or virtually any other activity that is compulsive and leads to negative consequences. Yes, sex addiction is real and needs to be treated like any other addiction.

Possible Consequences of Sex Addiction

One often used criterion for determining whether a given behavior has reached the point of addiction is whether or not the behavior is compulsive. Another criterion is whether or not the behavior is causing problems in the person’s life. When sexual behavior is compulsive and results in negative consequences, it may be regarded as an addiction.

Sex addiction can lead to an infinite number of possible negative consequences, including the following:

  • Contracting a sexually transmitted disease
  • Passing said disease on to a partner
  • Marital difficulties
  • Estrangement from family
  • Trouble with the law
  • Financial problems due to spending money on prostitutes or pornography
  • Embarrassment, humiliation and social ostracism
  • Loss of job and career
  • Being the victim of sexual assault
  • Being the victim of violent reprisal from victims or friends and family of victims of sexual misconduct

Individuals struggling with sex addiction should seek professional treatment.

Treating Sex Addiction

The good news is that sex addiction can be treated successfully. In fact, the prognosis for sex addicts who receive quality treatment is very good for a number of reasons. Sex addiction does not involve dependence on a substance that will produce physical withdrawal. Sex addiction is nearly always a maladaptive reaction to unmet emotional needs. This emotional distress typically has its roots in the past, and when the issues that caused or contributed to the sex addiction are addressed and resolved, the patient can expect to live a happier and more fulfilling life without feeling compelled to engage in destructive behaviors. A recovering sex addict can go on to experience success in all areas of his or her life, including interpersonal relationships.

If you would like help finding treatment for sex addiction, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today.