When Does Loving Sex Become A Sex Addiction?
There are lots of reasons to love sex. Studies show that it triggers the release of endorphins and oxytocins in the brain. Endorphins keep people from being irritable and feeling depressed, while oxytocins make people calm and content. Sex also alleviates stress by reducing the release of cortisol and adrenaline. Improved quality of sleep, stronger immunity, and better brain performance are among the many other benefits. Indeed, sex makes people happy and healthy. Unsurprisingly, people think and talk about it most of the time. They excitedly look forward to their next sexual pursuit. But how does one draw the line between a healthy love for sex and sex addiction?
How to Know When Loving Sex Is No Longer Healthy
Sex addiction is characterized by an uncontrollable need to engage in sexual activities. It is a compulsive sexual drive that leads one to follow his impulses without restraint—no matter what the time is, regardless where he is, or who he is with. Once he feels the urge, he would act on it.
Someone should consider consulting a professional when he exhibits sexual behaviors similar to the following:
Uncontrollable sexual urges
The desire to have sex is stronger than the person’s will. It is as if his body has a mind of its own. He may want to stop it, but his body automatically reacts to sexual stimuli. For example, the mere mention of the word “pleasure” could cause a sex addict’s desire to go overdrive. To satisfy such desires, he would then have an overpowering need to masturbate or look for a partner.
Spends most of waking hours fantasizing about sex or performing sexual activities.
His life revolves around sex. He could connect almost everything to sex. He could also shrink his work and family duties to pursue sexual acts.
Oblivious to the dangers or negative consequences of sexual pursuits.
He could be a married man with a wonderful wife and beautiful kids, but the possibility of losing his family could not stop him from getting into illicit affairs. He could also have sex in a public place where other people could catch him and his partner. He could also do it with anyone—a stranger, a minor, a superior. A hypersexual could derive more pleasure from sexual activities that carry more dangers.
Repeatedly tried to stop or reduce his sexual activities, but is always unsuccessful.
More than once has he resolved to minimize his sexual pursuits, but he always falls victim to his compulsive desires. This results in an unhealthy cycle that lasts long-term.
Always “in love.”
His sexual urges are always on the go, making him think that he is in love. He quickly gets attracted and falls “in love” even with someone whom he just met. He falls in and out of love quickly and is never without a partner.
Increases sexual activities to achieve the desired satisfaction.
Aside from an increased amount of sex, he also maintains multiple sex partners. He needs to have a reserve if someone is not available. He could also have more than one partner in one session. Or he could have a different partner in the morning, at noon, and night. He is also open to acting out fantasies that could be considered extreme. It seems that the more sex he gets, the harder it is for him to get satisfied. He then needs to increase the amount of sex, the number of sex partners, or the act’s level of excitement.
He feels guilty after sex.
He could have sex without emotions involved. He just needs to satisfy his desires. After the act though, he feels a gnawing feeling of emptiness, guilt, or shame. This, in turn, leads to low self-worth.
Why Do People Become Addicted to Sex?
Theories that try to explain sex addiction pinpoint the cause to:
Someone could develop this addiction if he is genetically predisposed to it. High estrogen or testosterone levels could also be the culprit.
The environment where someone grew up in could have influenced him to have a sex addiction. Those who had been molested or raped when they were young could learn to hate sex or become addicted to it. News reports often reveal that sex offenders are people who have also been molested themselves. Their pain is so severe, they also want to inflict pain on others.
Having mental health conditions like anxiety or depression also makes one prone to developing sex addiction later on.
Being surrounded by friends or family members who have frivolous sexual activities could teach one to become addicted to sex. He may have friends who challenge them to do certain acts. When he was a child, his parents may have watched pornographic videos in his presence.
A sex addict could also be someone who has experienced a lot of rejection from the people around him. His parents may have abandoned him. He may also have no social circle that accepts him. This pain of rejection may have led him to become addicted to sex because sex satisfies his need to feel needed and accepted.
Social isolation could also be a cause of addiction. Human beings are inherently social beings who need support from other people. Prolonged social isolation could make someone lonely. Thus, he feels the need to find ways to numb his feelings of loneliness.
People with sex addiction are so preoccupied with sex that it takes most of their time and energy. They could no longer function normally. They do not mind skipping meals or depriving themselves of sleep for the sake of sex. By having multiple partners, they open themselves to contracting sexually-transmitted diseases. Aside from putting their health at risk, they also compromise their relationships. Their illicit affairs, once discovered, could lead to broken families. They also run the risk of losing their jobs because they are not productive at work. Sex addiction has many negative consequences, so it is crucial to seek professional help before this condition could wreak havoc.