Understanding the Addiction

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Understanding the addiction is the first step.

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What Is Sex Addiction?

An addiction occurs when one has lost the ability to control or stop unwanted actions and behaviors despite dangerous and harmful consequences to oneself and their loved ones.  With sex addiction, these uncontrollable and unwanted behaviors include:

  • Excessive viewing of pornography
  • Compulsive masturbation
  • Sexual and/or emotional infidelity – and often times with multiple partners
  • Inappropriate relationships via chatting, sexting, social media
  • Sexual acting out such as frequenting massage parlors and strip clubs or engaging escort services and prostitution
  • Living a double-life (Jekyll & Hyde)

Sex addiction can be defined as a compulsive physiological or psychological need for a sexual experience that has become habit forming. It is the condition of being habitually or compulsively preoccupied with the pathological (sick or unhealthy) need for a sexual event or experience. Sex becomes central to the addict’s life—more important than family, friends, hobbies, health, and work. Sexual addicts frequently deny that they have a problem, even to themselves, and frequently use compulsive sexual behavior as a means of dealing with pain. This often leads them into living a double (or secret) life, creating more shame, pain, and isolation When someone is addicted to sex, the brain chemistry is physiologically altered.  Sex addiction can be as severe as chemical dependencies to drugs such as Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, LSD, and Marijuana!

Why?

It is estimated that nearly 12 million people in the United States suffer from sex addiction.  Usually one engages in compulsive sexual behavior to cope, self-medicate, or escape from emotional or psychological pain as a result of loneliness, boredom, stress, anxiety, depression, anger, or abuse and neglect.  Casual viewing of pornography, for example, does not start as an obsession, but rather a way to self medicate from the stresses of life.  Because of powerful affects on the brain, casual viewing can easily turn into a destructive addiction

We Are Hard-wired to be Sexual Beings

The human sexual experience creates powerful chemical and neurological reactions in the brain.  The neurotransmitters; dopamine, norepinephrine, endogenous opiates, and oxytocin are responsible for the rush, excitement, euphoria, and powerful human connection that occur during the sexual experience.  When these reactions are generated from artificial sources such as pornography, the brain doesn’t know the difference.  When this happens repeatedly and with frequency, new neurological pathways are formed, a connection to the artificial source occurs, and a Powerful Addiction is created!

The Three A's and Why Porn Is Such A Problem

Availability

Inappropriate material can be accessed on the Internet thru computers, tablets, Internet TV’s, phones, cable and satellite TV programming, iPods, etc. Anytime, anywhere

Affordability

The amount of porn and inappropriate material available on the Web available for free is staggering.  Subscriptions are generally a few dollars a month which grants unlimited access

Anonymity

NO ONE KNOWS IT’S YOU!  Secrecy is the lifeblood of addiction and the Internet feeds that lifeline because literally no one else has to know

Three Styles of Addiction Caused By Sexual Compulsivity

Styles of Addiction DiagramArousal

A craving for the RUSH of adrenaline

  • Like Cocaine and Amphetamines

Satiation

Seek RELIEF from an already hyper-arousal state.       Endorphins supply the neurotransmitter boost for this style

  • Like Alcohol and Heroin

Fantasy

The neurotransmitter dopamine creates the “FEEL GOOD” state

  • Like Marijuana, LSD, and Mushrooms