Understanding Sex Addiction: A Guide for Partners

If you have determined, either through a partner’s admission or your own investigation, that your spouse is a sex addict, you are, no doubt, experiencing the pain and emotional upheaval of betrayal, fear and uncertainty. What happens next? Is the relationship ruined? Is it possible to overcome the addiction, the betrayal and the brokenness? Before taking drastic action, it is important to understand a few things about sex addiction, how your partner’s behavior relates to you, and what you can do.

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Sexual Anorexia Within Sexual Addiction

McKenna met her partner, Dan,were in graduate school at Kent State where they were both sociology students. It was his particular attention to analysis that appealed to her; anyone who loved pouring over the data as much as she did was special. They stayed up until morning on many occasions, talking theory over cheap beer and pizza, and the sex was amazing. When they were both offered positions in research at UCLA it felt like destiny—if McKenna had believed in destiny.

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New Perspective on Sexual Addiction

Sexual addiction, also known as hypersexuality or compulsive sexual behavior, is a common term for patterns of sex-related thought and action that roughly approximate the patterns found in people addicted to alcohol or drugs.

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Understanding Pedophilic Disorder

Pedophilic disorder is a mental health condition that centers on sexual thoughts or behaviors involving a child well below the age of legal consent. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which publishes the primary diagnostic guidebook used by mental health professionals across the United States, classifies the condition along with a larger group of illnesses called paraphilic disorders. In May 2013, the APA changed the names used for these disorders, and also significantly altered the criteria used to define most of them. However, while the name used to describe pedophilic conduct changed, the basic criteria used to qualify this conduct as a mental disorder remain unchanged. [Read more…]

Hybrid Addictions Introduce New Challenges for Treatment Centers

Why does one person develop an addiction to something while others can easily leave it alone? Is it addictive behavior or is it something in the brain that causes one person to gravitate toward the substance or behavior? [Read more…]

Sexual Addiction May Fuel Codependent Relationships

Codependency and sexual addiction: it can occur in several destructive ways. One person in a relationship is codependent on the other, and chooses to ignore their sexual addiction. Another person with sexual addiction is codependent on others for a sense of security and acts out sexually due to the stress. [Read more…]

Paraphilias and Sex Addiction

In many cases, individuals with a sex addiction satisfy their cravings in what most people would consider “normal” sex, such as sexual intercourse or oral sex with a consenting partner. However, there are a significant number of sex addicts who are able to become sexually aroused and gratified only by engaging in behavior that is generally considered unusual (at best), distasteful, or perverted. These behaviors are clinically referred to as “paraphilias”.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), paraphilias are “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving 1) nonhuman objects, 2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or 3) children or other nonconsenting persons that occur over a period of at least six months.” The preoccupation is often so intense that the person is unable to experience any sexual arousal or satisfaction without the object or activity.

Paraphilias, by their very nature, are devoid of genuine intimacy or mature love. Granted, some would argue this issue – usually those engaging in the behavior. For example, pedophiles often argue that they genuinely love their victims and that their sexual interaction with children is a way of expressing that love. There are many couples in which one or both partners has a fetish, which is incorporated into their sexual activity. Sexual partners who enjoy a sadomasochistic relationship may also argue that it is based in love. But when the underlying issues are considered, the problem with their arguments usually becomes quite evident. [Read more…]

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