All addictions quite negatively affect the life quality of the addicts. Sex addiction is of a more sensitive structure compared to some other addictions. For instance, patients having gambling or alcohol addiction are treated by keeping them away from gambling games or alcohol, while it is more difficult to apply this method in sex addiction. Because sex is a need as long as it is within an ideal frequency.
Also known as “Satyriasis” in the literature, sex addiction is assessed among the personality disorders in psychiatry. It generally has symptoms, such as an excessive search for and consumption of pornographic content, having sex with multiple people in one night, or masturbating compulsively. When people don’t have sex, they feel the lack of this and get exhausted. Usually, the purpose is to complete the behavioral patterns around sex, and not to reach orgasms.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recognize it as full addiction, it named this state Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder last year, and officially recognized it as a disorder.
According to DSM-V, the followings are among the diagnosis criteria for hypersexual disorder:
- Spending excessive time for planning and applying sexual fantasies, urges and sexual behaviors.
- Gravitating towards sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors in a recurrent manner as a reaction to unpleasant moods (e.g. Anxiety, depression, distress).
- Gravitating towards sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors in a recurrent manner as a reaction to developments causing stress.
- Gravitating towards sexual behaviors in a recurrent manner by ignoring the risk of oneself or others getting physically or emotionally damaged.
- There are clinically considerable amounts of personal distress and disorders, which are associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors, in the social, occupational areas and other significant functional areas.
- These sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors are not caused by the direct psychological effects of any substance (e.g. Drugs or medication) or of manic episodes.
- The person is at least 18 years of age.
One of the most frequent situations observed among the causes of hypersexuality disorder includes the traumatic experiences people had during childhood and adolescence. It might develop after a post-traumatic stress disorder, or following a sexual harassment, rape or a sexual trauma experienced.
If this state of sex is at a level that would devastate your life and meets the DSM-V criteria, then you should initially accept that you’re a sex addict. Accepting this will not be easy just like other addictions. Despite being a disorder to be treated difficultly, a regular psychotherapy has a quite an important place in the treatment of this disorder.
The sexual therapies being implemented include cognitive and behavioral sexual treatments, acceptance and determination therapy, 12-step program, neurofeedback programs.
If this disorder is observed in a marriage, the support and love the couples have for one another have quite a significant role. In the event of a case that is based on childhood traumas as mentioned above, then the psychotherapy process may also include the EMDR treatment.
If deemed necessary, medical treatments can also be implemented. For instance, antiandrogens are observed to be eliminating the hypersexual behavior by decreasing the level of testosterone.