Compulsive, dependent behavior
What Is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction, also known as sexual compulsivity or sexual dependency, is defined as a pathological relationship with a mood-altering experience. In short, it’s compulsive behavior — of a sexual nature in this case — that dominates someone’s life. Those struggling with sexual addiction will prioritize sex above everything else, even family, friends, and work. Given how sex becomes the organizing principle, the person struggling is willing to sacrifice other things they care about in pursuit of unhealthy behavior.
At The Meadows, we are able to address these issues during treatment. We also treat individuals suffering from Internet sex (or cybersex) addiction, relationship addiction, pornography addiction, love addiction, sexual compulsion, and sexual anorexia through our gender-specific programs: Willow House and Gentle Path.
Negative Effects of Sex Addiction
In order to satisfy their compulsion, sex addiction is similar to other addictions where someone will eventually up the ante for the endgame of an even greater “high.” And when this behavior continues, they can feel the same drive as someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, looking for a “fix” just to feel normal. As a result, the person’s meaningful relationships will suffer in the wake of chronic affairs, indulging in pornography, or participating in dangerous sexual practices, anonymous sex, or prostitution. From a health standpoint, unsafe sex can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, and of course, the ebb and flow of guilt which affects mental health.
Those struggling with sexual addiction will prioritize sex above everything else, even family, friends, and work. Given how sex becomes the organizing principle, the person struggling is willing to sacrifice anything he or she cares about the most in pursuit of unhealthy behavior.
Sex Addiction by the Numbers
- Statistics show a wide swath — 17 to 37 million people — suffer from sex addiction.
- A national survey of more than 2,000 adults found on average, more than 8% of them reported symptoms of compulsive sexual behavior disorder — a persistent pattern of failure in controlling intense sexual urges that leads to distress and social impairment.
- An estimated 40 million people a day in the US log on to some 4.2 million pornographic websites
- According to Departmental Management of the USDA, about 38% of men and 45% of women with sex addictions have a venereal disease as a result of their behavior.
- Four out of 10 women say that they withdraw their emotional connections to a partner with a sexual addiction.
What Are the Symptoms of Sex Addiction?
Some of the signs of sex addiction include:
- Habitual masturbation, obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies that interfere with work, school, or personal goals, and loss of control over sexual behavior
- Preferring pornography instead of sex in a meaningful relationship
- Secrecy and denial in sexual behavior
- Repeatedly cheating on partners
- A habit of sending unwanted explicit texts or images
- Engaging in other forms of sex when alone including phone or cybersex
Reach Out for Help
If you or someone you love is struggling with sex addiction, we’re here for you. Instead of a quick fix, our compassionate team of experts is waiting to help you begin your journey toward long-term recovery that focuses on the whole person by addressing any underlying mental health conditions or trauma that may be perpetuating sex addiction.
Our Admissions team is here to help 24 hours a day and is experienced in assisting others with compassion, dignity, and respect — hallmark values of The Meadows for more than 45 years. The Meadows’ Admissions Specialists are here to help you on your way to a healthier and more productive lifestyle. When you call, they will lead you through a series of questions to determine if The Meadows is a good fit, and how soon your treatment can begin. If you are interested in The Meadows for yourself or a loved one, call or fill out an admissions form today!