What is Sex and Porn Addiction?
Signs, Symptoms, and Effects of Sex Addiction
Self-Assessment for Addiction to Sex
Causes of Sex Addiction
Sexual Addiction Treatment
Similarities Between Being Addicted to a Drug and Being Addicted to Sex
Dual Diagnosis: Sex Addiction and Co-Occurring disorders
Physical Symptoms of Sex Addiction
Although a sex addiction or pornography addiction can create many physical side effects, few physical symptoms of this disorder exist. However, the most common physical sex addict symptoms you might notice from having a sexual addiction is feeling immobilized due to sexual or emotional obsessions.
Effects of Sex Addiction
The effects of a sex addiction can be severe.
According to Departmental Management of the
Because sexual addictions can manifest themselves in many different ways, it’s impossible to diagnose yourself just by examining what you do sexually. Although there is no formal diagnostic test you can take, the presence of the following signs may be a reason to seek professional help.
You feel powerless over how you act sexually.
Your sexual choices are making your life unmanageable.
You feel shame, embarrassment or even self-loathing over your sexual acts.
You promise yourself you’ll change, but fail to keep those promises.
You’re so preoccupied with sex it becomes like a ritual to you.
USDA, about 38% of men and 45% of women with sex addictions have a venereal disease as a result of their behavior.
Pregnancy is also a common side effect that can occur due to risky behavior. In one survey, nearly 70% of women with sex addictions reported they’d experienced at least one unwanted pregnancy as a result of their addiction.
Additionally, sex addiction likely has a negative impact on several areas of one’s life. It can lead to:
A decline in personal relationships, social, and family engagement.
Decreased concentration and productivity at work.
Physical consequences like sexual dysfunction or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
It can have profound psychological effects, like generating feelings of shame, inadequacy, and emotional distress. It can lead to, or stem from, comorbid psychological disorders
Genes: You may have a genetic predisposition to emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, or sensation-seeking behavior. You may also have a predisposition to other traits that are commonly associated with sexual addiction, like anxiety or depression.
Hormones: As one might expect, higher levels of sex hormones like testosterone or estrogen can affect libido. If you are inclined towards impulsive behavior and have high levels of sex-related hormones, you may be more likely to engage in excess sexual activities.Rejection in relationships and social circles can lead to other, less healthy ways to find sexual gratification.
Social isolation: Not only does social isolation increase one’s likelihood of seeking inappropriate ways of being sexually gratified, it also leads to a host of other problems—like depression and physical maladies—that can contribute to sex addictions or unhealthy sex behaviors.
Social learning: Watching others perform a behavior, or “modeling,” is one way to learn something new—especially when you “like” or “identify” with that person. So having a friend, or a group of friends, who engage in excessive sexual activities or porn viewing can influence you in a very subtle, yet powerful, way.
Some treatment options include:
Individual therapy30-60 minute sessions with a certified mental health professional, focused on your sexually compulsive behaviors and any co-occurring disorders.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).Focuses on the idea that our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts are all interrelated and works to change negative thoughts to positive thoughts and self-talk.
Psychodynamic therapy.Built around the premise that unconscious memories and conflicts affect our behavior, Psychodynamic therapy uncovers early childhood influencers of current habits or present factors that contribute to the current sex addiction.
Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT).Contains four components: skills training group, individual treatment, DBT phone coaching, and consultation team and these four components are designed to teach four skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.
Group therapyLed by qualified therapists, group therapy is designed to replace negative and detrimental behaviors with pro-social and positive ones. It provides the addict with assurance that he or she is not alone in his or her experiences.
Couple’s counseling or Marriage counseling.This can be very beneficial for the sex addict and his or her partner. Couple’s counseling can help to improve communication skills, trust, and healthy sexual functioning between partners.
12-step recovery.Sex Addicts Anonymous imitates the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and is a group-based model focused on acknowledging one’s powerlessness and willingness to live a life free of addiction.
Inpatient therapy.There are some inpatient recovery centers designed to treat sex and porn addiction. The patient resides at the recovery facility for the duration of treatment so that he or she can focus on the healing process without the distractions and temptations of everyday life.