Most common among men, sexual addiction is an overwhelming desire to have sex. Sexual behavior becomes a problem and is considered an addiction when it is repeated often enough to interfere with normal daily living. Addictive sexual behavior interferes with relationships, work, friendships, and lifestyle.
There is a line between being enjoying sex, its peripheral pleasures and sexual addiction. In sexual addiction long periods of time are given over to sex-related activities. Sex addicts feel unable to control sexual behavior or even reduce its incidence. People with sexual addiction behavior often use sex as an escape from other problems such as anxiety, stress, depression and social isolation.
Other names for sexual addiction
Nymphomania, hypersexuality, erotomania, perversion, sexual obsession, sexual addiction.
Signs and symptoms of compulsive sexual behavior
Causes of sexual addiction
There are a number of theories on why sexual addiction occurs. For example, psychological and emotional difficulties, personality disorder, as a form of coping mechanism, a result of childhood trauma. In some forms of mental illness sexual addiction can be a feature, in depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder
Some neurological disorders can, rarely, result in sexual addictions. These include epilepsy, head injury and dementia.
Some drugs have been found to cause hypersexuality. Examples are apomorphine and dopamine replacement therapy.
Problematic effects of compulsive sexual behavior
Sexual addiction can cause a vicious circle of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Although excessive sex can bring short term relief, the harm to the psychological well-being of the individual and to their relationships means intervention is required to bring the problem back into their control.
Someone with a sexual addiction often puts their physical health at risk because of their behavior. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), HIV/AIDS, alcoholism and other drug addictions as well as placing themselves at greater risk of violence.
Getting help for addictive sexual behavior
An intense preoccupation with sex that results in unacceptable or highly deviant sexual behavior requires treatment from an expert in the field. An evaluation by a psychologist, psychiatrist or sex therapist can be done on an out-patient basis. Treatment may depend on the cause. Behavioral treatments have been found to be helpful. A doctor may be able to treat depressional aspects of sexual addiction with medication.
The first point of contact can be your family doctor or local psychiatric services who offer specialists in sexual behavior disorder. Marital therapy may also be helpful
Article Upadated 04/08/2006