Check-up: Are you a sex addict?

April 30, 2018

Dear Readers,

Mel D is 25 years old and lived with her baby father for four years. She left him recently. Mel says she loves the guy but has to love herself more. She believes he’s sick. She’s a very attractive girl yet he continues to be sexually active with other women. Even the baby’s nanny couldn’t pass him by and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for her.

Mel says he is a good provider and a nice man but he is fatally flawed for she doesn’t know which woman could put up with her baby father’s behaviour for too long. She has known for a long while that he also does soft porn but that didn’t bother her too much as it was computer-based, and not in front of her face.

She discovered that his last girlfriend had left him because of him having other girlfriends. Mel says she really tried but she believes he is a sex addict. She can’t continue to risk her health and she just can’t live with his ways indefinitely. She has suggested he get treatment but he’s not listening to her. She wants to know more about sex addiction and what can be done to treat it.

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(((RESPONSE... please change font style))):

Well Mel, firstly, not everyone believes that it’s possible for someone to become sex addicted. But I guess your answer would be 'he who feels it knows it!'  Sex addiction is described as sexual activity which seems to be out of control.

This can involve sex with multiple partners, visiting prostitutes, excessive masturbation, exhibitionism, voyeurism and pornography or using chat lines.

Sadly, many people are involved in several of these activities regularly in their daily lives, but it’s when the person cannot control the sexual urges despite the difficulties they may be causing in their substantive relationships that there is a dependency problem.

Usually, these people use sex to cope with serious unresolved problems they may have previously encountered in their lives and of course, this has an adverse effect not only on the life of the person, but on family members and friends who care for them. Sex implies at least physical intimacy, if not emotional intimacy, and is therefore in a different category of dependency designed to strike at and hurt family life.

Even so, sex addicts are not just people who crave a lot of sex. They often have a lot of underlying problems such as excessive anxiety, stress and shame which drives their risky sexual behaviour. Some doctors and counsellors will use the words 'hypersexual disorder' rather than 'sexual addiction', but it all refers to the same situation. It’s about people who continue to engage in sexual behavior which is hurting and damaging both themselves and their families.

Mel’s guy says nothing’s wrong with him. Maybe he’s in denial, or just maybe he isn’t a sex addict. He’s broken up before over external relationships and moved on nicely with his life without it costing him too much so far. Maybe he’s self-centered (even narcissistic) and just not really ready to settle down. But no doubt he would benefit from talking with a counsellor, psychiatrist or sex therapist.

 

Some of the following signs are present in sex addicts:

·         Your sexual choices seem to be making your life unmanageable

·         You keep failing your promise to change your behavior

·         The sex owns you and you feel powerless over how you act

·         Sex becomes ritualistic

·         You feel shame and embarrassment over your sexual acts

It is best to discuss this type of problem with your doctor to properly evaluate whether sexual addiction is really present.

Prescribed medications are also available to contain the compulsive nature of sex addiction and addressing other existing problems like depression or social anxiety can make it easier to recover from sexual addiction.

 

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