Living With A Sex Addict

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are just married to a lusty individual with plenty of hormones or someone with a mental disorder. If his/her sexual appetite is causing problems in your marriage, it is time to take a good look at sexual addiction.

How true sexual addiction manifests

Sexual addiction has been a controversial subject in psychiatric circles but there is evidence that this is a real disorder. It shares many traits with drug abuse and alcoholism. It is a overriding preoccupation with sex and everything else in life pales in comparison to the person's obsession. If they are not having sex, they are thinking about it. Another name for this disorder is hypersexuality, and some indicators include:

  • Compulsive masturbation.
  • Deep interest in pornography.
  • Wanting sex with a partner several times a day.
  • Increased libido during stressful times.
  • Problems at work due to preoccupation.

An addict may stay in certain strict perimeters, or this preoccupation may escalate into some darker territory, and unfortunately, if this addiction progresses to serial infidelity, it can also mean serious emotional and health consequences for you. Some addicts may also go on to engage in illegal activities such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, or even rape and child molestation.

How it may have started

True sexual addiction has its roots in childhood, so you may be relieved to know that it isn't due to some problem on your end. You should know that sex addicts:

  • Often come from dysfunctional families.
  • Come from families where substance abuse and other addictions are prevalent.
  • May have been sexually abused as children.
  • May have had emotionally distant or neglectful parents.

The sex act for an addict can be a form of escapism from stress, or a way to express power, dominance, or rage, especially when an addict resorts to assault to obtain gratification, but it also does satisfy sexual gratification, at least temporarily. The urge operates on the same receptors of the brain cells that other addictions, such as alcoholism, do. This addiction also has two shared aspects with food addiction: it is poorly understood by most people, and it is tied to a natural and normal biological need.

Treatments that are Available

The treatment goal for sexual addiction differs in one important way for clients and their significant others. It is not about abstinence but developing a healthier attitude towards sex and intimacy. The client would learn new ways to cope with negative emotions and stresses so that they can be happier and have better relationships. It can involve intensive counseling or an inpatient treatment program. Of course, if their addiction has led them to criminal behavior, they may need to be incarcerated or institutionalized to protect other people.

Medications often prescribed for sex addiction are antidepressants or mood stabilizers. For child molesters and others, a more drastic approach may include anti-androgens and Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) or naltrexone. 

Since your mate's issues have a definite impact on your life, you also will need empathetic support as well. This would involve marriage counseling and/or personal therapy, and you may also benefit from joining a supportive group. For more information about marriage counseling and sex therapy, contact a company like Malan Relationship Health.