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Understanding Sexual Addiction And Possible Treatments

1944 words - 8 pages

Men and women who have or exhibit excessive or unusual sexual urges or behaviors can be considered sex addicts. An example would be a man who sits at his computer and engages in Internet pornography, regardless of the fact that he is married and his marriage is suffering because of his activities.Another example would be a woman that engages in extra-marital affairs, knowing this could end her marriage and possibly result in her being infected with a sexually transmitted disease. These are just two examples of possible compulsive sexual behaviors.To complicate things, sex addicts frequently exhibit other indulgent or addictive behaviors such as drug abuse, gambling addiction, alcoholism or ...view middle of the document...

Addicts tend to begin participating in a string of one-night stands or several sexual acts in one night, all without regard to the dangers of sexually transmitted disease. The addict may or may not progress to the next level, paying for sex, depending on how cooperative the one-night stands are in fulfilling their sexual needs.Voyeurism, which includes watching pornographic movies, reading pornographic books and even peeping on others engaged in sexual activities, is the next level of addiction. When the addict is still not satisfied, he/she may progress to intrusive sex which includes unwanted touching and could eventually lead to rape.Cyber sex, which generally precedes the more aggressive forms of the addiction, may continue throughout the addiction. This might be explained by its availability. On-line pornography, live chat, software and files are the three forms most readily available (NCSA, 2000).The Internet provides easy access for someone who is a sex addict. They can act out and be anonymous or whomever they want while chatting on-line. This gives new and unlimited thrills to the addict during their moves from one level in the addiction to another.In a survey of 75 self-identified sex addicts, 100% were also engaged in other forms of addictions (Schneider, 1991). Fifty percent were drug users, 33% abused food, 25% were workaholics and 5% were gamblers (Weiss).If left untreated, the addict may progress through the levels right into the category of sexual offender. Sexual offending is a judicial term referring to illegal acts while sexual addiction is a medical term (NCSAC). Not all sex addicts become sexual offenders. Approximately 55% of incarcerated sex offenders are actual sex addicts. Child molesters represent the largest group of sexually addicted offenders. Seventy-one percent of child molesters are sex addicts (NCSAC).Consequences experienced by the sexual addict can range from social isolation to physical illness caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Addicts run the risk of being discovered and possibly losing the love and respect of their partners or friends. The emotional strain experienced by the addict when they feel guilt and shame can destroy them emotionally. Addicts can and frequently do contract some form of sexually transmitted diseases. Financially, the addict may spend large sums of money obtaining the stimulus they require in the form of pornography and sex. Severe consequences can result from an addiction left untreated. The addict could end up in prison for severe sexually deviant behaviors including exhibitionism, voyeurism, child pornography, pedophilia, stalking, sexual harassment and rape.Understanding Sexual Addiction and Possible TreatmentsBy now you may be asking yourself why the addict can't just stop. One explanation is that the brain responds to and directs major elements of the body's internal system of chemical messages. Sexual arousal ignites central nervous system activity, sparking numerous...

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