Abraham Maslow explained that sex is a physiological need and relevant to human survival. True to its statement, without engaging in sexual acts, the human species will become extinct.
Nonetheless, this behavior can also be considered as an abnormal manifestation of a mental problem where in the sexual acts become more incessant and occurring anytime, place and with other persons other than one’s partner, not to exhibit love but more on the release of inhibitions. Psychologists link it to a history of sexual abuse such as rape, child molestation, or mood disorders.
Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, sex is considered a basic human need. Both men and women desire for it more than others, even though sex is normally seen as something natural. The excessive preoccupation with sex might be disruptive to one’s everyday life. A person with increased desire for sexual acts is said to have a sexual addiction.
Like any addiction, a sexual addiction is not easy to get rid of. It changes the way someone thinks, acts, and reacts, and the addiction will change that person forever. Also not unlike other addictions, the road to getting “sober” for the sex addict can make a person stronger than they were before and fill them with the power and self-respect they need, such is the belief of an organization called Ready 4 Change. Staying sober once you get there is the last tough part of getting clean, so here are some healthy habits and lifestyle changes for the reformed sex addict.
It is always good to have someone who cares about you by your side through the ups and downs, no matter who that someone is. When going through hard times, you need a person to help you back up. When going through the good times, it is nice to have someone to enjoy it or share it with. When someone wants to accomplish a goal, it is just as important to have a friendly face at his/her side through that as well. An accountability partner can be the person who gives you that last push to get you to achieve your goal. Having a partner to keep you honest while recovering from an addiction is almost necessary. A person who knows exactly what your weak points are can be the strength you don’t have to help you resist the temptation to give in. While, yes, it can be extremely tough to open up to someone about a sexual addiction, it will be worth it when you’re close to breaking a clean streak and in need of someone to talk you out of it.
Identifying Emotions and Knowing Your Limits
Oftentimes, emotions will trigger the problem behavior(s) in addicts, and this can be the easiest way for someone to fall back into the addiction. Because strong emotions and mental turmoil like depression, anxiety, and loneliness can act as triggers for the addict, they are definitely something to watch out for. The problem behaviors of a sexual addiction are usually a way to cope with those emotions. By finding alternate ways to handle anxiety, depression, and loneliness, it can become increasingly easier to resist the temptation to succumb to the urges brought on by the addiction.
In dealing with depression and anxiety, there are many treatments. While medications for these can be greatly beneficial, even doing things like going to counseling/therapy, exercising, meditating, or talking to friends and family can also help with these mental health issues. As mentioned above, having someone to keep you accountable can make all the difference in maintaining sobriety as well as helping with feelings of loneliness. The common triggers aren’t going to be everyone’s triggers, thus it is important to know what makes you want to give in. Sex addiction covers many categories of behaviors, habits, and preferences. Because of that, there can be specific-to-you triggers and temptations (outside of emotions and mental health problems) that must also be taken seriously. These can be images, sounds, people, etc., so it is important to be aware of the ones that can act as triggers for you.
Lastly, recovering and former addicts should always remember that they are only human. It is vital that those who are healing as well as those who have been clean for years forgive themselves when they slip. The harder you are on yourself, the more discouraged you become and the easier it is to forget why you started the journey to sobriety to begin with. Make it a habit of reminding yourself of the reasons you are attempting to beat the addiction. Encourage, be encouraged by others, and stay strong. The road to healing isn’t supposed to be easy. It is a challenge and one that can be overcome.
The science behind memorization, learning, and similar functions in the brain are familiar to most people. School has taught most of us about neurons and how messages use them to travel throughout the brain. Most of us are also aware that the more a neuron is used (repetition of a behavior or thought), the stronger the connection becomes. This is when memorization, second-nature, and habits become real and lasting, as long as those neurons are being used often.
Now think of how addictions form and the similarities between creating a habit and becoming addicted to something. An addiction changes the brain in that the connections become stronger, the behavior becomes a habit, something the person becomes used to on a regular basis. Porn addiction is dangerous for just that reason. Viewing graphic sexual images and videos repeatedly creates pathways in the brain that only strengthen and change the brain for the worse.
