How is Sex Addiction Related to Sexual Offending?
The term “Sexual addiction” can be understood by comparing it to other types of addiction. Those suffering from a chemical addiction find they need drugs to feel normal. In sexual addiction, a parallel situation exists. Those who are addicted become dependent on this sexual high to feel normal. They substitute healthy relationships for unhealthy ones and opt for temporary pleasure rather than the deeper quality of “normal” intimate relationships. Sexual addiction follows the same progressive nature of other addictions. Sexual addiction is also associated with risk-taking.
A person with sex addiction engages in various forms of sexual behavior despite the risk of adverse consequences. For some, the sexual addiction progresses to more risky behavior including illegal activities (exhibitionism), making obscene phone calls, or prostitution. It is important to note that those suffering from sexual addiction do not necessarily become sex offenders. Those suffering from sexual addiction struggle to control their behaviors and experience despair over constant failure to do so. Their loss of self-esteem grows, adding to the need to escape further into addictive behaviors. Those suffering from sexual addiction feel tremendous guilt and shame about their out of control behavior and live in constant fear of discovery.
Sex offending simply means “committing a sexual act that is non-consensual.” If both partners do not fully agree, or if both partners do not have the ability to fully consent to a sexual act (if one partner is too young or inebriated) and the act is carried out anyway, a sexual offense has taken place. The formal use of the term “sexual offender” is a legal one, most often referring to those who commit illegal acts involving sex.
Who and why?
Sex addiction is thought to affect 6 in 100 people and one in 5 of those are thought to be women.
As with other addictions the cause is not always clear, a number of psychological factors including; abusive childhood, a desire to feel wanted and a lacking in close personal or fulfilling relationships, have all been cited in therapy as reasons an addict first seeks to fill a void through sex. Other people simply find the buzz they get from the sexual arousal too much to resist and find that they need more and more to feel the same ‘buzz’.
There are some peculiar traits that a sex addicts show in general. These behaviors are very important to diagnose a person with sexual addiction. The main symptoms and behaviors of a sex addict include :
Compulsive masturbation / Addiction to masturbation : The person finds it very hard to miss masturbation a single day. Sometimes the person even masturbates several times in a single day.
Having multiple affairs (extra-marital affairs) : A sexual addict has a very strong urge for sex. Along with such a strong sex drive, the person also tries to have multiple partners for sex. He finds it difficult to be satisfied with a single partners.
Multiple or anonymous sexual partners and/or one-night stands : A person with sexual addiction seldom develop any emotional bond with his sex partner. He is always looking for a new sex partner which leads him to be a victim of several one night stands and multiple partners.
Consistent use of pornography : This is also one of the important traits of a sexual addicts. Thay tend to be very fond of exploring pronographic material.
Unsafe sex : As mentioned earlier sexual addicts love to play it unsafe and neglect the negative consequences that they may face later.
Phone or computer sex (cyber sex) : Apart from pornography, sexual addicts often engage themselves in cyber and phone sex.
Prostitution or use of prostitutes : In the search for a new sex partner and due to a never satisfying sexual drive, sexual addicts often have multiple sexual relations with prostitutes and call girls.
Exhibitionism : This means that such people find it very interesting to “show off” in public.
Obsessive dating through personal ads : This is also a common trait in sexual addicts.
Voyeurism (watching others) and/or stalking : Sexual addicts tend to be very keen watchers. They keep staring at theopposite sex which becomes very uncomfortable for the other person.
Sexual harassment : Cases of sexual harassment at home or in office are most often caused by sexual addicts.
Molestation/rape : Sexual addicts sometimes cross all the limits of society and they indulge in rape and molestation without thinking about the consequences.
Generally, a person with a sex addiction gains little satisfaction from the sexual activity and forms no emotional bond with his or her sex partners. In addition, the problem of sex addiction often leads to feelings of guilt and shame. A sex addict also feels a lack of control over the behavior, despite negative consequences.
What are the effects?
Those suffering from sexual addiction may experience adverse consequences but continue to act out. Consequences include: loss of partner or spouse, several marital or relationship problems, loss of career opportunities, unwanted pregnancies, suicidal ideation, exposure to HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. As more of the addict’s energy is focused on relationship with sexual potential, healthy relationships and activities suffer from neglect.
Types of sex addiction:
Sex addiction does not just describe a person who uses sexual penetration or stimulation, a person may be addicted to pornography, sex chat or even prostitutes. They may have fetishes they crave to live out, they may excessively fantasise or excessively masturbate. Any form of sexual stimulation (physical or psychological) that creates a problem in the users life and cannot simply be stopped, can be classed as a form of sexual addiction.
Behaviors associated with sexual addiction include:
Excessive need for sexual stimulation15
Excessively using pornography
Multiple sexual partners
Inability to remain monogamous in a relationship
Regular use of phone or computer sex
Prostitution or use of prostitutes
Inappropriate and even criminal behavior (in extreme cases, it is important to note that most sex addicts are NOT predatory or criminal)
Shame, guilt and recovering from sexual encounters is a big part of addiction. It can be that this part of the condition preoccupies as much of a sufferer’s time as the acts of sexual stimulation themselves.
How is sexual addiction treated?
Most sex addicts live in denial of their addiction, and treating an addiction is dependent on the person accepting and admitting that he or she has a problem. In many cases, it takes a significant event — such as the loss of a job, the break-up of a marriage, an arrest, or health crisis — to force the addict to admit to his or her problem.
Treatment of sexual addiction focuses on controlling the addictive behavior and helping the person develop a healthy sexuality. Treatment includes education about healthy sexuality, individual counseling, and marital and/or family therapy. Support groups and 12 step recovery programs for people with sexual addictions (like Sex Addicts Anonymous) also are available. In some cases, medications used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder may be used to curb the compulsive nature of the sex addiction. Ayurveda and Unani system of medicne has some very good medicnes for the treatment of sex addiction.
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