What is sex addiction?

POSTED April 3, 2016  

Sex addiction is both a brain and attachment disorder.

Like when alcohol is consumed and hits the pleasure center of the brain of about 10% of persons, which causes a craving, early sexual experience can operate in a similar way.  Sex addiction, called a process addiction as opposed to a chemical addiction, can be partly driven by cravings in the brain.

This process often works in tandem with another process called attachment disorder.  Research reveals that 80% of sex addicts come from homes that were characterized by being overly protective or overly permissive.  Often in the lives of these children, they hardly had the opportunity to develop a self and discover who lived in their skin. Parents or caregivers either did everything for them or were not available to give them needed direction or protection. Because of these circumstances, a child often grows up unattached to others and, often anxious, depressed, and feeling lost.  When they have their first sexual experiences it brings welcome positive feelings, which they want to see repeated over and over again.  They often think, if a little sex is this much fun, then let’s do this a lot.

Attachment then becomes with sexual experience and not with others in healthy ways.  These kids’ lives are often isolated and filled with finding ways to have sex without having to tell anyone what they are doing.  After a while the guilt shifts to shame and they feel like bad persons; their lives revolve around having sex so they can feel good, all the while seeing their lives spin out of control.

Recovery from this addiction involves asking for help, going to therapy, and attending 12-step recovery meetings.  Since the attachment injury is often so deeply ingrained, the journey in recovery is often 2-5 years, yet quite doable with the help of others.

When there is enough pain a person will often ask for help; this is the beginning of  hope for persons that have often spent years in their addiction.

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