Help Your Partner to Deal with Sex Addiction
In the past, the word ‘Addiction’ was used to refer to the intake of psychoactive substances like alcohol and drugs that flow through our blood and brain, thereby temporarily changing the chemical balance of the brain. Psychologists have broadened the meaning of addiction, telling us that it is the psychological dependency on anything, be it gambling, sex, the internet, exercise, even work. This is because they can also lead to feelings of shame, failure, guilt, rejection, and humiliation. This article will focus on Sex Addiction.
Like other addicts listed above, Sex addicts also have that feeling of shame about what they are doing. In moments of regret and remorse, they tell themselves, “I’m never doing this anymore. This is the last time!”…But before you finish saying Jack Robinson, they are back at it, doing either that same sexual act or a similar one. This loss of control is what’s called Sexual Addiction. The truth is they want to quit, they even try to stop, but they can’t just seem to manage it. Sometimes, this failure to control it escalates to a point when raging sets into the point of going against their core beliefs and values. They start to ignore safe sex, hurting their family, engaging in marital infidelity and more. Because of this, it is prevalent to find sex addicts leading double lives and having split personalities. They start compartmentalizing their work, sex and lives at home.
Sexual addiction involves a broad range of obsessions with sexual behavior and fantasies. Sex becomes a primary focus in the lives of sexual addicts. Their inability to quit starts affecting their lives, leading to various negative life consequences like;
- Failure to partake in previously enjoyable activities
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Declining mental and physical health
- Trouble at school or work
- Legal problems leading to arrests.
Causes of Sexual Addiction
There are still arguments among experts as to some underlying causes of sexual addiction. What muddles the water again is the disagreement among psychologists over whether the addiction is a disease or a habit. Well, that’s for the experts to decide. Some of the proven causes of sexual addiction are;
Biological Conditions: This includes each person’s unique genetics and physiology. We all differ in the extent to which we enjoy sex. Some enjoy longer sex periods than others. Likewise, people differ regarding the kind of sexual activities they enjoy. Some might enjoy certain sexual activities and release so much that it becomes tough to resist. This is because we all have varying degrees of enjoyment. In the same vein, the ability to control impulsive desires with rational thinking is a brain function that varies among individuals. Strangely enough, the average human brain functions and chemistry make all of us vulnerable to addiction. So, unfortunately, they motivate us to keep repeating these actions we find pleasurable.
Medical Conditions: Dementia, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis to say a few, are medical conditions that cause certain damage parts of our brain which result in compulsive sexual activities.
Hormones: Androgens are the sex hormones present in both men and women. Androgens play a significant role in affecting the libido and a person’s addiction to sex. Some hormone balancing medications are used to treat sex addicts.
Abuse as a child: According to some research conducted, it was observed that a high percentage of sex addicts had been abused during childhood. This obviously has a ripple effect on their mental and psychological health.
Dysfunctional Family: A person who was brought up in a family with a history of substance abuse and addiction is most likely to be a sex addict. Also, children with parents who were emotionally unavailable, rigid or uncaring in their parenting techniques grow up to be sex addicts.
Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Addiction
Because sex addiction is a progressive act that starts from the little discreet actions to noticeable actions, you might not notice at first. If your partner suffers from sex addiction, it is safe to say you do not have healthy boundaries. You might feel alienated, depressed, and angry that you may need treatment yourself. My advice, don’t be. Here are signs and symptoms to note if you suspect your partner is addicted to sex.
- Sexually harassing others
- Compulsive stimulation or masturbation
- Extra-marital affairs or having multiple affairs in the case of the unmarried.
- Practicing unsafe sex
- Paying for the services of a prostitute.
- Being pleasured by watching others have sex
- Excessive watching of pornography
How do I help my partner who is addicted to sex?
So you have noticed your partner exhibiting about 5 of the above signs, or even more, it’s time to act fast, or it may end up messy. If you don’t take the right steps or respond appropriately, he/she may just indulge somewhere else. Here are some steps you need to follow to help your partner conquer sex addiction:
- Maintain an environment filled with Sobriety
This is a step that’s very easy to be undertaken by anyone. It entails maintaining a safe and clean environment, removing all sexual factors and sex-like objects. Try not to allow your partner visit places related to sex like strip clubs and prostitute areas. You can use geological tracking for mobile phones to detect any wrong movements. Also, change the security of the computer which allows any porn materials.
- Meet with a professional who can help
You might find it difficult to reveal to anyone about your partner’s addiction but once you do, find a professional who understands the behavior and will treat accordingly.
- Sex addict anonymous meetings
People in these meetings do not previously know each other. They are total strangers to each other. Meet with these people, share your experiences and compare theirs to yours and you’ll realize some have had it worse. This is a personal choice, so your partner has to be ready to reveal everything and tell it all.
- Therapy groups
Try helping your partner join one of these treatment groups treating sex addiction. These groups help people going through addiction problems recover.
How do I help my partner live free of sexual addiction?
If your partner’s addiction is as a result of depression, there are medications doctors will prescribe that can help. There are also some hormonal drugs that contribute to reducing sexual urges and eliminate compulsive behaviors.
Group and marriage counseling could be beneficial to help you and your partner cope with the fear, lies and other damages that have resulted from the sexual addiction.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy [CBT] is a method of Psychotherapy that can lead a person who always thinks about sex and react poorly to learn better ways of thinking and reacting. It would teach your partner a positive way to respond to sexual urges and desires by transferring these thoughts into a more productive and non-sexual activity.
Follow these steps so your partner can live free of sexual addiction and you both can have a happily ever after life.
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