So you’ve found out that your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse has a sexual addiction. Now, this could mean a variety of things (excessive viewing of pornography, infidelity, etc.), but it doesn’t really matter at this point because the bottom line is that it is an addiction, a disease, and an extremely damaging one at that. For some, this could be the end of the relationship because of the severity of the addiction and its effects on both people. For those who want to make this relationship work despite the struggles of one half, it is an uphill battle that will be difficult for both partners. There are solutions to the problems, tips for the tough times, but in the end, it is how the couple works together that will determine whether they make it through the addiction or not.
Like any addiction, a sexual addiction is a tough challenge to overcome. The damage a sexual addiction can do to one’s mental health is enough to motivate someone to want to change his or her behaviors. Because it is such a difficult thing to overcome an addiction and all of the bad habits associated with it, it is important to create new and healthier habits to replace them. For many, mantras are great for reinforcing ideas and goals, reminding the healing addict why he or she is trying to quit, and encouraging/motivating when it is more difficult to resist the temptations.
Honest self-disclosure with someone is never an easy thing, whether it be to someone close to you or someone on the outside. Talking to someone about an addiction, and in particular, a sexual addiction, is extremely tough, but the end result is the help needed to overcome the addiction. While it sounds incredibly daunting and overwhelming, it can be accomplished in several steps.
In our culture today, women tend to have a little extra pressure put on them by society. Whether it is about appearance, career, lifestyle, or sexual orientation, they find themselves under scrutiny very often and this can be an extremely tough thing to deal with. When it comes to sexual preferences, women seem to not have as much freedom to enjoy what they enjoy without being judged or objectified. Women are expected to act like ladies one moment, and then later on act out their men’s wild fantasies. If they do not act like perfect “ladies”, they are called promiscuous and told they do not have any self-respect. If they are unwilling to help males live out their sexual daydreams, they are prudes and not even worth the time.
In addition to problems like that, women have also been misunderstood when it comes to things like porn and preferences. Most people assume that primarily men are in the pool of people who view porn on a regular basis, when in fact this is simply untrue. Women are not expected to have fantasies or watch pornographic videos or movies, and so they become self-conscious about the fact that they do do these things. When things get out of control and it becomes an addiction, it can be too difficult for a woman to trust someone to want to help without judgment, so she might not even try.
Women and Mental Health
Sexual addictions will affect anyone in negative and dangerous ways, and it is toxic to the brain. Mental health plummets when one has an addiction, and people who suffer from addictions can develop mental illnesses and disorders. Because women tend to succumb to depression more often than men, this pposes aserious danger to the female population. Sexual addictions are often a result of/triggered by strong negative emotions like anxiety and depression, and they can help to further these mental problems. When trying to resist urges brought on by the addiction, many will fail and spiral into a dark hole of self-hatred. Higher depression tendencies in women mean that they might stay in that self-loathing a while longer, or even get stuck there. It is important for women to know the dangers and natural tendencies that they face in order to not be afraid to seek the help they need when they need it.
Nearly every sex-related topic is most likely talked about more by males than females. Typical guy comedies are full of jokes about sex and every sexual act you can think of. This separation of topic talk has been going on for decades, and finally, little thanks to feminism, women have been able to be more vocal about sexual problems they face and struggle with. That being said, girls and women everywhere are still slow to say what they are going through for fear of being judged, and this holds true for sexual addictions. Our society must become more open to hearing the voices of everyone if women are to receive the help they need and deserve. Likewise, women of the country must voice out their problems if they are to be helped at all, and this will take courage and self-love. We need to break this habit of keeping sex less talked-about for women so that they might come out to talk about their addictions without feeling unnecessary amounts of guilt and embarrassment.
When faced with a female friend, family member, or significant other who is struggling with a sexual addiction, it is important to be patient and understanding, as well as supporting and slow to judge.
Addictions always come with a variety of problems. To begin with, it can be traced sometimes to a troubled, childhood, the lack of loving family and support. Though there are agencies that help such as http://www.kidcentraltn.com/program/meritan-foster-care-services, there are numerous things that can act as “triggers” for the negative behavior. Sexual addictions are no exception.
It is important to be able to recognize what triggers the behavior for the addict, and for the nonaddict, it is important to help your friend or loved one succeed by also understanding these triggers and what you can do to lessen their effects. Continue reading “Triggers And How To Deal With Them” »
Pornography, unfortunately, has become a commodity around the world. It is used by every demographic, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Because of its popularity and normalization in American culture, our society tends to overlook the harm it has done to the people who watch and look at it as well as to the people involved in making it and performing in it. Pornography used to be something you had to go into a store to purchase.