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The Truth About Sex Addiction

There is a lot of shame attached to addiction and with the social stigma attached to sex addiction, this shame can be amplified. It’s also an addiction that’s generally harder to understand and can be misunderstood, as people can find it challenging by its very nature.

Characterised by persistent and escalating sexual thoughts and acts that have a negative impact on an individual’s life and the lives of their family, sex addiction is a process or behavioural addiction. Compulsive participation in sexual activities, including sexual acts and fantasies with or without partners, masturbation and pornography, to alter mood, escape problems or manage uncomfortable feelings are all characteristics of sex addiction.

But sex addiction is not about sex…

Whether it’s an addiction to pornography, sex, sex workers or masturbation, sex addiction is not about sex, it’s about pain, escape or anxiety reduction. While those suffering from an addiction to sex will fearlessly pursue it, they’re actually chasing something else – a way to medicate feelings, wounds and insecurities.

Sex addicts often struggle to control sexual feelings or actions and like all addicts in their addiction, the pursuit of sex becomes the most important thing. Sex addicts seek out these sexual activities regardless of negative consequences such as relationship difficulties, health consequences, impact on reputation or legal issues.

Common signs of sex addiction

  • Constant or continual fantasies about sexual prospects or situations
  • A ritual or preferred sexual activity or situation develops that is often repetitive and stereotyped
  • Continuing to engage in the sexual activity despite negative consequences and a desire to stop
  • Despair, guilt and shame about the inability to control behaviour
  • Neglecting responsibilities such as family, work and financial commitments to concentrate on sexual activities
  • Using sexual activities to escape problems or uncomfortable feelings
  • Lying about or concealing sexual behaviours and activities at home and/or work, to family, friends or employer
  • Engaging in sexual behaviours or activities that could be considered risky and/or inappropriate
  • Often relating to other people in a seductive or flirtatious manner or with underlying sexual innuendo
  • Spending considerable time in activities related to sex, such as cruising for partners or spending hours online visiting pornographic websites
  • Escalating range, risk or frequency of sexual activity to achieve the desired effect, such as more frequent visits to prostitutes or more sexual partners

 

If you are spending a significant amount of time watching porn or sex online, involved in multiple sexual relations with different partners, frequently visiting brothels or sex workers, engaging in sexual activities despite the consequences to your relationships, or placing sex above all other priorities in your life –  you may have a problem.

Please reach out for support and discuss how you can get help in this situation. You can also do this quick sex addiction test.

Recovery is possible and you can regain control. Supported by most health funds, treatment at South Pacific Private is designed to meet the individual needs of each client and offers the best possibility of recovery, facilitated by a multi-disciplinary team of Psychiatrists, GPs, Registered Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Therapists and Case Workers.

If you would like to speak to someone who understands sex addiction, and who can discuss your particular situation and treatment needs, call our Client Care Team who will offer a free and confidential preliminary chat or full assessment if that is your preference.

Take the first step into treatment today by phoning or emailing our Client Care Team on 1800 063 332. You can also email the team on info@southpacificprivate.com.au.

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