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Some behaviors just cause more problems for some people.The fantasy behavior component of this category can involve sexualizing situations, people and/or objects that are not normally considered arousing; ruminating about past sexual encounters; and/or scanning television, magazines, or other media sources for stories or pictures that are arousing.Sex addicts come from all walks of life: male and female, all sexual orientations, ages from pre-teens to senior citizens, those employed as laborers or CEOs of major organizations. Many addicts were abused as children – sexually, physically, and/or emotionally.Many grew up in families in which addiction already flourished, including alcoholism, drugs, gambling, and/or compulsive eating.If you are concerned you may be addicted to sex or a sexual behavior, please reach out to one of our specially trained therapists for help.
Although there are not any substances such as cocaine or beer involved, the brain releases certain chemicals during the performance of sexual behaviors that create the same type of “high” feeling as addictive substances.
It is these “high” feelings that become addictive, and therefore, the behavior that helped create that feeling becomes necessary, not voluntary. Patrick Carnes in his book, states, “Contrary to enjoying sex as a self-affirming source of physical pleasure, the sex addict has learned to rely on sex for comfort from pain, nurturing, or relief from stress, etc., the way an alcoholic relies on alcohol, or a drug addict on drugs.” It is important to note that this doesn’t mean that just because a person feels good or euphoric after sex or some other sexual behavior he or she is an addict.
Most grapple with other addictions in addition to sex addiction, but often find overcoming sexual addiction the most difficult. First, it is important to understand what addiction is.
Understanding the basic fundamentals can help you compare sex addiction to other types of addiction you may be more familiar with, such as drugs or alcohol.
For example, having unprotected sex with many anonymous partners and thereby putting oneself at risk to catch STDs or HIV; masturbating to the point of injury; missing school or work because he or she is busy engaging in or recovering from the sexual activity; continues behavior despite consequences (loss of job, legal problems, broken relationships, etc).If you aren’t ready to speak to someone yet about your questions, we do encourage you to take the Sex Addiction Screening Test (SAST-R) free of charge and can help to determine your next steps.