Sex Addiction and Enjoying Sex: Not the Same

The bare bones about sex addiction are straightforward. Sex addiction includes repeated actions that are connected to sex – including obsessive thoughts, obsessive use of pornography, and compulsive use of paid services or obsessive masturbation.

It causes serious interferences and problems in a person’s home life and in the workplace. Sex addiction is behavior that brings inherent risk, is potentially harmful and the person knows the consequences, yet isn’t able to stop themselves or control their urges.

While sex addiction and sexual compulsivity become more mainstream among professional mental health communities and the scientific community, they still fall under question as to whether or not these actions can be part of a typical spectrum of sex.

The key hallmark of sex addiction is that the person is unable to stop carrying out the behaviors, even when they know the consequences for their families, their health, their jobs, and their lives. There’s also an element of compulsivity, similar to gambling addictions or food addictions involved.

There’s also a unique element of how the sexual behaviors are utilized, and when. For people living with sexual addiction, sex with a paid partner, online sex or obsessive pornography-related activities can become a habitual response when a situation is difficult or emotions are stressful. They use the sex to “numb out,” and the act eventually loses the pleasure factor as it becomes more addictive in nature.

Sex addition is also different than situations where a person simply gets a lot of pleasure from sex because it brings health dangers, like sexually transmitted diseases. Sex addiction also creates life-based risks because the person may not be able to avoid urges to view pornographic sites or chat rooms while at work or in public venues.

Professional treatment for sex addiction is necessary to reach recovery, similar to alcohol or drug addictions. This may include uncovering and identifying triggers for the behavior and addressing long-held self-esteem or intimacy problems. With professional treatment, people living with sex addiction can recover and return to healthy, addiction-free sexual experiences.

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