My neighbour and his playmates deprived me of sleep once again. Last night was unusually loud with music and the characteristic sexual sounds. I am convinced he had an orgy going on because I heard more than one female shriek. I am not one to judge, but I am beginning to wonder at this neighbour of mine.
I doubt that he ever spends the night alone. There is always some form of activity going on inside his flat every night.
Even if he has the strength of a horse, and engages with multiple partners, does the experience not get tiring and monotonous after a while? Then again, I can help but wonder if he has a sex addiction.
There is nothing wrong in loving sex and indulging as often as you can, but when it begins to interfere with other aspects of life…then there’s a problem.
This brings me to the topic of sex addiction. It is a controversial topic indeed because not everyone believes that sex addiction is actually a thing.
Society has accepted the existence of addictions to substances such as nicotine, alcohol and other drugs – and the harm they can cause. But when it comes to sex, some experts still disagree over whether addiction is real or a myth.
Sex addiction is currently not a clinical diagnosis, which means there are no official figures on how many people have sought help for it.
Believing someone can be addicted to sex will depend largely on what you think makes something an addiction – and there’s no one officially accepted definition. Not everyone agrees that sex addiction is a real condition.
Some people believe that the concepts of sex addiction are based on moral values of what healthy sex should be.
Psychology professionals are still debating whether sex addiction truly is a disease in its own right. Currently, sex addiction is not officially classified as a disorder by the American psychiatry Association. It is, however, recognised by other medical organisations around the world.
What is sex addiction?
Sex addiction can be defined as excessive and uncontrollable sexual thoughts, desires, urges or behaviours that cause distress and harm to yourself and to your relationships, finances and other aspects of your life. Sexual addiction is also called hyper sexuality and compulsive sexual behaviour.
Although sex addiction involves activities that are common to a normal sex life such as: masturbation, pornography, phone sex, multiple partners and a lot more, but it’s when these activities and the thoughts of them consume your life that you may be considered to have a sexual addiction.
Addiction is the key word here because the craving for sex is similar to the cravings for alcohol, drugs and other substances when being abused. It’s an overwhelming compulsion or temptation that makes you feel helpless and with no choice but to indulge.
Damning every consequence.
While the majority of people with sex addictions are men, not all are. Research on female sex addiction is sparse, but both men and women can be addicted to sex.
Women with sex addictions often face less social acceptance. Hyper sexuality in females often receives harsher judgment and characteristics like having multiple partners or watching porn are often seen as normal in males, but are frowned upon in females.
It is true that someone with hyper sexuality does spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about engaging in sexual behaviours, but they don’t necessarily feed their addiction by having frequent sexual intercourse.
In fact some people with sex addiction seek intercourse frequently with different partners or from sex workers, but they may also turn to different outlets for their sexual urges. Some sex addicts may spend more time viewing pornography or simply fantasising about sexual encounters. In fact, many men who describe themselves as sex addicts actually engage in less sex than average.
You may think sex addiction equates to spending as much time as possible having sex. This is simply untrue. Sex addiction can manifest in many different ways. While someone with this kind of addiction does spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about engaging in sexual behaviours, they don’t necessarily feed their addiction by having frequent sexual intercourse.
It is true that some people with sex addictions seek intercourse frequently with different partners or from sex workers, but they may also turn to different outlets for their sexual urges. Some sex addicts may spend more time viewing pornography or simply fantasising about sexual encounters. In fact, many men who describe themselves as sex addicts actually engage in less sex than average.
It is important to note that having multiple sexual partners does not make you a sex addict. Besides, many people with sex addictions are married or in another type of committed relationship and stay true to their partners. Others are single and don’t have any sexual partner.
Unfortunately, the partners of sex addicts also have to deal with some consequences, which include:
– Extra pressure for sexual intercourse or sexual favours
– Demanding a higher frequency of sexual contact
– More assertive or aggressive behaviour during sex
– Less emotional intimacy before or after sex, and in the relationship in general
– Spending excess time or money watching porn
– Manipulative behaviours
– Anger when confronted about porn use or sexual behaviours.
