The Complex Nature of Sex Addiction

New research from New Zealand has shed light on the complex nature of sex addiction. Like any other compulsive behavior, sex addicts run the risk of destroying their home, work and financial lives due to actions that they struggle to control.

While many people believe that sex addiction is an illness of the body, the affliction is actually triggered by mental health issues. New studies from New Zealand researchers have shown that sexually-compulsive behaviours and activities stem from an underlying fear of intimate relationships and deep personal insecurities.

The study, conducted by Massey University, is part of a psychology program that focuses on less recognised forms of addiction. Phrases like hypersexuality, sexual compulsivity and sex addiction have been used for decades, but the actions of an addict are far more complex than previously believed and are often misinterpreted as a purely physical drive.

Over sixty percent of the sexual addicts interviewed in the program admitted to erratic behaviour regarding sexual relationships including sex in strange places or with several partners. Of those people, almost all showed strong feelings of insecurity towards forming intimate relationships and viewed close emotional contact with another person as something to be avoided. Those who did not show signs of sexual addiction were confident in emotional relationships and showed trust in their partner or spouse.

Like other addictions, people with sexual addiction or dependency lose their ability to control their behaviours and run the risk of destroying their home, work and financial life. The researchers at Massey University hope that further studies into the psychological complexities of sex addiction will encourage an increased awareness and recognition of the disorder.

Treatment for sexual addiction is still a complicated process. Some psychologists recommend that the addict remove all sources of sex such as pornography and sexual contact itself. Others believe that the amount of sexual activity should be limited and basic relationship counselling undergone. There are many addiction recovery groups available around the country such as Sex Addicts Anonymous. These programs are run in much the same way as alcoholics or gamblers anonymous, with peer support and talking therapy.  In some cases however, it may be necessary to seek the help of a dedicated sex addiction counsellor to address the problem and prevent it from becoming an all-consuming addiction.

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