Hypersexuality is a medical term that is used by medical experts to refer to a condition in which a person experiences an extremely frequent urge to have sex. It may be called in simple terms as a sexual addiction but most experts disagree whether sexual addiction is the same with substance addiction or not. Other experts say that sexual addiction is the same with process addiction like gambling or overspending money. In most instances, sex addicts usually spend most of their time pursuing sex and romance related issues other than more serious life issues.
The Causes and Risk Factors of Sex Addiction
Medical experts are trying to find the causes of the various addictions but there is disagreement amongst them as to the real causes of the various kinds of addictions that victims experience. Doctors are divided whether to term an addiction as a habit or a disease. In the past, sex addiction was not fully recognized as an addiction but now more and more doctors are starting to accept that people can get addicted to sex in the same way they can with gambling, drugs, food, alcohol etc. Just like any other kind of addiction, it is still not yet clear why it is only certain individuals who suffer from sex addiction.
What are The Similarities of Sex Addiction with Other Kinds of Addictions?
Sex addicts crave for sex for the pleasure they get from it just the same way drug addicts also crave drugs in order for them to get high. Sex addicts do not indulge in sex for intimacy but mainly for pleasure, as an escape from stress, and painful past. They use sex as a self-medication for them. The same way an addicted gambler or alcoholic is obsessed with the need to quench his/her next desire, a sex addict will be more concerned with indulging in sex despite the numerous risks that exist.
The similarities in the characteristics that exist between a compulsive drug addict and a compulsive sex addict have made experts start to agree that indeed there are some people who are addicted to sex.
The likely causes of sex addiction
Biochemical imbalances; Having behaviors that are compulsive are believed to have a link with imbalances of some chemicals that are found in the brain referred to as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin regulate mood and have a function in a person’s experience of pleasure. A sex addict may be having high levels of these chemicals in the body resulting in an increase of sexual appetite. It has been found that some sex addicts may benefit from antidepressants use.
Medical conditions; There are several medical conditions which may destroy some areas of the brain. Examples of these medical conditions are dementia, multiple sclerosis or Huntington’s disease. These medical conditions may bring about the feeling of compulsive sexual activity.
Hormones; Hormones may play a role in the sex addiction of a person. In both men and women, there are sex hormones called androgens. Libido is affected by androgens and thus they may play a role in an individual’s addiction to sex. There are medications which affect hormones that are used in the treatment of hypersexuality. These medications are anti-androgen which work by reducing sexual urges in individuals. Male sex pedophiles and other male sex offenders often benefit from hormone-based medication.
Genetics; Studies suggest that children of people suffering from sex addiction are more likely to suffer from the condition also.
Childhood abuse; Research found out that people who were abused sexually during their childhood were more likely to suffer as sex addicts as compared to those who were not abused in their childhood.
Inappropriate parenting; It has been found out that most sex addicts have a history of being brought up by parents who abused drugs or were addicted to drugs.
The Risk Factors for Sexual Addiction
Both men and women can become addicted to sex but that rate at which men can get addicted is much higher than that of women. Sex addiction is not dictated by a person’s sexual orientation or preference. Usually sex addicts can be straight sexually, bisexual or homosexual but there are some people who will most likely be more predisposed to suffer from sex addiction than others. People who are more likely to suffer from sex addiction include;
- People suffering from mental disorders such as borderline disorder, depression, bipolar disorder or difficulty controlling impulse.
- People suffering from other kinds of addiction such as substance abuse.
- Having a background in sexual or physical abuse.
Treatment for sex addiction
There is a treatment for sex addicts which include a blend of psychotherapy, medication and also support groups. Most of the therapies for sex addicts are usually administered by psychologists because they are skilled in the field.
Sex addiction is real and those who are suffering from it need to seek the attention of medical experts to get help. Due to the shame that accompanies sex addicts they usually shy away from seeking treatment for fear of victimization something which often makes them get convicted of sex-related crimes. This is why it is important to go for treatment whenever you experience any signs of sex addiction.