Sex addiction is a real and serious issue that affects more people than you might think. It’s not only men who can be affected by this condition, either – women are also at risk for sex addiction. This article will help you better understand what sex addiction is and how to get over sex addiction.
What is Sexual Addiction?
There is no single universally accepted definition of the clinical concept called “sexual addiction,” but in general, it describes excessive preoccupation with, and/or engagement in, sexual fantasy or behavior involving the exploitation of others.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classifies sexual Addiction as a behavioral addiction, which is itself a type of impulse control disorder. The person’s behavior patterns are compulsive, and the consequences are serious. It appears to be a progressive disorder with negative consequences becoming worse over time. As with other addictions, it is often chronic and relapsing without effective treatment.
Sexual Addiction itself has no direct physiological dependence component. However, some sex addicts report they “cross the line” from being sexually addicted to becoming alcoholics or drug addicts, compulsive gamblers seeking relief from the stress of their sex addiction. As with all addictive disorders, the choice is a factor, but brain chemistry and other factors are also involved.
Sexual Addiction results in extreme personal distress and often causes severe damage to relationships and careers. Therefore, it should be understood as a behavioral disorder, not an indication of one’s sexual orientation.
How to overcome sexual Addiction?
- Make the decision to stop.
If you are sexually addicted, you can decide today that it is time to change your life. First, decide how much better you will feel when you have re-established control of your sexual desires and fantasies rather than let them control and possess you. Then, repeat the following affirmation to yourself: “I have the power within myself to create new choices.”
- Get objective support from a non-judgmental counselor.
A counselor can help you define the specifics of your problem and what strategies to try to stop sexual Addiction. A good counselor will not blame or judge you but instead will be supportive and objective as you begin to change. See a counselor who specializes in sexual addiction issues on a regular basis until you are sexually sober. You may find that with professional help, you can resolve past issues once and for all, eliminating your need to retreat into fantasy or acting out sexually. Join a sexual addict anonymous group.
- Get out of isolation by sharing with others who are sexually sober.
Sexual addicts who seek a solution to their problems often try to hide them from others. Trying to do it alone is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. If you are serious about overcoming your Addiction, reach out for help by sharing your experience with another person. You will find that sex addicts who do this and stay connected have greater chances of recovery than those who don’t.
- Inpatient addiction treatment program
If you have severe Addiction, consider inpatient treatment. For complete sexual sobriety, it may be best to remove yourself from your usual surroundings and daily routines for a time of intensive healing with support and guidance from professionals experienced in treating sexual addictions. As part of the healing process, some people decide that removing themselves from their environment and daily routines is necessary. This may be especially true in the case of severe Addiction, where your relationship with your immediate surroundings inhibits you from working toward recovery.
- Learn ways to deal with stress without resorting to sex or fantasy.
Stress is a factor that can help push an addict into acting out. Stress is an inevitable part of life, but addicts often don’t know how to deal with it in a healthy way and are unable to resist the urge when stress drives them to act out sexually. Learning ways to relieve stress without acting out will be one of your most important tools for success. 6. Learn progressive relaxation techniques.
You will find that relaxation techniques can relieve stress and help you to resist the urge to act out sexually. Even just taking a moment to relax and clear your mind helps in those times when you feel you must act out.
- Avoid individuals, situations, or activities that trigger sexual fantasies or urges.
It is vital for someone who wants to stop addictive sexual behavior that they remove themselves from the sources of temptation. This may mean avoiding workplaces, changing friends, or getting out of relationships where sex is a problem. Identify what situations lead to your acting out and avoid them whenever possible get rid of your online history and the people who trigger you.
- Find new outlets for self-expression that are nonsexual.
Sex addicts have often suppressed much of their sexuality through sexual activity. However, you may find that you have talents and abilities in other areas that make it possible for you to express yourself differently. These new outlets will help your overall sense of well-being, which will contribute to your efforts to stop acting out sexually.
If you are looking for help on how to stop sex addiction, know that it is not something that will just go away. It takes work and commitment to recovery in order to heal from this type of issue, but the rewards can be life-changing!