The term sex addiction is used to describe an individual who suffers from compulsive sexual thoughts, acts and behaviours. The person suffering from sex addiction will use sex much like a drug to escape painful feelings or deal with difficult problems. Despite the negative impacts on relationships, work and personal safety the individual is often unable to stop despite a strong desire to do so.
"So how do we heal from an affair? Desire runs deep. Betrayal runs deep. But it can be healed. And some affairs are death nails for relationships that were already dying on the vine. But others will jolt us into new possibilities.
The fact is, the majority of couples who have experienced affairs stay together. But some of them will merely survive, and others will actually be able to turn a crisis into an opportunity.They'll be able to turn this into a generative experience. And I'm actually thinking even more so for the deceived partner, who will often say, "You think I didn't want more? But I'm not the one who did it."
But now that the affair is exposed, they, too, get to claim more, and they no longer have to uphold the status quo that may not have been working for them that well, either."
Esther Perel Rethinking Infidelity
For most adults, healthy sexuality is an integrated life experience. Sex with partners, or as part of exploring new relationships is usually a pleasurable act of choice. For the sex addict, however, sexual behaviour can be most often defined by words such as driven, compulsive, and hidden. Unlike healthy sex that is integrated into relationships, sexual addicts use sex as a means to cope, to manage boredom, anxiety and other strong emotions, or as a way to simply feel wanted and worthwhile. Sex addiction is a process or behavioural addiction that tends to occur periodically and in repetitive cycles of sexual obsession, fantasising, preparing, acting out, stopping, persistent cravings, trying to cut down, and then relapse.
The signs and symptoms of sexual addiction
If you are suffering from two or more of the following you may have a sexual addiction:
- Regularly engaging in more sex with more partners than intended
- Sexual activities have escalated and feeling out of control
- A tolerance to the amount of sex and the levels of sexual intensity; needing more to gain the desired effect
- Responsibilities surrounding work, family, friends and school are negatively impacted due to sexual behaviours, fantasies and acts
- Physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal when sexual behaviours are ceased
- Unable to stop compulsive sexual behaviours and thoughts despite repeated attempts to do so
- Excessive amounts of time spent in sex related activities such as cruising for new partners online, watching porn, or frequenting online chat rooms
- Chronic masturbation
- Feelings of shame, guilt, emptiness, self loathing and remorse after engaging in sexual activities
- Lying to others to conceal behaviours surrounding sex
- Engaging in risky or illegal sexual practises
- Constant sexualisation of others, flirting or seductive mannerisms
- Intrusive sexual fantasies or thoughts
The Byron Private team acknowledge the difficulty individuals experience when using sex as a way of coping with life and work alongside you and support you emotionally to develop strategies to support yourself. Byron Private's comprehensive assessment allows the clinical team to develop a holistic sex addiction treatment plan furnished with the appropriate resources that best meets your individual needs. The therapeutic community that is Byron Private treatment centre will hold you in a safe and understanding place to learn healthy and satisfying ways of connecting with others beyond current destructive thoughts and behaviours.
Byron Private offers an effective pathway to recovery for those struggling with mental health, addictions, PTSD and eating disorders. If you or someone you love is struggling, please reach out to our clinical team for a confidential discussion on 02 6684 4145 or via our online contact form.