The thing is, people can often inappropriately or mistakenly label themselves as a sex addict because they like to sleep around or are in one relationship after another. They may also tag a person as sexually addicted just because they keep going home with different partners. But what is sex addiction, really? Can it be equated to promiscuity or infidelity?
What is sex addiction
Sex addiction is more than just loving sex. It is a compulsive behavior that involves loss of control, failed attempts to stop, and continuous inappropriate sexual behavior despite negative consequences. Such inappropriate and rampant sexual behavior can lead to many legal and health problems.
Much like any form of addiction, sex addiction can get in the way of living a normal life, and it can interfere with your relationships with other people. It can be destructive and disruptive, to the point of making you forget your responsibilities just to get your fix. But again, like with any other addiction, there are ways to overcome it.
How to handle and overcome your sexual addiction
Sexual addiction is not that rare, and thankfully, there a few tried and tested methods of handling it, like the following.
#1 Acknowledge that there is something wrong. First of all, you should first determine if you really do have an addiction. Liking sex or wanting to always have sex with your partner or spouse is different from actually being addicted to sex.
– Signs of sexual addiction
The following signs are clear indications of sex addiction. If you experience these signs, then you may consider seeking help on how to handle your behavior.
a. Frequently seeking out one-night stands
b. Having extramarital affairs
c. Dating multiple people simultaneously to have more sex
d. Thinking about sex many times during the day, whether at work or in school
e. Excessive use of pornography
f. Excessive masturbation, even in public places
g. Having unprotected sex
h. Engaging with prostitutes for sex
i. Sexually harassing people, even strangers
[Read: 5 signs of porn addiction and 15 ways to get over it]
#2 Look at the cause. In order to handle your sex addiction, you should take an honest look at what has caused it. Sex addicts often use sex as a way to cope with events that are happening in their lives, such as a loss of a loved one or failure at work. You should consider asking yourself questions like, “What feelings or situations am I trying to avoid?”
After consideration, you may realize that you have underlying issues such as an abusive or traumatic childhood, or problems with dealing with stressful situations, etc. Knowing the main cause of the problem can allow you to find the appropriate method of overcoming your addiction.
#3 Evaluate your daily behavior. Once you have a good grasp of what could be causing your sexual addiction, you can now take a look at when the cravings or the urges come in. Take a look at when you usually crave sex, or when you usually want to masturbate or watch pornography. Do your actions give you a high? How often must you repeat an action to satisfy your craving?
Take a look at what your actions have done to you or to the people around you. Consider the consequences of your actions and what else could happen if you continue your ways. In fact, you can write down the harmful effects of your addiction in terms of your relationships, your profession, your emotional state, and your health. [Read: Why some men watch porn instead of making love to their woman]
#4 Vow to make positive changes. Now that you have come to terms with your sexual addiction and how it affects your life, you have to make a commitment to change. Know that you cannot go on living the way you do because you will only go into a downward spiral that will leave debilitating, even fatal, effects on your life.
Think about what you want to change in your daily routine, so you can avoid the cravings and stop yourself from giving in to your compulsions. Maybe you can change your environment to help you manage your addiction. Perhaps an outlet such as a hobby or sports can help you curb your urges. You can also vow to stay away from the people who indulge you in your sexual cravings.
You can also make a list of the activities that you will do in exchange for giving in to your addiction, so you can replace your destructive behavior with something productive and enriching to your life and your relationships. [Read: 11 simple ways to make each day more meaningful]
#5 Get rid of your sex-related paraphernalia. Like a drug addict wanting to stop themselves from using, you should also avoid anything that has to do with your sex addiction. This includes getting rid of pornographic material, blocking porn from your devices, throwing away sex toys, and severing ties with the people whom you have casual and even unprotected sex with by deleting them from your list of contacts. Taking these measures allows you to have less access to anything that will promote and even encourage your behavior.
Furthermore, you should stay away from places and situations that trigger your addictive behavior, such as bars, sex shops, or places where you often go to find sexual partners. This is where having diversions are a great help. Diversions such as sports and hobbies can help you get your mind off sex.
#6 Seek help. Like many addictions such as drug addiction or alcohol addiction, you may also need help from professionals. Often, sex addiction can get so out of hand that you cannot change on your own. You may try to quit many times and still fail easily.
Seeking help from your family can be a good idea, however, they may not have a full grasp of your condition, and there will be times when they may feel frustrated because they cannot understand what is going on. In this case, you may need to talk to a therapist, a counselor or an anonymous sex addiction group to help you open up about your issues and triggers, as well as guide you as you try to abstain from sex-related behavior.
You can even join a formal treatment facility that deals with sex addiction. Furthermore, your sex addiction can also be triggered by other mental disorders that have yet to be diagnosed, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. This is why seeking professional help can be a great advantage. [Read: Why we need to break down the stigma of mental illness]
#7 Stick to your recovery plan. Once you commit to getting treatment or changing your ways, you would need to set goals to help you focus on keeping your act together. With goals come a recovery plan that you have to stick to. This may include keeping a strict routine of activities that you need to adhere to, as well as a promise to stay away from your old sex contacts.
To help you keep your eye on the prize, you would also need to attend meetings with your sexual addiction support group, so that you can be inspired by the success stories of other people who have gone through what you are going through. It will also allow you to gain a deeper perspective on your addiction.
#8 Rely on your strongest relationships. When you are addicted, you may have built plenty of relationships *as well as broken some* that are solely based on your need to have your sex addiction satisfied. The relationships are just for your orgies, one-night stands, cybersex sessions, and many other sexual activities. Meanwhile, your relationships with your spouse or partner, colleagues, family members, and friends may have been put aside. They may feel betrayed, deceived, used, and taken for granted.
Once you finally embark on your road to recovery, you would need to weigh in on the relationships that matter to you the most. Make amends with the people that you have hurt, and try to reconcile to keep the relationship going again. These are the relationships that help build you up and make you grow. These are the relationships that you have to cherish, protect, and in some cases, rebuild. [Read: 8 kinds of friends everyone needs in their life]
Handling your sex addiction
The best way to handle addiction can be summarized into two things: knowledge and support. First, you have to know what sex addiction is, and you have to know yourself as well. You have to acknowledge that you have a problem and that this is wreaking havoc in your life, your health, your career, and your relationships. It is only by equipping yourself with knowledge about yourself and your addiction that you can be able to move forward to seek the help you need.
Meanwhile, getting support is also critical in sex addiction. You can, of course, try to work out and handle your addiction on your own. However, as many recovering sex addicts would tell you, it is not easy. You may need to consider seeking help from professionals. You would also need to come clean to your family and partner, who will be your primary support group. Additionally, you can also join a sex addiction support group to help you cope with your addiction and your struggles to overcome it.
[Read: 12 insightful lessons to help you have a better life]
With a genuine desire to overcome your sexual addiction and external help in the form of therapy, a support group, or supportive loved ones, you can be well on your way towards recovery.
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