About Sexual Addiction
Sexual addiction is, like most addictions, a complex matter, filled with interlinked causes, effects, and triggers that, one way or another, can lead to some self-destructive behaviors. Much like the heavy use of alcohol or prescription pills, a great deal of sexual activity in one’s life is not inherently dangerous or destructive, but much like alcohol and medications, there is indeed such a thing as too much of a good thing. Exactly where to draw the line between healthy sexual activity and self-destructive addiction is not always a cut and dried matter. Usually, it only becomes clear one has crossed the line after they have gone so far over that line that it becomes obvious that something is amiss.
While it is not an actual acid test, looking at the damage one has done to themselves and others in pursuit of sexual activity is likely the best way to determine if one is addicted to sex. Frequent sexual activity can be perfectly healthy, but if pursuit of sex starts leading to bad decisions (that are known to be mistakes ahead of time, but ignored in pursuit of sex) or starts having noticeable consequences (that are also known ahead of time, but still ignored), then it is perhaps time to take a deeper look at one’s sexual activity. By and large, it depends on exactly how short sighted one can become while trying to have sex. If one is restraining oneself when they know pursuing sex would be a bad thing, they are likely either not addicted or high functioning addicts. If one is starting to make bad decisions hindered by their libido, they may well have a very serious problem.
Addiction to sexual activity is not quite as easily treated as addiction to substances, though many principles do remain the same. Ideally one should consult with a psychological or psychiatric professional once they realize that their pursuit of sexual activity has gone from pleasurable diversion to self-destructive habit. These professionals are trained to help people with a wide range of problems, including addictions. They can also be helpful in identifying whether one is merely addicted to sex or has a deeper, much more serious problem such as genuine nymphomania (a condition that is far less common, but also far more dangerous condition than most people believe). These professionals are also trained in getting people the treatment they need for these conditions.
Treatment tends to be the usual process of acknowledging the problem, followed by slowly but steadily learning the resist the urge to indulge in the addiction. Some types of addiction can benefit from the use of medications (particularly when the problem stems in part from biological causes), though most simply require the addict to learn how to control their urges. It is not an easy process by any stretch of the imagination, but it does get somewhat easier the more aware the addict is the damage their addiction has caused themselves and those around them.
If you live in the Dallas area, we recommend getting help for Sexual Addiction from: Sex Therapy by Vantage Point Dallas Counseling.