Last updated on Feb 27th, 2018 at 01:02 pm

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5. Sex addiction or compulsive sexual behaviours

This is often one of the most traumatic things to happen to a relationship as it usually involves multiple affairs, and regular betrayal. As a sex addiction therapist, I have dealt with a number of cases like this, and have seen many relationships end up in reconciliation. Just as with other addictions, like drugs and alcohol, sex addiction is not ultimately about the sex.

Sex addiction is not about someone having a high sex drive, or the need to have a lot of sex. Sex addiction is about medicating a feeling of anger, loneliness, sadness, boredom or exhaustion.

These men (I am going to refer to men as I am currently only treating men in my practice) have never learned how to express their emotions in a healthy way, and they have turned to sex as their ‘drug’ of choice.

Patrick Carnes who is a ground-breaking researcher and therapist in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of sex addiction refers to it as “a disease of emotions”. These men find it also difficult to attach themselves to someone. They can’t be intimate. And if they do ‘attach’ themselves to someone, they can easily detach themselves again

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Sex addiction is about the chase. It usually starts with the person becoming preoccupied with thoughts about sex. The brain releases dopamine from the pre-frontal cortex or pleasure centre of the brain. The dopamine is what ‘feels good’ and it’s what sex addicts crave. However, they end up pursuing more and more extreme measures to experience this ‘high’.

So if sex addiction is not about sex, what is it about?

It is about trauma, it serves to soothe emotional wounds left from childhood.

Patrick Carnes states in his research that:

  • 87% of sex addicts describe their familial upbringing as “disengaged”
  • 97% of sex addicts report an early childhood trauma (usually childhood abuse)
  • 42% of sex addicts have a cross-addiction problem with chemical dependency
  • 38% of sex addicts also have an eating disorder

However, one cannot justify behaviours such as:

  • Compulsive watching of porn
  • Compulsive masturbating
  • Going to massage parlours with a ‘happy ending’
  • Going to strip clubs
  • Having multiple affairs
  • Going to prostitutes
  • Using social media to have virtual sex, sexting or going into chat rooms

There are many unhealthy behaviours that stem from sex addiction, and it not only causes the addict extreme hurt and pain, but the partner of the addict too. However, with the right treatment, both can find healing.

As a certified sex addiction therapist I have seen many couples find healing even after so much damage has been done to the relationship.

If you think that you are a sex addict or the partner of a sex addict, there is help and hope. I urge you to make contact with me so that you too can live a healthy, happy, fulfilling life with your partner.

Follow this link to find out more about sex addiction, and whether you or your partner need help:   //www.sexhelp.com.

If you feel like any of the issues that I’ve mentioned above may be affecting your relationship, please feel free to get in touch with me to make an appointment that could change your life and your relationship for the better.