It is crucial to note that sex addiction and porn addiction share a lot of similarities, but they are distinct conditions. Both involve uncontrollable desires to perform behaviours of a sexual nature, but there are some very notable differences in these behaviours.
The main difference between sex addiction and porn addiction lies in the specific behaviour that is addictive. Sex addiction is an inability to control urges to perform sexual acts. Porn addiction, on the other hand, is an inability to control the urge to view pornographic material. Many people with sex addiction do view porn excessively. However, not everybody who compulsively watches porn has a sex addiction.
Signs of sexual addiction
There are people who love sex and this does not mean they have an addiction. Sex addiction can be recognised by the signs below:
– If you engage in sexual behaviours that go against your what society deems appropriate or that go against religious values and most important of all, if you engage in sexual activities that go against your own personal values.
– If you frequently engage in paraphilia. These are sexual behaviours that involve another person’s psychological distress, injury or death. Examples include exhibitionism (exposing genitals to strangers), voyeurism (watching or engaging in sexual activities with others), sadomasochism (sexual pleasure from inflicting pain or humiliation on others) and pedophilia (sexual feelings toward children).
– If you can’t control your sexual behaviour despite negative consequences to your finances, relationships, health or emotions.
Science hasn’t totally made the causes of sex addiction clear, but some possible theories include:
– Imbalance of mood chemicals in your brain. High levels or overactivity of certain chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin) might result in increased sexual desire and behaviour.
– Conditions that affect or damage areas of your brain that control sexual behaviour. Conditions such as dementia, epilepsy, bipolar disorder and damage to your frontal lobe, amygdala or prefrontal cortex areas of your brain may contribute to hyper sexuality.
– Altered brain function that creates new nerve pathways of addictive behaviour.
– Substance abuse, particularly cocaine and amphetamine use, and alcohol.
– Adverse effect of medication. One example is levodopa, a common medication used in Parkinson’s disease.
Therapy. Acceptance and commitment therapy is often used to combat sex addiction. This psychotherapy uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies. Its goal is for individuals to accept distress and to change the relationship with their thoughts rather than changing the thoughts themselves.
Motivational interviewing. This is also a form of psychotherapy that guides individuals through the process of exploring their sexual addiction in the context of your personal goals and values.
Self help support groups.
Self help prevention
Avoiding triggers is the first step. Block pornography internet sites and other sex sites on your devices. Think about other triggers and make changes to safeguard yourself.
– Get help for substance abuse problems. It is important to get help if you are addicted to alcohol and recreational drugs. This will help reduce your excessive sexual urges.
– Manage your mental health conditions. If you have mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, make sure you’re taking medications and following all of your doctor’s instructions for managing these conditions.
– Channel your energy. Redirect your mind to healthy habits. Get busy. Engage in beneficial activities such as sports, join clubs, take up a hobby, exercise, try meditation or yoga or other stress-reduction methods.
– Be patient and consistent. Managing sexual addiction is a life-long commitment. It’s up to you to stay focused and committed on the most important things in your life and to maintain or repair damaged relationships.
How to know if you have an addiction
If you are confused about your status, here a few points to help determine if you are a sex addict.
* You lose sleep due to sexual thoughts or actions.
* You lie and keep secrets from family.
* You need more or more extreme sexual activities to achieve the same level of excitement or sexual relief.
* You indulge in sexual activities that involve people or places you wouldn’t ordinarily choose.
* You spend a lot of your time on pornography.
* Your sexual behaviour causes you or puts you at risk of legal problems or financial loss.
* Your sexual fantasies, urges or behaviours consume you mentally, emotionally and/or physically.
* Your sexual behaviour conflict with your personal values, religious or moral beliefs.
* You feel shame, regret, hopelessness, guilt, loneliness or suicidal after your sexual behaviour.
On a last note, any excessive or compulsive behaviour whether sexual or not, especially one that affects daily life, is detrimental to total well-being. It is important to seek and get help wherever necessary.
If you find yourself in this situation, communicate with your partner for a possible solution and support. It is nothing to be ashamed about. I know we live in a society that considers sex matters a taboo, but not speaking about it will only make things worse.
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