Talking about sexuality still brings a lot of controversy, and sex alone is still considered as a taboo topic. Diagnosing of sex addiction in patients is very difficult due to this reason.
Even though intimacy is an intrinsic element of our life, everyone’s needs differ. It becomes a problem when those needs become addictive and make day to day functioning difficult, until finally they entirely take control over us. Sex addiction symptoms – how to recognize them?
Is sex essential to life?
Having sexual intercourse, besides masturbation, is a way of relieving sex drive. Apart from the need of intimacy with partner, sex fulfils our biological needs as well. After intercourse we experience the feeling of relief, and we fall asleep more easily. Sex between long standing partners gives a sense of strong bond and intimacy. It is true that during intercourse, in our brains (and more precisely in our pituitary gland) ‘hormone of love’ – oxytocin is released. This neurotransmitter later reaches receptors in cells in our whole body.
Release of oxytocin helps to create desire, build trust and attachment to your partner.
When sex becomes like a drug – symptoms of sex addiction
Sex drive varies from person to person. We like different things; we have different fantasies and needs. There is no correct answer how many times a week or a month one should have sex. For some of us a few times a week is enough, for others only a few times a month. There are also people for whom the need of intimacy is so strong that they want to have sex every day. It is worth adding that all these people can feel normal and healthy. However, problems arises when our needs to satisfy sex drive dominate us and it disrupts other activities.
According to its definition, sex addiction, also called erotomania is:
‘Abnormal increase of sexual excitability occurring in psychiatric conditions and psychopathy, and organic brain diseases. It can also be a result of harmful influence of the environment. It is a term denoting erotic mania with occurring delusions of love.’Popular Encyclopaedia PWN
Erotomania is disorder of libido, and its main symptom is excessive need of diverse and frequent sexual activity. The person affected experiences similar symptoms as ingoing through withdrawal, which accompany other habits, such as: irritability, panic, or problems with concentration. A relief can only be reached by sexual intercourse or masturbation.
Sex addiction symptoms and relations with close people
Sex addicts treat sex as method of diffusing tension, escape from unpleasant emotions or problems.The other person is treated with objectification. Sex addicts do not feel attached to their partners, they only care about satisfying their sexual needs. Sometimes they have sex with random people, use prostitutes or even resort to exhibitionism. Browsing pornography and obsessive masturbation becomes an element of daily life. The addicted person initially feels euphoric, but later this feeling is replaced by remorse, guilt and even shame. The addicted person faces consequences, not only on an emotional level, but also on a health, social and financial level.
How do we treat sex addiction?
Even though the symptoms of sex addiction are not always visible at first glance, it is worth suggesting psychotherapy for the partner or other close person, who we suspect of having such a problem. Similarly, to other addictions, such conversations won’t be easy. The patient doesn’t recognize that they find themselves in such a situation and they do not accept the fact that professional help is essential.We wrote here how to persuade the addicted person to seek therapy. Starting therapy is the best way to return to a healthy sexual life.
As opposed to treatment of other addictions,in the case of sex addiction we do not totally stop the addictive activity. In the psychotherapy process, we try to builda conscious foundations concerning intercourse and the sexual sphere. It can happen that some patients require the implementation of pharmacological treatment.