Sex Addiction Is No Joke

sex addictionWhen the term ‘sex addiction’ is mentioned, people either tend to giggle, refuse to believe that such a thing actually exists or assume that the person claiming to have it has come up with an excuse to justify infidelity or promiscuous behaviour.

Even with high profile cases such as Russell Brand, Tiger Woods, David Duchovny and Gail Porter being brought to our attention, it’s doing little to increase our understanding and even tolerance for the disorder.

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Online porn is damaging to relationships

b2ap3_thumbnail_guyAtComputer2.jpgIndividuals who watch porn on a regular basis may be putting their relationship with their other halves under unnecessary strain, the findings from a recent survey of sex experts have suggested.

According to a study conducted by Cosmopolitan magazine, some couples are experiencing problems with their romance as a result of a growing desire among young men to watch adult films on the internet.

Some 86 per cent of therapists questioned by the publication said they believe porn is having a negative effect on relationships, due to the fact it is now so easily accessible.

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The Complex World of Sex Addiction

b2ap3_thumbnail_sex-addiction2.jpgSex addiction is an issue that - though widely regarded as a common problem - is rarely talked about by those who are living with the condition and particularly their loved ones.

Although medical professionals have long since established the disorder is one that is very real and can affect anyone, the majority of people continue to believe is simply an excuse for being unfaithful in a relationship or watching internet pornography.

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Recognising Sex Addiction in Women

By Marcela De Vivo

When discussing sex addiction, most people automatically assume the problem is almost wholly exclusive to men, especially with a series of high-profile men (Tiger Woods, David Duchovny) explaining their infidelities with a diagnosis of sex addiction. The women with this addiction are also likely to participate in a number of risky behaviors to satisfy their compulsion and are often overlooked in diagnosis.

The distinction between acceptable sexual behavior and addictive sexual behavior can be difficult to determine. All addictions present with similar basic symptoms—obsession and preoccupation with the addictive substance or behavior, engaging in dangerous activities to satisfy the compulsion, and continuation of behavior regardless of consequences. Guilt and remorse are often felt by women sex addicts, but it does not stop the behavior. The Symptoms of Sex Addiction

Obsessive about sex and obtaining it. Sex addicts have difficulty focusing on subjects other than sex and how to obtain it. They may find themselves thinking about sex at all times, neglecting family and career with their preoccupation.

 

Unable to control compulsive behavior. Addicts may not be able to stop their behavior despite promises to themselves or others. Sex addicts may feel guilt or shame following yet continue to persist in acting out.

 

Continued behavior regardless of adverse consequences. Addicts may participate in risky, and possibly illegal, sexual behavior to satisfy their impulses with a disregard to the effects of their actions. Even when their personal relationships and careers are affected, addicts feel unable to discontinue seeking out more sexual experiences.

Women with a sex addiction rarely gain satisfaction, lasting or otherwise, from the activity, yet persist in pursuing sex. They are also unlikely to form emotional bonds with their sexual partners. Who’s At Risk? While the mechanism behind addiction is not fully understood, a few risk factors have been identified for women at greatest risk for sexual addiction. According to the Sexual Recovery Institute, “research has shown that there often is a combination of rigidity and lack of emotional support in the sex addict’s family of origin. The majority of women sex addicts were sexually abused in childhood (78 percent in one study).” Other risk factors (identified on Psych Central) include:

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Sex addiction to be classed as mental health condition

Sex addiction can be a very serious condition, however, despite the support for sufferers increasing, it is often not fully understood by the general public. Now though, a team of experts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has now tested a proposed set of criteria, which would redefine hypersexual disorder as a mental health condition.

