Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder that is oftentimes misunderstood, but it is composed of destructive sexual behaviors which can have just as a devastating effect on the lives of those who suffer with it as drug or alcohol addiction. As one of the most highly stigmatized behavioral addictions, many people are embarrassed or ashamed to receive help for it. At the Excel Center, we treat all of our clients with the utmost respect, compassion, and confidentiality. This guarantees a judgment-free treatment experience in which clients can feel safe to work through whatever issue it is that is causing them trouble.
Sex addiction can refer to the obsession of sexual acts with one or multiple partners, but it can also refer to activities including but not limited to; masturbation, viewing pornography, using paid services for phone sex, etc. There is no single behavior or action that constitutes sex addiction, but it is more likely a repetitive pattern of sexual behavior that affects your life and leaves you with feelings of shame, guilt, or remorse. This can include engaging in risky behaviors, like unprotected sex and frequent sex with strangers.
Sex addiction is not unlike other addictions in that it controls actions and behaviors. Sometimes sex addiction can be caused by a substance use disorder, childhood trauma, or deep-rooted intimacy issues that arose from previous relationships. The excessive sexual imagery in the media and constant reminders of sex are also to blame in some cases. At the Excel Center, our team of experts will work with clients to uncover the root cause of their sex addiction, and will deliver a bespoke treatment plan targeting that cause.
Some of the signs that may indicate you are suffering from sex addiction include:
- Overwhelming, unwanted, and persistent sexual urges occurring throughout the day
- Feeling obligated to act on sexual urges, but not feeling joy or satisfaction from fulfilling those urges, if even temporarily
- Continuing to engage in behaviors that have negatively affected you in the past, or that you know will affect you negatively, despite knowing the consequences of your actions
- Having unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Having sexual relations with others despite being in a committed relationship
- Viewing pornography for long periods of time and frequently
- Attempting to stop giving into sexual urges but finding yourself unable to
- Feelings of shame and guilt after fulfilling sexual urges way to treat sex addiction in some cases.
The Effects of a Sex Addiction
Sex addiction impacts other areas of your life, and some of those effects include:
- Inability to maintain a committed monogamous relationship
- Loss of employment due to related sexual behaviors
- Loss of custody over children
- Increased risk for sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS
- Legal troubles that result from exhibitionism
- Ruined friendships and romantic relationships
- Additional development or worsening of other mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Suicidal thoughts
- Self-esteem issues
Treatment Options for Sex Addiction
There are multiple different avenues for treatment related to sex addiction, and they can be used alone or in conjunction with other methods. Some treatment options include:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavior therapy is a talk therapy that entails frequent meetings with a mental health professional. The goal of CBT in this context is to identify sexual triggers that are responsible for the urges that are felt and how to overcome them. By treating these stimuli as barriers to a happier life, clients can successfully overcome their sex addiction by reprogramming their thought patterns.
The Twelve Steps are a spiritual program originally used in Alcoholics Anonymous, but the principles have now been more widely applied and been shown to be effective at treating a range of addictions. Twelve step groups are usually community based, although therapy groups can follow their principles. They are based around expanding one’s spiritual life, self-improvement, and altruistically helping others.
Some antidepressants can be prescribed to combat sex addiction, and the feelings of shame and guilt that come along with it. By restoring the balance of neurotransmitter levels in the brain, antidepressants are an effective way to treat sex addiction in some cases.
Seeking Help for a Sex Addiction
Our facilities are also completely judgement free and aim to foster a positive environment where those suffering from sex addiction can seek refuge. We are also equipped to provide a personalized level of care to meet the unique needs of each client as an individual.
Our primary purpose is to help people who are suffering from addictions, whatever the behavior or substance. We appreciate that sex addiction can be a delicate issue for those experiencing it, and we understand the need for discretion. Under no circumstances will any information that is shared with our staff be shared with anyone other than those who are treating that addiction. Sex addiction and matters to do with infidelity are treated confidentially. It is through this guarantee that a deep relationship built on trust can be formed between clients themselves, and between clients and counsellors. With this bond, amazing healing can happen.