Sex addiction, also known as compulsive sexual behavior or hypersexual disorder, is an obsessive relationship to sexual thoughts, urges, or behaviors that an individual is unable to control, and that negatively affect their health, job, relationships, and other parts of their daily life. Like other addictions, sex addiction can cause an individual to continue engaging in certain behaviors even when they have harmful consequences.

In today’s society there seems to be so many things that people become addicted to: drugs, alcohol, food and even sex to name a few. It seems as if people are more understanding about what can lead a person to drug or alcohol addiction however when it comes to sex addiction it still seems to be that taboo thing that no one wants to talk about. Sex is something people don’t like to open up about. It feels like the dirty little secret. This also makes it hard for people to understand the nature of sex addiction. Alcohol and drugs aren’t things people need; they want it. People need food. When it comes to sex its human nature to desire it and want it. Sex addiction is seen as this shameful addiction that violates the moral fiber of society. So it’s harder for people to truly understand it.

Symptoms of sex addiction can vary but may include:

  • Compulsive sexual thoughts and actions.
  • A preoccupation with sexual acts and fantasies often to the exclusion of other activities.
  • Spending significant time in activities related to sexual behavior.
  • The inability to control or diminish these sexual urges and behaviors.
  • Engaging in these behaviors despite understanding potential health risks, financial problems, broken relationships, or legal issues.
  • Increasing tolerance, or needing to increase the intensity or frequency of sexual behavior to achieve the desired effect.
  • Experiencing distress, anxiety, restlessness, or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior.

Like other forms of addiction, sex addiction can be successfully managed through a combination of therapy, self-care, and sometimes medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoeducation, and self-help and support groups can be particularly beneficial. A treatment plan might also include measures to manage any underlying mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

As with other forms of addiction, confidentiality and privacy are critically important when treating sex addiction. This is particularly true for individuals in professions where there is a high degree of public trust or scrutiny. It’s vital for these individuals to know that they can seek help in a confidential, non-judgmental environment.

What You Need to Know About Sex Addiction

Sex addiction for many is hard to wrap their brain around. So when it comes to sex addiction it’s important to know that like with any other addiction, sex triggers areas of the brain that keeps telling the addict that the destructive behavior is good and should be repeated. So naturally they repeat it.

Addictions can feed off one another. The sex addict may use alcohol or drugs to elevate this high. Yet like with any other addiction, sex addiction isn’t discriminatory. Meaning anyone can be a sex addict in denial. Even someone you know. According to the American Association for Family and Marriage Therapy, there are over 12 million people affected by sex addiction.

Some famous people that have suffered from sex addiction have included:

  • Michael Douglas (Actor) – In 1990 Michael Douglas announced that he suffered from a sex addiction.
  • Jesse James (TV Host) – Jesse came forward about his sexual addiction after his affair on his then wife, Sandra Bullock made the news.
  • Tiger Woods (Golfer) – It was speculated the Woods had a sexual addiction when numerous women came forward to tell about their sexual relations with him.
  • Charlie Sheen (Actor) – When Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss was arrested, Sheen was one of the many whose indiscretions came to light. Sheen admitted to paying more than $53,000 for the services of prostitutes.
  • David Duchovny (Actor) – Married to actress Tea Leoni, Duchovny sought help for sex addiction when his marital infidelity came to light. Through rehab and therapy, Duchovny got the help he needed and helped to save his marriage.

People want to feel loved, wanted and desired and for many, sex does that. Sex also masks pain. Where the problem comes into play is when sex begins to adversely affect your life. No one is just going to stop having sex but there has to a balance; a healthy balance when it comes to sex. A sexual addiction is the cover-up for abuse and trauma. However it is important to remember that when it comes to a sexual addiction you are not alone. There is help out there. The first step is admitting you need help. The rest will come.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.