Commenting on this development, senior sex therapist and counsellor, Dr Rajan Bhonsle, claims that addictions are compulsive preoccupation with any activity. He told the Times of India: “When an obsession starts affecting a major aspect of a person’s life and relationships, it is classified as an addiction. “Sexual addiction, therefore, implies an inability to control one’s sexual behaviour despite its negative consequences.” This can cause dysfunction in other areas of a person’s life, such as study, work, relationships, family life and personal hygiene. However, Dr Bhonsle was keen to point out that it may take a professional to ascertain whether a person is addicted to sex. “Some people have a higher libido. As long as it doesn’t make them dysfunctional in any aspect of their life, it is not an addiction,” he said. However, “if they have conflicts over it, or worse, are doing things on the sly, then it is a case of sex addiction,” Dr Bhonsle went on to say. Sex addiction can be difficult to diagnose, with many people fearing repercussions from revealing the truth about their compulsive behaviour. This can lead to secretive actions, which in turn can make a problem easier to spot. However, with continued support from professionals, the root cause of the obsession can be found and it can be treated effectively. Being reclassified as a mental health condition could be a comfort to many sufferers and encourage more people to come forward if they notice that they themselves, or those close to them, are exhibiting symptoms of sexual addiction.

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Sex Addiction: A chronic brain disorder?

Medical professionals are beginning to expand the definition of addiction in order to bring many addictive and damaging behaviors into the public consciousness. Sex addiction definitely falls into this group. The rationale behind expanding the definition of addiction is mostly down to how the brain reacts, and becomes addicted to, certains certain risky or pleasurable behaviors.Almost everyone can understand addiction in principle. But they generally think in terms of drug and alcohol addiction; behavioural addictions like eating disorders, sex addiction or love addiction, gambling addiction and codependency are not so commonly understood. The easiest way to define sex addiction is this:

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The Genetics of a Sex Addict

A new study recently published by researchers in Israel claims that the genetics of a sex addict may differ from those of others. This raises the interesting question of whether sex addiction can be considered a disease and what the best methods are for treating this disorder.

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Sex addiction recovery, - the mending of a broken heart

The shame of admitting to sex addictionSex addiction, while not yet formally recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders as a diagnosis, is receiving an increasing amount of attention. With mounting reports of high profile personalities (most of whom are male) who site sex addiction as the reason for their extramarital affairs, the controversy surrounding sex addiction has gained currency, and the public as well as the experts seem be divided in two camps, -those that believe it to be an actual diagnosis, and those who believe it is just a convenient excuse. However, in our experience, no one in treatment for sex addiction has ever used sex addiction as an excuse. Rather, the painful consequences of this pattern of behaviour are often so great that absolute desperation drives them into treatment. And what may be treatment of an addictive behaviour is often the mending of a broken heart.

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Forgive yourself as you forgive others...

Sex addiction and forgivenessForgiving wholeheartedly can prove very difficult. And while one could say that a successful marriage is the union of two great forgivers, finding it in our hearts to truly forgive is not a negligible act. Only days ago did the news of the split of the Hollywood couple, Tea Leoni and David Duchovni break out in the press and no sooner did the media begin to speculate that Mrs Leoni may have found it impossible to truly forgive her husband, who was the first of famous people cite sex addiction as the primary reason for his recovery stint in 2008.

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The Seduction of Power

Sex addiction or seduction of power?There seems to be a growing daily trend in the media, with new stories appearing regarding the extramarital affairs of famous people, and the consequences of these powerful men’s philandering. The question begs, why have men in situations of power and influence jeopardised their marriages, reputations, and careers for these brief encounters? Speculation is rife and while sex addiction might account for some of these scandals, a group of psychotherapists at the Washington School of Psychiatry recently explored the underlying dynamics that repeatedly sees famous and powerful men exploited in this way. While the issue is complex and multi factorial, these researchers believe a mixture of personality type and opportunity accounts for a large part of this trend.

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Sex Addiction; A disorder or just a convenient excuse?

Is sex addiction an excuse?It is the sort of disorder one imagines many men would like to suffer from; addiction to sex. However, as powerful public figures deal with the fallout of their sexual exploits, the question begs is it just bad behaviour or a genuine disorder that drives their sexual pursuits.

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Sex Addiction Under Discussion To Be Recognized As A Psychiatric Diagnosis

Sex addiction is now considered a psychiatric disorderSex addiction, or hypersexual disorder, has recently been considered for including in the diagnostic criteria for a psychiatric disorder. We asked our clinical director Gabrielle Epstein, to shed a some light on this development.

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