This article is continued from part 1.
Around 12 million adults in the United States are classified as sex addicts. The truth is that sex addiction is far more prevalent than a lot of people realize, and is potentially as widespread as alcoholism. Despite the numbers of known sex addicts, there are even more who go under the radar. While one of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean you struggle with sex addiction, multiple of them might. Here are some signs that could mean you also struggle with sex addiction…
Sex leads to self-loathing
If you have a healthy sexual attitude, then sex is a positive aspect of your life that you share with somebody else. However, sex addiction rewires the reward system of your brain to constantly need more and more sex to feel validated. As such, it never actually contributes to your self esteem in a lasting way. Instead, sex addiction makes sex lead to further self-loathing in a perpetuating cycle.
You think of sex constantly
If you simply can’t think about anything besides sex, and need to constantly be actively pursuing some sort of way to get yourself off, then this is unhealthy sexual behavior. This is notably different from being regularly sexually bothered, and relates more to needing to constantly be trying to have sex with somebody, or needing to masturbate multiple times a day, uncontrollably. This type of mindset will always enable sex to get in the way of other aspects in your life, and needs to be addressed sooner, rather than later.
Having an abundance of sexual secrets
If you are devoting a good portion of your life to maintaining sexual secrets, and continuously feed a far more sexually active alter ego that is frequently having affairs, then that might qualify you for sex addiction. This is different than merely having an affair and trying to hide it, which is a different issue altogether. This means that you frequently live a double life that bleeds over into your bank account and personal health as you try to maintain lie after lie.
You don’t feel like you can stop
If your sexual behavior feels like it is uncontrollable, and that you merely cannot get sex out of your mind, then you almost certainly struggle with addictive behavior that should be looked into.
The Unfortunate Statistics
Did you know that more than 72 million people access adult, pornographic websites per day? This accounts for 42.7% of all internet users. Next to genealogy, pornography is the most searched item online. The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity says that 6-8% of all Americans are sex addicts, roughly 18-24 million people. Of those individuals, men struggle more than women with this addiction. Another interesting statistic about sex addicts is that these addictions typically go hand-in-hand with another type of addiction. In fact, 80% of addicts struggle with an additional addiction.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction can be described as a chronic disease of the brain that is primary and impacts reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. It literally creates an impairment in the brain of behavioral control and appetite. It is listed and diagnosed as a mental health disorder.
Sex addiction means that a person lacks impulse control and struggles to control their sexual appetites, including thoughts, urges, and behaviors. If not controlled and left completely unbridled, an individual can move toward behaviors like rape and pedophilia. It is estimated that 55% of sexual offenders have a sexual addiction.
The Psychological Component
There are many psychological theories as to why an individual becomes a sex addict. Some argue that during a person’s childhood the dysfunctionality of their homelife created an imbalance in their brain. Because they did not find that acceptance and trust in their family, they now feel unworthy of love from others. This theory proposes that they use sex to be close to someone, without ever being intimate. An example of this would be the use of pornography. Other theories claim that children who were abused are more likely to become addicted to sexual activities.
With these kinds of statistics and facts, chances are that you know someone in your life who struggles with addiction. Maybe it’s sexual addiction, maybe it’s drugs or substance abuse. Addiction is no respecter of persons.
What Can You Do to Help?
There are a number of things you can do to support your family or friends going through addiction.
- Be their friend. Everyone needs a friend—especially when they’re struggling. While they may struggle with addiction, it is not who they are.
- Be genuine. Be real with your friends and encourage them. Talk about the hard things and let them know that you believe in them. Talk to them about other things too. Just like you, they have talents and interests and hobbies.
- Forgive them. They don’t need your judgment. Forgive them when they mess up and never give up on them. Talk to them about messing up and moving forward.
- Encourage them to get help. Getting help is the hardest part. Taking that first step and admitting that things are not okay means admitting there is a problem. Encourage your friend or family member to get help and that you’ll support them through this. Encourage them to get help from a professional, as this is a mental health disorder. It sometimes requires treatment from someone who is certified and qualified.
- Love them. People who suffer from addictions are just like you and me. They need love and acceptance. This doesn’t mean you have to accept what they do, but you can accept them for who they are and let them know that they have a place in your circle and you are in their corner.
If you or a loved one in the Utah area struggles with addiction, there are some really great treatment centers and rehab facilities available. Sandy Men’s Renaissance Ranch is an LDS rehab center that helps facilitate healing and the road to recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. We focus our efforts on spiritual healing through a 12-step program and teach faith-based principles. We offer detox services, as well as a variety of therapies and clinical treatments to overcome these addictions. With more than 20 years of experience, we have proven plans that help facilitate this healing mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Addiction is real. Let go of the stigma and stop fighting it alone. Help is available and you do not have to go about this by yourself. There are friends and family who love you and want to help you. They’ll stand by your side for all of the ups and downs. Reach out to Sandy Men’s Renaissance Ranch, an LDS rehab facility of Utah, today to receive the professional support you need.